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Individual & joint life Insurance

If you want to make sure your family has financial security when you pass away life insurance is the best way to secure this. A life insurance policy will pay out a lump sum enabling your family to maintain their standard of living and pay costs like mortgage payments etc ...

Single or joint life insurance?

If you are a couple you may wish to consider the benefit of taking out single policies, or a joint policy.

A single life insurance policy covers only one person, and on death will pay out the amount chosen by the policy holder.

With a joint policy the cover applies to both people and the pay-out will be different, and is explained below. More people choose single life insurance (60%), with 40% of people choose a joint policy.

For those of us considering taking our life insurance as a couple the following should be considered prior to choosing between single and joint cover such as your age, health, occupation, and lifestyle

Two single policies can sometimes be costlier than a joint policy, but is not always the case. If you are between the ages of 50-80, a special over 50s life insurance policy can be more affordable than a standard policy.

Level of cover

In order to make sure your family is properly covered it is helpful to have a realistic view of your family’s needs should your income no longer be available.

It may be prudent to consider different levels of cover if one of you is the main earner because the death of the main earner would have a greater impact on your family. Choosing individual policies would enable this, and also provide the benefit of lower premiums for the lower earner.

The pay-out

If both parties chose separate single life insurance policies your beneficiaries would receive two separate pay-outs, one for each of you on your deaths. A joint policy pays out once only, either on the first death or the second death.

With a joint policy, should you both pass away at the same time the policies pay-out would become part of your estate.

Types of life insurance

Further to choosing between a single of joint policy, there are additionally two types of life cover to consider, these being ‘level’ and ‘decreasing cover’. Both of these are term policies, which means they will protect your loved ones for a pre-determined fixed amount of time.

With level cover, once you have decided how long you want the cover to last, and what lump sum pay out you need, you will then pay a fixed monthly premium for the duration of the policy. Level cover is the better option if you wish to:

  • Cover your income
  • Maintain your family’s standard of living
  • Help with health and living costs should you become terminally ill
  • Pay your children’s education fees
  • Maintain your mortgage payments, or pay off an interest only mortgage

You can also opt to have the amount covered increase in line with inflation. This could mean that your monthly premiums also rise, but will ensure that the pay-out is not worth less in the future due to rising costs.

A decreasing cover policy will help your family to pay off a repayment mortgage or long-term loans. The premium will remain fixed unless you make changes to the policy. Because the outstanding mortgage or loan will decrease over time, so will the cover, and as such a decreasing cover policy will usually cost less than a level cover policy.

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Business life Insurance

Most businesses have insurance for their equipment, stock, vehicles and premises etc., but not all are insured against the loss of their most valuable asset, their people. It is worth considering the implications of losing a key person to critical illness, both practical and financial.

Protection plans for business provide funding for your business in the event of a death or critical / terminal illness. There are typically four types of business protection plans as follows:

This type of insurance helps partners or shareholders of a business buy out the terminally ill persons share of the business. Even if you did have available funds to buy a partners share, it may be preferable to have a suitable insurance plan in place. We are well placed to advise partners and shareholders on arranging suitable protection.

How it works:

Each partner or shareholder takes out life cover, or a life and critical illness policy. The premiums can be paid by the individual or the business. Then each of the policies are put into a trust for the other partners. A contract called a ‘cross option agreement’ is then entered into by each partner which is a reciprocal agreement that guarantees:

  • The remaining partners have the option to purchase the shares from the deceased partners estate.
  • The deceased partners state retains the option to sell the shares to the remaining partners.

Most businesses have personnel who are critical to its functioning, known as key persons, those who would be difficult to replace. Key person insurance covers the business against financial loss which has been incurred as the result of a key person’s critical illness or death.

How it works:

A key person policy is put in place, which is owned and paid for by the business. This policy covers the life and/or critical illness of a key person in the business. A lump sum is then paid to the business in the event of a claim for limited companies and LLPs. In the case of partnerships a policy is taken on an own-life basis and put into a trust for the other partners.

This type of policy helps a business pay-off any outstanding loans, mortgages, or overdrafts in the event of critical illness or death. This can be particularly beneficial when a partner has provided a personal guarantee for a loan. This type of protection works differently depending on the business type, as follows:

Limited companies & LLPs - A life cover policy or life & critical illness policy is set up. Then, when a claim is made, a cash sum is paid directly to the business. The business can then use these funds to reduce or even clear the company's outstanding loans or debts.

Partnerships - All policies are put into a trust for the partners of the business

This is a tax-efficient alternative to personal life cover, and it is now possible for a business to take out a life insurance policy for the benefit of your family. Because the business pays the premiums as an allowable business expense, it can mean savings of up to 50% for higher-rate tax payers.

Because the policy is written in trust for the benefit of your family, this means that it does not form part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes. The maximum amount of cover will depend on your age and earnings at the time of application. All relevant life cover ceases by age 75 at the latest. Critical illness cover cannot be included.

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Critical life Insurance

A critical illness policy will pay out a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with medical condition which is covered by the policy during its term. This is not the same as life insurance which pays money to a person or persons named by you should you pass away.

You can take out a policy just for yourself, or for both you and a partner with joint life insurance with critical illness cover. These will only pay out once, on the first person to be diagnosed with a critical illness, or to pass away.

If you take out critical illness cover on top of life insurance, you will able to choose between two types of cover, as follows:

Additional cover - A life insurance policy which has additional critical illness cover will mean that you will be paid out both when you are diagnosed with a critical illness, and when you pass away.

Combined cover – With a combined life insurance policy and critical illness you will only pay out once, either when you are diagnosed with a critical illness, or when you pass away.

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Income protection

Income protection is designed to pay out part of your income should you become unable to work due to an accident or an illness. With this you will be able to cover bills such as your mortgage, household bills, loans and credit cards.

Income protection can also pay for a wide variety of other bills such as council tax, living expenses such as food, drink, clothing etc., and holidays and travel, as well as transport, birthdays, etc.

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Health Insurance

Private medical health insurance gives you access to high quality medical support at a time and place that suits you.

Importantly, as well as covering you for support when an illness occurrs, it will also help fund the cost of early diagnosis and the treatment of acute conditions. This could be simple things like physiotherapy, or more complex procedures such as heart surgery or treatments for cancer etc.

In the majority of claims the medical treatment starts with a referral from your GP, either your NHS GP or your private GP. Ongoing treatment is managed by working closely with your insurer, which will mean that you have easy and speedy access to the right medical treatments when you need them.

Private medical insurance is intended to work alongside NHS services, but has a greater focus on quicker access to treatments for acute conditions. People with private medical insurance may still use any services provided by the NHS. With the ever increasing demands being placed on NHS resources a private medical insurance policy can work to complement NHS services very well.

What does it not cover?

What private medical insurance does not cover is the treatment of long-term chronic conditions, where the main intention is to keep the symptoms under control.

These kind of conditions are still treated by the NHS. It is important to understand that private medical health insurance also does not cover pre-existing conditions that you have at the time of taking out the plan.

What does it cover?

Private medical insurance is used to cover the costs of private medical treatment of acute conditions. An acute condition can be an illness, injury, or a disease, but is likely to positively respond quickly to treatment.

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