Modified whole life insurance is a type of whole life insurance that offers lower premiums for a short time, followed by a higher rate for the remainder of the policy.
The lower premiums typically last for two to three years, but can last for up to 10 years, and the higher premiums will last the rest of your life.
While the initial savings of modified whole life insurance is appealing, it’s not the best life insurance policy for most people because of the overall high premiums and complicated policy options.
What is modified whole life insurance?
Also known as modified premium whole life, a modified whole life policy comes with low introductory premiums.
The premium goes up only once after the introductory period and then remains the same the rest of the time the policy is in force.
Buying a modified premium policy is a way to obtain a higher death benefit sooner, before you’d normally be able to afford the premiums, instead of waiting to buy coverage or buying more coverage when you’re older.
Many modified whole life policies don’t allow you to contribute to your policy’s cash value during the introductory period.
What’s the difference between standard whole life and modified whole life insurance?
The two major differences between traditional whole life insurance and modified whole life insurance are:
The premiums: Standard whole life insurance has the same premiums for your entire policy, whereas modified whole life premiums change once.
The cash value: Your premiums begin to fund your cash value account right away with whole life insurance, but for most modified whole life policies, you will need to wait until your premiums go up.
While the differences may seem small, they can have a real impact on your finances. You may not lose out on much cash value growth over two years, but a longer introductory period can set you back.
And you’ll be going without a key policy feature while paying five to 15 times more than it costs to get similar coverage under a term life policy.
How much does modified whole life insurance cost?
The lower rates you’re charged early in your modified whole life coverage aren’t a discount — you’ll make up the difference with higher payments after the initial period ends.
Based on Policygenius data, a 35-year-old male without complex health issues would pay $517 per month for a $500,000 whole life insurance policy.
You might pay less than that for the first few years of a modified whole life policy, but you’ll pay even more than that for decades afterward.
Compare those costs to term life insurance, where the same 35-year-old male would pay $30.81 per month for a $500,000, 20-year term policy.
Should you get modified whole life insurance?
Most people shouldn’t buy a modified whole life insurance policy. Traditional whole life is already more expensive and more complex than you probably need. If you buy a modified whole life policy, you’re:
Committing to higher premiums in a few years, whether you can afford them or not
Losing out on cash value savings, one of whole life’s main benefits
Still paying much more for your coverage than you would for term life insurance
If you can’t pay your premiums when they go up, your policy will lapse and you could be liable for high surrender fees. More importantly, your family will lose out on your policy’s financial protection.
If you’re seriously considering a modified whole life policy, carefully review your budget and consult with a financial advisor to ensure it’s the best choice for you and your family.