In 2011 I started working for a Life insurance provider. Mortgage brokers and financial advisers sold our policies. We also sold Income Protection and Critical Illness policies. We were never really the cheapest and there was always the conversation about “Life insurance is life insurance” – the theory being that they are all the same.
In 2011, that was probably mostly true. There were some slight differences in the terms and conditions, but assuming you answered the questions correctly then ultimately if you were to pass away it paid out.
However, over the last 5 years or so there has been a lot of changes.
How can Life insurance differ?
To be completely honest, I think it can still be said that Life insurance is life insurance and not a lot has changed on that front. However, a lot has changed in terms of the “added benefits”. A lot of the time you can look at added benefits on insurance policies and think you are paying for things you will never use.
I thought it would be a good post to explain how some of these policies differ and how the added extras are actually of use (I know this because I have used some of them).
I have a Protection policy with Aviva, I took it out in 2017 when my daughter was born. The policy came with something called Best Doctors. I wont write too much about it, as you can read more by clicking on the link, but Best Doctors is included in my policy and it allows you to send off medical reports to a specialist Dr who may be on the other side of the world for a second opinion. When my daughter was born, there were a few trips to the hospital in the first 12 months or so. Best Drs gave me a lot of reassurance helped me to sleep at night as it gave me the ability to send off her medical reports to a Dr who specialised in the area she needed.
I also paid for a top up policy called Best Doctors Global Treatment, this part of the policy would potentially (depending on the condition) allow me to send my daughter to the Doctor, it may have covered the cost of the flights, the hotel for myself and my daughter and of course the medical bills (up to the policy limits).
My thinking with this is that the NHS is fantastic, but it is not perfect and it does have its limits, Best Doctors gives you potential to get medical treatment or even suggestions on how to treat illnesses that may not be available on the NHS. Sometimes half the battle is just knowing about the other options.
This is nothing unique, the NHS has 111 and you can call up and go through some questions to get an idea as to whether you need to go to the GP or hospital. However, again, having a young child I have used NHS 111 and we were on hold for about 10 minutes before I realised as part of my policy I had access to BUPA healthline.
I called them up and was through to a nurse within 2 rings.
Those are just 2 add ons that are available on my policy and both have been used, admittedly both for my daughter, but I think that also shows an extra benefit to these policies in that they are not all just for the policy holder.
Other added benefits
Different providers have different added benefits some examples are:
Virtual GP appointments – I think many of realise that getting a GP appointment at the best of times can be difficult. From experience (again, using my daughter), unless we are dying it takes about 4-5 days to get an appointment and even then it is only for 5-10 minutes. One provider offers a 30 minute consultation through something like Zoom/Teams meeting.
Mental Health support – This is something that in the current climate feels like it could be very useful for a lot of people. This can be used for things like Stress, Anxiety or during a time of Bereavement. It will be a consultation with someone qualified to help and then some recommendations on how to help. It may not be quite as thorough as multiple session with a qualified professional, but it is probably better than trying to deal with it on your own.
Life insurance has not changed too much over the last decade. The providers have improved their overall offerings however. Some will still just offer life insurance and inevitably that will be cheaper. But you could find the added benefits are actually more worthwhile than the policy itself.
Thankfully, I have never needed to make a claim on my protection policy, but the added extras have come in very useful and saved me time and helped me to sleep at night.
There is no single best policy, although my policy is with Aviva, there are other providers who have add ons not available with Aviva but some of those policies were not around when I took out my insurance.
We can help you to navigate through the options and find a provider who is most suited to what you want because Life insurance is no longer “just” life insurance.