Unit linked insurance plan (ULIP) is life insurance solution that provides for the benefits of risk protection and flexibility in investment. The investment is denoted as units and is represented by the value that it has attained called as Net Asset Value (NAV). The policy value at any time varies according to the value of the underlying assets at the time.
In a ULIP, the invested amount of the premiums after deducting for all the charges and premium for risk cover under all policies in a particular fund as chosen by the policy holders are pooled together to form a Unit fund. A Unit is the component of the Fund in a Unit Linked Insurance Policy.
The returns in a ULIP depend upon the performance of the fund in the capital market. ULIP investors have the option of investing across various schemes, i.e, diversified equity funds, balanced funds, debt funds etc. It is important to remember that in a ULIP, the investment risk is generally borne by the investor.
In a ULIP, investors have the choice of investing in a lump sum (single premium) or making premium payments on an annual, half-yearly, quarterly or monthly basis. Investors also have the flexibility to alter the premium amounts during the policy's tenure. For example, if an individual has surplus funds, he can enhance the contribution in ULIP. Conversely an individual faced with a liquidity crunch has the option of paying a lower amount (the difference being adjusted in the accumulated value of his ULIP). ULIP investors can shift their investments across various plans/asset classes (diversified equity funds, balanced funds, debt funds) either at a nominal or no cost.
Expenses Charged in a ULIP
Premium Allocation Charge:
A percentage of the premium is appropriated towards charges initial and renewal expenses apart from commission expenses before allocating the units under the policy.
These are charges for the cost of insurance coverage and depend on number of factors such as age, amount of coverage, state of health etc.
Fund Management Fees:
Fees levied for management of the fund and is deducted before arriving at the NAV.
This is the charge for administration of the plan and is levied by cancellation of units.
Deducted for premature partial or full encashment of units.
Fund Switching Charge:
Usually a limited number of fund switches are allowed each year without charge, with subsequent switches, subject to a charge.
Service Tax Deductions:
Service tax is deducted from the risk portion of the premium.