ULIP insurance plan
ULIP is Unit Linked Insurance Plan. The premium you pay, a small part goes towards covering life insurance. The Balance is invested into Stock Markets. Most ULIP would give you an option to choose from Debt Funds [100% safe buy low returns 5-7%] or Equity [High Risks, Returns can be around 15%]. Or a mix of both.
ULIP are not a good way to save money. There are quite a few hidden fees that actually reduce the return. So notionally even if returns shown are great, in effect it is quite less. For example the premium you pay in first year, say Rs 10,000/- Rs 2,500/- goes towards commission. And say Rs 100 goes towards insurance. Balance Rs 7,400/- units are purchased in your account. Even if these grow by 20%, you are still in loss. Ofcousre, the commissions go down year after year and stop at 5%. Then there is fund management fees that you don't get to see. There is maintenance fee that is deduced from your balance.
Thus the entire method of charging is not transparent.
Life insurance from LIC
There are broadly 2 types of Life Insurance plans
Money Back / Endowment Plan. The concept here is again same, you pay a premium and part of it goes toward Insurance. The balance LIC invests in safe bonds. Every year a bonus is declared; generally less than Bank rate. At the end of the plan you get more than what you paid in premium. However if you had kept the same in Bank FD, you would have got more money back. So if you die, your nominee would get Insurance plus bonus. If you survive you get all the accumulated bonus.
Pure Term Plan. Here the premium is quite less for the sum insured. Here if you die, your nominee would get insurance. If you survive you don't get anything.