Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / Life Insurance / Articles / Types of life insurance / Understanding ULIPs: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding ULIPs: A Comprehensive Guide

TeamAckoNov 2, 2023

ULIPs offer policyholders the flexibility to choose the level of life insurance coverage they want and the type of investments they want to make. They also provide tax benefits under certain conditions. In this article, we unravel the intricacies of ULIPs: their benefits, various types, and how they function. Read on to learn more about this unique blend of protection and wealth creation that could be just what you need to secure your financial future.

Unit Linked Insurance Plans



What are ULIPs?

Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) present an exciting opportunity for individuals seeking both life insurance coverage and investment options. This comprehensive financial tool combines the security of a life insurance policy with the growth possibilities of mutual funds, catering to long-term financial needs.

What are the different types of ULIPs?

Here are the different types of ULIPs available in the Indian market.

Regular Premium ULIPs

  • Regular Premium ULIPs are a popular type of Unit Linked Insurance Plan in India where policyholders pay fixed premiums at regular intervals and choose where their money is invested.

  • They offer flexibility and transparency while providing life insurance coverage, and come with a 5-year lock-in period for long-term wealth creation.

  • Regular Premium ULIPs provide a wide range of fund options and tax benefits, making them a good investment choice for those seeking both insurance coverage and wealth creation.

Limited Premium ULIPs

  • Limited Premium ULIPs allow investors to enjoy insurance coverage and investment benefits without having to pay premiums throughout the term.

  • This gives investors flexibility in choosing their financial goals and requires minimum initial investment amounts. 

  • Please consult with your insurance company for details about charges such as fund management and partial withdrawal charges. It is essential to read all details carefully before investing.

Life Stage ULIPs

  • Life Stage ULIPs adjust their investment strategy based on your age to balance market risks and steady returns, allowing you to re-balance your portfolio without additional charges.

  • They offer multiple fund options tailored to your risk appetite and come with tax benefits.Investing in Life Stage ULIPs can be a good choice if you're unsure about investing in mutual funds directly or managing market risks while achieving long-term financial goals.

  • They cater to different financial goals of policyholders at different stages of their lives and provide life insurance coverage, tax benefits, and multiple fund options.

Child ULIPs

  • Child ULIPs are insurance plans that secure children's futures. They may provide Waiver on Premium add-on, corpus for education, and partial withdrawals. They also offer portfolio diversification, which helps reduce investment risk and grow savings over time.

  • Loyalty additions boost the maturity value by adding an extra sum assured amount every year. Child ULIPs also offer flexibility when planning for future expenses such as higher education or wedding costs.

  • The lock-in period ensures disciplined savings while allowing partial withdrawals after five years, which can prove useful in case of emergencies.

ULIPs For Retirement Planning

  • ULIPs offer a life insurance cover and the potential to grow wealth simultaneously, making them a great option for retirement planning.

  • Different types of ULIPs are available that adjust the asset allocation as the investor's age progresses towards retirement to minimise market risks.Long-term capital gains from ULIPs remain tax-free if held up to one year.

  • Short-term capital gains tax on debt-oriented ULIPs is charged at the individual’s slab rate if the period of holding is 36 months or less. However, the tax implications of ULIPs can vary depending on the specific policy and the insurance company offering it.

Different types of ULIP charges

Here are the primary features of Unit Linked Insurance Plans.

Premium Allocation Charges

  • ULIPs have premium allocation charges, which are a fixed percentage of the first-year premium paid and are deducted before allocating funds to the policy.

  • These charges vary based on factors such as age, gender, policy terms, and financial goals, and tend to be relatively high in the first few years of a policy compared to traditional insurance plans.

  • However, they decrease over time as investments start yielding returns.When investing in ULIPs, it's important to factor in these charges when calculating potential returns.

  • Ultimately, they allow access to a wide range of equity or debt funds for long-term wealth creation with life insurance coverage, making them attractive for retirement planning.

Fund management charges

  • Fund management charges are fees charged by ULIP policy providers for managing your investment funds, and they're capped by the IRDAI at 1.35%.

  • These fees can vary depending on the type of fund you choose to invest in, but they're crucial for generating higher returns with the help of professional fund managers.

  • It's important to choose a plan with reasonable charges and invest for a more extended period to maximise your gains while comparing different policies before making a final decision.

Top-up options

  • ULIPs offer a unique "top-up" option for individuals to invest additional lump sums on top of their existing premiums.

  • This feature provides flexibility and can help investors reach their financial goals faster. Many insurers offer low charges on top-ups, making them an attractive option for supplementing primary premiums and achieving better returns within a shorter period.

Surrender Charges

  • Surrender charges are fees incurred for withdrawing funds from ULIPs before the five-year lock-in period ends.

  • Charges range from Rs 1000- Rs 3,000 within the first four years of the policy, depending on the terms and conditions of the insurer.It's important to weigh these costs against potential gains and avoid premature withdrawals to benefit from bonus payouts and higher returns until maturity.

  • ULIPs offer flexible solutions for long-term financial goals, including wealth creation and life insurance coverage.

Tops 7 reasons why you should invest in ULIPs

Here are the top 7 reasons why you should invest in ULIPs.

  1. Financial protection and investment opportunities: ULIPs offer the unique benefit of providing both life insurance coverage and investment opportunities, making them an ideal choice for those looking for long-term financial growth and protection.

  2. Customisation: ULIPs provide investors with flexibility, allowing them to choose from various fund options based on their risk appetite and financial goals. They can also switch between equity and debt funds during the policy term without additional charges.

  3. Premium payment flexibility: ULIPs allow investors to customise their premium payment frequency, making it easier for individuals with varying income sources to contribute regularly towards wealth creation.

  4. Tax benefits: ULIPs offer tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, with deductions available up to INR 1.5 lakh annually. Additionally, maturity proceeds are tax-free under Section 10(10D), providing investors with significant savings throughout the investment period.

Note: Tax benefits under ULIPs might not be available under the new tax regime.

5. Wealth creation: ULIPs offer potential for wealth creation by investing in market-linked instruments like equity, balanced, or debt funds. This allows policyholders to accumulate savings while maintaining life insurance coverage. With a range of investment options and competent fund managers, ULIPs strategically allocate investments for maximum returns and risk exposure. Lock-in periods encourage disciplined investing, while tax benefits contribute to capital appreciation and assured protection against unforeseen circumstances.

6. Life insurance coverage: ULIPs offer life insurance coverage as well as investment opportunities. The amount of coverage depends on the policy terms and premium payments agreed upon at the time of buying the plan. ULIPs provide peace of mind by offering substantial life insurance coverage simultaneously.

7. Flexibility in investment options: ULIPs offer a wide range of fund options managed by experienced fund managers, allowing investors to choose funds based on their financial goals, risk appetite, and investment horizon. They also provide top-up options to boost investments and increase life cover. ULIPs offer flexibility in premium payments and lock-in periods, ranging from 5 to 15 years or more, providing investors with necessary liquidity to adjust investments according to market conditions. Systematic investing via ULIPs could be a viable option for investors with long-term goals.

Investment options and fund selection under ULIP plans

Investment options and fund selection can be simplified into three categories: equity funds, debt funds, and balanced funds.

  • Equity funds are high-risk investments that offer higher returns over time, but also carry higher risks.

  • Debt funds are low-risk investments that invest mostly in fixed-income securities like bonds, government securities, or corporate bonds.

  • Balanced funds offer a balanced approach to investment portfolios, holding both stocks and bonds.

When selecting a fund, it's important to consider factors like historic performance, volatility ratio, expense ratio, and Asset Under Management (AUM).

ULIP investments have a lock-in period of 5 years, making them ideal for long-term goals like child's education funding or retirement planning.However, it's important to note that surrender charges may be imposed if one opts-out before 5 years from the commencement date, which may incur loss.

About withdrawing funds from ULIPs

  • Top-up investments are allowed to raise additional funds, and partial withdrawals are allowed up to 20% of the policy's fund value.

  • One should always consider the impact on long-term goals before raising or withdrawing funds from their ULIP investment.

  • Careful planning and management can ensure positive outcomes for both coverage and growth objectives.

Who should invest in a ULIP?

  • ULIPs are suitable for anyone looking for long-term financial goals, with flexible options that cater to people from all walks of life.

  • They are ideal for those looking to create wealth or ensure financial security for their loved ones.

  • Tax benefits and varying lock-in periods make them perfect for people who want to invest for different lengths of time.

  • ULIPs can be an excellent option for those who want to build savings for retirement or higher education. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to determine whether someone is a good candidate for investing in ULIPs.

  • Factors such as age, risk appetite and financial goals should be carefully considered before making any decisions. It's essential to weigh the pros and cons before investing and determine if they align with your overall portfolio strategy.

Frequently Asked Question

Below are some of the frequently asked questions on Unit Linked Insurance Plans


How does a ULIP work?

ULIPs (Unit Linked Insurance Plans) are investment plans that offer both risk coverage and wealth creation through market-linked returns. When you invest in a ULIP, you pay a premium as per the product or plan. A part of the premium goes towards the insurance component of the ULIP plan, while the remainder is invested in the capital market with the aim of earning profitable returns for the policyholder.

Who can invest in a ULIP?

ULIPs are suitable for investors of any risk profile and those who are looking for additional insurance cover and market investment opportunities. However, it is important to note that ULIPs are a long-term investment product.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ULIPs?

The advantages of ULIPs include flexibility, dual benefits of investment and life cover, tax-free income, and the ability to invest in a variety of qualified funds. However, investments in the capital market are always subject to risks, and ULIPs come with additional fees to manage the policy. It is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before investing in a ULIP.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes.


Want to post any comments?


Life insurance is about to get a whole lot better with ACKO

Coming soon

Life insurance is about to get a whole lot better

A product of ACKO Life Insurance - ARN:ALIL/2023-24/09/001

quote icon

Get Quote

quote icon