Life insurance myths busted

Image of three generations of a family
It was all smiles until they realised they were sitting on an anthill...
"Technically your life insurance pay-out will be subject to inheritance tax, but there's a way to get around it and, yes, it's completely legal."
  • | by Abbie Laughton-Coles

The great myths of the world tend to remain unanswered.

Does the Loch Ness monster exist? Can you really disappear in the Bermuda Triangle? If you make a face and the wind changes will it stay like that?

The list goes on…

However some are a little easier to put to bed, especially the ones surrounding life insurance, so let's get myth-busting!

Myth: The premiums are going to break the bank

Image of money

Busted: Somebody's been telling porkies!

Life insurance isn't as expensive as you might think and can cost from as little as £4.58* a week.

Gocompare.com's life insurance aficionado Matt Sanders said: "If you have an existing policy that you haven't reviewed in a while, then it could be worth shopping around to see if you could be getting the right cover at a better price elsewhere, especially if you've made positive lifestyle changes like quitting smoking in the past year." (More on this below.)

Myth: All credit card debts are cancelled when you die

Image of somebody cutting up a credit card

Busted: Unfortunately not.

Much like the rumour about not having to pay back your student loan if you move abroad (don't worry we believed it too for a while), it's completely false.

The debt will actually have to be paid by your estate, meaning there'll be less to leave behind for your intended beneficiaries.

So if you want the maximum amount of your wealth to be passed along, then make sure you clear all your credit card debt before you pop your clogs.

Myth: The taxman will be getting his mitts on most of my life insurance pay-out

Image of a man sticking out his hand for money

Busted: Potentially…

Technically your life insurance pay-out will be subject to inheritance tax, but there's a way to get around it and, yes, it's completely legal.

This is by having the policy written 'in trust'.

This means that proceeds from your policy are paid into a trust and therefore aren't considered a part of your estate, so they're not subject to inheritance tax.

Setting up the trust shouldn't be a hassle and will usually only require a small fee. The trust will then be managed by family member or solicitor who will be known as the trustee.

Don't worry, this doesn't mean that your wishes for where your money goes aren't listened to.

If in any doubt, schedule a chat with a friendly independent financial adviser who'll be happy to give you the score.

Myth: If you develop a serious illness your premiums will rocket

Image of an elderly woman in hospital being cared for

Busted: False.

Your premium is based on your health when you take out the policy.

So if you find yourself seriously unwell during the term period, it won't change anything.

Just make sure that you're completely honest with your insurer about your health in your application form.

Myth: Life insurance is only for people with children

Image of a family looking happy in the park

Busted: Wrong again.

It's not completely necessary, but if you have a spouse who is dependent on your income, it can really help should the worst happen.

Your other half will still have to pay the bills even when you're not there and it can be a struggle without combined incomes.

A life insurance pay-out can help prevent spiralling debt and keep your significant other afloat while they're trying to get back on their feet.

Got any more life insurance myths that you need busting? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook

If you'd like any more information on this topic, then get stuck into our exhaustive network of life insurance guides

*Based on a 30-year policy for a 35 year old male non-smoker, with no pre-existing conditions. Cover was for £100,000 with £50,000 independent critical illness cover, decreasing in line with mortgage payments from Zurich. Monthly premium £18.35.