Tips on buying life insurance

Life insurance is a type of policy which pays your loved ones a cash lump sum if you pass away during the term.

While the premise is simple enough, many people have additional questions, or are intimidated by what to expect when applying for life insurance.

While there are multiple factors you should consider, the process can be easy if you know what you’re doing or have the right support.

Reassured have compiled this handy guide to provide their top life insurance tips below.

Tip 1 - Buying life insurance when younger can help you secure the lowest premium

Personal details such as your age and health are major factors when applying for life insurance.

As a general rule, the younger you are, the better your health.

Similarly, those who lead healthier lifestyles are, on average, less likely to develop additional health complications.

This could result in cheaper premiums (monthly payments) being offered, as it can impose less risk on an insurer.

If you’re considering purchasing life insurance, it’s worth seeing if you could improve your health and lifestyle by assessing your smoking status, alcohol consumption and weight/BMI.

The inherent risk of health complications which come from smoking, regular excessive alcohol consumption and being overweight could add a loading onto your premiums, (meaning the amount you pay each month will be more than someone who doesn’t smoke, drinks within recommended allowances or is a healthy weight).


As an example, the table below shows the difference in premiums for a smoker vs a non-smoker (in good health).

Quotes are based on a level term life insurance policy for £100,000 of cover over a 20-year policy term:

AgeSmokerNon-Smoker% Saving
20£4.14£3.59-13%
25£5.18£4.34-16%
30£7.13£4.38-39%
35£10.32£5.63-45%
40£16.20£8.12-50%
45£26.52£11.67-56%
50£43.27£17.26-60%


As you can see from the table above, the price you pay for life insurance as a smoker is greater than for a non-smoker, particularly as you get older.

If small changes could be made to your lifestyle, it’s worth doing for multiple reasons - including cheaper life insurance premiums.

In addition, naturally your health tends to deteriorate as you get older. The table shows that regardless of lifestyle, premiums also increase as you age. So, typically, your premiums are cheaper the younger you are.

FAQ - When should I apply for life insurance?

There’s no exact age you should apply for life insurance.

However, many people secure life insurance when they reach a milestone which makes them consider the financial security of their loved ones if they were no longer around.

This includes obtaining their first mortgage, getting married or having their first child.

However, it’s usually more cost-effective to secure cover at a younger age, as premiums tend to increase as you get older.

Just remember that with higher premium policies, such as whole of life insurance, you could potentially pay more into the policy then your loved ones would receive (if paying premiums over a long period).

Tip 2 - You’ll be asked lots of questions to help you secure the best deal

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll be asked multiple questions to determine the best life insurance policies to meet your needs.

Questions you'll be asked include:

  • Your age - On average, younger individuals who secure life insurance will have cheaper premiums
  • Your smoking status - Smokers often pay more, on average, than non-smokers
  • Your weight/BMI - Being classified as under or overweight could impact your premiums
  • Your occupation - If your occupation is dangerous or hazardous, you may experience an increased loading on premiums
  • If you have any pre-existing conditions or previous health issues - Depending on your condition and its severity, the impact medical conditions can have will vary from causing no increase to premiums, an additional increase or may result in your application being denied
  • Your lifestyle - This includes your diet, exercise, alcohol intake and hobbies. Lifestyle factors that may impact your health, excessive alcohol consumption and dangerous hobbies, could lead to increased premiums.
  • The length of cover you require - Your policy could be 2 - 40 years in length if term-based or last until you pass away with whole of life insurance
  • The amount of cover required - The maximum sum assured (pay out to loved ones) is up to £1,000,000 for term and whole of life insurance and up to £20,000 for over 50s life insurance

While it may feel invasive needing to disclose all this information, it’s necessary to ensure your policy is accurate and your cover valid.

Reassured’s friendly and professional team could help you secure an appropriate policy that is tailored to your requirements. Simply get in touch.

FAQ - What happens if I have a pre-existing condition?

You’ll be required to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions (a condition that exists or existed at the point of application) as it could affect your cover.

Conditions are usually split between ongoing/manageable conditions and more serious/potentially life-threatening conditions. However, the list of pre-existing illnesses can vary, or be categorised differently between providers.

It could still be possible for many to secure cover with pre-existing conditions.

Reassured have a specialist impaired life insurance team on hand to help applicants who have previously been declined. Simply contact us to see if we can help you secure some form of cover.

Tip 3 - Check your current financial situation

To determine how much life insurance you require, look at your financial commitments and any financial protection you may already have.

If you have savings, death in service benefit from your employment or another form of insurance if you were to pass away, factor this into your level of cover.

It’s important to ensure you’re only covered for what your loved ones require if you pass away. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying a higher premium than is necessary.

Life insurance could help your family to cover:

Mortgage

Your mortgage - The average mortgage debt in the UK is £142,755[1]. If you were not around, could your family afford to continue covering the monthly repayments?

Debts

Outstanding debts - The average total debt per UK household is £65,510[2], which can include credit card debt, financing, or car repayments.

Re payment mortgage house

Household bills - On average, a UK household spends £2,907 per month to cover living expenses[3]. Could your utilities, council tax and other payments still be paid?

Family Protection

Childcare costs - It can cost, on average, up to £285.21 per week to send a child to nursery for 50 hours[4]. Life insurance could potentially help continue paying these fees.

Policy Term

Daily living costs - This can include food, leisure activities and transportation.

Funeral

Your funeral - The average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £3,953[5]. A life insurance pay out can help alleviate your loved ones of this expense.

Inhertiance

Inheritance - 1 in 10 UK residents have no savings at all. An inheritance could provide your loved ones with a cash gift to allow them to live a more financial comfortable life[6].

It’s also important to check your monthly budget to determine how much you can afford. If policy premiums are unpaid, your policy would be terminated, and you would no longer be covered.

If you find the premium for your required level of cover is too high, you could reduce the sum assured in order to lower the premium to an affordable monthly amount. You’ll have to assess whether this is the right decision for your circumstances.

Our helpful life insurance calculator below can help you establish how much cover you need:

FAQ - Do life insurance policies always pay out?

In the UK, the vast majority of life insurance policies are paid out.

In 2021, 97.3% of all term life insurance policies were paid out, with 99.99% of whole of life insurance policies being paid out[7].

The main reasons life insurance policies won’t pay out are the following:

  1. Non-disclosure - This can be intentionally omitting or providing false information on an application
  2. Contestability clause - Insurers can legally obtain additional information about a policyholder’s death if necessary
  3. Suicide clause - Most life insurance policies will only cover suicide after a set period. In certain circumstances they may contain an exclusion for suicide

Term-based life insurance expires after the cover period finishes, meaning it’s possible to outlive your policy. Any claims made after the policy’s expiry won’t be successful.

Any policy with outstanding premiums may also not pay out to your loved ones.

Furthermore, if your death is through a condition which has been excluded on your policy, your loved ones may not receive the sum assured.

However, rest assured that the majority of life insurance policies pay out.

Reassured can help you compare quotes from providers with high pay out rates (for example, in 2022, Aviva paid out 99.4% of all life insurance claims[8]).

Life Insurance Calculator

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

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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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Tip 4 - Consider the most relevant policy for you

Once you’ve established how much cover you require, you need to determine the best policy type for your needs.

Choosing the right policy to meet your needs is essential in securing the financial future of your loved ones.

At Reassured, we can help you compare the following policies:

Level term life insurance tips

Life insurance which pays a fixed lump sum if you pass away during its term.

  • Fixed lump sum pay out (within term)
  • Term length predefined (up to 40 years)
  • Includes terminal illness cover
  • Critical illness cover can be added (for an additional cost)
  • Medical information required
  • From as little as 20p-a-day

Can help to cover an interest-only mortgage, other large debts and family living costs.

Decreasing term life insurance tips

A product which pays a lump sum which decreases over the policy’s term.

  • Decreasing lump sum pay out (within term)
  • Term length predefined (up to 40 years)
  • Includes terminal illness cover
  • Critical illness cover can be added (for an additional cost)
  • Medical information required
  • From as little as 20p-a-day ¥

Can help to cover a repayment mortgage or can well suited to those on a tight budget.

Whole of life insurance tips

A policy which pays out regardless of when you pass away.

  • Cover lasts for life
  • Guaranteed fixed lump sum pay out when you’ve passed away
  • Terminal illness cover not included
  • Critical illness cover can’t be added
  • Maximum sum assured available is £1,000,000 (depending on personal circumstances)
  • Medical information required
  • Can be secured through Reassured from 27p-a-day ±

Can help to cover funeral costs and provide an inheritance due to guaranteed pay out.

Over 50s life insurance tips

A policy which requires no medical information and is guaranteed to UK residents aged 50 - 85.

  • Guaranteed lump sum pay out when you’ve passed away
  • Guaranteed acceptance for UK residents aged 50 - 85
  • Terminal illness included with certain providers
  • Critical illness cover can’t be added
  • Maximum sum assured £20,000 (depending on circumstances)
  • No medical information required
  • Offers from 20p-a-day +

Can help to cover funeral costs and provide a small inheritance.

All policy premiums through Reassured are agreed at the point of application and are fixed throughout the policies lifetime.

Due to the guaranteed nature of life assurance products, (whole of life insurance and over 50s life insurance) premiums can be higher on these products.


The below tables show examples of quotes based on a non-smoker, in good health and £100,000 of cover:

AgeLevel term life insurance cost per month (20-year term)Decreasing term life insurance cost per month (20-year term)Whole of life insurance cost per month
20£3.59£3.50£64.62
25£4.34£3.50£71.07

30

£4.38£3.85£79.20
35£5.63£4.50£95.65
40£8.12£5.39£114.64
45£11.67£7.61£133.90
50£17.26£11.20£144.03


The below table shows the cost of over 50s life insurance. Quotes are based on a non-smoker for £10,000 cover (unless otherwise stated):

AgeOver 50s life insurance cost per month
50£32.30
55£37.07
60£41.91
65£50.58
70£67.01
75£75 (for £7,669 of cover)
80£75 (for £4,634 of cover)


It’s also important to consider whether a product has terminal illness cover included or if critical illness cover can be added and whether you require this on your policy:

Critical illness cover - A type of cover which provides a cash lump sum if you have a serious, life changing illness which isn’t terminal.

This usually covers around 30 critical illnesses, including cancer, heart attacks and strokes. However, the exact list of illnesses can vary between providers.

A claim can be made to help cover additional care costs, home adaptations and quality of life changes. The policy expires upon a successful claim.

This can be included with term-based products for an additional cost, or purchased separately through some providers.

Terminal illness cover - Allows you to make an early claim if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal condition which has given you less than 12 months to live. The funds received can help to cover end-of-life care costs and other requirements.

Successful terminal illness claims terminate the policy. This is included as standard with term-based products and can be added to over 50s life insurance with some providers.

FAQ - What’s the difference between term life insurance and whole of life insurance?

Term life insurance will only last for a set period and will expire once this period ends.

It includes terminal illness cover and can include critical illness cover for an additional cost.

Because the pay out is not guaranteed, as your cover may expire before you pass away, premiums are often significantly cheaper than whole of life policies.

Whole of life insurance (a form of life assurance) lasts until you pass away, guaranteeing a pay out, and doesn’t include critical or terminal illness cover.

Tip 5 - Don’t lie on your policy

It’s essential to complete your application accurately in order for your policy to be valid.

You should always disclose any pre-existing conditions, family medical history, or lifestyle factors, such as whether you smoke.

If you intentionally provide false information or withhold details, this is known as “intended non-disclosure”.

As well as being a form of insurance fraud, it can prevent a pay out from being made and can invalidate your policy.

For example, if you say you don’t smoke and then die of a smoking related illness, your insurer will likely need to further investigate your cause of death.

If the insurer found that you lied, the claim would be unsuccessful, your policy would become void, and your loved ones would receive nothing - wasting your selfless investment.

Our friendly team can walk you through every step of the process and answer all your questions, ensuring the application is completed correctly.

If you’re worried about your pre-existing condition impacting your life insurance options, our dedicated specialist impaired team may be able to help.

FAQ - What happens if I provide inaccurate answers?

Providing inaccurate answers can invalid your life insurance policy, meaning a pay out could be denied when the time comes.

If you've unintentionally provided incorrect information, or missed something, it’s important to notify your insurer as soon as possible. Your cover might not reflect your circumstances if you pass away before informing them.

If you’ve intentionally provided inaccurate information, or left important details off, a claim made on your policy will be unsuccessful and your policy would be terminated.

Tip 6 - Write your policy in trust

Writing your life insurance in trust is a free process which puts someone in charge of your life insurance policy once you’ve passed away (a trustee).

Most people will choose someone they trust (who is over 18 and has a UK bank account) who can delegate the sum assured as per policy holders wishes once they’ve passed away - similar to a Will.

Any estate that is valued above £325,000 if you’re single, or £650,000 if married or widowed, is subject to 40% inheritance tax.

Your estate is comprised of your home, savings, any land you own, physical assets including jewellery and your life insurance.

For example, if the sum assured on your policy is valued at £100,000, this would increase the value of your estate by £100,000.

By writing the policy in trust, this separates the policy from your estate. This means you can avoid/minimise inheritance tax for your loved ones, allowing them to receive more of the intended life insurance sum.

Your executor will need to confirm they are in the position to legally administer your estate. This is known as probate.

This can take an average of 6 - 9 months to resolve and for beneficiaries to receive their part of the money.

Writing a policy in trust can result in claims being potentially made as soon as a death certificate is produced. This results in a lengthy probate process being avoided/minimised and any money being received quicker.

Reassured can help you write most policies in trust, free of charge. Simply contact us and our friendly, dedicated trust service team can see if your policy is eligible.

FAQ - Does life insurance count as an asset?

Yes, life insurance counts as an asset which contributes to your estate.

However, writing your policy in trust detaches it from the rest of your estate and can help to avoid/minimise inheritance tax paid on the sum assured.

Tip 7 - Consider a joint life insurance policy

A joint life insurance policy covers two people under the same policy.

This can make things simpler for a couple, as they’re only required to pay one premium between them.

You’ll need to put both you and your partners information on the application. Premium prices are then determined by how much risk you impose on the insurer.

Risk factors for both people on a joint policy are taken into consideration. For instance, if one person had a pre-existing condition but the other didn’t, the price would still be increased due to the condition.

On average, if both people on the policy have a similar age, health and smoking status, they could save money through joint life insurance.


The table below depicts the cost of two single policies and a joint policy.

Quotes are based on non-smokers in good health, for a level term policy with a 20-year term length and £100,000 of cover:

AgeTwo single policiesJoint policy% Saving
20£7.18£5.30-26%
25£8.68£6.34-27%
30£8.76£7.70-12%
35£11.26£10.38-8%
40£16.24£14.72-9%
45£23.34£21.55-8%
50£34.52£32.89-5%


It’s important to note that once one person has passed away and a claim is made, the policy is terminated.

This leaves the remaining person on the joint policy with no life insurance cover, meaning they would require a new policy.

It’s also important to determine whether it’s more cost-effective, in the long run, to secure two single policies (to provide two separate pay outs) or joint life insurance (which may require an additional policy at a later stage).

FAQ - Is it better to have joint life insurance?

This depends on what’s most important to you when taking out a policy.

If you’re looking for the cheapest quote, then joint life insurance may be sufficient for your needs. However, two single policies could result in two pay outs once you’ve both passed away.

It should also be noted that joint life insurance policies aren’t very flexible. If you and your partner divorce, it’s unlikely a joint policy can be split - something which doesn’t impact two separate policies.

Tip 8 - Consider using a life insurance broker

It can be difficult and time-consuming looking for the best available life insurance deal. However, it’s essential to compare as many quotes as possible to find the policy which suits you.

This is why you should consider using a life insurance broker, like Reassured.

Not only can Reassured save you time but we’re also able to compare quotes from some of the UK’s best life insurance providers and smaller specialists. Furthermore, we can also personalise all quotes to your individual needs.

You’re under no-obligation to accept any of these quotes and, best of all, quotes are fee-free.

If you’re struggling to get your head around the application process, Reassured can assist you with its completion and ensure all your details are correct.

Our priority is to find the right policy for you, we do this by providing all the information you require and allowing you to make an informed choice.

Our UK based call centres will be happy to assist you with finding a policy. Simply contact us.

FAQ - What is the best strategy when shopping for life insurance?

When shopping for life insurance it’s essential to compare quotes from multiple providers.

Talking to a life insurance broker like Reassured can help you find an array of personalised quotes to meet your needs.

If you haven’t quite determined how much cover you need or which policy is best for you, Reassured can provide all the information to help you make an informed decision.

Did you know, it’s also now possible to buy life insurance online through Reassured? This gives you complete control over when and how you buy your life cover.

Head over to our dedicated buy life insurance online page to find out more.

Tip 9 - Ensure you fully understand the policy

Before you buy your policy, it’s important that you understand all the information.

If there are aspects or jargon that you’re unfamiliar with, make sure you ask for clarification before agreeing to a policy.

Similarly, it’s worth checking what’s included and not included on your policy.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, or family history of one, it’s worth confirming if these are covered.

If they weren’t and you passed away due to this condition, your loved ones wouldn’t be entitled to a pay out.

At Reassured, we can translate any jargon on the application to help you understand what’s being asked. We’re also on hand to answer any questions you may have throughout the process, including the policy inclusions.

FAQ - What should I do if I have questions about my life insurance?

Talk to your insurer or broker if you used one, who'll be able to answer any questions relating to your policy.

When choosing Reassured as your broker, you’ll benefit from our UK based and award-winning call centres.

We’re also rated “Excellent” with over 65,000 reviews on Trustpilot.

Tip 10 - Make sure you review your policy periodically

Once active, it’s important to review your policy if any major changes happen in your life.

This can include your marital status, obtaining a mortgage, additional dependents, or if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition.

While you’re not obliged to inform your life insurance provider about these changes, it’s worth checking to see if the level of cover you have is still suitable to meet your new circumstances.

For example, if you move to a bigger home, you may find that your current sum assured isn’t sufficient to cover your new mortgage if something was to happen to you.

In situations like these, there are two options. You can either purchase new life insurance which reflects your current situation, or you can check if your insurer has a special events (or guaranteed insurability) clause.

This clause gives you the option to make amends to your existing policy to accommodate these new changes, without the need to provide additional medical information.

This could allow you to change the beneficiaries on your policy, the sum assured, or the length of the term.

Please note that not all providers offer this option. If your provider doesn’t, you may need to take out a new policy to replace your old one, or have the difference covered with an additional policy.

You can have more than one life insurance policy, however, this will also result in multiple premiums. Review your policy periodically to ensure it still meets your needs.

Reassured can help you to secure a life insurance policy which includes a special events clause, simply get in touch to find out more.

FAQ - Can I change the cover if I need to?

You’ll need to check with your provider if your policy has a special events clause.

If it doesn’t, you may need to cancel your existing policy and replace it with a new policy or you could set up an additional policy to cover your new life changes.

Life insurance tips (do's and don'ts)

The below table gives a quick summary of what you should and shouldn’t do when applying for life insurance:

DO'sDONT's
Only take out the amount of cover you needLie on your application
Take out life insurance as young as you canTake out the first policy you find - shop around
Quit smoking and be active to get the best dealsSet up a policy with an unaffordable premium
Work out in advance why you need coverMiss paying the premiums
Check what current financial protection you have (such as death in service benefit through your employer)Take out a policy you don’t fully understand
Make sure you fully understand the policy and ask questionsIgnore your policy once it’s been set up
Compare quotes to find the best deal
Review your cover regularly

Secure your life insurance through Reassured

We hope you now feel more confident about what to expect and what to do when applying for life insurance.

Why not contact Reassured to compare life insurance quotes from top UK insurers?

Not only can we help you to compare quotes but we can also provide you with all the information you need to make a fully informed decision about your life insurance.

Our dedicated team can walk you through the whole application process and can assist you every step of the way.

We’ll provide you personalised quotes which are no-obligation and completely fee-free.

The best part is, life insurance through Reassured starts from just 20p-a-day. Simply get in touch.

Sources:

[1] https://www.finder.com/uk/life-insurance-statistics

[2] https://themoneycharity.org.uk/money-statistics/

[3] https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/average-uk-household-budget

[4] https://www.daynurseries.co.uk/advice/childcare-costs-how-much-do-you-pay-in-the-uk

[5] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs/

[6] https://yourmoney.lumio-app.com/uk-savings-statistics

[7] https://www.abi.org.uk/news/news-articles/2022/05/payouts-for-bereavement-illness-and-injury-claims/

[8] https://connect.avivab2b.co.uk/adviser/articles/news/protection/Our-2022-individual-protection-claims-results/

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