Buying the first Life Insurance policy you see is like agreeing to marry someone a half-hour into your first date. You’ll have horsed half a glass of wine into you and established that they’re probably not a serial killer, but you’ll still have no idea who they are as a person.
And maybeeee it’ll be grand, and you’ll live in relative contentment. Or maybe you’ll soon find out that your beloved views showering as optional or believes Trump is a genius.
The more you know, the better.
It’s why this blog exists! Well, not for the relationship stuff. I’m not here to counsel you on that. For all I know, maybe you like the musky smell of the unwashed, or you also think that Trump is tremendous, really really great, the best ever.
I will judge you, however, if you don’t do the right research into Life Insurance. Why? Well, you could potentially be wasting money on a policy that isn’t worth it.
For example, if you bought a reviewable policy, you could be facing price hikes and end up paying out the wazoo. Likewise, if you didn’t get a conversion option with your term policy and you want to ‘renew’ when the term is over, you could be hit right in the bank balance.
You could be missing out on some nifty benefits too. If you’ve read these last two paragraphs and all this information seems new, then chances are I might be able to help you get a great deal on your Life Insurance policy.
As consumers, we’re fascinated by comparisons.
We love knowing the best, the worst, and everything in between.
And having all the information in the world at our fingertips has made us even hungrier to find out all we can before we make a purchase.
But there’s a downside to this – analysis paralysis – the state of over-thinking about a decision to the point you never make a choice. It’s an easy trap to fall into and a dangerous one when it comes to life insurance as the longer you leave it, the older you’re going to be and the more likely you’ll suffer a health issue. Older age plus bad health = mucho expensive premiums.
If I had a euro for every person who told me they wished they had put cover in place before their birthday or before their check-up, I’d have about €37.
So today, to save you from spending hours on the interweb trying to compare insurers, I’ll do it for you in a quick table and bullet form no less.
We’ll now go through each of the main providers, in no particular order though I think points 14 and 18 are must-reads:
If you add inflation protection to your policy, the insurer will increase your life insurance amount and your premium by a certain percentage each year. Over time these seemingly small differences can have a huge impact on the price of your cover. I’m not a fan of inflation protection as you’ll see here but if you see the benefit, here’s how it works at each insurer:
Here’s our in-depth article on children’s life cover
What’s whole of life anyway?
Royal London and Aviva will give you the first month free but with Zurich you can get up to six weeks free if you structure your policy in a certain way.
Royal London and Zurich will pay €10,000 up front once a claim has been accepted.
This is know as guaranteed insurability and is available at all of the insurers except Aviva.
Zurich Life allow you to convert €150,000 of your cover into monthly payments if you become permanently disabled.
Zurich, Royal London and Irish Life. You can also use these policies to pay an inheritance tax liability.
*Assuming you’re within the maximum age limits outlined in 9 above
We looked at this before in detail in our value added life insurance article.
Aviva are the market leader here but Irish Life and Royal London also offer a medical second opinion.
You can choose either joint life that will payout out on the first death or dual life that will payout on the first and the second death.
Should you choose joint or dual life cover?
This is really important important especially if you have a health issue and you get a loading on your policy. You see the loading is a percentage increase on your base premium so if you choose an insurer with a high base premium, your final premium will be a lot more than if you had gone with an insurer with a lower base premium. Confused much??
An example will clear things up.
You’re faced with a 100% loading.
New Ireland are quoting €20 as their base premium but Zurich’s is €10.
Adding 100% means you’ll end up paying €40 at New Ireland compared to €20 at Zurich Life for the same amount of cover.
Zurich Life and Aviva have a base premium of €10
Royal London and Irish Life start at €15 per month.
New Ireland is the outlier here at €20 per month.
If you’re with New Ireland / Bank of Ireland Life, you may be paying twice as much as you should.
Yes, you can with New Ireland and Zurich Life.
Monthly income benefit is a useful way of guaranteeing that maintenance will be paid on death in separation or divorce cases.
A lot of people will use term cover because it gives a lump sum to the family. But there are some difficulties using term cover
So the monthly income option has the following benefits:
You can also add some Lump sum to a policy with a monthly income benefit. In fact I recommend you do so in order to get the conversion option.
This is available at all of the main Irish insurers bar Royal London.
Only New Ireland offer this benefit, click here to read all about life insurance that can pay for itself.
Yes, yes there is – here’s more on these little known benefits of life insurance
Honestly I don’t know and I’m not going to even check because a lot of the illnesses covered are simply window dressing that you’ve little chance of ever claiming on. Adding ridiculous illnesses gives the insurer the chance to boast “we cover the most illnesses” in the market. How many people do you know have succumbed to Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating disease in case you were wondering).
Here’s the truth:
Eleven illnesses make up around 98% of all claims, and these eleven are:
All the insurers cover these illnesses but some have better definitions, and when I say better, I mean it’s easier to claim for those illnesses.
Aviva’s definitions for heart attack, cancer and stroke are quite strict so I would avoid.
That leaves just 2% of claims that are caused by the other 80 or so illnesses that some insurers cover – as I said window dressing, no real substance, all show.
Steve, come talk to the lovely people.
STEVE WILL YOU FECKIN COME HERE?
Sorry, Steve is a bit shy.
Steve is 40 and in reasonably good health. He doesn’t smoke and is looking for €250,000 cover paying monthly over 30 years. Steve also wants a conversion option. At 70 when his policy expires, he’ll be able to get more coverage without having to answer loads of pesky medical questions. We can see Steve’s future and it’s not pretty. (Fast women, slow horses, and lots of booze = lousy health). Without the conversion option, no insurer will offer him cover in 30 years.
Steve can navigate to lion.ie/quick-quote and fill in his details, and my magic quote machine will spit out his quote.
Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat has nothing on Nick and his Mega-Whopper Quote Machine. Musical coming January 2022.
His quote looks like this:
Now you and Steve would be forgiven for looking at that and seeing that New Ireland is the cheapest and just picking them. I get the impulse. Cheapest = less cost for you in the long run. But cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean best.
So what Steve will do next is he’ll find out what each of the policies includes. Because here’s the thing: each plan gives you Life cover for the next 30 years and a conversion option, but every policy also differs slightly in what they offer.
Now because only about two of you will actually read the policy documents, I’m going to summarise each one in short for you.
With all the insurers, the basic product is the same. You also have the option of bundling Serious Illness Cover in too as an added policy – but that’s not what this blog is about, so let’s focus on the extra bits.
As with all the below, terms and conditions apply. When you read about extra coverage for injury, accidents, what have you, take it with the caveat that the damage (or whatever) has to be included in the individual policy. Some things will be; other things won’t. We’re not going to get into the specific ins-and-outs as we’d all be here until next Tuesday and ain’t nobody got time for that.
A second caveat: the insurers call lots of the benefits different things, even when they are the same thing. Because: confusion! Yay being confused!
⚠ DRY WARNING: the following is drier than a spoonful of cinnamon. Unfortunately, there’s no real spicing it up, though I’ve explained it all as simply and clearly as possible.
Who is this useful for? Someone who intends to have an accident, surgery, and then spends some time out of work could benefit in terms of cold, hard cash. WHO SAID THAT!?
New Ireland is the cheapest rate for Steve, so if you can’t afford more expensive cover this one is a good starter. New Ireland is also the market leader in Serious Illness Cover, so if that’s a big driver for you, you can’t go wrong with these guys.
Zurich is the second cheapest for Steve and comes with an absolute BOAT-LOAD of benefits. ⛵
For my money, it’s the best deal for your money.
This is a good one if you’re in it for the protection while your kids are young, rather than if you care about leaving behind a windfall when you die.
This cover is great if you have a pre-existing condition and aren’t sure about your treatment options. Aviva gives you free access to a second medical opinion from the World’s Leading Practitioner through Best Doctors, and their Family Care is class too.
Irish Life is the most expensive insurer, and while the benefits are excellent, they’re pretty much in line with everyone else so I wouldn’t be in a rush to recommend them to you.
As you can see above, there’s a lot more to insurance than meets the eye. It’s also a bit of a moot point to approach Life Insurance as a one-size-fits-all. Instead, it should be tailored to fit you.
Now, you can read the policy docs yourself in the list below, or you and I can chat, and I can recommend you the best policy for you.
I know which option is easier. 😉
If your head is spinning and you want me to help you figure out the best provider for you, I’d be delighted to help. Simply complete this questionnaire and I’ll be back in a jiffy with a personalised recommendation.
Prefer a quick chat first – I’m on 05793 20836
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