ULIP vs Mutual Fund -Which Is Better Investment

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Before figuring out the best investment option while considering ULIP vs Mutual Fund, let us understand the similarities and key differences between the two.

Similarities between ULIP and Mutual Funds.

  • Both ULIPS and Mutual Funds offer options to invest in Equity, Debt and Balanced fund options.
  • Net Asset Value (NAV) concept is applied in both.
  • The value of Investment is measured in terms of units in both cases.
  • Both ULIP and Mutual funds provide investment options for individual investors.

ULIP- Unit Linked Insurance Plans

ULIP or Unit Linked Insurance Plan is a combination product of INSURANCE and INVESTMENT in a single package. Investment options in ULIP offer more flexibility and choices when compared to conventional policies.

ULIP policy premium will naturally contain the following portions in it.

  1. Premium to cover the Sum Insured or Insurance Coverage.
  2. Premium to be invested in Equity Bonds or other Asset Classes.
  3. Expenses incurred to run the policy

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Mutual Funds

Mutual Funds pool the amount available for investment from a large number of customers. The amount thus pooled is invested in different funds based on the risk appetite of the customers.

The main difference between the Mutual Fund and ULIP is the absence of insurance coverage.

So the premium or the investment of Mutual Fund will only have only two portions in it.

  1. Amount to be invested in funds
  2. Charges or expenses incurred

ULIP Vs Mutual Fund – Charges

ULIP policies have Insurance coverage as an inbuilt additional benefit and hence the policy will have Mortality Charges included in it. So the amount available for investment will be slightly lower in the case of ULIP policies. But generally, if the policyholder is young the mortality charge will be low and will not have a significant impact on the returns.

ULIP vs Mutual Fund

ULIP vs Mutual Fund – Income Tax Implications

ULIP plans have an Income Tax rebate while paying the premium under section 80C. Maturity and death coverage is also exempted from income tax under section 10(10D) of the Income-tax act. Mutual Funds generally does not have an income tax rebate and the only exemption is Equity-linked Saving Scheme based funds which also carry income tax rebate for the invested amount under section 80C.


Thus ULIP policies have a clear advantage compared to Mutual funds while the Income Tax rebate is considered.

ULIP vs Mutual fund – other features worth considering

Other factors worth considering include the Lock-In period. Minimum Lock-in period of ULIP is fixed as five years for IRDA. Lock-in period of Mutual Fund depends on the design of the fund and a customer can select a fund with lower Lock-in period if he wants more liquidity.


Switching  funds in ULIP a great tool to maximize returns

The switching of the fund is a great option available in ULIP policies which can be used to multiply the returns if used properly. Fund switching is done between equity-based funds and bond-based funds after analyzing market fluctuations.

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  • ULIP plan can be considered to be superior when Income Tax implication is concerned.
  • Insurance Coverage inbuilt in the ULIP plan is desirable if the customer belongs to young age.
  • If liquidity is the main concern then it is better to go for mutual funds without lock in period.
  • ULIP offers an additional option to switch funds to enhance or protect the fund value.

Anish L J

Anish L J is a 'Financial Planner' and member of Chartered Insurance Institute(CII), London and Insurance Institute of India. He is also a finance, insurance and software consultant. He thoroughly follows the developments in finance, insurance, and other related sectors.