What type of Life Insurance Policy should I buy?
Most people have two or three main protection needs that can be covered by Life Insurance (often known as Life Assurance):
- Paying off large debts such as your mortgage in the event of your death.
- Family protection, where you leave behind money for your family to live on after you’ve died.
- Funeral expenses
Different types of insurance policies are good for different protection needs:
The most basic type of life insurance is called term insurance, where you choose the amount you want to be insured for and the period for which you want cover. If you die within the chosen period, the policy pays out. If you don’t die during the term, the policy doesn’t pay out and the premiums you have paid are not returned to you.
There are three main types of term insurances to consider: level term, decreasing term and family income benefit. Sometimes a combination is the best answer.
- Level Term Life Insurance
A level term policy pays out a lump sum if you die within the specified term. The amount you’re covered for remains level throughout the term – hence the name. The monthly or annual premiums you pay usually stay the same, as well.
Level term policies can be a good option for family protection, where you want to leave a lump sum that your family can invest to live on after you’ve gone. It can also be a good option if you need a specified amount of cover for a certain length of time, e.g. to cover an interest-only mortgage.
You might also consider including an automatic annual increase of the sum assured to counteract the effects of inflation or increasing expenses. There are even budget versions where the monthly cost is lower during the first few years.
- Decreasing Term Life Insurance
With a decreasing term policy, the amount you’re covered for decreases over the term of the policy. These policies are often used to cover a debt that reduces over time, such as a repayment mortgage.
Premiums are usually significantly cheaper than for level-term cover as the amount insured reduces as time goes on.
- Family Income Benefit Life Insurance
Family income benefit life insurance is a type of decreasing term policy. Instead of a lump sum, though, it pays out a regular income until the policy’s expiry date if you die.
The upside of family income benefit is that it is easier to work out how much you need. For example, if you take home £2,000 a month, you can arrange for the same amount to be paid out to your family if you die.
As the name suggests, whole-of-life policies are ongoing policies that pay out when you die, whenever that is. Because it’s guaranteed that you’ll die at some point (and therefore that the policy will have to pay out), these policies are more expensive than term assurance policies, which only pay out if you die within a certain timeframe. These are often used when cover is required for funeral expenses.
The good news is that Life Cover in general is now more affordable, and most importantly can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your family will be financially protected in the event of your passing away.
For and on behalf of Cherry Godfrey Insurance Services (Jersey) Ltd
Regulated by The Jersey Financial Services Commission in the carrying on of investment and general insurance mediation business