Jeffrey Manola is an experienced life insurance agent and the founder of Top Quote Life Insurance. His mission when he created Top Quote Life Insurance was to provide online consumers searching for life insurance with the absolute best quotes for term life insurance, permanent life insurance, no medical exam life insurance, and burial insurance. Not only does he strive to provide you with the ...

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Written by Jeffrey Manola
Founder & Licensed Agent Jeffrey Manola

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Feb 11, 2022

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Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident life insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one life insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different life insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

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Facts You Should Know

  • Variable life insurance is more expensive than some permanent life insurance policies
  • You can get flexible monthly payments with variable universal life insurance
  • A variable life policy allows the policyholder to make investments

Variable life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy that can create financial rewards through a savings account and investment opportunities. How much is a variable insurance policy, and what is variable universal life insurance? Don’t worry — we’re here to help.

Our guide explains everything you need to know about variable life insurance, how it works with universal life insurance, and how much it costs.

Continue reading to learn all about variable life insurance. Enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool above to compare multiple insurance companies in your area.

What is variable life insurance?

Variable life insurance, is a permanent life insurance policy that enables you to invest using the life insurance policy’s secondary savings account. The primary cash-value account increases over time, while the secondary savings is like a mutual fund built into a life insurance policy.

In addition to cash-value accounts, your life insurance won’t expire, and you can select your policy limit. Higher policy amounts could mean more expensive rates.

Your life insurance company won’t be responsible for your variable life policy gains and losses. Therefore, you’ll need to cautiously invest in stocks and bonds if you want to maintain your accumulated cash value.

What is a variable whole life insurance policy?

A variable life policy is also known as variable whole life insurance. Variable whole life insurance can be described as a whole life policy with various functions. These variable life policy elements include: life insurance coverage that lasts until you pass away; a savings account; and a sub-cash-value account used for investments.

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What’s the difference between variable life and universal life insurance?

Variable policies and universal life insurance are permanent life insurance plans with different perks. Universal life insurance policies have flexible monthly rates that can be paid using the policy’s cash-value account. But variable life insurance policies have fixed monthly rates.

Universal life insurance doesn’t have the mutual fund factors like variable life plans, but you can use your accumulated cash value while you’re still alive.

What’s variable universal life insurance?

Variable universal life, alsol know as VUL life insurance, combines variable life and universal life insurance into one policy. You’ll have an option to make monthly payments more flexible using your cash-value account, and you can invest in stocks, bonds, and other financial markets.

How is variable life insurance different from term life insurance?

Variable life provides permanent life insurance coverage, and term life insurance covers you for a specific period. Also, term life policies don’t have the same benefits as variable insurance policies.

How much are variable life insurance rates?

Variable life insurance is generally about eight times more expensive than term life insurance. Besides life insurance coverage, a variable life policy has a money-earning component that provides multiple benefits.

Let’s look at how much you’ll pay for those benefits in addition to life insurance.

Average Monthly Variable Life Insurance Rates by Gender
Age GroupMonthly Variable Life Insurance Rates for Female PolicyholdersMonthly Variable Life Insurance Rates for Male Policyholders
25 - 35$78 - $120$100 - $140
35 - 45$120 - $201$140 - $221
45 - 55$201 - $340$221 - $364
55 - 65$340 - $571$364 - $659
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On average, women with variable life policies pay less for coverage, but men pay more for variable life insurance policies.

But most seniors, regardless of age, pay significantly more for variable life policies. If you’re a senior with a chronic medical condition, expect your variable life insurance costs to be higher than average.

What factors affect variable life insurance quotes?

Several factors determine whether affordable variable life insurance is available to you. Some personal details generate cheaper variable life insurance, but what are they?

Here’s a list of factors that affect the cost of a variable insurance policy:

  • Age. Younger people have a higher life expectancy and statistically fewer life insurance claims than older individuals.
  • Gender. Women usually have longer life expectancies and pay less for coverage than men.
  • Current health. A healthy person is less likely to file a life insurance claim and pays less for their coverage as a result.
  • Family health history. Life insurance companies use this to determine the likelihood that you’ll have a chronic illness.
  • Tobacco use. Smoking decreases life expectancy and drives up life insurance rates.
  • Policy amount. The higher your policy limit, the more you’ll pay.
  • Life insurance riders. Add-ons expand life insurance coverage.
  • Driving record. This shows a life insurance company if you’re a risky driver or a safe driver.
  • Credit history. Credit history shows your financial performance.
  • Hobbies. This factor looks at whether you participate in high-risk activities, such as racing, skydiving, etc.
  • Occupation. Jobs that have a high risk of accidental or work-related deaths (firefighter, police officer, etc.) are connected to expensive life insurance.

Your monthly payments are also determined by the life insurance company hosting your variable life policy. If you want cheap variable life prices, compare multiple insurance companies until you find a variable life insurance policy within your budget.

Are variable universal life insurance rates more expensive?

Yes, they are. Variable universal life insurance provides several perks that require more money each month to cover specific services and fees.

Let’s examine the average cost of variable universal life insurance.

Average Monthly Variable Universal Life (VUL) Insurance Rates
Age GroupMonthly Variable Universal Life Insurance Rates
25 - 35$96 - $122
35 - 45$100 - $171
45 - 55$150 - $304
55 - 65$240 - $492
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Variable universal life policies are a few dollars more than standard variable life insurance. However, there’s a significant gap in variable life costs as you get older.

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Am I allowed to borrow money from a variable life policy?

One of the most popular benefits of variable life insurance is borrowing against your cash account. You can’t borrow money from your savings account right away, though.

Some life insurance companies have a waiting period before you’re allowed to borrow against your variable life savings.

You’ll have your entire life to pay back your loan from your accumulated cash value. If you don’t pay off your loan before you pass away, it’ll reduce the policy amount (death benefits) that’s promised to your beneficiaries.

You won’t receive the total amount you’re asking for whenever you withdraw any money from a life insurance cash-value account. Instead, you’ll receive the surrender cash value.

The surrender cash value (or cash surrender value) is the amount of money the life insurance company gives you after fees and other charges. So, pay close attention to what you’re taking out of savings before accepting any money.

Can you receive tax benefits for a variable life policy?

It depends. The growth in your variable life insurance policy isn’t taxable income. Beneficiaries are also unaffected by taxes when they receive death benefits from your life insurance policy.

Will beneficiaries receive my accumulated cash value if I pass away?

It depends on the rider on your variable life or variable universal life insurance policy. The life insurance company sends your cash value amount along with death benefits if you have the appropriate rider for your insurance policy. Without the cash value rider, the life insurance company will take the accumulated cash value.

Variable Life Insurance: The Bottom Line

The variable life insurance definition is more complex than term life and whole life insurance policies. Variable insurance quotes produce more expensive rates than term life insurance quotes because they provide more to policyholders.

The best way you can save is by shopping around and comparing life insurance companies with variable life policies.

Now that you have a better idea of how variable life insurance works, use our free online tool below to compare multiple insurance companies near you.