What is universal life insurance?

Universal life insurance provides permanent life insurance protection and access to tax-deferred cash values.

Who might benefit from universal life insurance?

Universal life insurance is designed for people who are looking for:
  • Life-long insurance coverage
  • Cash-value growth with tax advantages
  • Built-in flexibility, in case something happens and you need to adjust your premium or death benefit value

How does universal life insurance work?


Decide your goals

  • Protect your family in case of your premature death;
  • Accumulate cash value to supplement retirement income
  • Have a way to help pay for your long-term care expenses
  • Transfer your wealth to future generations in a tax-efficient manner

Determine how much you need

Think about how much your loved ones may need to:
  • Replace your income
  • Fund major expenses like college
What you need:
  • In addition to a pension or retirement plan once you retire
  • Additional costs you might face for long-term care

Using the policy benefits

  • Death benefits are paid to your beneficiaries when you die
  • Once cash value builds up, take tax-free withdrawals to supplement your retirement income
  • Withdrawing cash value will reduce the death benefit

Benefits of universal life

Permanent protection

Coverage continues for your entire life. No need to renew the policy with higher premiums.

Access to cash value

Some universal life policies can build cash value that you can access while you're alive.


Because situations change, universal life insurance allows for some flexibility. As long as you remain within set boundaries, you can change the protection level of the policy and decide how frequently you pay your premium.

Tax advantages

As with most permanent life insurance, the death-benefit paid to your beneficiaries is not subject to income taxes. Likewise, the cash-value you withdraw from your policy to supplement your retirement is tax-free.

Universal life insurance for long-term care coverage

A special combination of universal life insurance and long-term care coverage (sometimes called a hybrid life product) can provide cash value to help cover long-term care expenses. It also serves as a life insurance policy providing a death benefit to your beneficiaries.

The universal life and long-term care hybrid policy we offer is Nationwide YourLife CareMatters®.

Flexible universal life insurance

The major advantage of UL is flexibility. You can change the protection level of the policy (within bounds) and you control the amount of frequency of payments (again, within bounds).

This life insurance offers protection for your family and strategies for leaving a legacy to them. It can also help small business owners with continuation planning.

Flexible universal life insurance products we offer include:

Tools & resources

Make the most out of your universal life insurance policy.

Topics to dicsuss with your financial specialist

  1. How might the tax advantages on permanent life insurance help me?
  2. Are my current life insurance policies covering my needs?
  3. Have I overlooked anything in my financial plan that might put my family at risk?

Some other things to know about universal life insurance

A universal life insurance policy has the flexibility to adjust to your changing needs.

Keep in mind that as your life changes (i.e., marriage, birth of a child or job promotion), so will your life insurance needs. Take care to ensure universal life insurance is suitable for your long-term needs. You should weigh any associated costs before making a purchase.

Life insurance has fees and charges associated with it that include costs of insurance that vary based on the insured person’s sex, health and age, and has additional charges for riders that customize a policy to fit your individual needs.

Not sure if universal life is right for you? Compare all life insurance types.

Please read this important information

Guarantees and protections are subject to Nationwide's claims-paying ability. Life insurance is issued by Nationwide Life Insurance Company or Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio.