Life Insurance for Women
Is life insurance for women any different to life insurance for men?
The simple answer is no. Life insurance and protection insurance for women covers exactly the same as it does for men and as with anyone it is important that you make sure you have cover in place. This cover is essential as if you were to die unexpectedly or become seriously ill and are unable to work you need to ensure that you have a plan in place to protect yourself and your family.
Years ago it was expected that men would go out to work and be the breadwinners for the family and women would stay at home and look after the children.
Times have since changed significantly, those days are now gone and in many cases families require both partners to be working to enable them to afford the 21st century lifestyle. The equalisation in gender rights has spread to insurance and more women are taking out critical illness cover and income protection insurance than ever before. Whereas previously it was priced to be more expensive for women to take out life insurance and income protection insurance the products have reduced in cost and these days the needs for a life insurance is now as diverse as the couples may be themselves.
What Life Insurance can women take out?
Both men and women can apply for life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection. The most common type of life insurance cover is level term cover. The level term cover will pay out the same lump sum in the event of your death from day one to the very last day of the plan. Most people’s first inclination to take out life cover will probably be when they buy a house or have a child.
When taking out life insurance to cover a mortgage many lenders will ask if you have a life cover plan in place. The mortgage lenders interest in this will be based upon making sure that should anything happen to you and you pass away, they can reclaim the money they have loaned you.
The option as to whether you choose to take out protection for your family is simply a personal choice. There are no laws or government rulings stating that it is something you must do, it is purely down to what you choose. It is common for people that have children and decide to take out life insurance or protection insurance to take out a sum assured that will ideally cover their child or children until they are of an age where they can support themselves, which is typically until age 21.
The difference in premiums for men and women
G-DAY or the European Gender Ruling came into force in December 2012. The ruling by the European Court of Justice means that insurance companies can no longer be able to use gender as a factor to determine whether someone represents a bigger risk to the insurance company in insurance terms. In the past, insurance companies could use historical evidence and claim statistics to show men generally die younger than women and women claim more on critical illness than men. However the ruling by the European Court of Justice has put a stop to all of this and you can no longer be priced differently on the basis of whether you are male or female. The ruling has not however ruled out loadings due to medical history, for example, a female who has a family history of breast cancer is still likely to have an exclusion or an increase reflected in the premiums. Before the ruling came into effect, a male with the same family history would not face exclusion or increase in premiums as a male is less likely to get breast cancer so the risk is not added to the plan.
Should I take out Life Insurance while I am pregnant?
Having a baby is one of life’s most amazing gifts; it is also as wonderful as it is chaotic. Your priorities suddenly change and most people may start to think they need to invest in their future and perhaps consider life cover as one way to start looking after their new family. There are a number of insurance plans available to enable you to do this. The most common insurance plans that people take out are level term plans.
Family income benefit plans will normally run until your child is 18 or 21 years old, these are generally the ages considered as the age a child is able to support themselves financially.
Many people will also take advantage of the free new parent cover available to all new parents and get £10,000 worth of insurance cover for free because they have had a baby. The educational cover has recently also become more popular to parents as it gives complete peace of mind that all school costs, both state and private are covered by the insurance plan should anything happen to you and you are no longer here to provide for your children.
If you decide to take out critical illness cover then your child will automatically be protected under the critical illness cover plan. Your child will be covered for the same illnesses in the plan as you are. Your child falling ill is not a pleasant thought but by having the critical illness cover in place, it allows you to take time off work, pay for private treatment and be by their side throughout, without any financial pressures. Usually the critical illness benefit is restricted to £25,000 per child however with one insurer you are now able to increase the pay-out to £100,000 per child. If you were a couple and take out separate critical illness cover, both polices would pay-out the full amount upon a diagnosis of the life threatening illness.
The view of women staying at home looking after the children is outdated in modern society. In many households it is the women who bring home the higher income and therefore should be thinking about protecting their families income should something happen to them. If you are planning to have a baby this does not change and life insurance and income protection should still be considered. You need to think about the additional costs that having a baby will bring, for example, nappies, milk powder and possibly the biggest bill of all, childcare. The next few years of your life are going to get very expensive.
Being pregnant will not prevent you from getting life insurance, in fact all of the questions in your application are the same as they will be for someone who is not pregnant. In many cases you will need to advise the insurance company that you are pregnant and they will be satisfied with that. If you are pregnant then the way you answer the questions in your application may be different and probably the most obvious one is about your weight. The good news is that insurance companies understand this and take into account your weight with the fact that you are pregnant when assessing your application.
If you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol these habits may change while you are pregnant. In respect of your alcohol consumption, the insurance companies are looking at averages, so even though you may not drink for 9 months the insurance company will want to know your average alcohol intake, normally over the last 5 years. This gives the insurance company a better understanding of what your normal situation would be.
The fact that you are pregant, should be no reason to prevent you from applying for life cover. Your Proadvice adviser can guide you to the correct insurer and let you know what you will need to do if you are suffering from high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or any other health related issues whilst pregant.
How to reduce the cost of Women’s Life Insurance?
To save money on your life insurance as a woman is now exactly the same as if you are a man, thanks to the European Gender Ruling that came into effect in December 2012. The general rule with life insurance is that the younger you are the cheaper your premiums are going to be, it actually works the complete opposite of car insurance. When you are young, Proadvice understand that there are much more exciting things to spend your money on than a life insurance policy, however if you had a crystal ball and could see into the future, you would be much more likely to take out all the insurance you are ever going to need at a young age to ensure you get the best rates ever. There are though, more realistic ways to save money on your insurance plan. Please see our ‘Saving Money’ section for more information.
What is a Trust?
A Life Insurance trust allows you to choose who you want the money to go to in the event of your death, it is called ‘writing in the trust.’ It ensures the potential life pay-out is ‘ring fenced’ from the rest of your estate so that in the event of your death, the pay-out should be free of inheritance tax so your family gets paid the full sum assured amount.
When you set up a plan you become the settlor. By putting the plan in trust, you are ensuring that your loved ones get the pay-out much sooner as it is not part of your estate, the pay-out does not have to wait for a Will to be read or Probate to be completed. It is the fastest way to get a life plan paid out and is usually within 30 days.
With a trust you also get to choose who receives the money in the event of your death. The recipient of the money is called a beneficiary. A trust comes into force upon your death and as you are no longer there to explain what you would like to happen to the money, you have to appoint trustees to act on your behalf. The trustee acts in a very similar way to an executor of a Will. The trustees will ensure that the life insurance money is distributed in accordance with your wishes.
With a trust it means that you are able to dictate which people you want to receive your money, rather than having to follow the rules of intestacy.
By setting your plan into trust ensures that the proceeds are paid to the right people and is paid out quickly at a time when it is of paramount importance that the finances are in place. As the sum assured does not form part of your estate, there will not be any inheritance tax to pay. A trust may not be suitable for everyone as once a policy has been written into trust, it is extremely difficult to alter the trust form or take the plan out of trust in the future so you will need to be 100% certain with your decision. When writing a plan into trust, you are giving complete control of your plan to the trustees, therefore it is advisable to as the settlor, also include yourself as a trustee.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate trusts.