The Exeter life insurance review

In this review of The Exeter life insurance, we discuss in detail their life insurance product:

  • Real Life

As well as their income protecting offering:

  • Income first
The Exeter, life insurance logo

Their policies have been created specifically for those with certain chronic or serious pre-existing conditions, who find it difficult to secure standard cover.

This type of applicant is known by insurers as an impaired risk applicant.

Reassured has a dedicated impaired risk team who work with specialist insurers, including the Exeter, who could help secure some form of cover for our applicants who have been previously declined.

Who are The Exeter?

The Exeter Friendly Society Limited (EFS Ltd) was established in 2008 after the merge of two friendly societies, the Exeter Friendly Society and Pioneer Friendly Society.

Since the 1880’s these societies have provided private medical insurance and income protection cover.

They have now added a unique form of life insurance to their portfolio; cover specifically designed for impaired applicants. This type of cover is often referred to as impaired life insurance.

With no shareholders to pay, they're able to offer a high standard of service, low premiums and consistent pay out rates.

As a mutual friendly society, The Exeter is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The Exeter also benefits from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so your money is further protected.

The Exeter hold four core values:

  1. Respect
  2. Clarity
  3. Excellence
  4. Speed

Life Insurance Calculator

Calculate how much life insurance you may need by filling in the costs you’d like your policy to cover.


£137,934 is the estimated mortgage debt per household in the UK.

The purchase of a home is likely to be the largest financial commitment any of us will make in our lifetime. Your life insurance should cover your remaining mortgage balance to allow your loved ones to stay in the family home should anything happen to you.



The average monthly household budget in the UK is £2,548 (that’s £30,576 per year), which is spent on transport, food & drink, utilities (gas, electricity, water etc), clothing, council tax and leisure activities.

With energy prices hitting a record high and the cost of living rising sharply in the UK, you may wish to factor in utility bills and family living expenses into your cover.



The average personal debt of UK adults has risen to £34,566 (not including mortgage debt), with credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts being the most common forms of debt.

Factoring in any debts into your life insurance cover means that, if they need to be paid back from your estate after your passing, your loved ones won’t miss out financially.



According to SunLife, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,953 (with the overall cost of dying at £9,200).

Funeral costs have increased by 116% since 2004 and are a significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.



When factoring in cover for your children, you may wish to calculate the amount based on how long it is until they reach financial independence.

This could include childcare (£7,000 per year for part-time care), school expenses (£1,519 per school year for uniforms, lunches, stationary etc), as well as an additional sum for further education (this could be a contribution of up to £5,000 per year).

Sources:, &


2 in 5 adults say they are relying on an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Factoring in an inheritance to your sum assured could allow loved ones to live a more financially comfortable life. Alternatively, you could leave a cash gift to a charity of your choosing.



If you’re lucky enough to have your own savings or are part of the 30% of UK residents who already have a life insurance policy in place, this can provide financial protection for loved ones.

By entering your current cover, savings or death in service amount you can reduce the sum assured you require.


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The Exeter insurance products

Real Life Insurance

The Real Life policy has been designed for people who have struggled to achieve affordable cover, or have been declined life insurance in the past, due to a health condition.

Around 15 million people in the UK are living with a long term health condition[1], making it essential for this group of people to find adequate life cover.

Real Life can provide cover to people who suffer from the following conditions:

A Real Life policy can be chosen with either a level term or decreasing term.

Level term

A level term life insurance policy offers a pay out amount (sum assured) that stays fixed throughout the policy term and is commonly used to help cover an interest-only mortgage.

Decreasing term

A decreasing term life insurance policy offers a sum assured that decreases over time (until the policy ends), usually in line with the remaining balance of a repayment mortgage.

A Real Life policy also includes additional accidental death benefit free of charge.

Accidental death benefit

A lump sum of either the sum assured or £250,000, paid out for accident death.

Key features of a Real Life policy:

  • Available to residents in the UK, aged 18 - 80
  • Cover from 5 to 50 years
  • Policy must end before policyholder reaches 90
  • Sum assured from £20,000 to £3,000,000
  • Terminal illness cover included as standard
  • Not available as a joint policy
  • Level and decreasing terms available

How does a Real Life policy work?

Real Life pays out a cash lump sum when the policyholder passes away or is diagnosed with a terminal illness (with a life expectancy of less than 12 months).

The policy is available as either level or decreasing term.

A Real Life policy will allow you to change your sum assured throughout the lifetime of your policy to allow you to meet ever changing financial needs.

When applying for life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition, it’s likely this condition (as well as any related conditions) will be added as exclusions to your policy.

This means your loved ones won’t be able to make a claim if you pass away because of this condition.

Should your financial needs change during the term of your policy, it can be possible to increase or decrease your sum assured. Your premium price will also change as a result.

There are also certain circumstances in which the cover won't be valid. For example, if the claim is caused by self-inflicted means, such as suicide.

Real Life cost

Premiums for a Real Life policy start from £15 a month*.

However, the price you pay will depend on the individual circumstances of your medical condition(s) and/or your weight.

During the application process it’s you’ll be asked to provide key information, this includes:

  • Your age
  • Whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions and, if so, what they are
  • When you were diagnosed
  • What your symptoms are like (how severe and how frequent)
  • Your BMI/weight
  • Your smoking status
  • Policy type
  • Level of cover
  • Length of cover

The Exeter will request specific details in regards to your medical condition(s) such as how long since diagnosis, current symptoms and treatment received.

With a Real Life policy, the premium will remain fixed throughout the term, unless you make changes to your policy (for example, changing your sum assured).

Contact Reassured today and one of our knowledgeable team can help you understand your available options.

The Exeter income protection

The Exeter also offer income protection insurance for those who want to protect their income.

Income protection is a financial safety net if you become ill or injured and are unable to work.

The Exeter offers the Income First policy which can pay out up to 60% of your usual income in monthly (tax-free) payments.

If you take out income protection with The Exeter you would also have access to the HealthWise online service and be entitled to a number of benefits.

Income first

The Income First policy is a policy designed to pay out to you to help replace lost income if you become too ill or injured to work.

It will pay out up to 60% of your usual income.

With an Income First policy you have the option to ‘fix’ the benefit you receive, which can help to simplify the claims process. You can choose between two options:

Fixed Benefit option

You can fix up to 75% of the initial benefit you select by providing financial evidence within 12 months of your policy start day.

Minimum benefit guarantee

You can fix up to £1,000 of benefit without providing simplified financial evidence when you apply.

This option is only available with a two year limited claim period policy only.

Key features of the Income First policy:

  • Available to residents in the UK, aged 18 - 59
  • Cover can cease at any age between 50 and 70 (you must specify during the application process)
  • Long term or short term (‘limited’) policies available
  • Cover from £500 to £10,000 per month
  • You must work at least 15 hours per week (both employed and self-employed) to apply

How does an Income First policy work?

Income First will pay out up to 60% of your usual income in monthly (tax-free) instalments should you become unable to work due to sickness or accident.

You won’t be covered for unemployment.

Cover is predominantly sold on a long term basis but you can also choose a limited (short term) version of this policy which will have a claims period of either two or five years for each claim.

No payments will be made unless your illness or injury lasts longer than your deferred or waiting period.

The Exeter offer a wide range of deferred periods, from day 1, 1 week to 1 year.

The Income First policy has an own occupation definition of incapacity, this means The Exeter will assess your claim on your ability (or inability) to carry out your specific job role.

The Income First policy also comes with a variety of extra features, including:

  • Employer change promise - If you change career during the policy term and have restricted sick pay, the employer change promise will allow you to make a claim and receive your benefit before your waiting period finishes
  • Flexible waiting periods for NHS medical professionals and teachers - This will allow NHS medical professionals and teachers to receive a benefit payment that will complement their sick pay arrangements
  • Ability to increase your benefit - If your circumstances change (for example, if you get married, start a family, increase your mortgage, or your rent increases) you can increase your benefit amount by 50% or £833.33 per month - whichever is lower
  • Pay no premiums while the policy pays out - A waiver of premiums if automatically applied so you don’t have to pay any premiums while the policy is paying out to you

Income First cost

The price you pay for an Income First policy will depend on a variety of factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Medical history (for those over 42. The Exeter don’t require routine medical evidence for those under the age of 42)
  • Smoking status
  • Occupation
  • Length of payment period (long or short claims period)
  • Length of deferred period

The price you pay will also be influenced by the premium payment type you choose during the application process. With the Income First policy you’ll be able to choose between:

  • Level guaranteed premiums - These are premiums that stay the same throughout the policy lifetime. This premium type is only available on policies with a deferred/waiting period of four weeks or more
  • Age-costed premiums guaranteed premiums - These are premiums that will increase as you get older where the rate that determines the premium doesn’t change
  • Age-costed reviewable premiums - These are premiums that increase as you get older and are reviewed after three years

Reassured can help you compare income protection from The Exeter as well as other leading providers to ensure you find the right policy to meet your needs at the best price.

Joint life insurance

Joint life insurance is when two people take out one life insurance policy to cover both lives simultaneously.

The policy is valid until the term ends or when the first policyholder passes away.

Due to the nature of their product, The Exeter don't offer Real Life as a joint policy.

The Exeter benefits

The Exeter has partnered with Square Health to create their member benefits service, HealthWise.

Members (or policyholders) for both life insurance and income protection can access the service by downloading the HealthWise app free of charge.

HealthWise services can be used even without ever making a claim on your policy.

If you have a life insurance or income protection policy with The Exeter, you and your family would be eligible for the following benefits (separate to your policy):

  • GP on-demand and prescription service - Receive up to 4 phone or video consultations per year from a UK based GP
  • Second medical opinion service - Receive up to 2 consultations per year for a second medical opinion from a different GP
  • Lifestyle coaching - Receive up to 6 consultations per year for lifestyle coaching that targets areas of your life you wish to improve
  • Nutritional advice - Receive up to 6 consultations per year with a nutritionist who can help you with diet and overall health

Terminal illness cover

Like most other insurers, The Exeter includes terminal illness cover as standard with their Real Life policy.

Terminal illness cover allows you to make an early claim on your policy if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and are predicted to pass away within 12 months.

Once the funds from the policy have been paid out for the claim, the policy will come to an end, and you will not be covered for life.

Though this early pay out could allow you to live comfortably for your last few months, for example, to help pay for a carer or to make adaptations to your home if needed.

Over 50s plan, (no medical exam)

The Exeter doesn't offer over 50s insurance, however, this may be a good option for applicants over 50 who have a poor medical history.

An over 50s plan can be secured without disclosing any medical information; guaranteeing acceptance for UK residents aged 50-85.

Reassured can compare quotes for over 50s plans from a variety of leading UK insurers, just contact us today to get started.

Writing your policy in trust

The Exeter offer all life insurance applicants the option to write their policy in trust.

This means placing someone you trust (a trustee) in charge of your policy after you pass away.

The trustee would manage the pay out and ensure the funds are distributed as per your wishes.

The benefits of writing life insurance in trust include:

  1. Avoid (or minimise) 40% inheritance tax (IHT)
  2. Avoid the probate process
  3. More control of your policy

At Reassured we're able to offer a free trust service on the majority of the policies we arrange.

We can guide you through the trust application process, explaining any complex life insurance jargon and answering any of your questions.

The Exeter health insurance

Health insurance, also known as private medical insurance, provides quick access to private healthcare in the UK for the cost of a monthly premium.

Award-winning health insurance with the Exeter is called Health Plus and is available to UK customers only.

Like many health insurance policies, Health Plus provides cover only for short-term conditions that are likely to respond to treatment.

The Exeter offer some flexibility to their health insurance, in which you can tailor a policy slightly to suit your personal needs.

Health insurance policyholders will also have access to the HealthWise online service and will be entitled to a number of benefits including physiotherapy.

Please note, at Reassured we don't sell The Exeter's health insurance products

Exeter life insurance claims

To make a claim on an Exeter life insurance policy you'll need to provide them with the death certificate or an official diagnosis of a terminal illness.

Also, ensure you have the relevant information, such as the policy number, the date of death or diagnosis and details of the policyholder.

To begin a claim you can contact The Exeter in the following ways:

  • By telephone: 0300 123 3201 (Monday - Friday)
  • By email:
  • Online: Claim notification form
  • By letter: The Exeter, Lakeside House, Emperor Way, Exeter, EX1 3FD

Exeter income protection claims

To make an income protection claim, you may be asked to provide medical evidence of the illness or injury that is preventing you from working.

It’s wise to have this information ready when making a claim to prevent any potential delays.

You’ll also need to have policy details such as the policyholder name and policy number to hand.

Income protection claims can be made via phone, email, online claims form or by letter. The contact details for this can be found listed above.

The Exeter in summary

It's clear that The Exeter offer simple life insurance and income protection options and their underwriting process seems pretty straight-forward.

That also goes for their member benefits package of which members can access via a convenient online portal, HealthWise.

Most importantly, The Exeter provides many people with a second chance to secure the life insurance and/or income protection they may have previously struggled to secure.

As an individual, it’s not possible to apply for life insurance or income protection through The Exeter directly.

You’ll need to contact a financial advisor to help you with the process, you can do this using your own financial advisor or be put in contact with one via The Exeter website.

Alternatively, to compare multiple life quotes from The Exeter and a variety of other leading insurers, you can use a life insurance broker such as Reassured.

To compare income protection quotes from the Exeter as well as all other UK providers, you can enlist the help of Reassured.

Compare The Exeter life insurance & income protection quotes

At Reassured, we’ve got an excellent track record of helping those who have previously been declined, secure the cover they need.

We have a dedicated impaired team who understand all the different underwriting processes and criteria insurers employ, including those of The Exeter.

If you think you may be classed as impaired, then it's even more important to compare quotes from a variety of providers.

Reassured can help you to compare life insurance quotes, while Reassured can help you to compare income protection quotes, saving you time and money.

Our award-winning, and FCA-regulated broker service is fee-free; why not compare quotes completely free of charge?

Contact us today to get started on your life insurance journey.


All information regarding The Exeter's product offerings is correct as of 31/03/2022. This is subject to change by The Exeter at any time


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