Listen to the intro:
Money, money, money.
It’s a rich man’s world.
Or so sang ABBA on their 1976 pop banger ‘Money, Money, Money’
When it comes to life insurance, you might think that price is the most important factor.
Sure, you’ve filled in your details and used an online quote calculator for Life Insurance, and you’ve got a list of insurers with prices listed from cheapest to most expensive.
You’re probably thinking it’s just a case picking the cheapest quote.
As it so happens, it’s not just a case of picking whichever life insurance provider is cheaper.
So what else do you need to consider?
If you’ve landed on this page, you either clicked out of curiosity or desperation.
Either way, if you’re looking for guidance on choosing the best life insurance, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer and you haven’t a clue where to start or a frazzled parent looking at cover to protect your nearest and dearest, everything you need to choose the perfect provider is right here.
If you’re considering buying life insurance cover, you’ve done some research on the web, and you’ve probably encountered some discussions about which insurer is the best.
Can I let you in on a little secret?
There is no “best”.
You see, the best life insurance company for me may not be the one for you…because we have different needs to protect (unless you also have 3 kids under 10 and a Celtic Tiger mortgage!)
The purpose of this article is to honestly examine the 5 life insurance providers in Ireland under 4 headings:
Once you have read our comprehensive review of Irish life insurance providers, you’ll be well on your way to making up your own mind as to which insurer is best for you and your family.
Each insurer tries to differentiate itself on the benefits it offers.
Some insurers will now match the lowest price available in the market and offer further discounts too.
Since 2020, Aviva, Irish Life and Zurich Life do not price match, although Zurich Life offers discounted premiums to brokers.
The discounts change all the time, but we keep on top of them.
Aviva has the quickest turnaround times in Ireland. They are the quickest at approving your application and issuing your policy.
If the insurer requires a PMAR, your application’s speed will depend on how efficient your GP is at completing and sending back the report.
On average, it takes 4 weeks for the GP to return the report to the insurer.
We can print policy certificates for Aviva and Zurich in our office, which speeds up your documents’ delivery by a couple of days.
This is important, so listen carefully at the back!
If you have “a clean proposal”,,, i.e. no medical issues and no family history of medical issues, the insurer will instantly offer you cover.
However, even in cases of perfect health, the insurance company may insist on further medical information due to
In summary, if you feel that your age (40+) or level of cover (€500k+) will be a factor, please get in touch, and we can recommend the insurer that has the least onerous medical requirements.
Finally, if you have a medical condition, run it by us first. Some insurers are more lenient for certain illness than others.
e.g. one insurer would increase your premium substantially for being overweight while another may offer you the normal price.
For me, life insurance is all about the claim.
It’s great getting cover with great benefits, at a good price, with impeccable service and sympathetic underwriting, but this counts for zilch if the insurer doesn’t pay your claim.
Claims are so important; they deserve an article of their own.
It’s the dreaded “it depends”.
It depends on, among other things:
As I said at the start, there is no “best” insurer, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.
I have to hand it to Royal London, they vastly improved their mortgage protection a while back, and it’s still the best in class.
The big change they made is to offer dual life mortgage protection for the same price as joint life mortgage protection. In effect, you get double the cover with dual life.
But what if you’re single, do I still recommend Royal London?
Yes, because they also offer a conversion option on their mortgage protection policies. This simply means you can turn your mortgage protection (a policy where your cover reduces over time) into a life insurance policy (a policy where your cover is fixed) at any time in the future without answering health questions.
Why is this important?
Let’s say you buy a house now, but you want to trade up in five years. But the term on the new mortgage is longer than the remaining term on your existing policy.
You may have to reread that before it sinks in.
Still with me?
Usually, this isn’t an issue. You simply apply for a new policy over the longer term. But what if you suffered a health issue since you took out your policy and now you can’t get a new one?
Are your dreams of a new home over?
This is where the conversion option rides in to save the day
You can convert your current mortgage protection to a life insurance policy with a longer term without answering medical questions. If you need additional coverage, you can exercise the guaranteed insurability option.
Royal London has also made improvements that you won’t notice but make my life as a broker easier, so kudos for that.
However…if you have a medical issue, Royal London may not be the best provider for you. Always check with me before you apply, and I can advise whether you should apply to a more sympathetic insurer for your condition.
By the way, I’m not knocking Royal London for their underwriting; this is true for all insurers. Insurer A may be best for you if you have a high BMI, insurer B best for you if you have mental health issues, and insurer C best for you if you have heart issues.
That’s just the way it is. No insurer is best for ALL medical issues. That’s why we recommend various providers, as you’ll see in the table below.
Zurich has an excellent life insurance product but let’s be honest. They also have the largest discounts on life insurance premiums. When all other benefits are equal, price is usually the deciding factor.
Unlike the other providers, Zurich also offers discounts when you add specified illness cover to their life insurance, making them very competitive and hard not to ignore.
Taking the price off the table and moving onto the most important benefit life insurance offers – the claim, i.e. the probability of your policy paying out. Zurich has a very fair claims philosophy; only in the worst cases of non-disclosure or fraud will they decline a claim. Therefore I’m comfortable recommending them as the last thing I want is for you to have an issue should you have to make a claim.
For the fourth year in a row, Aviva is our favourite income protection provider. And I can’t see that changing until I can vouch for how the other providers deal with claims. Some of the other providers are new to the personal income protection market, so they have only paid a handful of claims.
In 2019, Aviva paid €45,000,000 (up from €42m in 2018) and invested nearly €200,000 towards rehabilitation and retraining programmes which benefited close to 100 claimants.
Unlike the other providers who offer discounts to make their product more attractive, Aviva don’t, and I applaud them for that. Their income protection product stands alone and is well worth a few extra quid per month. To be fair to them, they usually offer the lowest premium in most cases.
You also get access to Best Doctors with all Aviva policies – yet another reason to recommend them.
However…and this is important, Aviva can be quite strict when it comes to occupation classes. Your occupation affects the price of your income protection. There are 4 different occupation classes, with 1 being the lowest risk, 4 being the highest risk. If you find yourself classed as a 2, 3 or 4 with Aviva, you may do better at another insurer. Let me know.
This one is very close, and it’s a toss-up between Zurich Life and New Ireland.
We couldn’t call it, so we wrote an in-depth serious illness comparison article so you can make up your own mind.
For what it’s worth, here’s the breakdown of where we insured our clients last year:
Did you know we’re the only life insurance broker that publishes these figures every year?
What have the others got to hide?
I’m just a broker standing in front of a potential customer asking you to love me.
That probably works better for Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
In all seriousness, if you want someone to crunch the numbers, weigh up the benefits, explain what each policy actually offers, or do it all for you, give me a call on 057 93 20836 or complete this questionnaire.
Life Insurance is never as complicated or expensive as you think!
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As Ireland's leading life insurance broker, we specialise in comparing the rates and policies from the top five Irish life insurance providers and offering the very best value quotes to suit the individual needs of our clients. Our expertise lies in finding a suitable insurance plan for those with specific needs, be it a particular illness, occupation or claim history, we've got you covered in every sense!