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Best Life Insurance 2019

Trying to decide on a life insurance policy can be hard work. Even if you have already decided on what type of policy you need to try and find the most trustworthy company to insure you.

How to Find Top-Rated Policies

When looking at each of the three types of policy we have gone through the fine print, looked at customer satisfaction surveys and hunted down reviews and awards.

Fairer Finance is an excellent consumer information group which uses customer’s individual reviews to build a comprehensive picture of a wide range of insurers. A score is given to all of the insurers, which is based not only on the data on the number of claims successfully paid but on customer experience.

When putting the final best policy lists together, we have considered the Defaqto customer satisfaction star rating, value for money, a comprehensive level of cover and the Fairer Finance reviews.

There are a variety of other stand-alone or add on insurance products and we have also looked at the best critical illness policies, and the best life insurance for over 50s.

Stay covered with best life insurance, people in the meeting room

Top 10 Term Life Insurance Providers

  1. Legal and General - best for term and decreasing term life policies. Founded in 1836, and is an international insurer, you can be reassured that recent figures show that Legal & General life insurance paid out on 92.56% of all life assurance claims made.
  2. LV= - Flexible Protection Plan. Owned by Liverpool Victoria, LV= is part of the UK's largest mutual society, which means that it is owned by their customers rather than private shareholders.
  3. Scottish Widows - Protect Personal Plan. This is a flexible product that can be easily adapted if you need to increase your insurance in the future.
  4. Sainsbury’s Bank - Level term insurance. You can tailor your cover amount, policy length and even apply for a single or joint policy
  5. Barclays - Mortgage Protection Plan. Barclays Life Insurance for Mortgage Holders offers a one-time lump sum to pay your outstanding mortgage should you need to claim
  6. Nationwide - Multi Protection Plan. This product boasts a 70% Fairer Finance score for customer satisfaction
  7. AA Insurance - Family and Mortgage Protection Plan. You can feel reassured by its 2019 Defaqto 5 star rating
  8. Royal London - Personal Menu Plan. This insurer has only recently made its products available for customers to buy directly.
  9. Aviva - Life Insurance. A Fairer Finance Silver Ribbon holder
  10. Santander - Life Insurance. This provider is currently offering 10% cashback for new customers

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is the product taken out most often as a policy to run alongside an existing mortgage. A mortgage is usually your biggest debt and if something should happen to the main breadwinner your family could really struggle financially.

If you have term life insurance it would pay off your mortgage leaving your family secure in their home. Term life insurance is not only for mortgage holders, but a term policy could also be your best bet to cover the expenses of your family and children whilst they are still dependent on you. You buy peace of mind that your family’s expenses will be covered until your children have left education and are financially independent.

Remember that when you are shopping around for the best life insurance that quotes will vary according to the amount of cover you want. When comparing quotes always use the same details of how much cover you need and how long for to be able to see like for like comparisons.

Top 10 Over 50s Life Insurers

  1. Legal and General - Over 50s life insurance plan
  2. LV= - 50 plus plan
  3. Sainsbury’s Bank - Over 50s Life Insurance Plan
  4. AA Insurance - Over 50s Life insurance Plan
  5. Royal London - Over 50s Life Cover
  6. Aviva - Guaranteed Lifelong Protection
  7. Post Office Money - Over 50s Life Cover
  8. Asda Money - Over 50s Life Cover Plan (Uncapped  Premiums)
  9. Churchill - Over 50s Life Insurance Plan
  10. One Family - Over 50s Life Cover Plus / Guaranteed 50 Plus Life Cover

Best Life Insurance for Over 50s

Sometimes known as a ‘no-medical’ life insurance, products created for 50 to 80-year olds with guaranteed acceptance without having to undergo an intrusive medical or undergo a medical assessment. Premiums for this type of insurance tend to be fixed then stop when the insured person reaches 85 or 90 years old, but the cover will continue for the rest of their life.

Bear in mind that Over 50s policies usually have a qualifying period of 12 or 24 months which means that the policy has to be active for that time before you can make a claim. If you do pass away during the initial qualifying period your beneficiaries will have any premiums you have pad returned but will not get the lump sum due. Once you have passed the qualifying period though you will be eligible for the benefits described above.

The cost of over 50s life insurance, as with anything can vary considerably. You could pay as little as £7 per month for your cover depending on the cover you choose. The drawback of these specific ‘no-medical’ policies, is that costs do depend on your age at the time of application, how much cover you would like and how long your projected life expectancy is.

Our top ten list for the best life insurance for the Over 50s is again based on a range of customer experience scores and data on claims paid. The following plans have guaranteed acceptance built in, there is no medical to go through although there are usually a few questions to answer.

Top 10 Whole of Life Policies

  1. NFU Mutual - AIG Whole of Life Insurance
  2. Royal London - Pegasus Whole of Life Plan
  3. Legal and General - Whole of Life Protection Plan
  4. Vitality Life - Vitalitylife
  5. Scottish Widows - Protect Whole of Life Cover
  6. Aegon - Whole of Life Plan
  7. Zurich - Adaptable Life Plan
  8. AIG - Best for Whole of Life Plan and the Care Cover Plan
  9. LV= - Lifetime
  10. Old Mutual - Protect Guaranteed Whole of Life Plan

Best Whole of Life Policies

Financial planning is so important and whole of life cover is a great way of protecting your loved ones in the event of your death. It guarantees a pay-out to your family in the event of your death which will ensure that they remain financially secure.

If you prefer to guarantee a large pay-out to your family, the best way to set up a whole of life policy is to write it in trust for the beneficiary, thus avoiding the significant inheritance fee which could be up to 40% in certain circumstances.

Whole of life cover is designed to provide for your family’s needs and therefore the policy needs to be kept up and premiums prioritised as that cover remains in place. The cover stays in place until you die, although you should keep an eye on the policy to ensure that it still meets your needs if your circumstances change.

Whole of life cover is by its nature a long-term policy and the providers in our top ten are all household names. These insurers have been established for long enough to be stable and trustworthy.

Top 10 Critical Illness Policies

If you are looking for standalone critical illness cover, we have put together a list of the best providers.

  1. Connells - Critical Illness Cover
  2. Ageon – Critical Illness Cover
  3. Legal & General - Multi-Protection
  4. Old Mutual Wealth – Protect
  5. AIG Life - YourLife Plan Critical Illness with Term Assurance
  6. Royal London - Personal Menu Plan
  7. Aviva - Critical Illness +
  8. Scottish Widows - Scottish Widows Protect Personal
  9. Countrywide - Protect+ Critical Illness Cover
  10. VitalityLife - VitalityLife Primary or Comprehensive Cover

Life Insurance with Critical Illness Cover

It is common to take out a critical illness policy at the same time as you take out your life insurance cover. The purpose of critical and terminal illness cover is to pay out if you are diagnosed with a disease or illness that is listed on the policy. For example, if your policy covers terminal illness cover your insurer will normally pay out to your family or beneficiary if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness which means you will not survive 12 months. On the other hand, insurers critical illness cover will depend on the conditions listed in their terms and conditions. If you are interested in these types of policies you could take it out as an individual or as part of a family policy which will cover several family members under the same policy.

When you are comparing critical and terminal illness policies look loosely at the list of conditions covered, some insurers only cover some 30 conditions whereas others cover more than 100 conditions. Often insurers will exclude some forms of easily curable cancers, or mini-strokes or mild heart attacks.

Your premiums for this type of insurance will depend on how likely you are to become ill, therefore most providers will ask applicants to complete a health questionnaire or have a medical check-up. If you are looking at taking out critical and terminal illness cover you will save money by getting as fit and healthy as possible before you look for cover.

With critical illness cover, there is no cash in value to the policy, if you don’t become ill during the life of the policy you will not get any of your premiums back. It is usually cheaper to ‘bundle’ the cover with your life insurance but do bear in mind that if you do go down this route then you may only get one pay-out, this means that if you get ill and take a pay-out then you will no longer be covered. It is important to prioritise the monthly payment as cover will cease if you stop paying your premiums.

What is life insurance?

You should consider your needs and those of your family when deciding which type of cover fits best. You could go for level term life insurance, which means that whatever the term you decide on, usually 5, 10 or 20 years depending on your priorities, where the amount insured stays the same if you die during the term of the policy.

Decreasing term life insurance is a way of managing the amount of insurance you have against the needs of your family as time passes, or simply put, the pay-out decreases over the policy term as your children grow to become independent adults or your mortgage gets paid off and your financial commitments decrease.

Lastly, a whole of life insurance policy, which is when you are covered for the whole of your life and the sum insured is paid to your family when you pass away. When looking at life insurance quotes and options you will often find that this is the most expensive as the pay-out is guaranteed unlike insurance with a fixed term.

Types of Life Insurance

There are three main types of life insurance, to consider when looking for the best life insurance. General term life insurance policies, whole of life policies and the guaranteed life plan, which is sometimes known as an over 50s plan.

Choosing the Right Insurer

You need to choose the right insurer for your circumstances and lifestyle. Companies start by reviewing all the information you give then provide you with an offer or reject your application. If you find that you are rejected it's usually because of a risk factor such as a health condition, often things like high blood pressure, or cholesterol can make your policy more expensive. It could also be due to your lifestyle, of you regularly a sail down tall buildings or enjoy free diving in your spare time you could be too risky to insurance without a specialist policy.

If you’re healthy and don’t have an extreme sports hobby, it’s you're likely to be able to find a good value policy from our panel of insurers. If you do have any health issues or a lifestyle that indicates you are a higher risk, it is better to seek out a specialist insurance firm specialising in medical issues.

How Much Insurance to Take Out

Once you know what kind of policy you prefer, you then need to decide how much it should pay out to your family if the worst should happen. For term insurance, you may decide that you just need the pay-out to cover the amount remaining on the mortgage for instance.

The Child Poverty Action Group in 2017, estimated the cost of raising just one child to be around £10,000 per year in a single-parent home. Additional insurance could make a difference in your family's lifestyle in a significant way. Think about costs such as further education for children too when you are calculating how much to insure for.

Additional expenses resulting from your death can be large and unexpected, costs for a burial can be over £4000. Check if your chosen insurer will add funeral costs to your life insurance policy. Be aware though that even if this is the case there are likely to be extras that are not covered such as a wake after the funeral.

Ask about Flexibility

Things change throughout the lifetime of an insurance policy. Expenses may decrease such as a mortgage, or children leave home and become independent. Bear in mind that expenses may increase too, your family might grow, or you may decide to increase your mortgage and move to a bigger house. All of these factors mean that the sum your life insurance covers needs to flex with your circumstances.

Outgoings that you may need to consider in addition to mortgage or rent payments are groceries, clothing, after-school activities for your children and hobbies that the adults in the household do, monthly energy bills including gas, electricity, water, and council tax. It is also wise to factor in inflation to the payout amount you need, especially if your children are still young as their future living costs may rise significantly.

If you need to increase the amount you are insured for your first port of call should be your existing provider. It is often more cost effective to take out a top-up policy. Although some providers offer the flexibility to increase the sum insured, it can work out to be more cost effective to take out an additional policy to run alongside your current life insurance.

All our top-rated insurers in the categories below have top scores for customer satisfaction and offer an option to be flexible.

Amount of Cover Needed

It can be difficult to decide how much insurance you need to take out, the best way of working out the right sum for you, is to ask yourself the following questions.

  • How many are there in your family who depend on you financially?
  • Do you have a mortgage with payments still outstanding?
  • Are there other debts you have to pay?
  • Do you have any accessible savings?
  • Are there costs to be paid in the future such as university for your children?
  • Do you have separate funeral insurance or will your family also need to cover those costs?
  • Does your job come with any death in service benefits?

The established rule of thumb is that you need to buy life insurance cover that equals 10 times the breadwinner’s salary. It is better to cover as much as you can afford even if it doesn’t equate to this 10-times rule than to have no cover at all.

When you are looking at life cover quotes the best way to work out how much you need is to look at your current outgoings and budget as above. You will need to consider any outstanding debts that you currently have, including how much you owe on your mortgage, funeral expenses that are incurred after a death, immediate lifestyle spending and future outgoings such as university fees.

Although looking for life cover quotes that cover 10 times your income seems a lot remember that inflation will make the pay-out in 10- or 20-years’ time, worthless in real terms than it is now.

Think about who is financially dependent on you. Are you family reliant on your salary or contribution to the running of the home? Who would face financial difficulties if you could no longer support them?

In 2018 Life insurance costs were around £10 a month on average for a non-smoking 35-year-old with no worrying medical history who is a light drinker. The actual premium you are quoted will depend on the policy and coverage it offers.  It will also take into account personal circumstances such as any Pre-existing medical issues, whether you are a smoke or drink significant amounts of alcohol and your age.

If you are over 50 or suffer from a medical condition you should expect to pay higher premiums but you should still be able to find a number of policies to consider. Adding extra products such as critical and terminal illness cover will also increase your premium.

The norm with life insurance premiums is that they are fixed so what you pay monthly will never increase. Always shop around for the most suitable policy for you and compare the cover and conditions as well as the cost of monthly premiums.

Death-in-Service Benefits

When considering your life insurance needs remember to check what benefits your employer offers to protect your family if you pass away. Some employers offer a lump sum as a death in service benefit but check the amount covered. If you have children, a mortgage or other debts your employee benefits only may not be large enough.

If you move jobs remember to confirm what arrangements are in place with your new employer to ensure that you remain adequately covered.

Life insurance with Additional Benefits

Vitality Life Insurance sells policies which provide term and whole of life cover as other traditional providers do, but has a range of additional benefits with their products. It offers a way of making savings and rewards policyholders for keeping healthy with the Wellness Optimiser programme.

The real financial benefit of opting for the Vitality Wellness Optimiser is that if you exercise regularly and eat healthily you can get earn up to 60% discount on Whole of Life insurance or choose to have £125 cashback every year.

The rewards that you can earn for living a healthy life are not limited to the financial, your additional benefits can include cinema tickets, discounted gym membership or wearable fitness trackers. The reason for these rewards and this scheme is that Vitality believes that helping its customers keep healthy will result in fewer claims.

As more mortgage providers start to offer similar benefits bear in mind that your main concern should be the details of the policy itself. You always need to make sure that your cover and policy length are right for you.

Life Insurance and Critical Illness Insurance are important things to get right, you want your loved ones to be protected financially in the event of something happening to you. When choosing the best life insurance remember to shop around. You need to find the policy that is the best value for you and which fulfils your individual needs in the most comprehensive way possible. Our top insurance lists are a great place to start your search no matter what product you are looking for.

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