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What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a financial safety net for your family or other dependents when you die. You pay regular monthly payments to a life insurance company for a policy. The life insurance company will pay out a pre-agreed lump sum or regular payments to your loved ones after you have died to help them maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

Why would I take out a life insurance policy?

A life insurance policy can be beneficial if you have dependents who rely on your income - for example to pay the mortgage or other bills. This could be a wife, husband, partner or children. If you were to die during the term of the policy, the insurance would pay out a fixed lump sum to your family. For example, if you work full-time while your partner stays home to look after your children, they would be impacted were you to no longer provide for them. Equally, if your other half can only do their full time job because you provide childcare while they're at work, the insurance policy could be used to cover that cost. The money can help them take care of fixed, ongoing financial commitments like mortgage payments and other recurring expenses so there are no additional disruptions to their way of life.

What are the different types of life insurance?

Different types of life insurance policies work in different ways. Whether you’re looking to protect your mortgage or leave something behind for loved ones, you can find a life insurance quote for a policy to suit your situation:

Level term life insurance: If you pass away during the policy term, your insurer will pay a lump sum agreed at the start of the policy.

Whole of life insurance: This insurance policy covers you for your entire life. The insurer invests your premiums in a fund of shares, bonds, property and other investments until a claim is made. A result of that is that the insurer may increase the premium if the fund performs poorly due to market conditions. However, the amount of cover it pays out remains unchanged.

Mortgage protection insurance: This is also known as decreasing term insurance. If you pass away, your insurer will pay the calculated amount of cover at that time – the amount of cover reduces in line with the balance on your mortgage. If you have one of these, it's important to review it if you move home or increase your mortgage for another reason.

Critical illness insurance: There are many conditions that could hinder your ability to work, but not actually kill you. These could be covered by a critical illness policy. It means if you are diagnosed with a critical illness pre-defined by your insurer (such as cancer, heart attack, stroke or loss of limb), your insurer will pay out the amount you’re covered for. You may have to disclose your family health history when applying so its worth knowing what ailments may run commonly in your family.

How to get the best life insurance quotes

To find the best life insurance, UK wide, when you compare life insurance quotes think about three things.

  • The type of life insurance you want

  • The amount of life insurance cover you need

  • The length of time you want to be insured by your life insurance policy.

How to choose the amount and length of cover?

To find the best life insurance companies for you, and the cheapest life insurance quotes, have a plan for the payout. The more expensive the plan, the larger the amount of life insurance cover you will need.

If you have young children, you may want life insurance cover to help your partner with the cost of raising them until they are adults. If you are the main breadwinner, a life insurance policy payout could help your surviving spouse pay off some bills or debts.

The length of life insurance cover you need will depend on your age, health, and the reason for taking out the insurance policy. Older people and those in bad health can get a shorter length of life insurance cover. Generally, you can expect to pay a lot less in premiums the younger and healthier you are as there is less likelihood your family will need to make a claim on it. Like health insurance policies, if you are a regular smoker you can expect to pay more for life insurance as the insurance provider considers this may decrease your life expectancy.

If you have young children, the best life insurance policy for you may last until the youngest is 18 years old. This way they are financially secure until they are adults.

If you have life insurance to cover a mortgage, find the best life insurance for that with a policy that lasts as long as the mortgage.

How much does life insurance cost?

The price you pay for a life insurance policy depends on a number of things. These include:

  • How old you are

  • Whether you are in good health

  • If you exercise

  • Whether you smoke

  • How long you want the life cover to run

  • The size of the payout you want from the life insurance policy

Competition among life insurance companies means cheap UK life insurance is easy to get. Life insurance quotes can start from just a few pence a day, paid every month. Using life insurance comparison tools can help choose a policy that provides the cover you need, for a cost you can afford.

How do I get the best life insurance quote?

To work out your premium and find the best life insurance quote for you, a life insurance company may need to ask you some questions about your health. You may need to have a medical examination depending on the answers you provide when taking out the policy. UK life insurance companies will want to know your complete medical history and current state of health to estimate when the policy may be paid out and how much to charge in premiums before this happens.

If you have health conditions that could mean you pass away earlier than average, your life insurance quote may be higher. That's because the earlier you pass, the less you will have paid in premiums towards the payout. This makes insuring you more expensive for the insurance company. So they charge you more. It is critical that you be open about any health issues to compare life insurance policy quotes and get the best life cover for you. The last thing you want is for your loved ones to be denied a payout of your claim after you are gone because you were not completely truthful when you applied for the policy. Avoid the temptation of trying to score a cheaper premium by not being truthful about your health.

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