It’s important to consider what would happen if something unfortunate were to happen that affected you or your family’s financial stability. If you’re not financially prepared for the worst, it might be time to learn about the types of life insurance, how much they cost and how the payouts work.
Term life insurance can pay out a set amount of money (depending on your policy’s cover amount) as a lump sum to your chosen beneficiaries. It’s designed to cover you and your family’s financial needs in the unfortunate event that you pass away or are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover pays a lump sum if you’re unable to return to work and earn an income because you become seriously ill or permanently disabled. A trauma insurance benefit can help pay for medical bills and other expenses while you recover.
Comparing policies from a range of life insurance companies with a variety of cover options may help you find a policy with lower premiums.
Comparing new policies will also allow you to remove any unnecessary cover and include features that are relevant to your needs, like cover for certain pre-existing conditions you may have. You should also check that your new policy includes enough money to cover you or your family’s expenses should the worst happen.
It’s important to consider how much life insurance you will need paid out in the event of a partner or parent’s death or the inability to work due to injury or sickness. The amount of money you, your partner or your family might require to get by in the future will depend on how much is needed for certain expenses like:
Our life insurance calculator is an easy tool that can give you an idea of how much insurance you may want to consider to cover your family’s lifestyle if you can no longer provide for them.
Discounts are another thing you can take advantage of when comparing policies and finding the right level of cover. For example, life insurers will generally offer a discount if the premium is paid annually (instead of paying a monthly premium). Some insurers offer a sign-up discount off your premiums or a partial refund of your premiums paid within the first year. There are also some new life insurance policies that offer additional benefits like no lock-in contracts or easy and fast applications.
It’s also important to compare different policies for their features, like low annual premium fees, joint policy discounts, a variety of premium structure options (stepped, level or hybrid) and options for varying payment frequency to help manage premium payments.
With life insurance, you can usually choose between stepped and level premiums for your policy structure, either of which can help reduce your life insurance premium costs either in the short or long term depending on your circumstances. The right option for you will depend on where you are in life and your individual needs.
By regularly comparing your policy against others, keeping up to date with more affordable coverage with better features and choosing the right life insurance premium structure, you may find more value and reduce your life insurance premiums.
Another way you could reduce your life insurance premiums is to opt out or remove the option of automatic CPI increases. Life policies are generally indexed for inflation, and policy indexation can impact your life insurance premiums; depending on your policy, the cost of your premiums (and your benefit amount) can increase annually by 3-5% or in accordance with the Indexation Factor for the year.
Removing CPI increases from your policy will avoid inflation and won’t increase the price you pay year on year. However, your benefit amount also won’t increase along with the inflation, and you may receive a lower life insurance payout than you could get with CPI increases included in your policy.
An option you might consider to reduce your life insurance premium is to reduce the amount you’re covered for through your policy, as you may not need as big of a lump sum payout as when you started your policy. It might not be cost-effective to be on a life insurance plan where you’re paying higher premiums to be covered for more than you may need. For example, covering your life for $3 million will significantly increase your premiums, but may not be entirely necessary if you think that half or even a third of that amount would be enough.
Common reasons people may reduce their cover amount to reduce their premiums include:
Removing some unnecessary features from your life insurance (like cover for certain illnesses or conditions that are unlikely to affect you) can reduce your life insurance premiums. However, your good health isn’t a given, so you don’t want to be underinsured or not covered at all by removing some of these medical conditions from your policy.
Sometimes you may find life insurance cover included in your superannuation. However, this can be very basic and limited in its coverage and there are various terms and conditions with this type of option.
Purchasing your life insurance through your superannuation fund will typically be cheaper and can reduce your overall life insurance premiums (which will be paid out of your superannuation balance rather than taxable income). However, this generally doesn’t offer comprehensive protection and might not provide adequate cover required to provide for your family or beneficiaries. This option will also impact your retirement savings, as your superannuation money will be used to pay your life insurance.
Life insurance premiums will always be higher if you don’t prove how healthy you are. If you’ve signed up for a no medical policy, you may be paying more than you need to for coverage just for the comfort of not having to prove your health status. Going through the medical examinations or health checks as required by the life insurance provider or policy application process might save you more money in the long run, even if you aren’t the healthiest person.
Life insurance providers look more favourably on non-smokers and may even charge a smoker double the amount for the same policy as someone who doesn’t smoke. This is a great reason to quit smoking and reduce your life insurance premiums at the same time.
Life insurance customers are bound by a duty of disclosure, which means you are obliged to tell your insurance provider of any changing lifestyle circumstances.
Non-smokers do get cheaper life insurance premiums because they are less of a risk, but once you apply for non-smoker life insurance cover, you may have to go 12 months without smoking to have your premiums lowered. So, make sure you let your insurer know if you have stopped smoking.
If your life insurance policy is classified as a non-smoker, but the insurer finds evidence via social media or otherwise that you are a smoker or have smoked even one cigarette, it could void your life insurance policy entirely.
Losing weight isn’t only great for your health, it’s also a helpful way to reduce your life insurance premiums. Being overweight presents a big risk to life insurance providers because it increases your chance of developing serious health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease or a stroke.
Improving your lifestyle by losing weight can reduce your risk factors and your life insurance premiums. Some insurers even offer discounts on premiums for those who lead healthy lives or are within specific BMI ranges.
Excessive alcohol consumption can be seen as a health risk by life insurance providers, and so they may not offer cover in this case. If they do offer cover, it might incur loading fees or increased premiums to make up for the increased risk. A good tip on how to reduce your life insurance premiums or reduce loading fees is to reduce or cut out alcohol consumption. If you can prove to your insurer that you’ve changed your drinking habits for the better, they may see you as less of a health risk.
If you like to live life on the edge and get a thrill from extreme sports and risky hobbies, you may need to change your lifestyle if you want to reduce your life insurance premiums.
Some insurers may have exclusions or loadings on certain activities. This means that you could pay more for your life insurance premiums if you’re a daredevil and regularly engage in extreme activities like skydiving, skiing, motorsport or car racing, bungee jumping, mountain climbing, scuba diving or even jet skiing. Living a safer lifestyle reduces your risk to insurers and can reduce your life insurance premiums.
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics – Life expectancy hits a new high. Published November 2021.