Enter a search term.
line drawing document and pencil

File a claim

Need to file an insurance claim? We’ll make the process as supportive, simple and swift as possible.

Action Teams

If you want to make an impact in your community but aren't sure where to begin, we're here to help.
Illustration of stairs and arrow pointing upward

Contact support

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Need to discuss a complex question? Let us know—we’re happy to help.
Use the search bar above to find information throughout our website. Or choose a topic you want to learn more about.

How does permanent life insurance work?

Illustration of an older couple gardening

Answers to questions you may have about permanent life insurance.

Permanent life insurance is coverage that’s designed to last an entire lifetime and pay out a death benefit, no matter how long you live, as long as premiums are paid and the contract retains its value. The two primary types of permanent life insurance—whole life and universal life—are designed to meet different needs.

“Whole life provides a guaranteed death benefit, a guaranteed cash value and a premium that will never increase,” says Ryan Schwingler, a life insurance products consultant at Thrivent. “Universal life also provides permanent protection through a death benefit but allows more flexibility in cash value and the premium.”

Is it possible to increase permanent life insurance coverage?

It may be possible to increase coverage once your contract is in place, but it will be dependent on your health, Schwingler says. However, with a guaranteed purchase option (GPO), you are guaranteed the option to purchase additional coverage. Both GPO or GIO (guaranteed increase option) are riders* available for an additional cost on contracts and are a great way to protect the insurability of children or grandchildren, he adds.

How does my permanent life insurance contract grow with me?

Cash value is the savings portion of permanent life insurance. “The death benefit is the most important feature of permanent life insurance, but a contract’s cash value may accumulate depending on the type of coverage,” Schwingler says. It can be used to sustain coverage, it can be withdrawn, or it can provide a source for a loan.

Why could permanent life insurance be right for me?

Many people view permanent life insurance as a way to pay for their funeral, but according to Schwingler, even in retirement, the death benefit can help replace lost Social Security or pension income. Permanent life insurance is also a wonderful way to leave a legacy to your loved ones, church or favorite charitable organization.

Want to learn more about permanent life insurance? Talk to a Thrivent financial advisor.

Get more insights like this in your inbox
You have been successfully subscribed to our newsletter.
An error has occurred, please try again.
*Riders are optional and available for an additional cost.

Loans and surrenders will decrease the death proceeds and the value available to pay insurance costs, which may cause the contract to terminate without value. Surrenders may generate an income tax liability and charges may apply. A significant taxable event can occur if a contract terminates with outstanding debt. Contact your tax advisor for further details. Loaned values may accumulate at a lower rate than unloaned values.

If requested, a licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you and financial solutions, including insurance may be solicited.

Guarantees based on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of Thrivent. Permanent life insurance contracts have exclusions, limitations, and terms under which the benefits may be reduced, or the contract may be discontinued. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact your licensed insurance agent/producer.

Refer to the Thrivent Investment Management Inc. Form CRS Relationship Summary for more information about us; our relationships and services; fees, costs, conflicts, and standard of conduct; disciplinary history; and additional information. Refer to the Thrivent Investment Management Inc. Regulation Best Interest Disclosure document for information on fees, products, services, potential conflicts of interest, and additional information. Both are available upon request from your financial professional and on