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What is Life Insurance?

Life insurance pays out either a lump sum or an income in the event of your death. Life insurance is purchased by individuals who want their family to receive a lump sum of money if they die prematurely. The money can be used to ease the financial burden on a family after bereavement.

Below are the main benefits of life insurance:

  • In the event of death, a tax free lump sum of money is paid to the insured person’s estate.

  • It can be a way to leave a substantial amount of money to your family on your death that will allow them to rebuild their lives after your untimely death.

  • Financial obligations can be paid off in full with the Life Cover amount insured (mortgages and other loans)

  • The life insured can leave a strong legacy behind, even if he/she owns very little or has limited savings.

  • The premiums are relatively cheap in comparison to other types of Cover such as Serious illness or Income Protection.

  • The premium can be made to fit the clients affordability.

  • Both spouses can be covered on the one policy.

  • There is huge flexibility with the policy in relation to price, sum insured, and the term of the policy.

  • It is also a way of ensuring that any of debt does not pass onto the children or spouse if the life insured passes away prematurely.

Ultimately, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that should you die during the term of the policy, your family’s financial needs can be looked after.

Learn More About Life Insurance

Unsure if Life Insurance is the right choice for you? Don’t know what is a fair monthly premium to expect? Questions about the process?

We’re here to help! You can use our chat box in the bottom corner to speak to a Financial Advisor at no cost.

We also have frequently asked questions below that you can have a read through.

The price of your Life insurance policy is based on your age, smoker status, and your health. The answers you give and the options you choose will have a direct impact on the premium quoted. Below are some of the variables that affect the price of your policy;

  • The more life cover you want, the more expensive it is

  • The longer the term of the policy, the more expensive it is

  • The older you are, the more expensive it is as the probability of you claiming is higher as you get older

  • If you add serious illness to your policy, it will significantly increase the price

  • Standalone Serious illness is more expensive than Accelerated

  • A Dual life policy is more expensive than a joint life or single life

  • If you choose to index your policy, it will be more expensive

  • Choosing a convertible option will slightly increase the premium

  • If you have any ongoing health issues, the premium may be increased

  • If smoke, your premium will increase by 33% on average

  • Additional benefits to the policy will increase the premium (broken bones, Hospital cash benefit etc)

There are a few ways you can save money on your insurance:

1. Pay less for your insurance by switching to a cheaper provider.

2. For life insurance, you could look at reducing your level of cover, if appropriate.

3. If you’re a smoker who’s looking for life insurance, then look at quitting. Smokers pay higher life insurance premiums than non-smokers, so as well as being good for your health, it’ll be good for your pocket!

4. Another option is to reduce the term of your cover and apply the conversion option to the policy (insert hyperlink). This will decrease your monthly premiums and give you the option to convert the policy at any stage within this term. You will be able to convert the policy up to your 90th birthday with some insurance companies.

The whole point of insurance is that it’s there to protect you financially in your hour of need. But if you’ve been paying for inadequate cover, or been mis-sold a policy, then it’s actually costing you financially instead.

Before buying insurance, you should always take the time to shop around for the best value and never feel pressured into signing up for something you don’t fully understand. If you’re taking out mortgage protection, remember that you don’t have to take it out with the bank that you gave you your mortgage.

Always read the policy terms and conditions carefully so that you know what you’re covered for. It might not be the most exciting thing you’ll ever read but it’ll save you a lot of hassle (and potential heartbreak) if you ever need to make a claim.

Finally, when looking at health insurance, be aware of what the excess on your policy is. A higher excess will reduce your premium but means you’ll have to pay more yourself in the event of any claim.

How much Life Insurance do I need?

The amount of life insurance and serious illness that is required can differ from person to person. It all depends on the following:

  • What age you are. Each age category has different requirements on how much life insurance is needed.
  • The number of dependents in your family.
  • How much you are willing to pay in premiums for the policy. There is no point having monthly premium that is not affordable.
  • The reason why you have taken out your policy. For Example:
  • Is it to clear any debt that you have so that your next of kin will not be left with this burden if you die?
  • Is it to ensure that there is enough money to put your children through college?
  • Is it to leave an inheritance behind after your death?
  • Is it to cover your funeral expenses?

So as you can see, there is no exact figure or amount that an individual should have. In general, we always recommend that you stick to certain guidelines, depending on which of the below categories you fit in to:

Please click below for more information

Life Insurance Requirement

The rule of thumb with someone in this age category is that we recommend that you have enough life insurance to cover all of your loans and €100,000-€200,000 left to your spouse (if you have one).

People in this category are usually young, fit and healthy so the insurance premiums are very cheap. Just remember: the younger you take out your life insurance, the cheaper the premiums will be.

Serious Illness Requirement

The rule of thumb for serious illness cover in this category is that you cover yourself for two times your net annual income/take home pay.

If you could not work or earn an income due to a serious illness, who would

1. Pay for your health expenses?

2. Pay fir your loan repayments/mortgage and general day to day expenses until you are able to get back to work?

The reason for insuring yourself for two times your annual take home pay/net income is that the majority of people are back to work after 2 years of diagnosis. In your situation, serious illness is the most important protection you need as you most likely don’t have a young family/dependents relying on your income to pay the bills.

But if you got sick who would you have to turn to to help you out? Parents? Friends? It’s not a nice conversation to have to have with someone. It is unfortunate enough being diagnosed with a serious illness without having to worry about how you are going to pay for all of the medical expenses along with your mortgage repayments.

Life Insurance Requirement

The rule of thumb for someone in this category is that we recommend:

1. €30,000 life cover per child until your youngest child is 23. This is to ensure there is enough money paid out to put each child through college. It costs on average €10,000 per year for college education and the average course duration is 3 years.

2. Have your mortgage cleared.

3. Have €100,000 cover left to the next of kin to offset the initial loss of earnings for the first few years of your family income after your death.

Serious Illness Cover Requirement

In relation to serious illness, it is advised that you cover in or around two years of your net annual income. The reason for this is that in most cases, people who get a serious illness are usually back to work with two years or else they are not around. The tax free lump sum payment will let you pay for the initial hospital bills and day to day family living costs while you are getting back on your feet.

Please Note that this category of client have the most need for life insurance. The problem is that this category is where the affordability of the family budget is at its lowest as the outgoings and expenses of raising a family are at its highest. Just think – how would the family survive if your income stopped coming into the families bank account? How would the weekly/monthly bills be paid?

Life Insurance Requirement

The rule of thumb for someone in this category it that you have enough life insurance to cover;

1. Any outstanding debts that you may have

2. Have some money to cover your funeral expenses and to give you a good send off

3. f it’s within budget, to leave some money behind to your family.

The average cost of a funeral in Ireland is €20,000 after you pay for everything. It can be tough for your family to have to cough up this all of a sudden if your death is unexpected.

If you would like to leave something behind to your family then it all depends on your budget etc.

Please Note that your premiums when you are in this category will be significantly more expensive as you are a lot older and a lot closer to moving onto another life. Your health may have deteriorated over the years which also may have an effect on your premiums. On the positive though, your life insurance requirements are not as high as you more than likely have your mortgage paid off and have your children reared. So many people are content to cover for their funeral expenses only.

Serious Illness Cover Requirement

It is quite expensive to get serious illness Cover in your 60s. In fact most insurance companies will not even offer you cover once you are over 65. Hopefully by now you will have some savings stashed aside to cover any bills and cover your living costs in the event of you being diagnosed with a serious illness. There is a requirement here to cover for home care/nursing home fees. If you have a budget to pay for the premiums then it is recommended but often it may be advisable to put the monthly premiums into a savings account instead.

Alternatively, you could pay into another type of life insurance that has a savings plan built into it. This allows you to cash in your saving part of the policy after a certain period of time while you are still alive. These are called Whole of Life Policies.

Life Cover Technical Terminology

The term is the number of years that you require your policy for eg 20 years. The longer the term, the more expensive the premiums will be.

This is the amount of Life insurance that is required. The higher the sum insured, the more expensive the premiums will be.

Single Cover - covers one person under the policy.

Joint Cover - allows you to have 2 people on the one policy, but it only pays out on the first person to claim.

Dual Cover - allows for 2 people on the same policy, but provides pay-outs on both people, under separate claims. This means that once a life cover claim occurs the remaining benefits continue on the second person but at a reduced cost.

The more people insured on the policy, the more expensive the premiums will be.

Additional Benefits attached to your Policy

Most insurers or mortgage protection providers offer added benefits and features at no extra cost known as automatic cover.

A lump sum will be paid in the event of death caused by an accident, when the insurer is still processing your application.

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than 12 months to live, your full life cover sum will be paid out immediately

If one of your children becomes deceased while the policy is in place, a sum of money is paid out on most policies. The sum of money differs but is usually 25% of the sum insured by the policy

This benefit allows you the ability to increase the sum of money that you have insured with your ou don’t need to apply for a new policy). You only qualify for this benefit on 3 occasions ;

- if you get married

- if you get a mortgage

- if you have a child

You can increase you Life Insurance and/or Serious Illness Protection by 50% (approx) without having to be medically examined again. This is very beneficial if either policy holder has had deterioration in health since the policy was originally put in force.

Bonus Benefits

The following benefits are offered by each of the different companies and are free of charge. They are available to all policy holders.

With this additional free benefit from Aviva, you, your spouse, your parents, your spouses parents, and your children (under the age of 18) all have access to a designated Psychologist/Councellor 24/7, 365 days of the year.

All parties mentioned above will have access to complementary counseling sessions held either over telephone or face-to-face. These are confidential sessions that can cover any issues any person above may be having, for example;

  • Dealing with Bereavement
  • Changing Careers or any career challenges
  • Bullying issues either at work or in school
  • Financial Issues or stress
  • Any other psychological issues

With this additional bonus benefit from Aviva, you, your spouse or partner, your parents, your spouse’s/partners parents and your children (up until their 23rd birthday) have access to an independent and confidential medical second option service.

If you develop a serious or worrying medical condition for which you have been seen by a medical specialist and you have questions about your diagnosis or treatment, at no additional cost to you, Best Doctors can perform an in depth assessment of your diagnosis and treatment options and answer any questions you may have about your condition.

It’s not just for serious conditions such as cancer, heart attack etc the service is available for any medical condition considered to be of critical, chronic or degenerative nature such as sports injuries, severe migraines or back pain.

The second medical option is obtained by one of the most specialised doctors in your specific condition in the world. There is a panel of 25,000 doctors on this panel across the world and you can get this doctor to review your file, x-ray, medication prescriptions etc. This specialist doctor will then write a report of his recommendations and send it back to you to implement.

Statistics from Aviva over the previous 5 years have shown that, of the policy holders who used this service, 20% had had a change in diagnosis form what their own doctor had prescribed them, and 75% had been recommend to change the medication and treatment that they have been advised to take or implement by their own doctor.

With this free benefit offered to all Royal London policy holders, you, your spouse/partner, your parents, your spouses/partners parents and your children (up until their 23rd birthday) have access to a one to one personal support from your own Nurse Adviser from Red Arc who can help you and your family cope with the devastating effects that illness or bereavement can have. It is important to note that the benefits below apply to all of your family members, (you, your spouse and your children). Helping Hand provides access to:

  • Bereavement Counsellors
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Face to Face second medical opinions
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Massage

Please note that you do not have to be on claim to use these benefits, you only have to be a policy holder.

Optional Feature to Choose From

If you choose a conversion option with your mortgage protection policy, this allows you to extend the term ( the number of years of policy) of the policy without having to go through any healthy screening or examinations – no matter what your health conditions may be. This option protects you against a decline in your health. Most insurance policies allow you to convert their policies up until your 85th birthday with some companies allowing a conversion until your 90th birthday. We always recommend policy holders to avail of this option. The good news with this option is that the increase in the monthly premium with this benefit is minimal (€1- €3 per month extra on average).

If, for example, you have an insurance policy that is covering you up until your 65th birthday and you get diagnosed with a serious illness which is life-threatening at age 63, you can then decide that you are going to extend your cover until your 90th birthday knowing that there is a significantly higher chance of the policy paying out than normal and the insurance company is obliged to offer you this cover, regardless of your health declining health conditions.

This option, when chosen ensures that the amount of cover increases each year in line with inflation. So in effect your life cover amount increases by 3% (approx) each year. However, the premium increases by 3% (approx) also each year.

This only applies if you add Serious Illness Protection to your policy.

This benefit, if chosen, ensures that your premiums will not have to be paid when your are on claim from the policy. So for example, if you are on claim for a serious illness and are off work for a 2 year period, your premiums don’t have to be paid until you make a full recovery and return to work.

Comparing and understanding Life Insurance Policies

We compare policies from all the major life insurance companies such as Aviva, Friends First, New Ireland, Royal London, Irish Life and Zurich. All of these insurance companies are competing for your Life insurance. They have become quite competitive between each other over the past few years. This is very good news for you as they are constantly competing on price. Most Insurance companies now price-match the cheapest premium in the marketplace and some even offer 10-20% price discounts on top of this. Some have also added additional complementary benefits onto these policies at no extra cost

The good news for you is that, we will do all of this comparison work for you with our advanced quotation system. We will guarantee the cheapest premiums on offer in the marketplace. And by the way, our service is 100% free and impartial.

Understanding your Life Insurance Policy

Life Insurance can be quiet confusing at times. From our experience, most people know that they have some sort of life cover but don’t fully understand what their policy is actually covering them for.

There are many different types of Life Insurance. Because of this, it can be difficult to compare policies. It is absolutely imperative that you compare policies that have the same benefits and/or potential payout.

Most people only compare on price instead the total benefits/sums of money payable with the policy.

The best way to compare insurance policies is to firstly fully understand your own policy and then compare to this policy against other life insurance products from other insurance providers.

The main questions that you should ask yourself when understanding your own policy are:

1.What type of Policy do I have (Level term, Reducing balance/Mortgage protection etc.)?

2.Is it a single, joint or dual life policy?

3.What is the term of the policy?

4.What is the sum insured?

5.Is there serious illness attached to this policy?

6.Is it a convertible policy?

7.What premium am I paying?

8.Are there any other rider benefits attached (Broken bones, hospital cash, Accident benefit etc.)?

9.Are there any other complementary benefits attached (Helping Hand facility, Access to Best doctors, Family care facility)?

10.Has my health either improved significantly or deteriorated since I started my existing policy?

11.Have I started or stopped smoking within the past 12 months?

If you would like to Book an Appointment to speak with a Financial Advisors about your calculations, please contact us here:

Other Types of Insurance Available

Income Protection

Income protection is a simple, tax efficient and inexpensive plan that provides you with a source of income if you are unfortunate enough to be out of work because of an illness and suffer a loss of earnings as a result of any disability, any injury or any accident.

Serious Illness Cover

Serious illness policies provide you with a tax-free lump sum in the event of you being diagnosed with one of the specified serious illnesses covered on your policy. There are over 50 specified illnesses covered and partial payouts for over 20 specified illnesses.

Mortgage Protection

Mortgage protection is life insurance that pays off your mortgage in the event of your death. The sum of money that is insured under a mortgage protection policy reduces down each year in line with your mortgage balance outstanding. So as your mortgage reduces, so too does your mortgage protection insurance. It is the cheapest type of Life insurance. It is possible to have single, joint (pays on first death only) or dual Life Cover (pays out of both lives).


Diarmaid Blake and Lorna Egan

Money Maximising Advisors Limited

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