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Life insurance

Compare life insurance quotes from a range of providers to find a policy that could give your loved ones a lump sum when you die.

Life insurance

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Last updated: 19 January 2021

What is life insurance?

Life is uncertain and anything can happen. We should be prepared for the worst, just in case.

The best life insurance can give you peace of mind, because it will give your loved ones a payout if you die during the policy’s term. Having a lump sum would help your family manage the finances when you’re gone.

Do you need life insurance?

Payouts from life insurance companies can help cover any financial commitments you have, which may fall on your family if you die.

They could use the payout for mortgage payments, school or university fees. Or it could be used for repaying outstanding debts and recurring expenses. Otherwise, it could just be money for them to live off or enjoy.

Once you’ve decided whether you need life insurance, you can start looking for the best life insurance for your needs.

How does a life insurance policy work?

Life insurance pays out a lump sum payment to your family, or whoever you name on the policy, if you pass away during its term.

For the lump sum to be paid, you’ll need to meet the provider’s terms and conditions and pay your monthly premiums.

The best life insurance, UK wide, usually only covers you for death. You’ll need a different type of income protection – such as critical illness cover – if you want cover for illness or disability.

Every life insurance policy has its own terms and exclusions. But even the best life insurance companies usually don’t pay out if you die due to suicide, a drug overdose or as a result of a risky or reckless act.

When you compare life insurance, you’ll be able to find life insurance quotes for the life cover you're looking for.

Which type of cover is the best life insurance?

There are several types of life insurance. They offer different levels of cover to suit your needs.

You’ll need to find out about each to work out which type of cover is the best life insurance for you. Some of the most common types are:

Level term life insurance: This is the simplest life cover insurance. You choose the amount and policy term at the start. It pays out a fixed amount, regardless of when a claim is made, as long as it’s within the term of the policy.

Decreasing term life insurance: With this policy, the amount of cover decreases over time. It’s generally the best life insurance to cover debts like mortgages, which reduce over time. For this reason, it’s sometimes called ‘mortgage life insurance’. It’s usually cheaper than level term insurance and a good option if you’re comfortable with the amount of cover decreasing over time, although the premiums stay the same throughout the term.

Critical illness life cover: This insurance can be added to a life insurance policy. It covers you if you’re seriously ill or are diagnosed with a severe medical condition during the policy’s term. In most cases, critical illness cover pays out a fixed lump sum. The payout can be used to pay for private medicine, a holiday, or to help your family financially during your illness, especially if you can’t work.

Over 50s life insurance: This is for people aged 50 to 80 years old. With over 50s life cover, you don’t have to give a medical history. Anyone in the age range is guaranteed to be accepted. You pay for this kind of life insurance through fixed premiums until you’re 85 or 90, depending on the provider. After that, the premiums end, even though you’re covered until you die. Over 50s life insurance usually comes with a qualifying period that ranges from 12 to 24 months. If you pass away during this period, your family won’t get the lump sum payout, but the premiums you paid in will be refunded to them.

Whole of life insurance: As the name suggests, this kind of insurance covers you for your whole life. You pay a premium each month and it pays out a fixed lump sum when you pass away. With whole life insurance, the insurer invests your premiums into a fund. It spreads the investment across stocks, bonds, property and cash, and pays out from the same fund when you claim. But remember, your premiums might increase to cover the payout, if the investment fund performs poorly. But the amount of cover you receive will be the same.

Joint life insurance: This kind of life cover insurance covers two people together, usually a couple. It usually pays out just once, in a lump sum. This tends to be paid to the surviving person. But when that happens, they won’t be covered any more, and they’ll have to find a new life insurance policy if they still want cover.

How to choose the best life insurance for your needs

The cheapest cover is not always the best life insurance. UK's providers offer a variety of policies and the best life insurance is the one that suits your circumstances best.

Start by looking at your debts, your family’s needs and their lifestyle. This will help you work out how much life cover you need and how long you need it for. Once you’ve decided, you can think about doing a life insurance comparison to compare quotes.

Choosing the amount and length of cover

Ideally, the amount of cover – known as the sum insured – should be big enough to cover the remaining balance on your mortgage.

Then, there should be enough left over on top to make it easier for your family to cover some of their other expenses when you’re gone.

Think carefully about how the situation might change if you weren’t around. For example, if you work part-time so you can look after your children, what would your partner do if you weren’t around anymore? They might need to pay for childcare, or they might need to work less. Either way, it would affect their financial situation.

The term of your life insurance policy should also be at least as long as your mortgage. This will make sure the payout covers the remaining balance on your mortgage.

How much does life insurance cost?

The price of your life insurance will depend on factors like:

Updated 19 January 2021
Your age
Your medical history
Your height and weight
Your smoking habits
Your alcohol consumption
Your salary
The length of the policy you want
How much cover you want

Remember that when you're looking for the best life insurance, UK insurers look at the chance of you unexpectedly passing away and base the price of your quote on this.

For example, a 30-year-old non-smoker with a clean medical history might pay less than a 45-year-old smoker with a medical condition.

Premiums for most life insurance policies are fixed, which means they never increase. It's a good idea to compare life insurance policies and understand the best life insurance companies are offering. You should base your decision on what they include. Find out more about how to make a claim on a life insurance policy.

What do the best life insurance companies cover?

Most of the time, you’ll be covered if you die or are diagnosed with a terminal illness (with a life expectancy of less than 12 months) during the policy’s term.

Even with the best life insurance companies, you usually won’t be covered if you die due to suicide, serious self-injury, a drug overdose or a reckless act. Your cause of death must be covered by the policy if your family is to get a payout. You also won’t be covered if your payments aren’t up to date. You should read your policy booklet carefully so you understand the terms of conditions of your particular policy.

What kind of payout do you need?

Your policy payout will come in one of two types, depending on the policy you choose:

Updated 19 January 2021
Lump sumThis money might be to help pay off your mortgage, or provide your loved ones with a pot of money
IncomeThis could help your family pay their monthly bills monthly, including mortgage repayments or rent. This income payout usually stops at the end of the policy's term

You will only get a lump sum payment if you take out a whole of life or an over 50s life insurance policy. You could choose from either option when you take out a term life insurance policy.

Which payout is the best?

The best payout for you depends on when you die:

Updated 19 January 2021
If your death comes a short period before the end of your policy, an income is only paid for the months remaining on the term. If you choose a lump sum payout, your loved ones will get the entire amount in one go.
If you die early on in your policy’s term, an income will pay out for the remaining years. If you choose a lump sum, they get the entire payout as one payment.

Are you eligible for life insurance?

Most people can get life insurance as long as they’re over 18 and live in the UK.

It might be harder to convince life insurance companies to cover you have health issues, or you might have to pay higher premiums. It’s a good idea to get as many quotes as you can from life insurance companies, until you get accepted.

You need to make sure you’re as accurate as possible when you answer the questions during your application, and when you compare life insurance. If you don’t answer truthfully, you might find your policy is invalid when you come to make a claim.

When should you get life cover insurance?

Life cover insurance is a good thing for all adults to think about having, whatever their age.

It can be the best life insurance for people with financial responsibilities like loans or mortgages. And, of course, it’s worth thinking about taking out life assurance cover if you have children or other dependants.

Sometimes people decide to get life insurance when they have a baby or move house. But it’s best to get it at the earliest possible opportunity. The younger you are, the healthier you’re likely to be, and insurers see you as less risky. If you’re healthy, your insurer’s less likely to have to pay out, so they’ll offer you a cheaper premium.

The Deadliest Fictional Places

The fictional worlds that are the riskiest places to live

Everyone loves binging their favourite series, predicting the next shocking death or plot twist. But which fictional town is the deadliest? 

We looked at some of the UK’s most popular TV shows, using the total number of deaths in the show and working out the average deaths per episode and per season to find the deadliest fictional towns to live in.  

Don’t mess with The Walking Dead 

Top 10 deadliest fictional places 

With 1,808 deaths across 147 episodes and 10 seasons, is it any surprise that The Walking Dead is the deadliest fictional place? Never mind the zombie-infested world, you’ve got weapon wielding healthy people to worry about too. Averaging out at 180.8 deaths a season, The Walking Dead is not a show to get too attached to the characters or dream about living in. 

Updated 28 June 2021
ShowDeathsEpisodesSeasonsDeaths per EpisodeDeaths per SeasonRank (Ep)Rank (Seasons)Total Index
1The Walking Dead18081471012.3180.8213
3Buffy The Vampire Slayer98214476.8140.3527
4The Punisher2082628104347
5The Umbrella Academy1372026.968.5459
6Sons of Anarchy3959274.356.47613
7The Bodyguard37616.2376814
9Game of Thrones2727383.7348917
10American Horror Story29010392.832.2101020

Although overall and by seasons The Walking Dead is the deadliest fiction place to live, Watchmen with just one series, nine episodes and a whopping 120 deaths leaves the show with an average of 13.3 deaths an episode - another graphic novel adaptation not to be messed with. 

Interestingly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which culminated in 2003 hangs in the top three with 982 deaths over just seven seasons, averaging at 140.3 deaths per series. But although this seems a dangerous fiction place to live in based on numbers, as her job to slay - she’s doing pretty well.  

Live a long life in Beverly Hills 

Top 10 harmless fictional places

When it comes to the most harmless fiction places to live, luckily sitcoms and dramas appear safer, with Beverly Hills 90210 coming in first with only eight deaths across 293 episodes and 10 seasons.

Updated 28 June 2021
ShowDeathsEpisodesSeasonsDeaths per EpisodeDeaths per SeasonRank (Ep)Rank (Seasons)Total Index
1Beverly Hills 9021082931000.8504999
2How I met your Mother9208901494796
3The Office9201901484896
4The Crown34040.10.8465096
5The Big Bang Theory17279120.11.4474592
6Brooklyn 991114370.11.6454489
10Money Heist73120.23.5414081

In second place is How I Met Your Mother with nine deaths over nine seasons, including the titular heartbreak of the series and The US Office in third with the same score but fewer episodes. So it seems fictional New York and Scranton, PA are some of the most harmless places to live. 

Historical drama, The Crown stakes its claim with the least deaths per season with three deaths over 40 episodes and four seasons. However, as this series portrays real events it’s hard to say just how harmless living in this world would be. 

Life insurance FAQs

Only if your cause of death is covered in your policy, and you die during the term of the policy. Here is more on how life insurance works.

Yes, but you may find it cheaper to have one policy that gives you the exact cover you need.

Yes, but you both have to qualify for the policy and get accepted by the insurer when you apply. Compare joint life insurance quotes here.

You may find it harder to get cover if you have any health issues. Get as many quotes as you can until you get accepted for the cover you want.

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