DEFINITION of 'Unbundled Life Insurance Policy'

A type of financial protection plan that provides cash to beneficiaries upon the policyholder's death. A unbundled life insurance policy contains a savings and investment component that the policyholder can use during his or her lifetime or pass on to beneficiaries. This does not expire when the policyholder reaches a certain age; and that allows the policyholder to adjust the amount and timing of premium payments and the amount of the death benefit while the policy is in force.


Unbundled life insurance is another word for universal life insurance.

BREAKING DOWN 'Unbundled Life Insurance Policy'

Both whole and universal/unbundled life insurance are types of permanent life insurance and have a cash value component in which a portion of each premium payment is saved and invested on the policyholder's behalf. The other portion of the premium goes toward administrative expenses and the death benefit.


However, there is an important difference between these two types of policies. With whole life insurance, the premiums and death benefit are fixed when the policy is purchased. With universal/unbundled life insurance, the premiums and death benefit can be changed during the life of the policy. This can be a desirable feature if the policyholder's needs change.


The universal/unbundled policy also clearly discloses the policy's administrative fees - also called underwriting and sales expense charges - to the policyholder, whereas a whole life policy does not. Thus, in addition to providing flexibility, universal/unbundled life insurance allows the policyholder to see exactly where his or her premium payments are going.

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