Life Insurance in Singapore – The Basics of Whole Life and Term Insurance

This entire insurance coverage factor actually does take some time to wrap your head round. The phrases “entire life insurance coverage” and “time period insurance coverage” don’t actually imply or clarify very a lot to the common individual.

The typical Singaporean can be skilled from a younger age to run away from individuals who need to have such conversations with you, as in the event that they had been contaminated zombies. Still, sooner or later in your adulting, you come to the dreadful realisation that insurance coverage isn’t avoidable for ever and that there’s worth to getting a minimum of some form of life insurance coverage coverage.

We’re right here to arm you with some fundamental data earlier than you face an insurance coverage agent, so you already know what you’re entering into.



  1. Whole life vs term insurance – what’s the difference?
  2. Endowment vs investment-linked whole life insurance policies
  3. What’s the difference in terms of premiums (cost)?
  4. Who should buy whole life insurance?
  5. How does “limited pay” work?
  6. What is “surrender value”?


What’s the distinction between entire life and time period insurance coverage?

An insurance coverage coverage supplies safety for monetary losses suffered from a selected occasion. In the case of life insurance coverage, the “occasion” is the lack of your life, or within the case of whole everlasting incapacity (TPD). To put it merely, a life insurance coverage coverage is designed such that if you happen to die, the insurer’s payout ought to be sufficient to your dependents to reside on if you end up gone.

But before you purchase any form of life insurance coverage, you want to determine whether or not you’ll go for entire life insurance coverage or time period insurance coverage. What’s the distinction between them, and which is best for you?

Term insurance coverage Whole life insurance coverage (endowment) Whole life insurance coverage (investment-linked)
Main goal Protection Protection + potential to develop financial savings Protection + potential to reap funding returns
Coverage Most plans cowl loss of life and whole everlasting incapacity (TPD)
Coverage Period A particular time period interval or as much as a particular age Usually as much as finish of life Usually as much as finish of life
What is paid upon loss of life of insured? Sum assured Sum assured + amassed bonuses if any Sum assured + worth of items in fund
What is paid if coverage is surrendered early? Nothing, since there isn’t any money worth Cash worth (assured + non-guaranteed bonuses if any) Value of items in funding sub-fund

Both time period and entire life insurance coverage present safety within the occasion of whole everlasting incapacity (TPD) and loss of life. The two important variations between them are: (a) how lengthy the coverage will cowl you and (b) how a lot cash you get again if nothing occurs to you.

Term insurance coverage supplies you with safety just for a hard and fast time period, say 20 or 30 years, after which the plan expires. If nothing occurs to you and also you don’t make a declare, you get nothing (aside from a letter thanking you for giving them cash for the final 30 years).

This kind of protection is cheaper, and it is smart if you happen to plan to offer to your dependants for a restricted time. For instance, till your youngest youngster finishes tertiary schooling.

On the opposite hand, entire life insurance coverage covers you until the top of your life, so long as you proceed to pay the premiums.

It’s rather more costly, however it has the potential to develop the cash you paid. The potential progress varies relying on whether or not your entire life insurance coverage is an endowment plan or an investment-linked coverage (ILP). More on these within the subsequent part.

In both case, the “benefit” of entire life insurance coverage over time period insurance coverage is that, even if you happen to terminate and give up the coverage, you may get again a number of the financial worth.

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Endowment vs investment-linked entire life insurance coverage insurance policies

In Singapore, entire life insurance coverage normally features a financial savings or funding element, named endowment and investment-linked coverage (ILP) respectively.

Due to those options, some folks see their entire life insurance policies as an funding/financial savings plan as a substitute of simply being a plain previous safety plan. These added options make entire life insurance coverage dearer than time period insurance coverage.

Whole Life Insurance in Singapore

Endowment Policies

Endowment insurance policies are sometimes seen as a method that will help you construct up monetary self-discipline because the financial savings element is constructed into the month-to-month insurance coverage premiums.

For occasion, let’s say you pay a month-to-month insurance coverage premium of $250 to your endowment coverage. Of this quantity, $100 may go into the insurance coverage safety element, and $150 will go into the financial savings element.

After a hard and fast interval of say 20 years, it is possible for you to to get again a number of the money worth amassed, relying on the assured and non-guaranteed advantage of your coverage.

Investment Linked Policies (ILP)

For an ILP, the financial savings element shall be changed with an funding element the place a part of the premiums go into shopping for items in funding funds.

Unlike endowment insurance coverage insurance policies, ILPs normally don’t include assured values. The worth of the ILP will depend on the efficiency of the fund you’ve purchased into. So yeah, you possibly can get zilch if issues don’t go properly and this represents a possible alternative value as you possibly can have made that cash work someplace else for you.

Some customers like ILPs as a result of they like the concept they will make investments and have monetary safety by means of a single monetary product. There can be have a variety of funds to select from that fits totally different funding goals and threat urge for food.

Whether you select to purchase a time period insurance coverage, endowment plan or ILP, the principle factor is to determine in case your alternative fulfils your monetary goal and takes into consideration the long-term prices concerned.

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Let’s examine the premiums for entire life vs time period insurance coverage

While life insurance coverage was once the “go-to” insurance coverage for most individuals, with elevated monetary literacy, extra individuals are open to getting time period insurance coverage as a substitute.

One of the best benefits of selecting a time period insurance coverage as a substitute of a life plan is the substantial financial savings you get from decrease premiums. So if you already know you want insurance coverage safety however are in a section of life the place you’ll be able to’t afford setting apart very a lot each month, this turns into your best option for now.

Here’s a simulation of how a lot insurance coverage premium an individual can pay for all times and time period insurance coverage based mostly on the next standards: 35-year-old man, non-smoker with sum assured of $500,000. Let’s name him Mr Siva.

Type Life insurance coverage coverage Annual value Total quantity paid
Term FWD Insurance Term Life $510 $510 x 30 years = $15,300
Term Great Eastern Max Term Value $840 $510 x 30 years = $25,200
Whole life NTUC Limited Pay Protection $10,038 $10,038 x 29 years = $291,103
Whole life AXA Life MultiProtect $13,440 $13,440 x 30 years = $403,200

As you’ll be able to see, the distinction within the quantity of premiums paid between time period and entire life insurance coverage is big.

This is why some monetary advisors even advocate “purchase time period and make investments the remaining”. In different phrases, purchase a time period coverage for the mandatory safety, after which use the cash you didn’t use to speculate. This is a method that has the potential to develop your cash if you happen to make the precise funding choices.

On the opposite hand, some customers prefer to get an entire life coverage as a result of it gives some money worth do you have to determine to give up the coverage.

Based on the assured give up worth (after 30 years) for the above entire life insurance policies, one can count on to obtain $246,000 and $307,000 for the NTUC and AXA plan respectively. Using these values, it signifies that the whole premiums paid to your entire life coverage shall be lowered considerably this brings it extra on-par to time period plans when it comes to value.

One necessary consideration when selecting to take up a time period plan is that the protection time period might expire at a time the place you’ll proceed to want safety (or want it most).

For the above case, the time period plan will expire when Mr Siva is 65 years previous. Depending on his state of affairs, Mr Siva might need to proceed getting life insurance coverage protection for an additional 20 years.

However, relying on his well being at 65, some corporations might contemplate him “uninsurable”. Even if he does qualify for a brand new insurance coverage plan, premiums are going to be very costly at that age, and he might not be capable to afford them throughout his retirement years.

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Who should purchase entire life insurance coverage?

While it might appear that the “purchase time period and make investments the remaining” mantra makes whole financial sense, there are cases the place shopping for entire life insurance coverage could be a more sensible choice.

Whether you want life insurance coverage actually will depend on your stage in life. If you’re a younger 20-something with no dependents and restricted obligations, you’ll seemingly not want an entire life insurance coverage coverage.

But say you’re 40-year previous, and the only real breadwinner in a household with two younger kids and aged dad and mom. In such a case, entire life insurance coverage can assist to offer monetary safety to your family members whereas concurrently serving to you construct up some retirement funds to your golden years.

Life insurance coverage protection is a method of caring for your loved ones, since you don’t need them to undergo when any misfortunate befalls you. In a survey by NTUC Income printed in April 2019, 48% of 329 married adults surveyed expressed that they had been motivated to purchase life insurance coverage as a result of they need their family members to keep up the identical way of life when catastrophe strikes.

The different state of affairs the place whole life insurance can make sense is for your young child. You may suppose, “why would my 2-year previous want entire life insurance coverage?”

For one, it ensures insurability and no-exclusions since most younger kids have a clear invoice of well being. Many dad and mom additionally take up an entire life coverage with endowment plan with a view to begin saving for his or her youngster’s future schooling. Also, your youngster is prone to get pleasure from decrease premiums when getting insured from a youthful age.

If you’re getting an entire life coverage for a kid, selecting a restricted pay choice will be a good suggestion. Your youngster can get a life-long protection with premium funds for as quick as 12 years. It can thus be a significant present for a younger youngster as a substitute of saving cash in a financial institution deposit account that can’t beat inflation.

Whole Life Insurance vs Term Insurance

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How does “restricted pay” work?

Getting a life insurance coverage with restricted pay interval means you solely must pay premiums for a restricted variety of years in alternate for a lifetime’s protection.

Say as an example, Andy (male, non-smoker, age 35) decides to make premium funds of S$250 per 30 days for less than 15 years for his entire of life plan up until age 50.

For the subsequent 15 years, Andy pays about S$45,000 for a sum assured of S$100,000. The insurance coverage protection will proceed for remainder of his life even after he ends his premium cost at age 50. Depending on his insurer and plan, he’ll seemingly even be entitled to some amassed money worth if he surrenders his coverage when he reaches 65 years previous.

How Does Limited Pay work?


What is that this “give up worth” factor?

When you purchase a life insurance coverage, you have got a give up proper – the chance to terminate your life insurance coverage contract in alternate for its money worth. You can solely do that if you happen to’ve not made any claims earlier than.

When you select to give up your coverage, you’ll quit the remaining protection whereas your insurer presents you with a money give up worth, which is how a lot cash you’ll obtain in return.

Do be aware that the give up worth of your coverage shall be decrease than the loss of life profit payout. This signifies that you’ll obtain much less cash by surrendering your coverage as in comparison with having the loss of life profit once you move on. Thus, it’s typically not advisable to give up your coverage. Not solely will you lose out when it comes to financial worth, however taking over a brand new insurance coverage coverage at a later age will in all probability incur the next premium cost.

Ultimately, there’s no proper or improper in selecting whether or not to get a time period plan or entire life insurance coverage – all of it will depend on what you want and the way a lot you’ll be able to afford.

Whole life insurance coverage prices extra, however it may be a handy choice for many who need each monetary safety in addition to a financial savings/funding element. On the opposite hand, a time period life insurance coverage plan gives an important cost-effective choice for many who need (solely) pure safety.

The Basics of Life Insurance in SingaporeWhat are your ideas on shopping for life insurance coverage? We need to hear from you.


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