Life insurance is designed to provide a financial safety net if you were to:
However, it can be hard to know which life insurance policy is right for you. There are three types of life insurance you’ll typically come across:
Each type of insurance makes a lump sum payment in a different set of circumstances. With our free comparison tool, you can compare all types of life insurance as an individual or combined policy from our panel of trusted insurers.
You’ll first need to decide on the amount of life insurance cover you want. The cover amount that’s best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. However, you may want to consider factors such as your superannuation, savings and passive income, and whether they will be enough to cover any debts (mortgage, credit cards, etc.), living expenses and school fees.
To simplify this process, try our free life insurance calculator, which will help you to estimate the level of cover you may need based on your circumstances.
To learn more about life insurance, see our in-depth guide to life insurance here
When you take out life insurance, you sign a contract with an insurer and agree to pay the policy premiums regularly. In exchange, your insurer pays a lump sum to your listed beneficiaries (e.g. spouse, children) if you pass away or become seriously ill, injured or permanently disabled.
Life insurance either covers you for an agreed-upon term (e.g. for the next 10 or 20 years) or, for some insurers, until you reach a certain age. This type of cover is also usually risk-rated, which means your premiums will be calculated based on how likely you are to make a claim; as such, life insurance may cost more for high-risk individuals.
Also, you may need to sit through waiting periods before you can claim on your life insurance. To see your policy’s waiting periods as well as any inclusions, exclusions and limits, refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
How much life insurance costs in Australia will vary between each person. The amount you may pay for life insurance is based on factors like your age, gender, health, smoking status, occupation, lifestyle and other risk factors.
Your life insurance premiums will also depend on the type of policy, what the policy covers and whether you choose stepped or level premiums.
The amount you pay with a level premium structure is spread evenly over the life of your policy. This means you’ll be charged more in the earlier years and less in the later years compared with a stepped premium policy.
On the other hand, a stepped premium policy usually starts out cheaper than a level premium policy but gets more expensive over your lifetime. You’ll want to consider whether you’d prefer cheaper premiums now or more affordable premiums over time. For some insurers, your policy will automatically change to a stepped premium structure after a set period (e.g. at the review date following your 65th birthday or after 30 years).
For both premium types, the amount you must pay can vary if the sum insured changes (e.g. by voluntary increase or indexation) or your insurer changes their premium rates. Other factors such as a change in government charges (e.g. stamp duty) can also affect your premium. For any future increases to the insured sum, your premium increase will be based on your age when the increase occurs.
To determine how much life insurance may cost you, you can compare life insurance quotes using our online comparison service.
You’ll need to make this decision for yourself based on how you think your family would cope if you weren’t there to support them financially.
Specifically, you may need to consider how your family could fare if they needed to pay off debts or cope with regular expenses without your income.
Life insurance also allows you to leave an inheritance to help your children get ahead if you’re no longer around.
You’ll need to take out a policy before an insured event (like a severe injury) occurs. If you become seriously injured and then take out a life insurance policy, you wouldn’t be able to claim this injury on your cover.
It’s also worth noting that many superannuation funds include some form of life insurance. If you want to check if you already have life insurance through your superannuation, call up your super fund. You might find that the cover you have through your super may be insufficient for your needs.
Term life insurance could help financially support your beneficiaries (e.g. your family) if you were to pass away or receive a terminal illness diagnosis. This policy is a common type of life insurance offered by Australian insurers.
Term life insurance replaced whole life insurance as the most popular form of life insurance for Australians in 1992 when compulsory superannuation was introduced. Unlike whole life insurance, term life insurance only covers you for a predetermined period of your life (e.g. until you turn 80).
If you’re wondering if life insurance is worth it for you and your family, consider these four reasons why you may want to take out cover:
Even if you’re more likely to claim on a life insurance policy than someone else, you may still be able to take out cover. However, life insurance for high-risk individuals will usually cost more.
To determine if you’re a high-risk individual and how much you’ll pay for such a policy, insurers will typically assess your occupation, health, lifestyle and hobbies.
Some examples that may categorise you as a high-risk individual include:
Women’s life insurance may cost less than men’s because they typically have a longer life expectancy and, on average, better health. Insurers will consider these factors when calculating life insurance premiums for women. However, there other factors that could result in a woman paying more.
All risk-rated insurance products are priced based on the risk of the individual, male or female. So, if a woman lives a risky lifestyle, is older or has medical conditions that might lead to a claim in the future, there’s every chance she may pay more for life insurance than a man who is considered ‘less risky’.
If you’re curious about what you’ll pay for life insurance, one of the easiest ways to find out is to get a life insurance quote using our comparison service.
No, you can’t claim any tax deductions for life insurance premiums. However, income protection insurance premiums may be tax-deductible, as it protects against loss of income, not life1. You should consider talking to a qualified tax specialist to determine what you can claim on tax each financial year.
Please note: This information is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute tax advice.
Life insurance policies can come with a variety of benefits and will be priced accordingly. This means that you’ll want to understand everything that’s included in your policy so you’re not paying for cover you don’t need or missing out on cover you do.
Some common benefits include:
1Australian Taxation Office, Income protection insurance. (Accessed April 2022)