Main article: With-profits policy
Some policies allow the policyholder to participate in the profits of the insurance company these are with-profits policies. Other policies have no rights to participate in the profits of the company, these are non-profit policies.
With-profits policies are used as a form of collective investment to achieve capital growth. Other policies offer a guaranteed return not dependent on the company's underlying investment performance; these are often referred to as without-profit policies which may be construed as a misnomer.
Main article: Insurance bond
Pensions: Pensions are a form of life assurance. However, whilst basic life assurance, permanent health insurance and non-pensions annuity business includes an amount of mortality or morbidity risk for the insurer, for pensions there is a longevity risk.
A pension fund will be built up throughout a person's working life. When the person retires, the pension will become in payment, and at some stage the pensioner will buy an annuity contract, which will guarantee a certain pay-out each month until death.
Main article: annuity
An annuity is a contract with an insurance company whereby the insured pays an initial premium or premiums into a tax-deferred account, which pays out a sum at pre-determined intervals. There are two periods: the accumulation (when payments are paid into the account) and the annuitization (when the insurance company pays out). IRS rules restrict how you take money out of an annuity. Distributions may be taxable and/or penalized.
 Tax and life insurance
 Taxation of life insurance in the United States
Premiums paid by the policy owner are normally not deductible for federal and state income tax purposes.
Proceeds paid by the insurer upon death of the insured are not included in gross income for federal and state income tax purposes; however, if the proceeds are included in the "estate" of the deceased, it is likely they will be subject to federal and state estate and inheritance tax.
Cash value increases within the policy are not subject to income taxes unless certain events occur. For this reason, insurance policies can be a legal and legitimate tax shelter wherein savings can increase without taxation until the owner withdraws the money from the policy. On flexible-premium policies, large deposits of premium could cause the contract to be considered a "Modified Endowment Contract" by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which negates many of the tax advantages associated with life insurance. The insurance company, in most cases, will inform the policy owner of this danger before applying their premium.
Tax deferred benefit from a life insurance policy may be offset by its low return in some cases. This depends upon the insuring company, type of policy and other variables (mortality, market return, etc.). Also, other income tax saving vehicles (i.e. Individual Retirement Account (IRA), 401K or Roth IRA) may be better alternatives for value accumulation. This will depend on the individual and their specific circumstances.
The tax ramifications of life insurance are complex. The policy owner would be well advised to carefully consider them. As always, the United States Congress or the state legislatures can change the tax laws at any time.
 Taxation of life assurance in the United Kingdom
Premiums are not usually allowable against income tax or corporation tax, however qualifying policies issued prior to 14 March 1984 do still attract LAPR (Life Assurance Premium Relief) at 15% (with the net premium being collected from the policyholder).
Non-investment life policies do not normally attract either income tax or capital gains tax on claim. If the policy has as investment element such as an endowment policy, whole of life policy or an investment bond then the tax treatment is determined by the qualifying status of the policy.
Qualifying status is determined at the outset of the policy if the contract meets certain criteria. Essentially, long term contracts (10 years plus) tend to be qualifying policies and the proceeds are free from income tax and capital gains tax. Single premium contracts and those run for a short term are subject to income tax depending upon your marginal rate in the year you make a gain. All (UK) insurers pay a special rate of corporation tax on the profits from their life book; this is deemed as meeting the lower rate (20% in 2005-06) liability for policyholders. Therefore a policyholder who is a higher rate taxpayer (40% in 2005-06), or becomes one through the transaction, must pay tax on the gain at the difference between the higher and the lower rate. This gain is reduced by applying a calculation called top-slicing based on the number of years the policy has been held. Although this is complicated, the taxation of life assurance based investment contracts may be beneficial compared to alternative equity-based collective investment schemes (unit trusts, investment trusts and OEICs). One feature which especially favors investment bonds is the '5% cumulative allowance' – the ability to draw 5% of the original investment amount each policy year without being subject to any taxation on the amount withdrawn. If not used in one year, the 5% allowance can roll over into future years, subject to a maximum tax deferred withdrawal of 100% of the premiums payable. The withdrawal is deemed by the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) to be a payment of capital and therefore the tax liability is deferred until maturity or surrender of the policy. This is an especially useful tax planning tool for higher rate taxpayers who expect to become basic rate taxpayers at some predictable point in the future (e.g. retirement), as at this point the deferred tax liability will not result in tax being due.
The proceeds of a life policy will be included in the estate for death duty (in the UK, inheritance tax (IHT)) purposes, except that policies written in trust may fall outside the estate. Trust law and taxation of trusts can be complicated, so any individual intending to use trusts for tax planning would usually seek professional advice from an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) and/or a solicitor.