Investment-linked insurance policies in Singapore
We all know the benefits of saving for a rainy day. If that day arrives earlier than expected before our savings are ready, there’s always insurance to help save the day. But what about investment-linked insurance policies (ILPs)? These policies not only provide an umbrella but also help us build a small pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Here’s the lowdown on what exactly ILPs are, the benefits and risks associated with them, and some ILPs in Singapore to consider based on your needs.
Note: All images for illustration purposes only.
What are ILPs?
ILPs are life insurance plans that come with both protection and investment. Besides insuring you against unknowns like death, disability, and critical illness, they invest your money in funds managed by professional fund managers.
These funds usually consist of stocks, bonds, and commodities. Hence, unlike medical and general insurance like housing and motor, you can potentially get back your premiums paid, plus returns.
However, to cover both your insurance and investment needs, the premiums are usually higher than other insurance types. ILP premiums usually start from $100 per month, with the option of lump-sum payments.
Most ILPs look at long-term investments, so long lock-in periods of 10-20 years are common.
What are the benefits & risks of ILPs?
ILPs are an ideal 2-in-1. They’re especially handy if you’re looking for a passive way to grow your money over the long term, while still enjoying insurance protection.
Many insurers create custom investment packages, catering to different financial goals and risk appetites. There’s also flexibility to switch between funds and vary your insurance coverage. A big plus of ILPs and life insurance in general, versus medical plans, is that the premiums are fixed throughout the duration of the policy, even as you age.
If the fund is performing well, you can also choose to better your returns with premium top-ups.
Like all investments, ILPs come with a degree of risk.
ILPs generate returns for both you and the insurer by investing consistently and compounding gains over many years. That’s why early termination of a policy disrupts this strategy, and usually means significant losses on your premiums paid. That said, the returns are not guaranteed and depend on market performance over time.
As you grow older, the cost of the insurance component also goes up, which means less of your premiums go towards investing. This may affect your eventual ROI further.
In addition, if you’re an active investor who prefers to make your own decisions, then ILPs may not be suitable for you. All investment decisions, including choice of funds, are made by the insurer and fund managers.
Best ILP plans in Singapore
Ultimately, look at ILPs as a balanced form of financial planning – you let others decide what to do with your money, but get to protect yourself and your family at the same time.
What’s vital to mitigate your risk is to start small and early, as starting premiums often increase with age. Above all, go with an established, reputable insurer who partners with funds with a proven track record.
If you think ILPs are for you, here are some that you can consider:
1. AIA Pro Lifetime Protector (II) – Stronger insurance focus
If you’re more conservative, the AIA Pro Lifetime Protector (II) is a good choice. Besides death and disability, it provides comprehensive coverage against 150 critical illnesses of varying severity, including relapses.
100% of your premiums go towards investment only from the 5th year, and partial withdrawal is allowed from Year 2.
Monthly premiums: From $100
Find out more about AIA Pro Lifetime Protector (II).
2. Manulife ManuInvest Duo – Balance of protection & investment
The premium holiday option is good for folks anticipating big ticket purchases like a new house.
The Manulife ManuInvest Duo tries to strike a healthy, dual balance.
It comes with coverage of up to 100 x the first-year premiums paid, for death, disability, and terminal illness. If you’re hard on cash or prefer to park it somewhere else for the time being, there’s a generous premium holiday option of up to 4 years.
Not neglecting the investment part, Manulife offers a welcome bonus of up to 30% of the first-year premiums paid, and an annual loyalty bonus of up to 0.8% from Year 7.
Monthly premiums: From $150
Find out more about Manulife ManuInvest Duo.
3. NTUC Income AstraLink – Stronger investment focus
To get a bigger bang for your buck, try the NTUC Income AstraLink. There’s an investment bonus of up to 67% of the first-year premiums paid. And more rewards await after 10 years, with an annual loyalty bonus of up to 1%. Its portfolio includes equities and bonds with a large Asian focus.
The insurance benefits aren’t too shabby either. You’ll enjoy coverage of up to 60x the first-year premiums paid, with the freedom to go on a premium holiday after the second year.
Monthly premiums: From $200
Find out more about NTUC Income AstraLink.
4. Tokio Marine goUltra – Investment-heavy & protection-lite
If you lean heavily towards the investment end of the spectrum, then the Tokio Marine goUltra can help to turbocharge your returns. The incentives are some of the best in the market, with an initial bonus of up to 192% of premiums paid over the first 4 years, as well as an annual loyalty bonus of up to 1.8%.
From Day 1, 100% of your premiums go into its worldwide portfolio. What’s relatively unique about this policy is the choice of 5 major currencies for investing – SGD, AUD, GBP, USD, and EUR.
As for the insurance aspect, the death benefit is modest, at either the policy value or premiums paid. The policy does not cover disability, and the only protection against critical illness is a premium waiver.
Monthly premiums: From $200 for a 20-year plan, $600 for a 5-year plan.
Find out more about Tokio Marine goUltra.
ILPs for financial planning & protection
ILPs may not be the sexiest financial tool out there. Still, they’re a sensible choice for financial planning and protection.
Do your homework and go in with your eyes open. Just as importantly, stay the course, and you could reap decent benefits down the line.
Check out our other finance guides here:
- Guide to CPF in Singapore
- Debunking investing myths
- Investing terms and jargon
- Common cryptocurrency terms
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