What are the Types of Life Insurance?

6 mins read
by Angel One
Life insurance is a vital part of personal finance, offering protection and investment opportunities. Learn about the types of life insurance and discover how to select the right policy in the guide.

Life insurance­ has long been crucial for managing personal finance­s, yet many remain unaware of the different types of life insurance available. These insurance­ options address different financial ne­eds, providing a safety net for the family’s primary breadwinner while also se­rving as an investment or retire­ment strategy.

In this article, we will explore what life insurance is, look at the different types of life insurance, and help you choose the right one for your financial needs.

What is Life Insurance?

Life insurance­ serves as a financial arrangeme­nt. It involves an individual who enters into a contract with an insurance­ company and makes regular payments. In the unfortunate event of the insured person’s death, the insurer provides a specific sum of money to the designate­d beneficiaries. This arrange­ment offers esse­ntial financial protection to loved ones. 

What are the Types of Life Insurance?

Now that you know what is life insurance, let’s take a closer look at the types of life insurance plans available:

  • Term Life Insurance or Term Plan

Term life insurance stands out as a straightforward and cost-effective choice. It provides a death benefit to beneficiaries in the unfortunate event of the policyholder’s demise during the specified term, typically without offering maturity benefits. Some term plans, however, offer the option of a return of premiums if the policyholder outlives the term. Furthermore, term policies can be customised with additional riders, such as the Accidental Death Benefit rider, to enhance and personalise the coverage to suit the policyholder’s specific needs.

  • Whole Life Insurance Plan

Whole life insurance offers a lifelong safety net. It comes in two main variants, including the participating and non-participating policies. Participating policies, while coming with higher premiums, provide policyholders with the added advantage of dividends distributed at regular intervals. Non-participating policies, on the other hand, tend to have lower premiums but do not include the potential for dividend earnings. Whole life insurance serves as an enduring financial planning tool that spans the entirety of the policyholder’s life, providing peace of mind and long-term financial security.

  • Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP)

Unit Linked Insurance Plans, commonly known as ULIPs, offer a distinctive combination of insurance and investment. Premium payments are split, with a portion allocated to secure life insurance coverage and the remaining sum invested in an array of funds, including equity and debt funds. ULIPs are celebrated for their flexibility, allowing policyholders to shift between investment options as per their preferences easily. Moreover, they present an attractive facet in the realm of taxation, as ULIP proceeds are exempt from Long-Term Capital Gains tax, enhancing their appeal as a tax-efficient investment.

  • Endowment Policy

Endowment policies are multifaceted financial tools that simultaneously serve as insurance and savings instruments. These policies are geared towards securing a lump sum payout at the conclusion of the policy term, ensuring that policyholders or their beneficiaries receive a significant sum even in the absence of a claim during the policy’s tenure. There are typically two categories of endowment plans, those that are “with profit” and those that are “without profit,” offering policyholders a choice based on their risk tolerance and preferences.

  • Money Back Policy

Money-back policies give policyholders a dual benefit of insurance coverage and periodic returns. At predetermined intervals, policyholders receive a portion of the total sum assured as Survival Benefits. Upon maturity or in the event of the policyholder’s demise during the policy term, the remaining sum assured is disbursed to ensure financial protection for the policyholder or their beneficiaries. This unique combination of insurance coverage and liquidity appeals to those seeking a balance between financial security and regular payouts.

  • Retirement Plan

Retirement plans focus on securing financial stability during one’s post-retirement years. By encouraging policyholders to contribute regularly during their working lives, these plans accumulate funds that are subsequently transformed into a steady income stream once retirement is reached. Moreover, retirement plans commonly incorporate death benefits, ensuring that loved ones are safeguarded in case of the policyholder’s unfortunate passing during the policy term. These plans serve as a comprehensive solution for retirement planning and financial security.

  • Child Insurance

Child insurance plans are tailored savings and investment instruments that provide crucial financial protection for a child’s future, even in the absence of the policyholder. These plans are aptly suited for parents to secure their child’s educational, marriage, or other financial needs. By choosing the best child insurance plans, parents can make confident strides toward their child’s bright future, backed by a robust financial safety net.

  • Group Insurance Plan

Group insurance policies encompass a collective of individuals under a single insurance umbrella, often made available through employers, banks, or other organisations. This type of policy aims to ensure financial security for employees, customers, or borrowers, depending on the group’s nature. One distinctive feature of group insurance policies is that they provide coverage for as long as an individual remains part of the group, with protection extending while an individual maintains their affiliation.

How to Choose the Right Life Insurance Policy?

Choosing the right life insurance policy that aligns with your specific requirements holds the utmost significance. Let’s de­lve into how you can navigate through the options and make an informed decision:

  • Define Your Goals

To start, you should first unde­rstand your financial goals, ranging from providing financial se­curity for the family to growing personal wealth or finding a harmonious balance­ between both prioritie­s.

  • Choose the Right Coverage

To determine the appropriate sum assured, consider your family’s financial needs, ongoing expenses, and your annual income. A commonly recommended guideline is to select a sum assured that is at least 10 times your annual income to provide a robust financial safety net.

  • Policy Term Flexibility

Life insurance policies come with varying terms, catering to different financial goals. Some policies are designed for long-term objectives, while others have shorter terms. Choose a policy that offers flexible term options that align with your unique financial aspirations and timeline, whether you’re planning for long-term security or shorter-term goals.

  • Enhance with Riders

Life insurance riders are additional features that can be added to your basic policy to enhance its coverage. Consider a policy with a range of riders, such as critical illness or accidental death riders, to ensure comprehensive coverage that precisely aligns with your financial security requirements.

  • Evaluate the Insurer

Check the insurer’s claim settlement ratio, which reflects its efficiency in processing claims. Evaluate the solvency ratio to gauge the company’s financial strength and ability to meet its obligations. Lastly, review the policy’s exclusions carefully to understand specific events or situations not covered by the insurance.


Exploring the various types of life insurance is an essential step towards making informed decisions that align with your unique financial goals and family’s needs. Each type offers distinct advantages and caters to specific objectives, whether it’s providing financial security, building wealth, or a combination of both.


Can I hold multiple life insurance policies at once?

Yes, you can have multiple life insurance policies simultaneously, but ensure the total coverage does not exceed your Human Life Value (HLV).

What's the most popular life insurance type in India?

Term life insurance is one of the most favoured types of life insurance in India. This preference stems from its cost-effectiveness and ability to provide substantial coverage for a specified term. There are other types of life insurance, such as whole life insurance, endowment policies, and more, that also have a significant presence in the Indian market.

Do whole life insurance policies expire?

Whole life insurance policies are designed to provide lifelong coverage and typically do not come with expiration dates. However, it’s essential to know that some whole-life policies may include an age limit.

When is the best age to get life insurance?

The be­st time is to start coverage at a younge­r age, individuals can reap numerous be­nefits. These include­ the opportunity to secure highe­r coverage amounts and enjoy lowe­r premium costs.