What is GUL Insurance and How Does It Work? (Updated Rates for 2020)

Guaranteed Universal LifePotential clients often call us to learn more about a life insurance product called GUL insurance.

GUL insurance, or guaranteed universal life insurance, offers permanent life insurance coverage without requiring an investment value.

This makes GUL insurance risk-free and affordable just term life insurance. But, with a guaranteed universal life policy, you can lock in your rates and coverage until the age of 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110…even 121!

This article explains GUL insurance and provides sample rates to help you estimate the cost of a policy. We’ve also included some savings tips and a few real-life examples of clients who we’re a perfect fit for this product.

Quick Article Guide:

  1. Guaranteed Universal Life Pros and Cons
  2. Building A Cash Value with Life Insurance
  3. What’s the Cost of GUL Life Insurance?
  4. How Does the Cost of GUL Insurance Compare to Whole Life?
  5. GUL Insurance to Fund a Special Needs Trust
  6. Guaranteed Universal Life for Estate Protection
  7. Buying A GUL for Pension Maximization
  8. Still Have Questions? We Can Help

Instantly Compare GUL Rates from 30 Companies

Guaranteed Universal Life Pros and Cons

For most people, guaranteed universal life insurance is the best permanent life insurance product available. It provides fixed rates and level coverage until the age of your choice, usually 90 or later. While many people are able to utilize the benefits that a GUL can offer, it’s not ideal for everyone.

In the illustration below, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of guaranteed universal life insurance to help you determine if it is the best policy for you.

Rates are fixed until the age of your choiceDoes not build a cash value like other whole life options
Coverage is usually less expensive than other whole life insurance optionsUsually requires a medical exam for approval
No risky investing is requiredMore expensive than term life insurance
Coverage is straightforward and easy to understandTimely payments must be made to keep coverage active


For most of our clients, the the greatest benefit of GUL life insurance is that it offers level coverage with fixed rates until the age of your choice. This makes guaranteed universal life insurance ideal for funding a special needs trust, leaving an inheritance, or protecting the assets you leave behind from estate tax liabilities.

In many situations, a GUL life insurance policy is also ideal for pension maximization, especially if the pension earner is in average or better health. To learn more about purchasing life insurance for pension maximization, please skip below to: Buying A GUL for Pension Maximization

Building A Cash Value With Life Insurance

Guaranteed universal life insurance does not build a cash value, but before you decide against it, consider the advice of many well-known financial advisers including Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and Bob Brinker, keep your life insurance separate from your investments.

“Life insurance is a lousy investment vehicle because it carries expensive money management fees that offset your potential gains.” – Forbes

In addition to the expensive fees, if your investment performs poorly, you put your life insurance policy and your family’s financial protection at risk. The title of this recent Forbes article says it all, Retirement Disaster Looms For Universal Life Policyholders.”

We recommend against traditional non-guaranteed universal life insurance policies because they carry a lot of risk if the market does not perform well. These policies also have an adjustable cost of insurance which means your monthly premiums can dramatically increase as you get older.

At least once a day we receive a call from someone that is faced with losing their universal life insurance coverage due to their policy being under-funding, a rising cost of insurance, or a depleted cash value. Unfortunately, in these situations, their are usually only two options depending on the person’s health:

1. Continue to pay the increasing life insurance premiums as long as you can afford them.

2. Purchase a new policy if you’re still insurable, withdrawal your remaining cash, and surrender your universal life insurance policy.

If you already have a universal life insurance policy that is not guaranteed, consider buying a new policy now while you are young and likely healthier than you will be in the future. Although the idea of building a cash value seems promising, their are much better ways to invest for retirement.

Another downside to cash-building universal life insurance policies is that the cash you accumulate overtime is never really your money. If you borrow from your cash value, your insurer view the withdrawal as a loan and you will be charged interest until the you repay the balance.

While you are repaying the loan, your insurance policy’s death benefit will be decreased by the amount you owe. If you happen to fall behind on payments, you might even lose your coverage. But, if you withdrawal the money from you policy now and surrender it, the cash value is yours to keep without penalty.

Instantly Compare GUL Rates from 30 Companies

What’s the Cost of GUL Life Insurance?

GUL CostLike term life insurance, the cost of GUL insurance is dependent on your age, health, lifestyle, and gender. Most companies offer preferred best, preferred, standard plus, and standard rate classes to applicants in average or better health for their age.

These rate classes are defined almost identically to term life insurance rate classes, but some companies are more lenient with their top risk categories. A handful of insurers will offer “preferred” or better rates to applicants that are up to 50 pounds overweight, and to applicants who take preventive medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, or both.

In the next section we’ve provided some sample rates by age and gender for qualifying applicants who are in overall good health.

GUL Insurance Rates by Age and Gender – $100,000 to Age 90


*Displayed monthly rates are for an individual in excellent health and are accurate as of 09/28/2020.

GUL Insurance Rates by Age and Gender – $250,000 to Age 90

*Displayed monthly rates are for an individual in excellent health and are accurate as of 09/28/2020. 

GUL Insurance Rates by Age and Gender – $500,000 to Age 90

*Displayed monthly rates are for an individual in excellent health and are accurate as of 09/28/2020.

How Does the Cost of GUL Insurance Compare to Whole Life?

One of the biggest downsides to whole life insurance is its price. While some whole life insurance policies promise to build a small cash value overtime, this added cost is hardly worth what you’ll gain in the long run. This is why you should keep your investments and your life insurance separated.

In the table below, we compared the cost of a GUL insurance policy to the cost of a whole life insurance policy. (Both policies offer guaranteed level rates and coverage until the age 100).

GUL Life Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance Rates by Age – $100,000 to Age 100

Whole Life
GUL Insurance
Whole Life
GUL Insurance
*Displayed monthly rates are for an individual in excellent health and are accurate as of 09/28/2020.

**After the age of 60, $50,000 is the maximum amount of whole life insurance available. 

If you would like an accurate quote based on your age and health, please feel free to give us a call at 855-247-9555 or request a free quote below. One of our experts will be able to compare rates and options from more than 50 top-rated insurers in just a few minutes.

Instantly Compare GUL Rates from 30 Companies

GUL Insurance to Fund a Special Needs Trust

Real-Life Example ConversionWe recently worked with a family who wanted to fund use life insurance to fund a trust for their special needs child. In this situation, a special needs trust is used to leave money behind to a loved one without jeopardizing their eligibility for state or federal benefits.

With a special needs trust, the money you leave behind is not personal asset in the eyes of the government because it is held in trust. This allows your child to access the funds from your life insurance policy without sacrificing the valuable government benefits they need.

Here’s A Real Life Example of A Family We Helped:

Dale and Cynthia decided to purchase $500,000 on each of their lives to fund a special needs trust. By insuring each other, they felt that it would be easier to finance the life insurance premiums when one of them passed away. After speaking with a trust attorney, they contacted us to compare their options.

Their trust attorney was also very specific. To remove himself from potential liability, he recommended that they purchase a life insurance policy with rates that were guaranteed until age 121. Despite his recommendation, Dale and Cynthia eventually settled on age 110 to save some money each month.

To further remove himself from liability, their trust attorney also recommended guaranteed universal life insurance to avoid any investment risk. Dave and his wife are in their early forties and in great health, so they were able to secure both of their policies for about $500 a month.

Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance for Estate Protection

We’ve also helped clients use GUL insurance for estate protection. If your estate’s value exceeds the current estate tax exemption, separating the value of your life insurance from your assets may help preserve your legacy.

By establishing a life insurance trust, your life insurance policy’s death benefit can be used to directly settle any estate taxes owed to the IRS, leaving your assets free and clear for future generations.

To learn more about using a guaranteed life insurance policy to legally avoid federal estate taxes and state inheritance taxes on the assets you intend to leave behind, please read our article, “Recent Changes to Estate Tax Law (What’s New for 2020).

Buying A GUL for Pension Maximization

GUL insurance is also commonly used for pension maximization purposes. Instead of opting for a reduced monthly benefit by selecting the joint pension option your employer offers at retirement, opting for a single pay pension and purchasing guaranteed universal life insurance may be a better option.

With pension maximization, the idea is to provide your spouse with a source of tax-free income that is equal to the amount of money they would have received from your pension. This strategy also allows for more flexibility because if you outlive your spouse, you can cancel your policy and stop paying the premiums.

Some of our clients in average or better health have been able to secure lifetime coverage for a fraction of the cost of accepting the second-to-die pension option. In fact, one of our client’s saved more than $7,000 a year while still securing an equivalent retirement income for his surviving spouse!

More companies require you to elect your pension option before you retire, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to make a decision. We usually recommend applying for life insurance at least six months before you plan to retire. You can learn about pension maximization life insurance here.

Still Have Questions? We Can Help

Call Us
If you’d like to learn more about GUL life insurance, or obtain an accurate quote based on your age, health, and coverage needs, please feel free to give us a call. Our agency works with more than 50 top-rated life insurance companies which allows us to shop the market to find your best rates and options.

Every life insurance company sets their own rates and underwriting guidelines, which makes it very difficult to determine your best options if you are only getting quotes online. Our licensed agents are experts with multiple years of experience and we are here to help.

By asking a few questions about your health, we’ll be able to quickly compare your options saving you time and money. Our comparative shopping services are free, and we’re even if you’re in excellent health, we may be able to save you more than 30% on the cost of your life insurance.

We’re owner-operated, and our agents do not have quotas or daily sales goals, so you never feel rushed or pressured to make a decision you haven’t had a chance to mull over. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision and provide to you with best customer service in the industry.

Give us a call today at 855-247-9555, or you can request a free quote below to instantly compare rates from dozens of top-rated life insurance providers in less than a minute.

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Cliff Pendell

VP of Marketing at JRC Insurance Group
Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.
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