What are the Best Life Insurance Policies Available in Australia?
Finding the best life insurance policy is not simply a matter of reading a couple of reviews, choosing a policy with a low rate and sending off your application. Finding the best life insurance is a process of considering your own cover requirements and how they may change into the future. The best policy is one with cover tailored towards your needs and comes at a price reflective of the benefits and features provided. An Insurance Consultant can assist you through this process through their ability to compare hundreds of different policy options and find more competitive premiums than you may be able to.
This article will provide insight into how to compare different life insurance options available on the Australian market to help you find cover that offers the protection you require at a suitable rate. It is worth noting that the term "best" should be used very loosely when discussing life insurance policies. Everyone has different requirements and what may be best for one applicant may be extremely different to what is best for another.
- Money Magazine Best Life Insurance Awards
- Steps to Compare Insurance Plans
- Life Insurance at Different Life Stages
- Tips to Get the Best Life Insurance Rates
- Discounts and Benefits to Secure the Best Value Life Insurance
- Tips to Find the Best Life Insurance Company
- Steps to Compare and Purchase Life Insurance
- Tips and Traps for Taking out Life Insurance
The Best Life Insurance Policies of 2014 as Voted by Money Magazine
Below are details of the recipients of the 2014 Money Magazine Awards. It is worth noting that these awards are only to be viewed as guide to popular products in the market and may not necessarily the best insurance options for your situation. It is still critical to review your own cover requirements and read through the product disclosure statement to get a clear understanding of the cover provided when comparing policies.
Best Featured Income Protection Insurance Policy
Winners ranked by a scoring system that awarded points for policy features. Such features included primary benefits and durability (65%) and year-1 premiums (35%).
|Provider||Insurance Type||Product Name||Product Details||How to Apply|
|Income Protection||TAL Accelerated Protection -Income Protection Insurance||Receive up to 75% of your annual income if unable to work. Comprehensive range of benefit.||Enquire
|Income Protection||Zurich Income Replacement Insurance - Comprehensive||
Protects up to 75% of your income when you suffer serious illness or injury and are unable to work.
|Income Protection||Zurich Income Replacement Insurance - Premier||
Protects up to 75% of your income when you suffer serious illness or injury and are unable to work. Additional cover options available.
Best Term and TPD Insurance
The winners were ranked by features (65%) and year-1 premium (35%).
|Provider||Insurance Type||Product Name||Product Details||How to Apply|
|Life Cover||AIA Priority Protection - Life Cover and TPD PLan||Provides a lump sum payment in the event of death or terminal illness, with no limit on the maximum amount insured. Cover is also offered for homemakers, with benefit up to $1.5 million.||Enquire
|Life Cover||TAL Accelerated Protection - Life Insurance and TPD||Your family will receive a lump sum payment to cover immediate and ongoing expenses in the event or your death or being diagnosed with terminal illness.||Enquire
|Life Insurance||AMP Elevate Life Insurance||This policy can be purchased with AMP as an individual, company, trust or as the trustee of a self managed super fund.||Enquire
Steps to Compare the Best Life Insurance Policies Plans
Everyone has different needs when it comes to providing adequate cover for themselves or their family in the event of unforeseen losses. The best life insurance plan* is the one which will have all of the inclusions which suit your cover requirements, offers adequate flexibility and fits within your budget. To help you with this decision, consider the features you need and want, and how they will affect the cost and the type of policy you choose:
- Sum-insured: Different policies will have different minimum and maximum levels of cover applied. These levels may vary depending on your age so it important to review this when signing up for cover.
- Age limits: Each policy will have a minimum and maximum entry age for when cover can be taken out. There will also be an expiry age.
- Ability to combine cover: Most insurers will allow you to combine your life cover with TPD and Trauma cover to give an additional level of protection.
- Additional cover options: You may be able to select a number of additional cover benefits on your policy including Needlestick Injury benefit, Waiver of Premium or Buy-Back Benefit to maximise your level of cover.
- Built-in benefits: Each policy will have a range of built-in benefits automatically covered under your policy. Such benefits may include Guaranteed Future Insurability Benefit, Financial Planning Reimbursement and Final Expenses Benefit.
- Your premiums are based on your age and your health: When you sign up for a life insurance plan you will usually have to undergo a physical exam and the medical underwriter will also take into account your age and your medical history when calculating your premiums.
- Life insurance and pre-existing conditions: Even if you are older or have a medical condition you can still find affordable life insurance cover. Insurance providers will have different criteria for how they assess pre-existing conditions and what conditions will be automatically covered.
- Premium payment options: Most insurance providers will offer stepped (increase with age), level (remain the same) or optimum premium structures (begin on stepped pattern before automatically converting to level pattern).
- Ability to adjust cover: Conditions may vary between insurers around adjusting cover levels. In some instances you may be required to take another medical exam.
- Include your children in your policy: Protecting your family's future is important to you, so in case anything should happen to you, you want to make sure that they are financially taken care of. But, what if something happens to your child? Including a cover for your child onto your policy is vital to ensure financial support should they fall ill or die.
- Benefits: Some insurance providers will offer discounts for taking out multiple-policies, maintaining the policy or signing up for health programs.
- Additional fees: Most policies will have an annual policy fee that is applied. Companies should provide full disclosure to any feed applied.
These are just some of the things you may want to consider when looking at different policies. An insurance consultant can discuss the different options available and help you understand suitable options and any features that you are unsure about.
Tip: Review Your Policy Regularly
If you already have cover in place, you should take the time to review your policy regularly to ensure you are not over or underinsured. Some events that may lead to you reviewing your policy include;
- Marriage or divorce
- Purchase of new home
- Children have moved out of home/become financially independent
- You have retired
- Experience change in health
Most advisers recommend that you review your life insurance policy at least once every 12 months. There may be a better-priced and/or more suitable option available for you.
Life Insurance at Different Life Stages
The graph below shows different life stages and when it may be suitable to take out cover. This should only be used as a guide as cover requirements may change depending on your own situation.
Tips to Get the Best Life Insurance Rates
- Determine an appropriate level of cover: Consider your current financial obligations and how long you may require cover for to determine an adequate amount of cover. You may find that a cheaper policy with less features still provides adequate cover for your situation.
- Review existing cover: You may already be entitled to some form of cover through your superannuation, employer or other insurance products you have.
- Live a healthier lifestyle: Pre-existing medical conditions, smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity can all drive up your premiums (smokers will usually pay double). Live a clean lifestyle to be rewarded with lower premiums.
- Speak with an insurance adviser: An adviser can use their knowledge of the insurance market to help you find competitively priced cover.
- Consolidate existing cover: You may already have some life insurance accumulated across different superannuation funds. Consolidating cover can help you avoid multiple charges.
- Combine policies: Some insurers will offer multi-policy discounts if you take out cover for your spouse or child or if you take out other types of personal insurance with them.
Discounts and Benefits to Secure the Best Value Life Insurance
Each Australian insurance company has their own methods for attracting and rewarding their customers, and some common discounts you may want to ask about when you apply for life insurance are:
- A multi policy discount: When you have more than one insurance policy with the same insurer, you can often qualify for a multi policy discount. For example you may already have your home and car insurance, or your income protection and funeral protection insurance with a certain insurer, so it can be worth asking whether you qualify for a discount by taking out life insurance with them too, as you can usually save around 5% on your premiums.
- Multiple life insurance policies: You can also take out more than one type of life insurance policy to qualify for a discount, for example, if you are a small to medium business owner you can purchase coverage for yourself, your family and your business. These additional insurances can also offer potential tax benefits and savings at tax time.
- Discount for large sum: If you are insured for a large benefit amount, for example more than $1 million, you may be eligible for discounts on your premiums.
- Making annual payments: If you pay your premiums annually, rather than fortnightly or monthly many insurers will offer you a discounted rate. In some cases you can save up to 8%, plus you have the ease and convenience of making just one payment and knowing you are covered for the entire year.
- Health and lifestyle: There are also discounts applied to the cost of life insurance for healthy living. For example if you can show your gym membership or evidence of health screening you can often qualify for a discount of around 10% on your premiums.
To give you an example of the benefits and discounts offered by individual insurers, following are details of the benefits offered by three of Australia’s major life insurance providers:
The AIA Group has been established for over 90 years and now has a place as a market leader, holding over 23 million policies, which offer benefits such as:
- Counselling and grief support: When a claim is made on a life insurance policy, it is because a serious event has occurred resulting in death, serious injury or the diagnosis of serious illness. Therefore, when you make a claim, you and your family can also benefit from 24/7 counselling support if you are insured with AIA.
- Legal and tax advice: While life insurance is in place to reduce financial pressures, there can still be a number of decisions which need to be made about the legal and tax implications and resolutions of financial matters in the event of a death. Therefore, AIA offers legal assistance for an injury, dispute or litigation which may arise.
- In home assistance: If you have made a claim on your life insurance because of disability or illness, then you are likely to need more help with your everyday tasks, and AIA can provide in home assistance for things like household duties, gardening, childcare or cleaning.
- Funeral planning: When a loved one has passed away, it can be difficult to think about the details of planning their funeral, which is why AIA offers assistance with choosing a funeral director, a cemetery or cremation services, and can plan the after service function and catering.
At Asteron there are also a number of additional benefits policy holders can enjoy, in addition to the peace of mind of knowing that Asteron have paid more than $369 million in claims, to approximately 6,200 Australians. With Asteron you can enjoy:
- Complete worldwide coverage: This added benefit means that you and your family are covered for serious illness or injury anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also cover each of your children for a maximum benefit of $10,000 for illness or injury.
- Rewarding loyalty: As a loyal customer, Asteron will reward you by increasing your coverage amount without requiring you to undergo any further medical examinations.
- Advance funeral benefit: Asteron will pay an amount in advance of the full benefit amount to help cover the immediate expenses of a funeral.
- Financial planning reimbursement: If you or your family seek financial advice after receiving the full benefit amount, Asteron will reimburse you the cost of this advice.
MLC is a division of the National Australia Bank, one of Australia’s Big Four Banks, and with life insurance from MLC you will be benefitting from:
- Comprehensive and extensive financial management: MLC not only provides life insurance policies and options, but also offers investment, superannuation and private wealth management solutions.
- Strength in numbers: MLC currently manages more than $122 billion on behalf of individuals and corporate customers in Australia.
- Access to the best doctors in the world: MLC is able to connect you with 50,000 of the best doctors around the world so that you can receive world class treatment and advice no matter what your condition.
One benefit which many Australian insurers offer as a free extra on their life insurance policies is children’s insurance. In many cases you can add your children to your life insurance policy, so that they are covered for:
- The child’s death.
- A traumatic event.
- A terminal illness.
The exact illnesses and injuries which your child is covered for under your policy will differ between insurance providers, but you can generally receive a tax free benefit of between $10,000 and $25,000 for your child’s life insurance claim. Children aged two to 16 can be covered under their parent’s life insurance, and can often convert the policy to a full policy as an adult. Having your child covered under your life insurance policy can benefit you in the following ways:
- Give you the financial flexibility to take time off work to care for your child.
- Provide the money needed to pay for specialist treatments.
- The benefit amount can cover every day bills such as mortgage, school fees or child care for your other children.
- To pay for home and car modifications to accommodate your child.
- Keep your child comfortable and secure while they deal with a difficult time in their lives.
Tips to Find the Best Life Insurance Company
Choosing the best life insurance for you is not just one simple formula, as it is not a type of product where one-size-fits-all. So, is there such a thing as the best life insurer in the Australian market? The answer is no - the products and services that life insurers provide vary between providers and since people's requirements and needs will differ, certain features and benefits will often be more suitable to some people, but not others.
So, how do you determine which life insurance provider is the best one for you? Taking the time to consider which life insurance company is best for your coverage is a key element that is as important as choosing the right policy to ensure you and your family have the best coverage possible. Some key points to consider when comparing life insurance companies include:
- Strength: Check the financial strength and credibility of a life insurance company you are considering before signing up, to make sure that they will be there for you when you need them, and that they will approve your claim. You can check the background information of an insurance company with the state insurance department.
- Credibility: Check with an insurance rating agency or the insurance department in your state to find out more about the background of an insurance company. You can also consult other customers and their agents.
- Finances: The financial situation of the insurance company is also important, and is based on the performance of the company’s stock, their profits and major business decisions the company has made. This information will tell you about the claims history of the company and how quickly they pay out their claims.
- Customer service: It might be worth reading up on reviews from previous customers and industry bodies to get an idea of the insurers level of customer service. This can include things such as their handling of claims, ability to contact etc. Watch out for bias reviews from disgruntled customers if taking this approach.
Compare Best Life Insurance Policies if you have High Risk Occupation
If you work in one of these high risk industries you may find it difficult and/or expensive to find life insurance. If this is the case for you, here are some steps to find cover:
- Compare widely: If you have a high risk occupation you will need to do a little more work in your comparisons to find the most affordable and comprehensive policy. Make sure you compare a variety of different life insurance plans and providers, as each will have a different approach to high risk applicants.
- Look for high risk specialists: Some insurers are also highly experienced in insuring high risk applicants and offer special deals for those with high risk occupations.
- Search online: It will be faster and easier for you to compare insurance quotes if you do your searching online. You can do your research at any time of the day or night, and you can take your time to read through all of the terms and conditions, and carefully compare the options.
- Don’t pay too much: You may be resigned to the fact that you are a high risk applicant and therefore you have to pay higher insurance premiums. While this is true to a certain extent, this doesn’t mean you can’t compare the quotes you get and hold out for an affordable option.
- Understand any exclusions: In some cases an insurer will cover a high risk applicant, while excluding them from claiming on accidents or injuries which result from certain high risk activities. Therefore, make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t covered, and that you have the cover you need.
- Describe the nature of your occupations: Different occupations are given a risk rating by insurance providers. If the actual roles that you are engaged in your occupation see that you are not exposed to a high level of risk, you may be able to have the premium revised. This may be the case for someone working in mining whose position usually sees them restricted to office duties.<.li>
Find Best Life Insurance Coverage if you have Pre-existing Medical Conditions
It is also possible to find affordable and comprehensive life insurance coverage if you have a pre-existing medical condition. To help you find the best life insurance for your specific medical needs use the following tips:
- Know what you want from your life insurance: Think about the level of coverage you want from your life insurance, and why you need it in the first place. Do you simply want to provide a benefit pay out when you die, or do you want to be covered in case you fall ill again, with the same or a different medical condition.
- Shop around: You may need to take a little more time to compare insurance policies if you have a pre-existing condition, but this simply means you are taking the time to make careful and detailed comparisons to find the best policy, with the best inclusions at the best price.
- Work with an expert: If you don’t have the time, skills or knowledge to compare the range of life insurance policies out there, it can be beneficial to work with an insurance broker, who will have the inside track on the policies and insurers who cater to, and specialise in pre-existing conditions.
- Include a letter from your doctor: Have your doctor write you a letter which details your current medications and treatments, and attach this with your application. This will give the insurer all of the details they need to assess the level of risk your pre-existing condition poses.
- Don’t give up after one rejection: You also need to keep in mind that each insurer has their own criteria for assessment of risk, and if one insurer won’t cover your particular pre-existing condition, that doesn’t mean all other insurers will refuse you too.
- Tell the truth: Failure to disclose full details of any pre-existing conditions may lead to your policy being rejected in the event of a claim. Insurance providers will take rigorous steps to ensure you were honest at the time of application.
Steps to Compare and Purchase Life Insurance
Trying to find and apply for the best life insurance may sound complicated, but following these simple steps can help secure the policy that matches your needs and requirements:
Tips and Traps for Taking out Life Insurance
Following are some simple dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you compare and apply for life insurance, to help make sure you are getting the best deal for your needs:
- Review your current policy regularly: Our lives change and move so fast that a policy you took out one, two or five years ago, may not suit your current needs, and the best life cover is the one which tailors perfectly to your requirements. Therefore, make sure you do review your life insurance policy every 12 months.
- Take out enough insurance to cover your expenses: Take the time to add up all of your debts, bills and other outgoings. This includes your mortgage, car loan, credit card debt and other bills, to make sure you are covered for the right amount.
- Avoid inheritance tax: If you put your life insurance policy in a trust, this ensures that any benefit payments made to your beneficiaries are not subject to inheritance tax, and your loved ones receive every dollar you wanted them to get. This process is free, and your insurer can provide you the necessary paperwork.
- Take out life insurance as soon as you can: As with most types of insurance, the older you are, the more expensive life insurance is, so when you see a good deal on life insurance, make sure you take advantage of it sooner rather than later.
- Forget future costs: Think about your current bills and expenses, and what those costs will look like in the future. For example, if you have young children, the costs of their school and tertiary study will be a significant future cost.
- Forget to cover the stay at home parent: Life insurance for the stay at home parent is also valuable, just think about how much your family would have to spend on a cleaner and child care if the stay at home parent were to fall sick, be injured or die.
- Put off taking out cover: Your premiums will only increase with age so it may be worth taking out cover early if required and securing a competitive rate.
- Go with the cheapest policy: The cheapest policy will usually offer a reduced level of cover. Make sure the premium matches the quality of the cover provided.
- Skim over the terms and conditions: Take the time to actually read the product disclosure statement to get a clear understanding of exactly what you are covered for the conditions for benefit payment.
Ready to Take Out Cover? Enquire Online and Start Comparing
Finding the "Best Life Insurance Policy" is not simply a matter of comparing a few quotes and selecting the option offering the lowest monthly premium. It requires each buyer to consider their own situation and take the time to research the different policy options relevant to their needs. An Insurance specialist can assist you throughout this process by comparing multiple policies at once and clearly explaining the different policy features and benefits available. Applicants should remember that taking out life insurance and income protection is one of the greatest financial commitments that they will make in their lives and as such, should be a decision that is made with great care.