A policy which will pay your dependants a lump sum or regular payments if you die unexpectedly.
Term life insurance
There are two main types of term life insurance: level term and decreasing term. Increasing term is also useful in specific situations, but it is less commonplace. This type of Life Insurance will pay out a lump sum.
Decreasing term insurance is often used to cover large debts, e.g. mortgages, where the outstanding amount decreases over time, as you pay it back.
Increasing term is the opposite: the value increases over the life of the policy.
Level term insurance will cover you for a set amount, over a specific period of time, such as 10 or 25 years.
Mortgage protection insurance
A type of term life insurance where the level of cover decreases over the term of the policy. It is mainly used to cover mortgage repayments if you die unexpectedly.
Whole of life insurance
A type of life insurance which covers you for the rest of your life, not a set length of time. It is usually significantly more expensive than fixed term insurance as a payment is guaranteed.
Joint life insurance
Some couples choose to take out a joint life insurance policy. This can result in cheaper monthly payments, but will only pay out once. So if one person dies unexpectedly the surviving partner would no longer be covered.
Critical illness cover
Provides cover if you get a specific type of life changing condition, these include the main 3 conditions of Heart Attack, Cancer and Stroke depending on the provider and the policy can cover a wide range of other illnesses too, though this can significantly vary in cost the more comprehensive the list of illnesses covered.
Family income benefit (or ‘FIB’)
Is a slightly different type of life insurance. Unlike traditional policies that pay out a lump sum, family income benefit provides beneficiaries with a regular, fixed, tax-free income.
Income protection insurance
Designed to support you financially if you can’t work due to illness or injury and your income drops. Particularly relevant for anyone self-employed who wouldn’t get sick pay or people who wouldn’t have funds past any period of sick pay, to cover their mortgage or other bills. You can choose terms that will take you towards retirement and provide you protection from long term illness or injury.
Short-term income protection insurance
This type of policy pays a monthly sum, but only for a set period of time (usually 1, 2 or 5 years) whereas standard income protection insurance will pay from the point where you lose your source of income due to illness or injury, until the end of the term of the policy.
If you are employed, you might find you have some workplace benefits, such as private medical insurance, sick pay or type of life insurance, sometimes called ‘death in service’
Death in service benefit
If you are employed, your work contract might include a “death in service benefit”. This means your employer will pay out a multiple of your salary to your beneficiary, if you die unexpectedly.
Some information that may also help:
Premium. Insurance policies are usually paid for in monthly payments called premiums.
Term. The term of an insurance policy is the amount of time it lasts. Terms can range from just a few years, to the duration of your mortgage commitment.
Beneficiary. If you have life insurance and die unexpectedly, a tax-free lump sum will be paid out to the person of your choice. This person is called a “beneficiary”. In most cases, people pick their partner or children.
Sum insured. The amount of money your insurance company will pay out. For example, if you die unexpectedly five years into a 20 year life insurance policy, your company will pay a pre-agreed sum to your beneficiary.
Waiver of premium. If you are too ill to work and can’t afford your monthly premiums, a waiver of premium option means you would still be covered. Not all insurance policies offer this, so make sure you ask.
Existing medical conditions. Any existing or previous medical conditions which you have (or had in the past) when you take out your insurance policy, sometimes they will cause your premium to be higher, sometimes they will have no impact, but it is important to be honest, or when it comes to claims, the insurance company may not pay out if you withheld information.