family playing on their porch

What is whole life insurance?

Unlike term life insurance that protects you for only a specific duration, whole life insurance offers protection throughout your lifetime.

It’s the most basic type of permanent life insurance that offers consistency along with some predetermined, guaranteed cash value growth.

What can it offer?

In addition to lifetime protection, whole life insurance offers a unique combination of benefits to help meet your needs, including:

Consistent premium payments

Whole life insurance is typically more expensive than term life policies, but the premium amount is fixed for the life of the policy.

Consistent cash value growth

Your whole life insurance policy receives a guaranteed, fixed rate of interest on the cash value.

Tax-free death benefit

The payout your beneficiary receives if you die is typically tax-free and has a steady value throughout the life of the policy.

Policy customization

You can customize a whole life insurance policy with a variety of optional features for an additional charge.

How does whole life insurance work?

person silhouette and shield icon

Your premium payments remain the same over the life of the policy, and a portion of it goes toward the insurance, which includes any fees and death benefit coverage.

dollar bills icon

A small amount from each payment is also set aside to build up your predetermined, guaranteed cash value.

With this policy, you can borrow against the cash value if needed. When you pass away, an income-tax free death benefit is paid to your beneficiaries. Keep in mind that borrowing against the cash value will reduce the death benefit paid to your beneficiaries, though.

mom helping son ride a bike

Who may benefit from whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is designed for people who are looking for:

  • A policy that lasts your whole life
  • Premiums that stay consistent over time
  • A guaranteed, tax-deferred cash value with a fixed rate of interest over time

Could whole life insurance be right for you?

See how it compares to other types of life insurance (e.g., whole life vs. term life) to get a better idea of whether it meets your needs.

Whole life Term life Universal life Variable universal life
Death benefit checkmark icon checkmark icon checkmark icon checkmark icon
Designed for low cost checkmark icon
Access to your money1 checkmark icon checkmark icon checkmark icon
Market participation checkmark icon
Tax advantages checkmark icon checkmark icon checkmark icon checkmark icon
Flexible payments2 checkmark icon checkmark icon
couple traveling

Our whole life insurance product

When it comes to a Nationwide whole life insurance policy, you have choices. Select the payment option that works best for you.

Whole Life 100
Premiums are the same until they stop when you turn 100.

20-Pay Whole Life
Premiums are the same until the policy is paid after 20 years.

Tools and resources

Money award logo
We'll be here when you need us
Nationwide® has been named among Money.com’s Best Life Insurance Companies of 2021 with the Highest Customer Satisfaction.

How to buy whole life insurance

You need to work with an insurance professional to buy this type of product. If you don’t have one, our life insurance specialists are here to help.

Give us a call today at 1-866-207-9160 for a no-obligation consultation.

Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

[1] This assumes that the contract qualifies as life insurance under section 7702 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and is not a modified endowment contract (MEC) under section 7702A. Most distributions are taxed on a first-in/first-out basis as long as the contract meets non-MEC definitions under section 7702A. Loans and partial withdrawals from a MEC generally are taxable and, if taken prior to age 59½, may be subject to a 10% tax penalty.

[2] This assumes there is sufficient cash value to cover monthly policy charges. Keep in mind that variable universal life insurance has market volatility so it’s possible that you may need to pay an additional premium on your policy.

Guarantees and protections are subject to Nationwide’s claims-paying ability.