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Top 5 things to know about life insurance


Life insurance for your needs

There are four main types of life insurance cover available in Australia. You can take out these cover options individually or opt for a bundled policy.

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A range of life insurance benefits are available

Life insurance policies come with a range of benefits. By picking and choosing your benefits, you can tailor your cover to suit your circumstances. However, you should understand these before signing up.

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Get cover even with pre-existing conditions

You may still be able to get covered even with a pre-existing medical condition, although you may need to meet some criteria to be eligible. Learn how the life insurance underwriting process works before applying for cover so you’re aware of any additional loadings or exclusions.

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Life insurance can cost less than you think

Finding out what affects the cost of life insurance premiums can help you save money on your life insurance policy by adjusting your benefits to match your needs.

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Choose how you pay

The premiums you pay on a life insurance policy will depend on many factors, including if you choose a stepped or level premium policy.

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A guide to life insurance

Updated February 5, 2024
Written by Joshua Malin
Reviewed by Steven Spicer

David Koch: Could you be underinsured?

David Koch explains life insurance and gives some tips on how to choose a policy that works for you.

David Koch
Economic Director

Steven Spicer’s expert tips for choosing the right life insurance for you

Steven Spicer
Executive General Manager – Health, Life & Energy

Check your PDS for important policy information

It’s important to carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of any life insurance policies you’re thinking of purchasing. The PDS will contain all the relevant information about the policy so you can decide whether it’s the best option for you.

Be honest about pre-existing conditions

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, always be honest with life insurance providers when comparing options. Some pre-existing conditions may not be covered or may affect your premium, but you don’t want a claim to be rejected because you weren’t honest about your medical history.

Know your policy exclusions

Pay very careful attention to the inclusions and exclusions of the policies you’re comparing. Some events or illnesses may not be covered by a policy, or the inclusions may not be relevant to you.

Choosing the right life insurance for you

What is life insurance?

How does life insurance work?

Is life insurance tax deductible?

Do I need life insurance?

Types of life insurance

There are four types of life insurance you’ll commonly see offered by Australian life insurers:

Term life insurance

TPD insurance

Trauma cover

Income protection

Life insurance underwriting

When you take out a life insurance policy, your risk factors will be considered during the underwriting process. This could affect your total premium or result in an exclusion or a loading on your policy. Learn more about life insurance exclusions, loadings and indexation.

Life insurance as a high-risk individual

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.

Life insurance as a woman

Life insurance for families

Life insurance for seniors

Life insurance costs

How much does life insurance cost?

Stepped vs level premiums

Benefits to look for in a life insurance policy

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:

  • Life buy-back option. If you’ve bundled your policies together and you make a TPD claim, the payout you receive from your TPD claim could be deducted from the total life insurance payout amount you’re entitled to. This buy-back option lets you restore your life insurance payout to the original amount before you made your TPD claim. Typically, the cost of this is charged as part of the premium.
  • Funeral advancement. If the insured person passes away and the beneficiary provides a death certificate to the insurer, they can receive a portion of the life insurance payout (up to a limit) in advance to cover funeral costs.
  • Guaranteed Future Insurability (GFI). This allows you to increase your cover if your life changes significantly, such as getting married or divorced, buying a house or having kids. GFI can allow you to increase your cover amount for your new circumstances without having to repeat health checks or submit another application.
  • Premium pause life insurance option. You may be able to pause paying your premiums for a limited time (listed on your PDS) if you’re experiencing financial hardship (e.g. losing your job). However, this means you might not have cover if an illness or injury occurs and you wish to claim during this period.
  • Unemployment premium waiver. This could waive your life insurance premiums if you’re unable to work for a specified time (listed on your PDS) due to an accident or illness. However, this waiver will stop when you return to work or start making a regular income.
  • Child cover. A benefit that pays a sum of cash if your child dies or falls terminally ill.
  • Accidental death cover. This may allow your beneficiaries (e.g. dependents) to receive a cash payout if you die from an accident.

Sources: 1 Australian Taxation Office, Income protection insurance. (Accessed April 2022)

Meet our life insurance expert, Steven Spicer

As the Executive General Manager of Health, Life and Energy at Compare the Market, Steven Spicer understands just how unpredictable life can be, which is why he believes so strongly in the benefits of being covered. Steven is passionate about making life insurance more accessible and educating Australians on how to find the right product for them.

Steven has 20 years of experience as a people-first business leader, with a focus on creating services that put customers first.

Steven Spicer, Executive General Manager