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DeadHappy, is it really ‘life insurance to die for’?

Love them or loath them, DeadHappy life insurance is here to stay and it is possibly one of the most well-known life cover brands in the UK

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 7 July 2023

8 min read

DeadHappy, is it really ‘life insurance to die for’?

Most households will be familiar with the DeadHappy life insurance brand which has become famous for its skull-themed logo and cartoon advertising. It is likely that you will have seen one or several of their adverts on TV or social media which aim to tackle the stigma of talking about life insurance.

The purpose and mission for DeadHappy was to provide life insurance to people who wouldn’t necessarily buy it otherwise. This is done with some very quirky marketing campaigns (not everyone’s cup of tea) and a simplified approach to applying for life cover.

In our reviews we make sure that you get an independent experts view on how things work and what they’re all about, plus some useful information (we hope).

We’ve watched their journey very closely over the past decade with the high’s and lows of their DeadHappy brand. Whether you agree or disagree with its light hearted approach to life insurance, you can’t deny that it grabs your attention.

The history of DeadHappy

DeadHappy originally launched way back in 2013 which was several years before the recent pandemic and cost of living crisis.

The strategy for DeadHappy life insurance was to simplify policies and change the attitudes of people towards talking about death. One of the most common issues faced by the life insurance industry is getting consumers to consider what might happen to their family of they die.

DeadHappy suggests that it has “redesigned life insurance” by offering cover that is easier, faster, cheaper and overall much better than traditional policies.

Another of the claims from DeadHappy is ‘Changing attitudes to death… one deathwish at a time’.

An image of a blue and white skull on top of a cross (The DeadHappy logo)

DeadHappy life insurance is a slightly different approach to tackling the issues of slightly more complicated traditional life insurance. They claim to be more ‘specialist’ in terms of pre-existing conditions compared to brokers such as Reassured or LifeSearch.

A DeadHappy life insurance policy is in fact covered by an insurance provider and friendly society called Shepherds Friendly. This means that your policy will actually be a Shepherds Friendly policy and documentation will show this.

If you take out a life insurance product with DeadHappy then you need to be aware that you aren’t buying a standard policy. Your life insurance policy with DeadHappy will provide you with cover for a maximum of 10 years which means that you cannot select a term, like you can with other policies.

Beware: This is a Maximum 10 year term policy

There are also several other restrictions with DeadHappy life insurance that you need to be aware of (see ‘About DeadHappy life insurance policies’ below).

The purpose of DeadHappy was to introduce a simplified and cheaper type of life insurance to the UK. This was aimed towards younger people and those who felt that traditional life insurance was complicated and expensive.

Note: DeadHappy life insurance is not designed for things like mortgage life insurance protection or those who have specific needs (e.g. Tax Planning, Business Protection, Income Protection etc.).

DeadHappy was originally founded by Phil Zeidler and Andy Knott in 2013 with the aim of demystifying and simplifying life insurance.

Phil Zeidler stepped down as Director of DeadHappy life insurance in 2022 but still remains as a major shareholder and supporter of the business.

Why is DeadHappy life insurance different?

Put simply, the DeadHappy life insurance policy is a simplified product aimed towards those who don’t want to bother with traditional life cover.

There are several key differences between a traditional life insurance policy and a DeadHappy life insurance policy. It’s important to understand what you’re buying before you sign up to one of these products to make sure that it fits your needs.

Key difference between traditional life insurance and DeadHappy life insurance

 Traditional life insuranceDeadHappy life insurance
Age limitsMin. age (at entry) – 17
Max. age (at entry – 86
Max. age (end of term) – 90
Min. age (at entry) – 18
Max. age (at entry – 60
Max. age (end of term) – 70
Cover optionsFamily Life Insurance
Mortgage Life Insurance
Critical Illness Insurance
Family Income Benefit
Whole of Life Insurance
Business Life Insurance
Over 50s Life Insurance
Life Insurance
Critical Illness Insurance
Plan typesGuaranteed
Reviewable Increasing
(index linked)
Reviewable (10 years)
Policy termsMin. term – 2 years
Max. term – Whole of Life
Min. term – 1 year
Max. term – 10 years
Maximum benefitLife Insurance or Critical Illness Insurance – UnlimitedLife Insurance – £350,000
Critical Illness – £175,000
ExclusionsSuicidal death in the first 12 months of policy from start date.Suicidal death (not covered)
Active military duty
Motor sports
Climbing or mountaineering
Aviation activities
Sailing or powerboat racing
Scuba diving
Life insurance adviceAvailable through life insurance brokers and IFA’sNot available
Joint life coverAvailableNot available
Policy trust optionsDiscretionary Trust Absolute TrustNot available
Guaranteed insurability optionsYes (subject to insurer Terms & Conditions)Not available

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed insurability option or alterations allowable with a DeadHappy life insurance policy, unlike most traditional life insurance.

Is DeadHappy life insurance right for you?

As you can see from the list and table above, there are a number of key differences between DeadHappy and traditional life insurance. This is not a policy that will suit everyone and should be carefully considered to make sure that it suits your needs to protect your family and loved one.

What is DeadHappy life insurance not suitable for:

  • Mortgage life insurance (decreasing term life insurance) is not available through DeadHappy insurance
  • Term life insurance is not offered with DeadHappy insurance
  • Large sums assured are not available as the maximum amount of cover that is offered is £350,000
  • Pre-existing medical conditions are not one of the areas that DeadHappy life insurance covers and you might be declined cover if you have a medical problem
  • Suicidal death is currently excluded on DeadHappy life insurance whereas most traditional life insurance policies will only exclude this for 12 months

Does DeadHappy life insurance cover pre existing conditions?

This is not a life insurance policy that will cover all or even most pre existing medical conditions. This is a simple life insurance product which has a handful of medical underwriting questions to offer automatic acceptance online.

If you suffer from a pre existing medical condition then it is likely that your application will be declined or refused. This is not to say that DeadHappy life insurance isn’t any good, it just means that it doesn’t suit everyone.

The way that DeadHappy keeps its premiums low is by focusing on healthy lives and simple cover, so medical conditions don’t suit this product.

There are a number of pre existing medical conditions that will be offered cover with DeadHappy. However, their underwriting philosophy has and will change so we can’t say exactly which these conditions are.

Who underwrites DeadHappy life insurance?

As we mentioned earlier in this review, DeadHappy life insurance cover is provided by Shepherds Friendly who are also the underwriters.

It can be confusing when you see products such as this but this is fairly common in life insurance when it’s not a traditional product. It can be extremely expensive and complicated to underwrite life insurance, which is why most new providers use a ‘carrier’, which is a more established provider.

Shepherd Friendly is a friendly society that is a mutual so it’s owned by its members and not shareholders. Shepherds also offers other products as well as life insurance such as ISA’s, Investments, Over 50s life insurance and income protection insurance.

DeadHappy also sits on a platform that is provided by a company called Covea who are a digital technology provider. This is the engine that drives the automated underwriting process for DeadHappy.

What are the DeadHappy adverts all about?

You might be familiar with the DeadHappy branding which is a skull-themed logo or their tongue in cheek advertising with Mick and Tel (cartoon characters).

Video: DeadHappy | Mick & Tel : In The Dark

Slogan: DeadHappy ‘Life insurance to die for’.

Traditional life insurance is generally perceived by many as being over-complicated, boring and expensive. DeadHappy was launched to change perceptions of life insurance and help people to tackle the topic of talking about death.

It has successfully introduced a humorous and sarcastic approach to the topic of our own death, which is a big step forwards for the life insurance industry.

DeadHappy life insurance adverts have also been known to go slightly too far and overstep the mark in terms of being offensive to its audience. One shining example of this was the recent advert that featured the known serial killer, Doctor Harold Shipman (for more information about this you can read our article ‘DeadHappy Harold Shipman advert’).

As we have mentioned above, DeadHappy is a life insurance policy that is provided by The Shepherds Friendly Society Ltd.

This is mutual society that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN. 109997).

Your policy should pay out under its standard Terms & Conditions which can be found on the DeadHappy website. Under the section ‘When we won’t pay out?’ of the DeadHappy Life Insurance Key Facts document:

  • You’re still alive (even if you try to fake your own death).
  • Your death is caused by suicide (this includes all deaths caused by intentional self-inflicted injury).
  • You die whilst on active military duty (including reserves/voluntary service).
  • You die doing something on DeadHappy’s list of extremely dangerous things (see above).
  • You didn’t give honest answers to the questions we asked when you took out the life insurance.
  • You give us the wrong information or withhold information from us at any time.
  • You do not keep up your payments and miss a payment for more than 30 days.

Is DeadHappy a broker?

No, DeadHappy is not a life insurance broker and does not provider life insurance advice or multiple products from other insurance providers.

DeadHappy is a life insurance company that only provides cover from its own range of products via its online system. This is more suited towards people who do not want advice or those customers who are happy to buy life insurance themselves online.

How to complain to DeadHappy insurance

Under the section ‘IF YOU GOT A PROBLEM?’ (Yo we’ll solve it.) of the DeadHappy Key Facts document, you’ll find the details you need.

Telephone – Not available

Email – help@deadhappy.com

Post – Hawbank House, High Street, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 1AL.

Claims complaints email – deadhappycomplaints@shepherdsfriendly.co.uk

More information – DeadHappy – Complaints

Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an impartial and free service for financial services customers in the UK. This service can be used to settle any disputes between insurance companies and their customers in the United Kingdom. You might feel that you have suffered any financial loss as a result of your insurance policy. If the FCA agree, then they may rule for compensation to be awarded.

Telephone – 0800 023 4567 (or 0300 123 9123)

Telephone (outside the UK) – 0207 964 0500

Email – complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

DeadHappy life insurance offers

The most recent and consistent offer with DeadHappy life insurance is 2 months free with every new policy. This offer has been available for as long as we can remember and so seems to be the main promotion.

Code: HAPPY

DeadHappy reviews

For a full list of independent customer reviews you can visit the DeadHappy review page on Trust Pilot. Most insurance companies use Trust Pilot or Feefo which are impartial and independent review website to collect genuine customer feedback.

Current score (Trust Pilot) – 4.8 Stars (07/06/23)

5 Star rating – 94%

4 Star rating – 3%

3 Star rating – <1%

2 Star rating – <1%

1 Star rating – 2%

Alternative to buying DeadHappy life insurance

There are loads of great options when it comes to buying life insurance to protect your family and loved ones.

Life insurance can provide you and your family with peace of mind that they have protection in place, should anything happen. DeadHappy is a shining example of how you people should be talking about death and preparing for this if it did happen.

MoneyPeopleOnline.co.uk does not offer life insurance advice but we have carefully selected a specialist that can help you. If you need advice or help getting life insurance then you can CLICK HERE or call 0800 009 6559.

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