For variable annuity contracts, a provision which provides that, should the annuitant or owner die before benefits begin, the beneficiary will receive no less than the amount originally invested (regardless of investment experience) or the actual value of the contract, if greater. In some annuities, the guaranteed amount is periodically increased.
This is the minimum death benefit that will be paid. The death benefit is guaranteed in a whole life policy. With variable life and other non-traditional products, provisions are often available to provide limited death benefit guarantees.
The guarantee is that upon death of the annuitant, the beneficiary will receive the greater principal, plus any additions, or the value of the account as the annuitant's date of death.