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Life insurance

Compare life insurance quotes from 11 providers[3]



What is life insurance? 

Life insurance can help your loved ones deal with the financial impact of your death. If you die during the length of the policy it could pay out a cash sum. If you add critical illness cover and are diagnosed with a terminal illness during your policy, you'll be covered for that too.

Why do I need it?

  1. If you have dependants or a partner who relies on your income, it’s important to make sure they’re taken care of 
  2. If you have a mortgage, credit card, loan or other debt, life insurance can help your loved ones meet those financial commitments
  3. You might want to consider a policy that covers funeral expenses, to ease the cost for your family

Life insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it could give your dependents financial stability when you die. Read our guide on why you need life insurance.

life insurance

How does life insurance work?

Life insurance pays out a lump sum when you die. With some policies, a payout is made if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than 12 months too. 

You decide how long you want to be covered for, how much you want paid out, and who to, when you take out a policy. 

The amount paid out can change over time. 

If you take out a level term or life assurance policy, the payout is fixed. With a decreasing term policy, the payout decreases over the term of your cover.

Read more on our how does life insurance work guide

What does life insurance cover?

You need to understand what your life insurance covers to give you the peace of mind that your family will have the financial support they need.

Cover varies from one policy to another, but there are some things that are always covered or excluded:

Covered Possibly covered Not covered
Most common causes of death Terminal illness Pre-agreed conditions
Unexpected illness Drug and alcohol abuse
Disease Dangerous activities
Cancer Suicide Critical illness or injury
Heart attack Disabilities or chronic illnesses
Accidental death Undisclosed health issues

What are the typical life insurance exclusions?

If you die because of the following, you typically won’t be covered:

  • Suicide or self-harm within a specified time of the policy start date (typically 12 months, but check your policy documents)
  • Pre-existing medical conditions (if you hadn’t declared them)
  • Dangerous activities
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

If you don’t keep up with payments, your cover will usually be cancelled too. 

Are you eligible for life insurance?

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll need to answer a few questions to check whether you’re eligible.

If you’re looking for a joint policy, you’ll need the below details for both policyholders.

  1. Health

    Things like any pre-existing medical conditions you might have, and your weight and height

  2. Age and occupation

    Generally, the younger you are the cheaper the policy will be. How risky your job is also plays a part

  3. Lifestyle

    Whether you smoke, drink or exercise

Life insurance calculator

Use our calculator to get an idea of how much life insurance might be right for you

Try our calculator now >

Types of life insurance

There are two main types of life insurance - choose the one that meets the needs of you and your dependants.

You can also get critical illness cover added on as part of your life insurance, or bought as a separate policy.

Level term life insurance

Level term life insurance is the simplest type of life insurance. You decide the payout value and duration of the policy.

If you die within the term of the policy, your dependants will receive the payout as a fixed sum. The amount paid out stays the same regardless of when a claim is made.

Level term life insurance can be the more expensive option because the amount paid out doesn't change. Make sure to review your policy often to check the payout amount is still right for your dependents.

Advantages

  • You’ll know how much the payout will be – it doesn’t decrease over time
  • Premiums stay the same throughout the term of your policy – they won’t be reviewed and increased

Disadvantages

  • Usually more expensive than decreasing term
  • Inflation could mean your policy’s worth less than you intended in real terms when you die
  • No payout if you die outside of the policy term

  • Find out more >

Decreasing life insurance

Also known as mortgage life insurance, it’s designed to cover debts that decrease over time - like your mortgage.

So, the amount paid out by the policy reduces with time. If you were to die near the start of the policy term, your dependents would receive more than near the end, when there’s less mortgage to pay off.

This can be a cheaper life insurance option than level term. But if your circumstances change, and you increase your borrowing, you might find the amount isn’t enough.

Advantages

  • Usually cheaper than level-term cover
  • Can cover your mortgage so your partner or loved ones won’t be faced with losing their home if you die

Disadvantages

  • Payout value decreases over time
  • It might only cover your mortgage and not extend to other bills and expenses for your family


Find out more >

We’re giving you 12 months’ FREE Bupa Healthy Minds and Wellbeing Cover

We want to help you better protect what’s important – and that includes your mental health.


We’ll give you Healthy Minds and Wellbeing cover provided by Bupa, free for 12 months when you buy life insurance through us.


You’ll be able to access counselling, online support and 24/7 health advice, for the help you need, whenever you need it.



Find out more


* All customers living in the UK and over the age of 18 are eligible. T&Cs and limits apply. 

In providing Bupa Healthy Minds, Bupa may collect your personal information. Please see www.bupa.co.uk/privacy for more information about how Bupa collects, uses and protects your data.

Our life insurance providers

We search for quotes from over 10 life insurance providers including:[3]

How much life insurance do I need and for how long?

Deciding how much life insurance you need and how long to make the policy last for can be a difficult decision.

Generally, the advice is to take a policy worth 10 times the highest earner’s annual salary. But the higher the amount you’re insured for, the higher your premiums.

We’ve put together some pointers to help or you can use our calculator to get an idea of how much life insurance might be right for you.

Try our life insurance calculator >

What do you need cover for?

It’ll help work out how long you need cover for too. If it’s for your mortgage, take out life insurance to cover your remaining mortgage term. If it’s to see your children through their education, make sure it covers you until your youngest finishes their education.

What type of cover do you want?

You’ll have to decide whether to take out level or decreasing term cover and whether you want critical illness included or not. The more extensive your cover, the more it'll cost.

Make sure you’ve covered everything you need to

It doesn’t just have to be about your mortgage, you can factor in other debts and monthly outgoings too. Things like personal loans and credit cards. Consider future costs as well. If you have children, would they need help through university? And funeral costs can be a big expense at a difficult time.

Consider Inflation

The amount you choose might be worth less in real terms in a few decades’ time because of inflation.

How much does life insurance cost?

The cost of your life insurance policy depends on quite a few things. But it’s possible to find cover from £5/month, depending on your circumstances and the type of policy you choose.[2]

How old you are, if you’re generally in good health or not, your lifestyle, and whether you smoke and/or drink all play a part. It’ll also depend on how much cover you need, and whether you choose a level term or decreasing policy.

Below are some examples of the monthly cost of level-term life insurance, based on age and term length. 

Sum assured
Age Term <£100K 100-200K 200-300K 300k+
20s 20-29 years £2.57 £6.50 £7.17 £9.53
30s 20-29 years £4.76 £8.70 £11.83 £18.27
40s 20-29 years £9.48 £17.96 £24.77 £38.68
50s 10-19 years £15.56 £25.24 £43.88 £61.22
60s Up to 10 years £20.74 £77.88 - -
Data based on level term life insurance policies purchased on GoCompare website between 25th August 2020 and 2nd December 2020. Based on single-policy, non-smoker. 


Decreasing term life insurance (also called mortgage life cover) tends to cost less than level term for example, because the pay out from the policy decreases with time.

Here are some examples of the monthly cost of decreasing-term insurance, based on age and term length.

Sum assured
Age Term <£100K 100-200K 200-300K 300k+
20s 20-29 years £1.99 £5.16 £5.28 -
30s 20-29 years £4.43 £6.56 £8.37 £17.01
40s 20-29 years £7.04 £13.71 £21.09 £20.73
50s 10-19 years £9.09 £20.09 £25.85 -
60s Up to 10 years - - - -
Data based on decreasing term life insurance policies purchased on GoCompare website between 25th August 2020 and 2nd December 2020. Based on single-policy, non-smoker. 


It’s also worth comparing premiums with and without critical illness cover as this can also influence the cost of your premiums. You can't compare and buy critical illness cover through us as a standalone policy. But you can compare life insurance with critical illness cover included.

Does life insurance pay out?

98% of life insurance claims were paid out in 2020 - totalling a record £6.2 billion

According to the ABI, May 2021

Life insurance and critical illness cover

Critical illness cover is a separate policy that can be taken out alongside your life insurance, or as its own policy. It can help you financially if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness during the term of your policy, like if you’re unable to work, for example.

You’ll be insured for a fixed amount. It’s either paid out as a lump sum, so you can pay off any outstanding debts, or monthly payments.

Claiming on your critical illness cover won’t affect your life insurance if you buy them separately.

If you buy a critical illness policy alongside your life insurance through us, it’ll pay out while you’re alive if you become critically ill. If you don’t claim a pay out for a critical illness while you’re alive, it’ll pay out in the event of your death, alongside your life insurance policy.

Top tips for cheaper life insurance

To get the most out of your life insurance cover, you could:

  • Take out cover early – taking out a life insurance policy when you’re younger means your premiums won’t be as high as if you were older because you’re less of a risk
  • Place the policy in trust – this gives you greater control over who benefits from and looks after the policy, as well as reducing inheritance tax
  • Consider what add-ons you need – combining critical illness cover with life insurance could work out cheaper than buying them separately
  • Compare policies – check what’s being offered and what’s excluded from the cover, instead of just the price
  • Reassess your cover – make sure your life insurance still meets your needs and tell your insurer about any lifestyle changes
  • Be honest – not being truthful about your health could mean you risk losing any payout due. If you’re not sure how to answer a question, ask the insurer 

Buying a house or starting a family? If your circumstances change, you might want to consider getting life insurance

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Get 12 months’ FREE Bupa Healthy Minds and Wellbeing Cover when you buy life insurance with us

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[1]For comparing quotes online, Gocompare.com introduces customers to Neilson. Which is a trading name of Neilson Financial Services Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority no. 594926. Gocompare.com's relationship with Neilson Financial Services Limited is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control exist between us.

[2]Your cover will depend on your individual needs, circumstances and the premium you choose to pay

[3]As of February 2022, there are 11 life insurers on the panel.

Page last reviewed: 23 June 2022

Next review due: 23 September 2022