Why do doctors need life insurance?

As a doctor, you may be entitled to financial aid for your loved ones in the event of your passing through the help of employee benefits and government schemes.

This could be in the form of:

  1. Death in service benefit - If you’re actively contributing to your NHS pension, you’ll be entitled to a death in service benefit. This includes a life assurance pay out which will be made to your loved ones upon your passing. Often a multiple of your salary will be paid out, exactly how much will be paid out to your loved ones will depend on what scheme you’re part of. For example, 2 times your relevant earnings in the last 12 months of pensionable membership
  2. NHS coronavirus life assurance scheme - Introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme will provide a payment of £60,000 to the estate of NHS workers who pass away from coronavirus as a result of frontline work. This scheme claims to be made up to and including 30/09/23

While these benefits are generous, it’s unlikely that the amount received will cover all financial commitments for your loved ones.

This is where having your own personal cover can be beneficial, as this policy can top up the remaining funds that your loved ones are likely to need without you to provide for them.

What is doctors’ life insurance?

Doctors’ life insurance isn’t a specific life insurance product in its own right, it simply refers to a life insurance policy taken out by a doctor.

There are many reasons a doctor may choose to take out life insurance and the options available to them are no different to those with other occupations.

Keep reading this article as we explore why life insurance is beneficial for doctors, as well as the different policy types available…

Is being a doctor considered a high risk occupation by insurers?

Whether a doctor is considered high risk by an insurer will depend on the details of your specific job role.

There’re a wide range of roles under the doctor umbrella and each role will have a different level of risk.

The insurer will take into consideration the full details of your job role during the application process to assess the level of risk you pose.

You may be considered high risk if you:

  • Work with hazardous chemicals
  • Work with dangerous equipment
  • Are at risk of serious injury
  • Are exposed to infectious diseases
  • Work in a dangerous environment

Doctors who aren’t considered high risk will be treated as a standard applicant and can secure cover on standard terms (if no other high-risk factors are identified).

Rest assured it’s still possible to secure cover if you’re considered to have a high risk occupation. You may simply have your premiums inflated to compensate for the increased risk.

We have written this comprehensive high risk life insurance article if you require additional information »

Reassured have a specialist impaired risk team who can help applicants who have been declined in the past.

What are the benefits of life insurance for doctors?

Peace of mind

Can help to provide you with peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of financially when you’re no longer around.

Debts

The pay out provided can help to top up your death in service benefit (if you’re eligible for this benefit) ensuring all costs are covered for your loved ones.

Telephone

There are a range of policy options available to doctors. It’s also possible to secure more than one policy simultaneously, if it’s within your budget, to cover all needs.

Health

Additional policies such as terminal illness cover and critical illness cover can be added to a life insurance policy for additional safety nets of protection.

Family Protection

Cover can help to replace your income after your passing to help your loved ones continue their current lifestyle, without struggling financially.

Trusted Service

By taking life insurance out through Reassured, you’ll benefit from using an award-winning service with over 10 years of industry knowledge - so you know you’re in good hands.

What does life insurance for doctors cover?

A life insurance pay out can help to protect the following financial commitments:

  • Mortgage or rental payments
  • Replace an income
  • Household bills and utilities
  • Additional childcare costs
  • Loan or debt payments
  • Future family living costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Provide an inheritance

Exactly what you need your doctors’ life insurance to cover will depend on your personal needs and circumstances.

One of our life insurance experts will be happy to talk through your reasons for wanting cover and provide you with suitable options.

How much life insurance should a doctor have?

How much life insurance you need as a doctor will depend on your personal circumstances.

You may want to consider the following factors when working out how much cover you’ll likely require:

Do you work for the NHS or work privately?

Working for the NHS and contributing towards your NHS pension means you’ll be entitled to a death in service benefit. This means a lump sum pay out will be made to your loved ones upon your passing.

Having this benefit in place can reduce the amount of personal cover you need, helping to top up your life insurance pay out to ensure all financial commitments are protected for your loved ones.

The amount you receive can vary depending on which scheme you’re part of, you may want to check this with your employer or in your contract on employment before taking out cover.

For those who work privately, you may not receive such a benefit and therefore, you may require a higher level of personal cover to ensure everything is taken care of.


Could your household live comfortably without your income?

One way of working how much cover you need is by multiplying your salary by the number of working years you have left until you reach retirement.

This can help to replace any lost income for your household and reduce the need for them to make changes to their lifestyle after your passing.

Your loved ones can budget their pay out and keep up with essential financial commitments.


How much remaining mortgage balance do you have?

If you’re a homeowner, you’ll want to make sure you have enough cover in place to help cover your mortgage balance.

This can allow your loved ones to remain in the family home after your passing.

It’s also wise to factor in more funds to help your loved ones cover additional costs such as water, gas, electricity, council tax and Wi-Fi, as well as funds for maintenance.

Alternatively, if you rent, the pay out could help your loved ones keep up with monthly rental payments. For this, you’ll want to consider how much your rent is and how long your loved ones are likely to need to pay this amount.


How long until your children reach financial independence?

As a mum or dad you’ll want to make sure that there are funds in place to help financially support your children should the worst happen to you.

You’ll need to think about how many children you have, how old they are and how long it will be until they reach financial independence.

If they want to follow in your footsteps, you may want to factor in higher education costs too.

If your circumstances change during your policy term (for example if your family grows) it can be possible to change your pay out amount (sum assured) accordingly. This is known as a life changes option or the guaranteed insurability option, (please note this isn’t available on all policies).

How much life insurance do doctors need?

Enter your financial commitments to understand the level of life insurance cover you need.

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£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.

Source: Moneynerd.co.uk

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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.

Source: Nimblefins.co.uk

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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.

Source: Money.co.uk

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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.

Source: SunLife.co.uk

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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: Daynurseries.co.uk, Primarytimes.co.uk & Savethestudent.org

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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.

Source: Moneyage.co.uk

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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.

Source: Scottishbusinessnews.net

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Your total cover estimate

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What’s the best doctors’ life insurance?

The best life insurance for doctors will be the policy that covers all financial commitments and is at an affordable price.

There are different types of life insurance, each well suited to protecting different aspects of your life. These include:

  1. Term life insurance (level term and decreasing term)
  2. Whole of life insurance (lifetime cover)
  3. Over 50s plan (guaranteed acceptance aged 50 - 85)

The right option for you will depend on what you want to cover, as well as your available budget.

Let’s look into the most common life insurance options for doctors…

Term life insurance

Term life insurance provides cover for a specified period of time (the term). If you pass away during this period of time, a pay out is made to your loved ones.

You’ll typically have the choice between level and decreasing terms.

Level term life insurance offers your loved ones a fixed sum assured.

This can help to protect aspects of your life which don’t change in value over time. This could be an interest-only mortgage or providing an inheritance.

Whereas, with decreasing term life insurance, your sum assured will reduce over the policy lifetime.

This can help to protect a repayment mortgage as you can have your sum assured decrease in line with your remaining mortgage balance.

You’ll need to provide certain key information during the application process, such as medical information, to help insurers calculate your life insurance premium.

Term life insurance is often the most affordable option. Reassured can compare both level and decreasing term life insurance from some of the UK’s leading providers.

Simply get in touch to speak to one of our life insurance experts.

Whole of life insurance

Whole of life insurance provides lifetime protection, therefore guaranteeing your loved ones a pay out when you pass away (not if).

The guaranteed pay out can help to cover your funeral costs and/or provide an inheritance for loved ones to spend as they wish.

You’ll need to provide insurers with medical information at the point of application.

If taking out this type of cover at a young age, it can be possible to pay more into the policy than it will pay out.

For this reason, it’s well suited to those later on in life who’re still in good health.

A friendly member of our team can help you to compare whole of life insurance quotes, saving you time and money.

Over 50s plan

For doctors later on in life, or doctors who’re heading towards retirement, over 50 life insurance (or an over 50s plan) could be a great option.

An over 50s plan provides guaranteed acceptance to UK residents aged 50 - 85.

Unlike most forms of cover, you won’t be required to provide any medical information.

Instead, your monthly premium is calculated using your age, sum assured and sometimes your smoking status.

Once cover is in place, you’ll be covered for the remainder of your life and loved ones will be guaranteed a pay out.

The sum assured with an over 50s plan is often much smaller (between £10,000 - £20,000) and can be used to help cover the cost of your funeral or provide a small inheritance.

To compensate for the unknown risk you pose, it’s likely you’ll have a waiting period added to your policy. This is the first 12 or 24 months of the policy where a pay out won’t be made if you pass away due to natural causes (however, premiums paid into the policy will be refunded).

Find out more about over 50 life insurance by looking at our dedicated over 50s page »

Other policy types for doctors

Terminal illness cover
Terminal illness cover
comes as standard with all term policies bought through Reassured.

It can provide you with the opportunity to make a claim and receive an early pay out should you be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and given less than 12 months to live.


Critical illness cover
Critical illness cover
can be added to a life insurance policy for an additional fee or can be purchased as a standalone policy through some providers.

It can provide you with a lump sum pay out upon the diagnosis of a serious illness (that’s listed within the policy).

These funds could be used to help cover medical fees or help replace lost income if you’re unable to work.


Income protection
Income protection
is an insurance policy that can pay out a percentage (up to 70%) of your income while you’re unable to work due to sickness or injury.

As a doctor or medical professional, it’s possible to secure an income protection policy that’s designed with doctors in mind or has particular terms that meet the specific needs of doctors.

For more detail, we have written a complete income protection for doctors’ guide »


Family income benefit (FIB)

Family income benefit differs to traditional life insurance. Rather than a lump sum pay out your loved ones can receive monthly income payments to help replace your lost salary.

This is an ideal option for long term family budgeting and can help your family continue with their current lifestyle.

Upon your passing your loved ones will receive monthly payments until the policy comes to an end. For example, if you have a 25 year policy and pass away 5 years into the policy, loved ones will receive payments for the remaining 20 years.

How much is life insurance for doctors?

How much you pay for life insurance as a doctor will depend on a variety of factors.

The exact price you pay for life cover will be calculated by insurers using key information. This includes:

These details will allow insurers to determine the level of risk you pose (how likely it is for a claim to be made).

Doctors who work in high risk environments (for example, those who work with hazardous chemicals or work closely with infectious diseases) may pay more for their cover due to the increased risk they pose.

This doesn’t mean it’s not possible to secure affordable life cover.

For doctors working in a low risk environment (and if no other high risk factors are identified) it can be possible to secure cover on standard terms, this means no price inflations are added.


The table below shows pricing examples for a doctor working in a low-risk environment. Term quotes are based on £100,000 of cover for a non-smoker. Whole of life quotes are based on £50,000 of cover for non-smoker:

AgeLevel term (10 year term)Decreasing term (10 year term)Whole of life insurance
25£4.34£4.93£35.96
30£4.94£4.99£39.43
35£6.24£5.17£45.89
40£8.20£6.23£55.48
45£11.67£8.25£67.79
50£17.24£11.43£81.41


Reassured can take your personal circumstances into consideration, present you with information about all of your available options and find you our most affordable quotes.

What questions will you be asked?

During the application process, it’s likely you may be asked some questions about your occupation so that insurers can determine the level of risk you pose.

Being a doctor can be a varied job with many different roles in this field. For example, a GP is likely to pose less of a risk than a front-line surgeon or a doctor who frequently travels overseas to war-torn countries or areas with infectious disease outbreaks.

As well as questions about your general health and wellbeing, you may be asked some of the following questions about your occupation:

  • What type of doctor are you?
  • Do you work with any dangerous equipment?
  • Do you work with chemicals?
  • Are you exposed to virus and/or illnesses?
  • How many hours do you work a week?
  • Do you work nights?
  • Are you required to travel for work? (If so, where to and how frequently?)

Rest assured, it’s unlikely that your answers to any of these questions will result in your application being declined.

Should you write your doctors’ life insurance in trust?

Writing your life insurance in trust can have many benefits for doctors.

It’s a process that can detach your policy from your estate and is available on most life insurance policies we sell at Reassured.

Upon your passing a nominated trustee will be left in charge of the pay out and will distribute the funds as per your wishes.

Writing your life insurance policy in trust has three main benefits:

1. Help to avoid/minimise inheritance tax for your loved ones

Inheritance tax is charged at 40% on anything over the £325,000 threshold. Estates are made up of any property, possessions and money you have, making it easy for the total value to pass the threshold.

The main benefit of writing your life insurance in trust is that it can detach your policy from your estate, which means it won’t be subject to inheritance tax – allowing your loved ones to receive the full pay out sum.

2. Avoid a lengthy probate process

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of someone who’s passed away (and who has the legal right to do so).

This can be a lengthy process, often taking between 6 - 9 months. If your policy hasn’t been written in trust, your loved ones won’t be able to make a claim on the policy until probate has been granted.

Writing your policy in trust can bypass the probate process, allowing for a much quicker pay out.

3. Have more control over the pay out

When you write your life insurance policy in trust you can specify exactly who you would like the funds to go to, how much you’d like them to have and when you’d like them to have it.

For example, if you have young children, the trustee can look after the funds from your pay out until your children reach a certain age. Once they reach this age, the trustee would then distribute the funds to them.

A friendly member of our team will be happy to provide all the information you need on writing your life insurance policy in trust.

What about the NHS pension scheme?

Actively contributing to your NHS pension means you’re entitled to death in membership benefits.

This includes life assurance and family benefits which will provide a lump sum to eligible dependants.

The amount paid out to your loved ones will likely be a multiple of your salary and what you’re entitled to will vary depending on what scheme you are a part of (eg. 1995 section, 2008 section, 2015 scheme).

For example, as part of the 2015 scheme, your loved ones will be entitled to one of the following upon your passing:

  • 2x your relevant earnings in the last 12 months of pensionable membership
  • 2x times your revalued pensionable earnings for the scheme year (up to 10 years earlier, with the highest revalued pensionable earnings)

If you’re a deferred member the amount you receive will be a multiple of your annual pension, which will also depend on which scheme you’re a part of.

You’re still eligible for death in service benefits under the NHS pension scheme if you’re a locum GP (as long as you are contributing to an NHS pension scheme), if you’re part time (sum will be based pro-rated pensionable salary) or if you’re on unpaid sick leave (as long as you are still under a contract of employment).

To find out more about what you’re entitled to you can check out the NHS employee section or consult your employer.

Compare doctors’ life insurance quotes

Reassured can help doctors to find the most affordable life insurance quotes from our panel of insures.

We do this by providing you with information about all of your available options and helping you to compare quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers.

Not only does this save you time and money, but it allows you to make a fully informed decision on which policy is right for you and your family.

We’re also on hand to answer any questions you may have and decode any life insurance jargon, making the process as simple and easy as possible for you.

Our quotes are personalised, fee-free and without obligation. The best part is, our life insurance starts from just 20p-a-day so why not get in touch?

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