Variable and universal life insurance are both permanent life insurance policies that pay a death benefit and accrue a cash value that can be used for investing. However, variable policies work differently because you can invest in sub-accounts similar to mutual funds, while a universal policy earns money by accruing interest.

Many or all of the companies featured provide compensation to LendEDU. These commissions are how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear on our site.