Life Insurance Illustration: What It Is and How to Get One

Life Insurance Illustration
Life Insurance Illustration

A life insurance illustration is a document provided by a life insurance company that shows how a life insurance policy might perform over time. It includes detailed projections of the policy’s future cash value, death benefits, and premiums. Here’s a breakdown of what it is and how to get one:

Life Insurance Illustration

What is a Life Insurance Illustration?

  1. Projected Performance: It provides estimates of how a policy’s value may grow, considering factors like premium payments, interest rates, and cost of insurance.
  2. Policy Details: Includes specific information about the policy type (term, whole, universal, etc.), death benefit amounts, premium payments, and any additional riders or options.
  3. Non-Guaranteed vs. Guaranteed Elements:
    • Non-Guaranteed Elements: These are based on current assumptions of future costs and returns (e.g., interest rates, market returns, cost of insurance). They are subject to change.
    • Guaranteed Elements: These are the aspects of the policy that the insurer guarantees regardless of changing conditions (e.g., minimum death benefit).
  4. Sensitivity Analysis: Some illustrations may show how the policy performs under different scenarios, such as varying interest rates or market conditions.
  5. Cash Value Projections: For permanent policies, it illustrates how cash value may accumulate and can be used in the future.
  6. Surrender Value: Information about the value you would receive if you surrender the policy at different points in time.

How to Get a Life Insurance Illustration

  1. Contact an Insurance Agent or Broker: They can provide illustrations for different policies from various insurers based on your needs and goals.
  2. Directly from Insurance Companies: Many insurers offer online tools where you can request an illustration by providing some basic information.
  3. Financial Advisors: If you’re working with a financial advisor, they can also obtain illustrations for you, often comparing different options.
  4. Information Required: You’ll typically need to provide age, gender, health information, smoking status, the amount of insurance desired, and the type of policy you’re interested in.

Important Considerations

  • Accuracy of Projections: Remember that non-guaranteed elements are only estimates and can vary significantly over time.
  • Regular Reviews: It’s good practice to review your policy regularly, especially if your financial situation changes.
  • Understand Policy Details: Ensure you understand all aspects of the policy, including fees, surrender charges, and any potential penalties.
  • Comparisons: Compare illustrations from different companies to understand the range of options available.


A life insurance illustration is an essential tool in understanding how a life insurance policy could work for you. It helps in making informed decisions but always approach these illustrations as estimates, not guarantees, especially for non-guaranteed elements.

Life Insurance Illustration FAQs

Certainly! Here are some frequently asked questions about life insurance illustrations:


1. What is a Life Insurance Illustration?

Answer: It’s a document provided by an insurance company showing the projected performance of a life insurance policy over time. This includes estimates of cash values, death benefits, and premiums.

2. Why is a Life Insurance Illustration Important?

Answer: It helps you understand how a policy may perform under various conditions, assisting in making informed decisions about your insurance coverage and financial planning.

3. Are the Values Shown in the Illustration Guaranteed?

Answer: Illustrations usually contain both guaranteed and non-guaranteed elements. Guaranteed elements are contractually promised, while non-guaranteed elements are based on current assumptions and can vary.

4. How Often Should I Review My Life Insurance Illustration?

Answer: It’s advisable to review your policy and its illustration annually or whenever there’s a significant change in your financial situation, market conditions, or the insurer’s performance.

5. Can I Get an Illustration for Any Type of Life Insurance?

Answer: Yes, illustrations are available for various types of life insurance, including term, whole life, and universal life policies.

6. What Factors Affect the Projections in an Illustration?

Answer: Key factors include premium payments, interest rates, market performance, cost of insurance, policy fees, and your age, health, and lifestyle at the time of policy issuance.

7. How Accurate Are Life Insurance Illustrations?

Answer: While efforts are made to make them as accurate as possible, the accuracy of non-guaranteed elements can vary due to changing economic conditions and market fluctuations.

8. What Should I Look for in a Life Insurance Illustration?

Answer: Focus on understanding both the guaranteed and non-guaranteed elements, policy fees, surrender charges, and how the policy might perform under different economic scenarios.

9. Can I Request Changes to My Policy Based on the Illustration?

Answer: Yes, you can request changes or adjustments to your policy based on the illustration, such as changing the premium amount, death benefit, or policy riders.

10. Are Life Insurance Illustrations Legally Binding?

Answer: The illustrations themselves are not legally binding. The binding aspects of your insurance coverage are detailed in the policy contract.

11. How Do I Get a Life Insurance Illustration?

Answer: You can request one from an insurance agent, broker, or directly from the insurance company. Online tools provided by insurers can also generate illustrations.

12. Is There a Cost for Obtaining a Life Insurance Illustration?

Answer: Generally, there is no cost to obtain a life insurance illustration. It’s a service provided by insurance companies to aid in policy selection and understanding.


Life insurance illustrations are valuable tools for understanding potential policy performance. However, it’s essential to approach them with an understanding that they are estimates, especially regarding non-guaranteed elements. Regular reviews and consultations with insurance professionals can help ensure that your policy continues to meet your changing needs.

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