Life Insurance Dividends are payments that policyholders of permanent life insurance can receive from their life insurance company on an annual basis. The dividend amount you receive is calculated as a percentage of your policy’s value, and this percentage can fluctuate year-to-year based on your insurer’s financial performance.

Some insurance companies offer dividends to policyholders, which are essentially a percentage of the cash value of the policy. The amount of the dividend varies depending on the company’s performance that year. So, policyholders might receive a 5% dividend one year, but only 3% the next year.

Dividends are not guaranteed each year and will vary based on the insurance company’s financial performance. When it comes to dividends, most people new to permanent life insurance are not very knowledgeable about dividends and are sometimes unaware of how important dividends are when you are planning to use your policy to accumulate wealth.

Listed below are the most frequently asked questions about life insurance dividends.

Does whole life insurance earn dividends?

Yes. A participating whole life policy purchased from a mutual life insurance company does earn dividends.

What life insurance company pays the best dividends?

Based on our experience, the top three life mutual life insurance companies according to dividend performance are:

Should I use dividends to pay life insurance premiums?

Actually, you have several options to receive your life insurance dividends. How you accept dividends is typically based on your need for whole life insurance:

  1. Get dividends in cash
  2. Have your company purchase paid-up additions for you
  3. Reduce premiums or pay future premiums
  4. Leave with your company to accumulate interest.

Are life insurance dividends taxable?

Typically, life insurance dividends you receive are not taxable because dividends are considered a return of premium. However, if you leave your dividends with the insurer to earn interest, that interest is taxable.

Are dividend payments guaranteed each year by the insurance company?

There is no guarantee that you will receive dividends from your life insurance policy. The amount of the dividend is decided at the discretion of the company and can change from year to year. This means that the dividend payment you receive this year could be more or less than what you receive next year.

Will the company submit a 1099 for dividend payments?

There are a few things to know about taxes and cash value life insurance policies that pay dividends. Dividends that exceed the amount of premiums paid for the policy are taxable. You will receive a Form 1099-DIV by Jan. 31st citing the amount of dividends paid that must be included in your taxable income. However, policy dividends are generally not taxable.

How are life insurance dividends calculated?

Although most life insurance companies generally do not share how they calculate the percentage a dividend will be based on, the dividend you receive will always be a percentage of your policy’s value. The dividends frequently changed because they are based on the insurer’s financial performance.

The Bottom Line


After you have learned and understand how valuable dividend payments can be when your purpose for your whole life policy is to accumulate wealth, why would you purchase your policy from a stock company?

Mutual life insurance companies are owned by the policyholders rather than stockholders and each policyholder shares in the profits instead of stockholders.

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Curt Gibbs