Last Updated on May 9, 2023 by Harshit Singh

Life insurance plans are contracts that provide financial coverage in the face of untimely death. In India, the life insurance penetration is around 4.2% which is still on the lower side considering the benefits it presents. Normally, when it comes to life insurance, most people associate the policy with an untimely death. However, that’s not all that there is to life insurance. There are different types of life insurance plans available in India. Each of these plans caters to different needs and can help you avail of 360-degree financial protection.

Do you know about the different types of insurance plans available in India? Here’s a quick look at the type of policies issued by life insurance companies and their respective uses.

6 Types of life insurance policies in India

Term insurance

A term insurance policy is a protection policy that embodies the basic essence of life insurance. The plan covers the risk of death during the policy tenure. In the case of death, the sum assured is paid.

Modern-day term insurance plans come with various coverage features. There is a whole-life option that allows coverage till 99 or 100 yrs of age. Under term plans, the premiums are low, allowing you to opt for a high sum assured for complete financial security for your family.

Reasons to buy term insurance

Term insurance offers lower premiums compared to other life insurance products and is more affordable when purchased early in life. It can cover daily expenses, education, wedding costs in case of the policyholder’s absence, and outstanding debts like home or car loans.

Endowment plans

Endowment plans are savings-oriented plans. They help you create a secured corpus for your financial goals while letting you enjoy life insurance coverage at the same time. Under endowment plans, a guaranteed death benefit is paid in the case of death during the policy tenure. Alternatively, a guaranteed maturity benefit is paid if you survive the tenure.

Endowment plans may offer bonuses, guaranteed additions, loyalty additions, etc., to provide additional returns. Moreover, they are immune to market volatility and offer guaranteed savings.

Reasons to buy endowment plans

Similar to ULIPs, endowment plans offer flexibility in premium payment methods and time frames. You can invest in endowment plans to create a guaranteed corpus for your medium to long-term financial goals. Policyholders also have the opportunity to benefit from bonuses, which are paid additionally over and above the sum assured of the policy. Additionally, the policy offers tax-free returns on maturity, subject to Section 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act of 1961. The premiums paid can be claimed as a deduction under Section 80C* of the same Act.

Money-back plans

Money-back plans are like endowment plans that create savings and provide life insurance coverage. However, unlike endowment plans, money-back plans pay regular incomes during the policy tenure.

Under money-back plans, you get a part of the sum assured in instalments during the policy tenure. Thereafter, on maturity, the remaining sum assured is paid. However, in the case of death during the tenure, the assured sum is paid irrespective of the money-back payouts you might have received earlier. In addition, most money-back plans offer bonus additions that help in enhancing the corpus.

Reasons to buy money back plans

Money-back plans allow liquidity during the policy tenure, create a guaranteed corpus, and provide life insurance coverage. Thus, you can use the plan to create a source of regular income and coverage. Moreover, it offers lump-sum payouts in the event of your unfortunate demise and regular payouts if you survive the term. Additionally, the returns are tax-free.

Unit linked insurance plans

Unit linked insurance plans (ULIPs) offer a combination of insurance and investment. They work like mutual funds and offer insurance protection as well. The premium you pay is invested in a fund you choose – equity, debt, or balanced. Each of these funds invests in a portfolio of market-linked securities. As such, as the market performs, so does your investment.

ULIPs allow flexibility through partial withdrawals, premium redirection, switching, settlement, top-up options, etc. There is a lock-in period of 5 yrs, after which you can withdraw if needed. If the insured dies during the tenure, a higher sum assured (calculated as a multiple of the premium) or the fund value (invested value of your premiums) is paid. On maturity, the fund value is paid. 

ULIPs do not guarantee returns as the returns depend on market performance. However, with ULIPs, you can participate in the capital market and earn inflation-adjusted returns.

Reasons to buy ULIPs

You can invest in ULIPs to create a market-linked corpus for your financial goals. Moreover, the flexibility of partial withdrawals provides liquidity for your immediate financial needs. Furthermore, the maturity amount from ULIPs is tax-free under Section 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act of 1961.

Child plans

As the name suggests, child plans are designed with one aim – to create a secured corpus for your child’s future. These plans can be offered as an endowment, money back, or ULIPs. 

Under child plans, either the child or the parent is the life insured. Moreover, an inbuilt premium waiver benefit waives off the premiums if the parent dies during the policy tenure. Then, the insurance company pays the premium on behalf of the parent, and the plan continues. On maturity, the maturity benefit is paid.

Reasons to buy child plans

Child plans ensure a corpus for the child’s future whether the parent is around or not. With the premium waiver benefit, parents can ensure their death would not hamper their savings. Child plans offer a hedge against inflation and a choice of funds for investment with the flexibility to switch between them. ULIP child plans provide dual tax savings on premiums paid and maturity proceeds under Section 80C and 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act of 1961, respectively.

Moreover, the savings would continue so that the fund envisaged by the parent is created, and the child can use the money for higher education or marriage.

Retirement plans

Retirement plans assist in creating a substantial corpus for post-retirement financial independence. Long-term saving and investing have the potential to accumulate a considerable amount of wealth. In addition, the insurance benefits of these plans provide financial security for your loved ones. 

There are two types of retirement plans available in the market:

  • Deferred annuity plans: Under these plans, you accumulate a corpus over the policy tenure. Thereafter, the corpus can be used to receive guaranteed pensions on maturity.
  • Immediate annuity plans: You pay a single premium to buy the policy under these plans. Thereafter, you start receiving pensions from the next month, quarter, half-year, or year. Annuities are guaranteed and paid lifelong. You can also add your spouse so that in case of your premature death, your spouse can continue receiving pensions till he/she is alive. 

Reasons to buy retirement plans

Retirement plans help you save for your golden years. While deferred plans allow you to create a retirement corpus, immediate retirement plans provide lifelong incomes so that you can live out your retired life comfortably.

Moreover, by investing in a mix of equity and debt, retirement plans can potentially give better returns. The maturity amount from such plans is tax-free under Section 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act of 1961. Also, transferring money between funds is tax-free. In addition, retirement plans offer flexible withdrawal options like regular income or lump sum payments.


Depending on your coverage needs, you can choose one or more of these plans. A term plan is a must as it provides basic coverage and helps secure your family in your absence. Other plans can also be used for the different financial goals you have. So, understand your coverage needs and then pick the right life insurance policies to enjoy complete financial protection in any emergency that life throws your way.


What is the lock-in period for ULIPs?

The investments and fund value in ULIPs can only be liquidated or withdrawn after the completion of five yrs from the policy issue date, as ULIPs have a lock-in period of five yrs.

What does a term insurance policy cover?

A term insurance policy is a pure protection policy that provides financial security to your family if you pass away during the policy tenure. The plan covers the risk of death during the policy tenure, and the sum assured is paid in the case of death.

How do endowment plans work, and what benefits do they offer?

Endowment plans are savings-oriented plans that help you create a secured corpus for your financial goals while providing life insurance coverage. Under these plans, a guaranteed death benefit is paid in the case of death during the policy tenure, and a guaranteed maturity benefit is paid if you survive the tenure. In addition, endowment plans may offer bonuses, guaranteed additions, loyalty additions, etc., to provide additional returns. Moreover, they are immune to market volatility and offer guaranteed savings.
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