ULIP full form is Unit Linked Insurance Plans. A ULIP plan is a life insurance product that provides insurance coverage as well as investment profits to the insured. In a ULIP plan, a part of the premium is used to offer insurance coverage to the insured’s family, while the other half is invested in market-linked securities chosen by the insured, such as stock, debt, and money market funds, to earn advantageous long-term returns on investment.
Benefits of ULIPs:
With a long-term investment in ULIPs, several benefits come organically.
- Insurance Plus Investment: A ULIP offers a safe way to create wealth while also providing life insurance, which are the two primary areas of concern for most people.
- Flexibility to Switch Between Funds: ULIPs allow you to smoothly switch between funds based on your risk appetite, which is likely to alter over time and as you get older.
- Premium Waivers: Some plans offer an inbuilt feature that allows the premium to be waived off in case of the parent’s unfortunate demise, without affecting the plan’s validity.
- Tax Benefits: A policyholder is eligible for a tax deduction during all three phases: investment, earnings, and withdrawal. The premium can be deducted under Section 80C of the tax code. Furthermore, partial withdrawals and the maturity amount are tax-free. If certain conditions are met, Section 10 (10D) of the Income Tax Act exempts the policy’s maturity returns from income tax.
- Ease of Additional Investment: When surplus funds are available, you can purchase a ULIP at a reduced premium or top-up later during the policy’s duration. Top-up premiums provide the same tax advantages as regular premiums.
- Flexible-Premium Paying Modes: ULIPs provide several convenient premium payment options to assist you in planning your finances. You can pay your premium(s) in one of three ways: single, limited, or regular. One-time premium payment; restricted premium yearly, half-yearly, quarterly; monthly recurring premium are some of the choices.
What are the charges?
Premium Allocation Charges:
When a ULIP insurance is issued, the insurer must complete several activities, including underwriting the policy, medical tests, commission costs, and so on. These are all one-time costs that must be paid in the first year because the insurer will deduct them from the first-year premium. If the ULIP plan premium allocation charges are 15% and the premium is ₹50,000, the ULIP charges will be removed at ₹7,500, leaving ₹42,500 to invest.
The administration of the policy attracts a fee. This fee is charged every month; the charges are levied by canceling the units from the funds in proportion to the rate.
Fund Management Charges:
These expenses, which are regulated by IRDAI at 1.5 percent per year and charged as a percentage of the fund value, go toward administering your money.
Discontinuance or Surrender Charges:
A discontinuation charge is imposed if the ULIP plan is surrendered prematurely within the first four years.
Partial Withdrawal Charges:
Investors have the option to prematurely withdraw the ULIP plan after the first three years if they need to. However, according to the policy terms, early withdrawal incurs some penalties.
These charges are collected by the insurer for providing death cover to the insured; and are calculated after considering the age, health conditions, and the insurer mortality table.
Investors are free to switch the fund into which their premium is invested a couple of times per year, without a charge. Following the free-limit exhausts, each switch is subject to a charge of between ₹100 to ₹500, depending on the insurer’s terms.
Premium Redirection Charges:
You can direct future premiums to a lower-risk fund without changing the fund or making any changes to the existing fund structure. You will incur some additional charges as a result of doing so.
The additional charges are applied whenever an investor adds a rider to a ULIP plan to receive additional advantages. An investor, for example, must pay extra premiums for a critical illness rider on a ULIP policy.
If an investor opts for guaranteed returns in the policy, then there are certain charges imposed by the insurer to ensure the payout. Because most ULIPs offer market-linked returns rather than guaranteed returns, they’re utilized. These are typically found in ULIPs that have a high NAV guarantee.
Under the category of miscellaneous costs, the insurer imposes some modest charges on a few things, such as if a policyholder chooses to alter the premium frequency from half-yearly to annually, they must pay a little fee, and so on.
Should you invest?
If I am honest, investing in ULIP is not recommended because it doesn’t provide adequate life cover and the return generated is sub-optimal when compared to other investment options like Mutual Funds. Insurance is an expense and should not be equated with an investment.
What’s wrong with them?
They neither give appropriate insurance nor a viable investment solution.
Let’s look at the two factors separately to better understand the idea.
The majority of the time, consumers are unable to determine what type of insurance coverage they require. For example, if you are the sole earner in a family of four, a life insurance policy of Rs 5 lakh (see example below) is just insufficient in the event of your untimely death. If you haven’t left them much in the way of inheritance and/or if you owe them money, the effect is amplified. Then there’s inflation, which eats away at your savings. To give some perspective, a ULIP will cost Rs 5 lakh per year if a term plan with a cover of Rs 50 lakh costs Rs 7000 per year.
The most significant aspect working against them is the expensive fees. A considerable portion of the premium you pay is removed in the form of various fees and levies, with distributor commissions being the most significant component. It minimizes the proportion of your premium that is invested to generate returns. It has a significant impact on the total wealth you can accumulate over time. We’ve highlighted one element of ULIP, its various charges, below.
ULIP: Unit Linked Insurance
|Age: 35||Annual premium: Rs 50,000||Sum Assured: Rs 5,00,000|
The charges levied by ULIPs are listed in the table below. Keep in mind that these charges aren’t precisely concealed. You’ll find them in your policy documents, but you probably won’t give them any credence. After deducting the following charges, which account for about 7% of the total invested amount, the real invested amount is calculated.
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