You may have heard of ULIPs, or Unit Linked Insurance Plans, as a popular financial product that combines insurance and investment benefits. ULIPs allow you to invest a part of your premium in various fund options, such as equity, debt, or balanced funds, while the rest goes towards providing you with life cover. ULIPs also offer tax advantages and flexibility to suit your changing needs. But is ULIP a good investment for short-term gains? Let’s find out.

1. Lock-in Period

One of the first things you need to know about ULIPs is that they have a minimum lock-in period of 5 years. That means you cannot withdraw your money from the plan before completing 5 years unless you are willing to pay some charges and penalties. This may not be ideal for investors looking for short-term gains and wanting to exit the plan earlier. Therefore, you should consider your liquidity needs and time horizon before investing in ULIPs.

2. Fund Options

ULIP investment offers different fund options, such as equity, debt, or balanced funds, that cater to various risk appetites and financial goals. Equity funds invest in stocks and have the potential to generate high returns in the long run, but they are also subject to market fluctuations and volatility. Debt funds park funds in bonds and other fixed-income securities with lower risk and volatility but offer lower returns. Balanced funds park your money in both equity and debt and aim to balance risk and return.

For short-term gains, debt funds may be more suitable as they have lower risk and volatility than equity funds. Debt funds can provide steady income and capital preservation in the short term, while equity funds may expose you to market risks and uncertainties. However, you should also remember that debt funds are not risk-free and may be affected by interest rate changes and credit defaults. Therefore, choose the fund option that matches your risk profile and investment objective.

3. Switching Facility

ULIPs allow you to switch between fund options depending on the market conditions and your preferences. This feature can help you optimise your returns and reduce your losses in the short term. For example, if you expect the equity market to perform well, you can switch to equity funds to capture the upside potential. On the other hand, if you expect the equity market to decline, you can switch to debt funds to protect your capital. You can also switch to balanced funds to maintain a diversified portfolio.

However, you should also be aware that switching to a new facility has some limitations and costs. You can only switch a limited number of times in a year, and each switch may incur a charge. Moreover, switching too frequently may not be beneficial, as it may disrupt your long-term investment strategy and incur transaction costs. Therefore, you should use the switching facility wisely and only when necessary. When investing in this plan, you must also know about the ULIP tax benefit.

4. Charges and Fees

ULIPs have various charges, such as premium allocation, policy administration, fund management, and mortality charges. These charges can affect the returns and performance of ULIPs in the short term. For example, a premium allocation charge is deducted from your premium before it is invested in the fund of your choice. This reduces the amount of money actually invested and, hence, the returns. Similarly, a fund management charge is deducted from the fund value annually, reducing the fund’s net asset value. Mortality charge is deducted to provide life cover and varies depending on your age, health, and sum assured.

Therefore, you should compare the charges of different ULIP plans and choose the one with the lowest cost and the highest value. You should also look for plans offering discounts or waivers on some charges, such as premium allocation or policy administration charges. You should also check the surrender value and the surrender charge of the plan in case you decide to exit the plan before the lock-in period ends.


ULIPs can be a good investment for short-term gains, provided that you choose the right plan, fund option, and switching strategy. ULIPs can offer you the dual benefits of insurance and investment, tax advantages, and flexibility. However, ULIPs have drawbacks, such as lock-in periods, charges, and market risks. Therefore, you should carefully evaluate your needs, goals, and risk tolerance before investing in ULIPs. You should also consult a financial advisor or a ULIP expert to help you choose the best ULIP plan for short-term gains.