It’s the type of question that’ll keep you awake at night, turning over and over again in your head. No one likes to think about it: dying unexpectedly and leaving your family behind.
It’s a rotten thought – but it does happen.
And what happens then?
It’s enough to give you the heebie-jeebies, but that’s also why you owe it to your family to consider Life Insurance for the financial well-being of your loved ones when you’re pushing up daisies.
Life Insurance is a tax-free lump sum paid out to your family when you die. They will use it to replace the income they lose on your death so they can avoid financial worries at a time of great emotional distress. It will be invaluable to your family’s future.
The one absolute in life is that we’re all gonna die. And even that comes with a caveat: give it another century and maybe technology will evolve to upload all us into the cloud so our consciousness will live on forever.
Or maybe someone will crack cryogenics, and we’ll be put into icy pods for a big old snooze only to wake up in the year 3,000 to find that Busted were right and that we all live underwater.
Or maybe the inverse will happen, and this big ol’ rock we call home will keep heating up, and that’ll kill us off before we get the chance to go full Black Mirror. No one tell that orange Cheeto in charge of the U.S.
Regardless of the many possibilities, the truth remains: we’re all gonna die some time, some place. Fingers crossed not till we’re 90 and have hairs growing out of our nose. 🤞
That’s the core reason why Life Insurance exists: to offer personal financial security when this inevitability happens. I’m an insurance broker with 20 years’ experience in the biz and the owner of this here lion.ie website. Today, I’m going to do a deep dive into the world of Life Insurance and all you need to know while researching the topic online – and don’t worry, I’m going to do it in plain English and without the bullshit.
Pull up a chair and get yourself some snacks. This is a long one!
When people think of Life Insurance, they often go to the scams: of young wans marrying octogenarians in the hopes of getting their hands on their moolah. It’s the plot of a dozen terrible movies.
Wipe that image of an elderly chap and his insurance right out of your head. In fact: Life Insurance is far, farrrrrr more useful for younger people – especially those with a young family. Think about it: if you have insurance and you’re 90, any kids will be long grown up and financially dependent.
Now imagine a 35-year-old with two kids under four and the sudden death of their spouse.
Who do you think needs the insurance money more?
Let’s look at it simply: Life Insurance gives you peace of mind and pays out a tax-free lump sum to support your family when you die. Dying comes with a whole load of associated costs (funerals are a money-making racket, in lots of ways) and your income is about to dry up, forever.
If you have a family who would struggle financially if you were to shuffle off, then the sensible thing to do is to consider Life Insurance.
Is it a pain in the arse to pay money to a company in exchange for money if you die? Yes.
Does it make sense regardless? Also yes.
Life Insurance pays out a lump sum if you die (i.e. death insurance, basically), but it also has some other bits to it. Overall, there are four types of Life Insurance. Each of them is useful for various reasons.
The Big Kahuna. The leader. The big cheese. The Fat Tony.
Life Insurance, for the skimmers, is a tax-free lump sum that’s paid out in the event of your death. It can be paid out monthly or in one lump sum. It broadly comes in two types. Whole of Life assurance will payout whenever you die, as the name suggests, while Term Life insures your life for a specific period/term (think 25 years)
Whole of Life tends to be more expensive because it’s guaranteed (as I said: you gon’ die). At the same time, Term Life might be more suitable if you, for example, wanted cover for 20 years until your kids/family are financially stable without you. (Little do you realise that, in 20 years, your kid will probably still be living in your spare room and asking you to Revolut them a tenner for pints.)
Mortgage Protection pays off your mortgage to the bank if you die. You have to get Mortgage Protection if you’re getting a mortgage in Ireland. Because GOD FORBID the banks would have any difficulty getting their mortgage moolah back!
It’s another one of those ‘pain in the arse’ adult things that you just have to do.
This lad isn’t as well-known as Life Insurance, but he’s a beauty all the same. For my money (or for yours, more accurately), Income Protection is really, really worth considering.
Basically, Income Protection is a replacement income of up to 75 per cent of your salary that’s paid to you by the insurer if you can’t work due to any illness, accident or disability.
The average Income Protection payout is around five years – so seriously weigh this one up.
For context, the State’s Illness Benefit is ONLY €203 PER WEEK (CAPS BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT!)
Income Protection covers up to 75 per cent of your salary.
I’ll let you do the maths. I know maths is hard, so if you need some help there, plug the numbers into my magic quote machine and see what you could be looking at.
The monthly premium you pay for Income Protection is also applicable to tax relief at your marginal rate, which helps on the price front.
And as a reminder: it’s paid out if you can’t work FOR ANY REASON.
Basically, Income Protection could actually benefit you without you having to die. So there’s that.
A hugely popular choice among Irish consumers, Serious Illness Cover is like Income Protection’s little brother. I recommend it if Income Protection is out of your budget and you still want some cover if you were to be out sick from work for more than a few weeks.
Serious Illness Cover pays out a tax-free lump sum if you get sick with one of the illnesses in your policy. It, however, is a stickler for the terms and conditions and the illnesses covered. For example, advanced cancer will get you a full payout. In contrast, an easily treatable cancer will qualify for a partial payout only.
If you have kids, get Life Insurance and Income Protection.
If you’re the only person who depends on your income, go with Income Protection.
If you’re a singleton and kids aren’t on the cards, or if your other half is crazy rich, you don’t really need Life Insurance! And yes, that is me a broker, possibly telling you not to buy anything.
Of course, if you’re getting a mortgage, you’ve no choice here, and you have to get Mortgage Protection.
Now that you know what Life Insurance is and you’ve read those last few paragraphs, you might be considering it. Fair play. Life Insurance is one of those adult decisions where you do stuff you don’t want to because it’s right for you or someone you love. Like Sunday dinner with the in-laws.
So why is it worth it? Three words:
Yup. Future financial planning. It doesn’t get more grown-up than that. Again, if you have any financial dependents, Life Insurance is like magic. It gives you peace of mind and potential financial stability.
And I’m not just saying that because I’m an insurance broker.
Life Insurance is perfect for:
That’s our pal Mortgage Protection.
The roof over your head is crucial, after all. Love may build a home, but it’s not going to keep the leccy and heating on. That’s what money is for.
If you’re a renter, you could potentially use a payout to pay your rent or mortgage month to month.
If you love your family (and I’m presuming you’re not a sociopath and that you do), you want to protect them. I have kids, and I would do anything for them – and I don’t even mean that in a mawkish, overly-sentimental way. Something changes in you when you’re half responsible for creating an actual, living breathing little person (or three) and it’s worth protecting.
And sure, the first couple of years, your spawn behaves like a tiny, angry drunk, but they’re YOUR teeny, angry drunk and you’ll do everything you can to protect them. Step one, of course, is to love and care for them. Step two is to provide for them financially.
Life Insurance (and possibly Income Protection) is a big part of that, insofar as having peace of mind should the worst happen to you. If you (or your other half) died, could you manage the financial burden of providing a house, clothes, school, whatever for your tiny, angry drunk? If yes, you can exit out of this article.
If you’d struggle, then seriously think about it.
Income Protection really is the superhero of insurances. And you don’t even have to die to benefit from it. If you’re self-employed, in particular, you’d be an absolute eejit not to consider it.
Look, I know how arse-ways it is that you have to pay the insurers to give your family/dependents money if you die. It’s macabre.
But it’s also potentially life-saving stuff, in the non-literal sense.
And here’s the kicker: Insurers pay around 98 per cent of all Life Insurance claims.
Generally, in the case of the two per cent that isn’t, it’s because the claimant lied or invalidated their claim somehow. (For example, if they said they weren’t smokers and got caught out, or lied about having a clean bill of health. Nobody can stop you telling fibs on your application, but lying will cause all sort of issues if your family have to make a claim, so I really do recommend telling the truth.)
Much like politicians, it’s easy to presume that insurance companies are up to mischief. However, if you play fair, the insurers will too. Most insurers will do their best to pay out a claim. Think about it: if they never paid out, no one would buy their policies.
Well, you have to pay for it. And you might actually outlive your policy and pay all those premiums for nought. It does happen; it’s part of how the insurers make their money.
And as I mentioned, in some cases, such as if you lie on your application or commit fraud, your claim will be invalidated and won’t be paid out. So there’s that. Just don’t lie on your application, and you’ll be fine.
A question I often get asked is if you can cash-in your Life Insurance policy if you outlive it. You can, though only with particular policies to manage this aspect such as Royal London’s ‘Life Changes’ Option.
This is a specific policy where, after 15 years, you can
a) stop paying your premium and receive a lower payout when you die, or
b) cancel your plan and get cashback.
However, the policy is much more expensive, and the amount you get back depends. I go through it all here in this article about getting cash back on Life Insurance.
There is no secondary market for life insurance policies in Ireland, so you can’t sell on your whole of life policy to a third party.
All things considered, on the ‘disadvantages’ front, it’s actually not too bad. I mean, sure, you have to pay for your cover, but the insurers are a business, and they’re not about to give you free money for nothin’.
So now you’re up-to-speed on the four different types of Life Insurance, I’m going to tell you a little bit about the providers and their processes. In Ireland, we have Irish Life, Royal London, Zurich, New Ireland, and Aviva.
The shortest answer here is that there is no ‘best’ Life Insurance. It really does depend on your situation. Life Insurance actually comes with a bunch of useful extras/benefits as well, which can help to sway your decision.
So while the cost is a consideration, you should also keep in mind the benefits offered by each or the Irish insurance providers you can choose from.
The ability to increase the amount of cover you have on special occasions, without having to answer medical questions. Special events include the birth of a new tiny, angry drunk or getting married. The ‘health question’ bit is significant because the cost of your insurance generally links to your general medical wellness. Essentially, this GIO lets you get more cover in the future even if your health has deteriorated since you took out the policy.
A nifty service where you can consult with a doctor about treatment/illness related bits, for free as part of your cover. If you’re someone with a chronic condition, it could come in handy for peace of mind that your current treatment option is the best one available.
This one is mucho grim, but it’s Life Insurance for your kids. We don’t need to say anything else about this one.
THE HOLY GRAIL. If you decide to go with term cover (i.e. insurance product for a set term), snap it up. Actively seek this one out. With a conversion option, you can lengthen the time on your cover without answering any pesky medical questions. Even if you’re 62 and in poor health, the insurer has to offer you cover based on your health when you took out the policy. Basically, it guarantees you cover in the future regardless of your health.
In short: there is no outright best Life Insurance – or even outright best insurer. It depends on your situation. This is particularly true if you have a health issue or chronic illness.
I recommend that you go to a trusted insurance broker (for example me) and ask them to compare all the main Irish insurers and policies for you. They’ll be able to get you a quote from all the insurers. The good ones will talk you through it (in plain English), and you’ll be able to get the best policy for you.
Remember: it isn’t about the CHEAPEST cover; it’s about getting the right policy for you and your situation. Basically, we must ensure we continue to appease the tiny, angry drunks.
In the next section, we’ll look at how to actually get a Life Insurance quote and how it all works.
Don’t stop now. Onwards!
You should probably tell your other half to read this part. You’ll be brown bread, so it’s not much use if you have the information in your head.
In all seriousness, making a claim is reasonably straightforward. Once your other half (or whoever the claimant is) has mourned suitably, they’ll need to get in touch with the claims team and supply several documents, including a birth and death cert. They also need to provide a grant of probate or marriage certs, if it’s applicable.
The insurer may also request a medical report from your GP. The claim will be processed and, presuming everything is okay, it’ll be paid out.
Well, I’m going to start with an easy answer to the question about where to get a quote for Life Insurance products. You can use my magical Life Insurance quote-majig. If you have no health issues, you can fill in your details, and you’ll get an accurate quote.
Please bear in mind that it’s a little more complicated if you have a health condition or dangerous job. You’ll need to fill in this form instead, and I’ll get back to you after speaking with my panel of underwriters. This will all be done under a veil of strict anonymity…as in I won’t reveal your name…they already know who I am.
As for how Life Insurance quotes are calculated, imagine this scene: it’s a dark and stormy day, and we’re in the dungeon of an insurance company. Inside are a bunch of people in bland office wear, with wicked scurvy from a lack of Vitamin D and eyes grown round from staring at numbers all day.
Some are underwriters, some are actuaries, both are responsible for using complex maths and science to calculate how much your premiums will cost. Your premium is your monthly payment, in exchange for cover. You pay your premium = you get protection.
These lovely folk weigh up a bunch of factors to consider the likelihood of you making a death or illness claims. Based on this, they then calculate a premium that I can offer to you.
Well, there isn’t one. However, if you’re in good health and you don’t smoke (smoking is a BIG boo-boo for insurance; it’ll double your price), you’ll be blown away at how affordable Life Insurance actually is.
Let’s look at an example.
Séan (howiya Séan) is a 40-year-old accountant who recently got married. He and his other half are planning on adopting a tiny, angry drunk and he’s considering Life Insurance to protect his little family.
Séan doesn’t smoke, and he’s in good health. He wants a 20-year term of €250,000, to cover until the tiny, angry drunk is a grown-up. His quote would look like this:
That’s between €6-€8 a week for Life Insurance. For €2 extra a week, Séan can get a conversion option as well. This would allow him to buy more cover when he’s 60 without having to answer medical questions so that he can leave behind a lump sum for his partner or child.
Sure when you look at it like that…
Before you go, if you’re wondering whether you should get Term or Whole of Life, it comes down to what you want to get out of your Life Insurance policy. If you’re going to leave behind a nest egg for grown-up kids, Whole of Life is a good shout or Term with a conversion option.
If you want to protect your family while your kids are young, then go with Term.
Ultimately, it comes down to you and your situation…and the price.
I said this up top, but I’ll repeat it because it’s uber importante: your Life Insurance policy should make sense for you and your loved ones.
Just because your sister has €250,000 life insurance over 25 years doesn’t mean you should buy the exact same cover unless you:
There’s a lot I can’t do for you, but when it comes to insurance, I can help you sort it. If you’re in good health and have figured out how much cover you need, it’s as simple as hitting the ‘Get Quote’ button.
However if you’d like me to make a recommendation for you, that’s cool: I’d love to help. Just give me a call on or fill in this questionnaire and I’ll give you a call back and we can take it from there.
I’ll be in touch as soon as I can.
If you’re still not convinced, why not have a peep at some of my customer testimonials. There are almost 1,000 of them, so you’ll be able to see the broad range of people I have helped to get all types of Life Insurance. We are of course fully compliant with the Central Bank of Ireland as one of Ireland’s leading life insurance brokers and all that jazz.
If you’ve read the whole way to the bottom, I hope you found this information useful and that you brought snacks! 👋
Ultimately, no one wants to have to pay for Life Insurance (trust me, as a dad of young kids, I get it!), but if you have a family or dependents, it’s one of the best things you can do for them.
I believe in plain English and in avoiding the makey-uppy terms insurers and banks use to bamboozle you. After all: if you can’t understand what they’re saying, how are you meant to get the best deal?
Want to know a secret? The insurers payout on 97 percent of death claims – so now you know that your family’s future will almost certainly be secured.
Look, it all boils down to this: I think it’s wrong that Life Insurance companies and banks make it so bloody difficult to get cover, especially if you’re in the chunk of the population who has a health issue.
It’s just not fair.
I founded lion.ie because I’m on a mission to make life insurance possible for everyone.
I’ll lay it all for you in plain English and I’ll give you independent, unbiased advice so you can get the right deal for you. I can’t wait to speak with you and to make life insurance a little less drab and a little more fun.
lion.ie | making life insurance easier