Best on Life Insurance UK


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Best on Life Insurance

Who is ‘Best for Life Insurance’ in UK?

Who offers ‘The Best Life Insurance in UK’?

It is a question which we are often asked as brokers… who offers the best life insurance in UK or what is best life insurance?

However, our usual professional adviser answer is….’The Devil is always in the Insurance Policy details‘.

So in this article, we will try to examine those various details & try to summarize those different factors that could go into assessing, who maybe the best for life insurance?

We will therefore look at some of the leading Life Protection Providers in the 2020’s we currently work alongside as Whole of Market Brokers.

Because we understand that protection is one of the cornerstones of sound financial planning, we’re committed to helping protect you when you may need it most.

Help finding the life cover best suited to you, could save you both time & money. So what is best life insurance policy (2024) could help protect either yourself, your family or business.

UK Life Insurance Quote‘Best in Life Insurance’ UK Providers

These Providers are all listed in alphabetical order here, for ease of their various protection benefits. Note: Our broker recommendations on ‘the best life insurance uk’, will always depend upon your own personal circumstances.

What Best Life Insurance | Term Life Cover v Whole of Life Assurance

Term Life offers cover for a fixed period of time or a ‘term’ eg; cover your mortgage term 27 years, up to retirement age 68, back up plan to age 90, or say a child is independant age 21.

The cover can be level, increasing or decreasing. Paid out as either Lump Sums or Family Income Benefits options. 

You can take some of best life insurance in the uk term life cover plans upto age 90. Whole of Life Cover however runs indefinately ie; no set term, so if you lived to 190 it would still payout!

Term life cover & Whole of Life cover are both ‘underwritten,’ meaning your application will ask you medical & lifestyle questions before offering any deals. It may also require GP reports & nurse medical tests.

Some budget life insurance basic offerings may ask you less questions or on Over 50’s lifecover no medical questions at all (apart from smoking status). However, often they are budget for a reason eg; Initial 2 years exclusions before any full death claims.

Term life cover are simple policies to operate, if you died or terminally ill within the set ‘term’, your family will receive the set insurance payout tax free (or optional critical illness benefit if included). They usually have no cash in values.

We have not included Defaqto ratings for PHI income protection or Defacto ratings for PMI private health insurance here. Both PHI & PMI insurance plans are technically not best in life insurance classed products, but sickness & health related.

Because term life cover runs a set term, it may have affordable premiums than whole of life cover [as you may live out that nominated term]. The longer any life policy runs for, the more expensive it also is, as you are more likely to claim ie; a plan for 25 years maybe less than 1/2 the premium cost of one over 50 years.

Whole of life cover is usually the most expensive life policy, as it will payout whenever death occurs (subject to full premium payments & any T&C’s). However, a term life policy upto age 90 maybe typically still 50% less cost than a whole of life cover. So which is the best for life insurance for you?

age affects best in life insurance terms

Life Insurance Policy Best Options?

defacto stars ratings Defaqto Star Ratings

Defaqto Star Ratings show the quality, comprehensiveness, features & benefits of best insurance for life products. Below are defaqto star ratings on life insurance term, critical illness, whole of life assurance & Over 50’s products offered by the providers. So when comparing the best life insurance uk for term life insurance & critical illness some are part of an overall menu plan, and others offer life insurance best plans as a standalone policy.

For those on a fixed budget, what best life insurance & critical illness plans offer is via fixed premiums. Initially any cheaper deals are age-costed or increasing premiums. However, these rise over time as you get older, so can get very expensive in the longer term. We have commented on the providers life insurance best & worst performers, as Defaqto tested.

Often these leading Providers may also offer their term insurance products via a bank, building society, supermarket, 3rd party or direct with free gifts. These could be easily sold without advice & so are classed as their budget versions.

Sometimes, you can buy the same basic products via a bank or building society but compared like for like, these may cost more than via a broker, as they cover their margins or overheads. Get a free quote & compare >

Or alternatively various TV or newspaper adverts promoted by well known older UK celebrities touting for the best life insurance for over 50.

Several Insurers offer their protection products in 3 versions based on your budget ie; Gold, Silver, Bronze. Invariably the lowest stars or bronze/basic term life insurance best plans can be star rated worst performers by Defaqto. Their best in life insurance performers are often reserved for those sold via brokers and with advice.

Note: Defaqto / Financial Adviser have not surveyed all Insurers for best life insurance in the uk. It seems in their comparison ratings the Providers may not have these plans in their portfolio hence n/a.

Life Assurance Policy Best Providers for Life Insurance Term Quotes >

TERM INSURANCE
  • AIG
  • *4/3 stars
  • Aviva
  • *5/3/2 stars
  • Exeter
  • not tested
  • Guardian1821
  • *5 stars
  • Legal&General
  • *5/4 stars
  • LV=
  • *5/3 stars
  • Royal London
  • *5/2 stars
  • ScottishWidows
  • *5/2 stars
  • VitalityLife
  • *5 stars
  • Zurich
  • *5/3 stars
    Defaqto Star rated across Providers Best Companies for Term life insurance plans

    UK Critical Illness Cover - Broker deals Best Providers for ‘Critical Illness’ Quotes >

    CRITICAL ILLNESS
  • AIG
  • *5/4/3 stars
  • Aviva
  • *5 stars
  • Exeter
  • n/a
  • Guardian1821
  • *5 stars
  • Legal&General
  • *5/3 stars
  • LV=
  • *5/3 stars
  • Royal London
  • *5/1 stars
  • ScottishWidows
  • *5/2 stars
  • VitalityLife
  • *5 stars
  • Zurich
  • *5/3 stars
    Defaqto Star rated across Providers Best Critical Illness level term plans

    Whole-Life-CoverBest Providers for ‘Whole Life‘ Insurance | Over 50’s Quotes >

    WHOLE OF LIFE
  • AIG
  • *5/4 stars
  • Aviva
  • *5/4 stars
  • Exeter
  • n/a
  • Guardian1821
  • n/a
  • Legal&General
  • *5/3 stars
  • LV=
  • n/a
  • OneFamily
  • *5 stars
  • ScottishWidows
  • n/a
  • Royal London
  • *5 stars
  • Zurich
  • *5/4 stars
  • VitalityLife
  • *5 stars
    Defaqto Star rated across Providers Best Whole of Life plans | & Over 50’s life cover plans

    Financial adviser awards Customer Service

    Any feature on asking us who is ‘best for life insurance’ should also take account of the broker service standards offered by UK Life Insurance Companies.

    We have used a recent Financial Adviser service awards for protection & pensions as the overall guide here. You will see that perhaps some of those best life insurance in the uk best known names, are not ranked as highly as maybe you initially thought?

    CUSTOMER SERVICE
  • AIG
  • *4 stars
  • Aviva
  • *4 stars
  • Exeter
  • *4 stars
  • Guardian1821
  • n/a
  • Legal&General
  • *3 stars
  • LV=
  • *5 stars
  • Royal London
  • *5 stars
  • ScottishWidows
  • *5 stars
  • VitalityLife
  • *5 stars
  • Zurich
  • *4 stars
    Broker Customer Service Ratings | Financial Adviser Awards

    review ‘Best for Life Insurance’ Customer services to brokers are:

    1. LV=, Scottish Widows, Royal London, Vitality Life
    2. Zurich, Exeter, Aviva, AIG
    3. Legal & General

    waiver of premium - best for life insurance Waiver of premium

    Waiver of premium is a very important product feature that is often overlooked when rating cover. It helps protect your life insurance premiums if off work re accident, sickness, critical illness or hospitalisation. Some providers also cover redundancy.

    Premiums are waived or paid by the Life Insurance Provider. They will pay it either until you get back to work, or potentially to plan end. Many Insurers may charge you extra for this benefit & with varying waiting periods before the benefit applies.

    However, for some of the best life insurance in the Uk its standard or inclusive. These Insurers recognize its importance in offering long term peace of mind, as it runs alongside any life insurance best deals. Note, some Insurers may not offer this feature above a certain age eg; 55

    Consider if you had a serious heart attack or were diagnosed with cancer, and was off work for along period of time. How could you pay your ongoing life insurance premiums? If you had to then cancel the policy because of this, then it could be you may never be able to get affordable life insurance again.

    PREMIUM WAIVER
  • AIG
  • 26 weeks
  • Aviva
  • 4/8/13/26 weeks
  • Exeter
  • 26 weeks
  • Guardian1821
  • Day1
  • Legal&General
  • 26 weeks
  • LV=
  • 26 weeks
  • Royal London
  • 4/8/13/26 weeks
  • ScottishWidows
  • 26 weeks
  • VitalityLife
  • 4/8/13/26/52 weeks
  • Zurich
  • 26 weeks
    Waiver of Premium waiting periods

    review ‘Best for Life Insurance’ Premium Waiver benefits are:

    1. Guardian 1821 as waiver of premium is inclusive for all ages & occupation, involuntarily made redundant, take maternity or paternity leave (see T&C’s)
    2. Next joint are 3 Providers – Aviva, Royal London & Vitality Life – as they all offer a variety of premium waiver deferral periods
    3. Everyone else who only offers 26 weeks – although if your employers paid you sickpay for upto this period, then it can make sense

    CONCLUSION: Waiver of Premium is a very valuable benefit. Don’t risk your life policy cancelling, as you may never get lifecover again. The costs for waiver of premium benefit is often small, in relation to help protecting the large amount of those life insurance best deals.

    critical illness v terminal illness | best life insurance uk
    terminal illness should be free with most life insurance deals

    terminal illness - best for life insurance Terminal Illness

    Terminal Illness is often included for free as part of a life policy features.

    Terminal illness means you have an incurable illness. On a life policy it also means it will now payout (or accelerated death benefit) if you sadly have medically confirmed you have less than 12 months to live. It is also not to be confused with Critical Illness coverage, which is an underwritten policy that pays out instead upon survival of diagnosis of a specified critical illness.

    However, many life insurers won’t pay out until their chief medical officer agrees medical proof that you have less than 12 months to live. Once agreed, the Insurers claim team will then payout the lifecover earlier ‘death claim’ in advance.

    Note: not all Providers terms & conditions are the same. Some of the best life insurance in the uk for term life insurance in the recent past, several providers have also excluded this benefit into the final 12/18 months of the plan.

    TERMINAL ILLNESS
  • AIG
  • 12 months
  • Aviva
  • 12 months
  • Exeter
  • 12 months
  • Guardian1821
  • 12 months
  • Legal&General
  • 12 months
  • LV=
  • 12 months
  • Royal London
  • 12 months
  • ScottishWidows
  • 12 months
  • VitalityLife
  • 12 months
  • Zurich
  • 12 months
    Terminal Illness Payout Period

    review ‘Best UK Life Insurance’ for Terminal illness benefits are:

    1. Guardian 1821 as terminal illness is also paid when diagnosed with incurable stage 4 cancer, motor neurone disease, Parkinson-plus syndromes, CJD. (see T&C’s)
    2. Everyone else’s life insurance best deals offers terminal illness diagnosed just 12 months to live

    Lowest price - best for life insurance ? Lowest Starting Premiums

    Does best also mean the cheapest? As mentioned, some providers policies are ‘age costed’ or reviewable. This means the best companies for term life insurance may start with the lowest premiums but increase annually over time. As such, what perhaps started as only £5/£10pm, could be £100pm or more in the future.

    The lowest starting premiums (even if the premiums are fixed) could also mean the lowest levels of life cover offered via some insurers. For example, a provider selling their cheapest plan and advertising their prices ‘starting from £5pm’ could offer you £100,000 lifecover, but another starting from £6pm could instead offer you £175,000 lifecover. So those headline grabbing starting price could be misleading ie; which is the best life insurance in the uk for value then?

    LOWEST PREMIUM
  • AIG
  • £4pm
  • Aviva
  • £5pm
  • Exeter
  • £15pm
  • Guardian1821
  • £4pm
  • Legal&General
  • £6pm
  • LV=
  • £8pm
  • Royal London
  • £5pm
  • ScottishWidows
  • £5pm
  • VitalityLife
  • £7pm
  • Zurich
  • £5pm
    Lowest Starting Premiums

    review ‘Best for Life Insurance’ Lowest Starting Premium benefits are:

    1. Guardian & AIG = £4pm
    2. Aviva, Scottish Widows, Zurich, Royal London = £5pm
    3. Legal & General = £6pm

    Note: if you are taking term life plan as part of a providers menu multi-plan offerings, then if sold alongside some other plans, some of ‘the best life insurance uk’ deals are from as low as around £1pm.

    policy term - best for life insurance ? Policy Term

    Term life cover as the name clearly explains, runs for a set term. Unlike whole of life cover which runs indefinately. The average life expectancy in the UK is around age 80 (excluding Pandemic’s).

    However, if we are comparing the best life insurance uk term plans, then it also makes sense to see how long the best companies for term life insurance cover allow their plans to run for ie; the older you are, the more likely you are to make a death claim.

    POLICY TERM
  • AIG
  • 90
  • Aviva
  • 90
  • Exeter
  • 90
  • Guardian1821
  • 90
  • Legal&General
  • 90
  • LV=
  • 90
  • Royal London
  • 90
  • ScottishWidows
  • 90
  • VitalityLife
  • 90
  • Zurich
  • 90
    Maximum Policy term

    review ‘Best for Life Insurance’ Maximum Policy Term benefits are:

    1. Everyone – as all plans go toward or must end before age 90 (see Providers T&C’s re exact end age date as these all subtly differ)

    best in life insurance & life expectancy uk calculator
    Calculate Average Life Expectancy in UK

    life insurance trusts - best for life insurance Policy into Trust

    Placing a life policy in trust can help to ensure that the cover benefits go to the correct beneficiaries you decide to nominate at that stage. It can also help avoid possible probate delays & Inheritance Tax costs.

    Most Insurers now all kindly provide their available standard trust form wordings for free (seek legal advice if unsure these are satisfactory).

    However, as brokers we find some Insurers offer their trusts as a total online process & others is still old fashioned paperwork. This then requires you to get all your trustees & witnesses to all sign the trust forms, before posting it back to the Insurers then check the accuracy of your completion.

    POLICY TRUSTS
  • AIG
  • Free trust
  • Aviva
  • Free trust
  • Exeter
  • Free trust
  • Guardian1821
  • Free trust
  • Legal&General
  • Free trust
  • LV=
  • Free trust
  • Royal London
  • Free trust
  • ScottishWidows
  • Free trust
  • VitalityLife
  • Free trust
  • Zurich
  • Free trust

    review ‘Best for Life Insurance’ Policy Trusts benefits are:

    1. For ease of completion as brokers currently we find: Legal & General, AIG, Aviva
    2. All other providers are regularly updating their online trust processes, so what is less easy currently may change

    Insurance claims - best for life insurance ? Claims Payout Stats?

    The bottom line with any bragging rights on the leading life insurance in uk offerings, ultimately is their claims payout that counts.

    Not withstanding the Pandemic 2020’s which cost the industry £200+ million or bogus Canoe Man John Darwin, this is what it is all about.

    Below are the Providers death claims stats declared upto 2020 for term life cover alone. Note: These stats will all differ for claims payout re terminal illness, whole of life, critical illness or income protection.

    CLAIMS PAYOUT
  • AIG
  • 99%
  • Aviva
  • 99%
  • Exeter
  • %
  • Guardian1821
  • %
  • Legal&General
  • 97%
  • LV=
  • 99%
  • Royal London
  • 95%
  • ScottishWidows
  • 99%
  • VitalityLife
  • 99%
  • Zurich
  • 99%
    Stats average 97% for term life cover *ABI 2020

    review ‘Best for Life Insurance’ Claims Payout benefits are:

    1. 99% Claims Payout for Aviva, LV=, Zurich, Vitality, AIG, Scottish Widows
    2. 97% Legal & General
    3. 95% Royal London

    Best for Life Insurance UK | Chances of making a claim
    *Critical Illness can often be 4 x price of life cover | Stats changing re Covid 19
    explain life insurance | the best life insurance in uk

    Best for Life Insurance 2024? | UK Broker FAQ

    How much Cover?

    As Brokers in an ideal world – we suggest this simple formula.

    • LUMP SUM > Repay any mortgage & debts, cover funeral costs
    • INCOME  >  Help cover your monthly bills
    • LUMP SUM > Back up for holidays, education, emergencies

    Martin Lewis Life Insurance best formula instead suggests covering 10 x salary of the main breadwinner.

    Using that principle, if you earned £25,000pa gross, Martin Lewis says you should maybe consider insuring yourself (after any debts, mortgages & loans are fully repaid) for say £250,000 (ie; 10 x the annual gross income).

    Following on from this simple Martin Lewis example formula above, if you then worked for the next 40 years until state retirement, you could potentially earn over £1 million gross ie; £25,000pa x 40 years [or more with any future inflationary wage rises].

    As such, unlike the 10 x £25,000 gross salary example above – you could instead protect your family with either;

    1. Income = £2,083pm or £25,000pa family income benefit policy
    2. Lump sum = £1 million level term policy [if invested @2.5% return = £25,000pa]
    3. Or a mixture of the 2 policy types over the next 40 years – all dependant on your family circumstances.

    However, as Financial Advisers we are not saying this ‘Money Saving Expert formula’ 10 x salary is therefore a 100% one size fits all scenario ie; This formula is not applicable for everyone’s own personal situation.

    • You can also decide wether you want the cover to be level or inflation linked
    coverage of life insurance uk

    Changing your Policy?

    Most Insurers allow you to change your underwritten policy midstream, without further medical evidence and under a special option. This is called the guaranteed insurability option. Many people are unaware of this no medical increase feature, but the best in life insurance plans may automatically include this.

    It can be very useful if you have had health issues since you took out the original underwritten insurance policy eg; you now have raised blood pressure or cholesterol due to raised BMI kg and are now being re-quoted extra rated health costs.

    It can be used when someone for example is increasing their mortgage, large rent increase, getting married or civil partnership, have a new born child or adoption, IHT tax changes etc; Typically this inclusive benefit ends around age 55. These optional increases will all be subject to the Insurers policy limits & will require proof within a nominated time scale, as they are being allowed without medical evidence.

    Often with the best life cover policies you can also choose to…

    • reduce or perhaps extend the period of cover
    • decrease or increase the amount of lifecover
    • remove indexation option or any specific paid for policy features
    • change the collection date of your usual premiums
    • take off a life assured from a joint policy eg; if a couple seperate

    These changes above however could be subject to new medical underwriting all based on your circumstances at the time & may well affect your premiums. We suggest you seek professional advice, before taking any course of action.

    Joint | Dual Life vs Single Life?

    • A joint life 1’st death policy pays out on the death or claim on 1’st policyholder. Then it ends.
    • Joint life 2’nd death policy pays on last death ie; may be used for Inheritance Tax IHT cover
    • Single life plans are setup on the sole life | death of the policyholder
    • Some people may often setup a joint life plan to repay a joint mortgage
    • Family life cover may be setup either joint life 1’st death or 2 x single policies or ‘dual life’
    life insurance coverage

    Importance of Disclosure & Claims?

    All Insurers are in business to best protect, insure & payout. All cover is therefore based on your full disclosure at the time you took the original policy out ie; being 100% as honest & accurate as possible. It is not always easy to remember all your historic health details when applying.

    The Consumer Insurers Act 2013 says you must not be acting careless, deliberate or reckless when applying. If so, it may not payout ! eg; If you vape, then you best tell them you are smoker (even if it may cost the same if you have recently quit smoking cigarettes).

    Should you make a claim, your Insurers will send you a claim form for you to complete. Once received back, they will usually contact your GP to confirm any health details. They will then assess if your claim is valid and cross check if you originally disclosed all the correct details. If you look at most Insurers recent claims payout above, you will see that it is Good (but like most Insurers – not 100%).

    Life Insurance Trusts & Life of Another

    Who the life insurance plan maybe actually then paid out to at claim can be more complicated & many people wrongly assume it is a simple process.

    If it is a joint life 1’st death policy or if it single life policy owned by another person ”life of another” then it will just be paid to the survivor. 

    However, if it is a single life policy it can be more complex. Check if the policy was setup & written into a trust. If so the Insurer will pay the life insurance via the trustees named to the nominated beneficiaries directly.

    Sometimes there are a named beneficiary & others times a list of potential beneficiaries. The life insurance in trust paid out doesn’t have to be included in the legal documents sent for probate and potentially it won’t be liable for inheritance tax either.

    When a life insurance isn’t written into trust, it will be paid to the executors of the deceased’s estate. They will handle the administration, known as probate in N Ireland, England, Wales and confirmation in Scotland. If not, the benefits will fall into your estate if you died prematurely. If you have not made a will, this can then cause further complications with the life insurance monies.

    Until probate is fully granted, no monies can be paid out to those named in the will. On average, this can take upto 6 months. By not placing the plan into trust may also swell up the total estate values, leading to potentially Inheritance Tax IHT issues.

    So placing a policy in trust can help to ensure that the policy proceeds go to the correct beneficiaries you decide to nominate at that stage. It can also help avoid possible probate delays & IHT costs. Ask the Insurers to kindly provide their available standard trust form wordings & seek legal advice if unsure.

    What if my health lifestyle changes after taking the policy out?

    Any health or lifestyle changes since, usually does not void your existing cover…if it wasn’t relevant at that time of initial application.

    It maybe the Insurers request GP reports when you originally apply, to check any health details disclosed. Likewise they may not. So take care to doubly re-check on your application what you initially disclosed to the Insurers, as this information then stands now and in the future. Please check your original T&C’s.

    My Family are 'life insurance best' reasons
    reasons for buying Best in Life Insurance

    Best for Life Insurance UK Conclusion

    In conclusion, looking at all the factors above, you will see different Insurers may rank highly in one field but then lower in another.

    What is best also for one person, isn’t always the best policy for life insurance for another, as it could be unsuitable to your individual case circumstances or budget.

    Or if you have health issues, your age, your job or pastimes are all considered different risks for each Insurer, so they may all cost this up differently.

    Also the cheapest policy quote isn’t necessarily the best, as it may have the lowest cover or have age costed annually reviewed increasing premiums. Neither is the most expensive necessarily, as it may just be poor value for money.

    Lastly, ignore those advertised Life Insurance with Free Gifts deals, as these ‘best life insurance policy’ generally could be £1,000’s more lifetime expensive.

    So disappointingly, if you are after just the best company for life insurance name or plan alone, there is often no set answer to this question as to who is the best for life insurance?

    My advice would be, do your own research but as they are experts always speak to a broker & let them decide from their professional expertise ‘what is the best life insurance for you’.

    Article on ‘The Best Life Insurance in UK’ by Martyn Spencer Financial Adviser [(year])

    For reassurance re health for men & women we review many of the leading Life Insurers UK selling Life Insurance in United Kingdom (inc NI)