Life insurance or life assurance, especially in the Commonwealth, is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurer or assurer, where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money (the benefit) in exchange for a premium, upon the death of an insured person (often the policy holder). Depending on the contract, other events such as terminal illness or critical illness can also trigger payment. The policy holder typically pays a premium, either regularly or as one lump sum.
Life insurance products come in a variety of offerings catering to the investment needs and objectives of different kinds of investors. Following is the list of broad categories of life insurance products:
Term Insurance Policies
The basic premise of a term insurance policy is to secure the immediate needs of nominees or beneficiaries in the event of sudden or unfortunate demise of the policy holder. The policy holder does not get any monetary benefit at the end of the policy term except for the tax benefits he or she can choose to avail of throughout the tenure of the policy. In the event of death of the policy holder, the sum assured is paid to his or her beneficiaries. Term insurance policies are also relatively cheaper to acquire as compared to other insurance products.
Money back policies are basically an extension of endowment plans wherein the policy holder receives a fixed amount at specific intervals throughout the duration of the policy. In the event of the unfortunate death of the policy holder, the full sum assured is paid to the beneficiaries. The terms again might slightly vary from one insurance company to another.
Whole life policy
A whole life insurance plan covers the insured over his life. The primary feature of this product is that the validity of the policy is not defined so the policyholder enjoys the life cover throughout his life.
Unit-linked Investment Policies (ULIP)
Unit linked insurance policies again belong to the insurance-cum-investment category where one gets to enjoy the benefits of both insurance and investment. While a part of the monthly premium pay-out goes towards the insurance cover, the remaining money is invested in various types of funds that invest in debt and equity instruments. ULIP plans are more or less similar in comparison to mutual funds except for the difference that ULIPs offer the additional benefit of insurance.
Pension policies let individuals determine a fixed stream of income post retirement. This basically is a retirement planning investment scheme where the sum assured or the monthly pay-out after retirement entirely depends on the capital invested, the investment timeframe, and the age at which one wishes to retire. There are again several types of pension plans that cater to different investment needs. Now it is recognized as insurance product and being regulated by IRDA.
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_insurance
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_insurance_in_India