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Our Guide to Life Insurance

Protecting your family with Life Insurance

Term insurance

Term life insurance is generally the most common insurance, covering you for a fixed period known as your policy term – usually between 5 and 30 years.

The insurance covers you if you die within your term and some policies will payout if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Critical illness cover can also be added to a policy for extra reassurance.

With term insurance, you will need to take out a new policy if you live beyond the policy term and you’ll no longer be covered.

There are variations of term insurance however, such as decreasing term insurance where the payout amount will reduce over the term, or increasing term insurance where the payout will increase over the term to keep up with living costs.

Level term insurance is another type where the payout stays the same throughout the whole policy term. This can be a cheaper type of life insurance.

Family Income Benefit

Family Income Benefit is a type of life insurance where the family’s payout comes in the form of monthly tax-free income rather than a cash lump sum. The policy can be planned so that the payment increases over time in line with the cost of living.

This insurance is usually preferred if you have young dependants as it’ll make sure they have money coming in regularly. There’s also no big decision required as to what to do with one large sum of money.

One thing to consider with Family Income Benefit is that the monthly income will stop once the policy term has ended. When taking out a plan, it’s important to consider how long you want your family to have the income for.

Whole of life cover

Very simply, whole of life insurance covers you for your lifetime and is certain to pay out when you die, which is the main difference in comparison to term insurance which provides cover for a set number of years.

Whole of life insurance is also called whole of life assurance, that’s because insurance usually means cover for something that could happen whilst assurance is when the something is inevitable.

With this type of cover, you pay an agreed monthly cost and in return your family get a fixed cash sum payout when you die. With most whole of life policies, you are required to pay into the plan for the rest of your life, however some policies enable you to stop paying at a certain age.

With whole of life cover, it’s important to ensure you’re comfortable with the monthly cost and can keep up with the payments for many years to come.

Many people choose this cover to guarantee their family are left with some money when they die, either to spend how they wish or to help towards funeral costs. Over 50 life insurance is a type of whole of life cover specifically for over 50s.

Over 50s life insurance

Over 50s life insurance is like whole of life cover in that you usually pay into it monthly for the rest of your life and it provides your family with a fixed cash sum when you die.

The difference with over 50 life cover is that no medical or health questions are required and you are guaranteed to be accepted, unlike standard life insurance policies.

This cover can also be more affordable than some whole of life policies and is a way to leave some money for loved ones as a gift or to help with funeral costs.

As with whole of life insurance, over 50 plans usually require you to pay into the plan for the rest of your life. You also must have been paying into the plan for two years for your family to get the full payout.

Because over 50 life cover is an insurance policy, depending on how long you live, you could end up paying in more than you get out.

Over 50s life insurance is simple and straightforward compared to other life insurance policies, so why not find out more about how life insurance for over 50s works?

Does SunLife offer life insurance?

SunLife has been offering life insurance for over 200 years and we offer The Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, which is specifically designed for over 50s.

The Guaranteed Over 50 Plan offers an affordable way to leave a cash lump sum for your family when you die.

Before taking out a plan, be sure to read how our life insurance for over 50s works to see whether it’s right for you.

Life insurance — who needs it?

The reality is, unless you’re completely free of responsibility with no children or anyone else dependent on you, you’d be wise to consider having life insurance in place.

Whether you’re a breadwinner or a full-time parent, your role within the family is vital. And if you weren’t there, the value you bring would have to be replaced somehow and that will inevitably cost money.

It’s probably easy to see the importance of replacing lost income, but don’t underestimate the value of a stay-at-home parent.

Think about how much it would cost to pay someone else to take care of the many jobs they perform every day, from driving the kids around to keeping the house in order.

A lump sum from a life insurance policy could help cover a whole host of expenses.

Starting a family

Financial security becomes a priority at a life changing moment like this. If either partner were to die, the surviving partner would have to cope alone and may have to change their current circumstances to support the family.

For example, the main income earner may have to stop or cut back on work to look after the children. Or someone who cares for the kids full time may have to get a job to keep up with the family’s outgoings.

In either situation, having a life insurance payout to help fund childcare costs could make all the difference.

Taking out a mortgage

A new home is exciting but with it comes big responsibility. If you don’t keep up mortgage payments, your mortgage lender has the right to repossess your home.

If you died, having life insurance to help pay the mortgage or clear the debt completely means your family won’t risk losing the family home.

Funeral costs

It’s not easy to contemplate, but if you were to die, your loved ones would have to find the cash to pay for a funeral, on top of everything else they’d have to cope with. A life insurance payout could be a simple way to help with your funeral costs.

The cost of life insurance

Life insurance might be more affordable than you expect. The cost to you is determined by three factors:

1. The premium you pay each month

You decide how much you can comfortably afford to pay each month and how long you need cover for, whether that’s years or the whole of your life.

Depending on the type of life insurance policy you are taking out, different factors will be used to determine the set amount of cover to be paid if you die during the policy term.

For term insurance, health and lifestyle factors will impact this, whilst over 50 life insurance has no medical so these types of questions will not be asked and will not impact the cost.

2. The amount of life cover you want

Alternatively, you could calculate how much life cover you’d like and decide how long you want it for, whether that’s 10 years, 30 years or the whole of your life.

Depending on the type of life cover, the policy amount and term you have choosen, along with other factors will be used to determine the premium you will be required to pay each month.

3. Policy add-ons

Policy add ons will also impact the cost of your life insurance. Adding on additional benefits to your insurance policy can be an important decision depending on your circumstances.

For example, if you’re a parent that relies on your work to bring in money, you may decide that critical illness cover provides that extra layer of financial protection to your insurance policy in case you’re unable to work due to a serious illness. Alternatively, in some circumstances, income protection insurance may be more suitable. This is a type of insurance policy that will provide a proportion of your salary as regular income if you were unable to work. If you’re considering critical illness cover or income protection insurance, you should seek professional advice from an independent financial advisor to ensure you choose the right policy.

Or say you want to take out over 50 life insurance, but don’t want to pay into the plan for the rest of your life, you may choose a plan where you can pay higher premiums so you can stop paying at an earlier date than death.

There are various factors that affect the cost of life insurance, but ultimately the plan you choose will be based on what you can afford and how much you want to leave your loved ones with.

How much cover do I need?

With any life insurance policy, the amount of cover you need depends on your personal situation. Whether it’s keeping a roof over your family’s head or helping towards the cost of your funeral, your cover should get you peace of mind that you’ve protected the ones you love the most.

Firstly, you’ll need to consider how much you can afford to comfortably pay each month for the period your policy would require.

For example, if you’re thinking about over 50 life insurance, you should be prepared to pay into the plan for the rest of your life.

Once you’ve established how much you can afford to pay, it’s worth thinking about the money that your family will need, either to cover any debts that may need paying or to maintain a comfortable lifestyle if you were to die.

If you have a young family, you may want to consider cover that will last until they are able to earn enough for themselves. Or, if you’re hoping to help cover your funeral costs, you may want to use a funeral cost calculator to find out the average cost of a funeral in your area, then get a quote for over 50 life cover to see how much cover you would need.

Many people also get death in service with their employment, an employee benefit whereby your family will be given a tax-free lump sum if you die whilst employed by the company. Death in service is not the same as life insurance and should not replace the need for life insurance, however may affect the amount of cover you will require.

Taking out a life insurance policy to protect your family is a big decision and not one that should be made without doing your research. After reading up and getting quotes it’s important that you speak to an independent financial advisor, as they can help ensure you are getting the right policy for you and your individual circumstances.

How long should you take cover out for?

This is up to you. You might want to be covered until your children reach 18 or are old enough to be earning a good wage. Or you may want to be covered for the whole of your life, in which case you might choose a whole life policy.

Your age when you take out life cover may also affect the policy term you choose. Over 50s often chose over 50 life insurance to ensure they’re covered the rest of their life.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). 

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.