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Guardian 1821 life insurance review

We're explaining how Guardian life insurance works and the key things you should know about Guardian 1821

A photo of Grace Lynch, the author

By Grace Lynch

Published on: 5 June 2023

9 min read

Guardian 1821 life insurance review

Guardian 1821 first stepped into the personal insurance market in 2018 and have made a big impression ever since. Guardian provides a range of insurance policies to UK customers including life insurance, critical illness cover, and more recently income protection insurance.

Why choose Guardian life insurance?

You might be thinking ‘is Guardian life insurance good?’ and this is a fair question to ask.

Though Guardian is not yet a big-name insurer such as Aviva or Legal & General, they have a good reputation within the industry and with consumers. They have won a wide range of awards since they began trading in 2017. This includes the following awards:

  • Protection Provider of the Year 2022 (Finance Planning Group)
  • Outstanding Individual Life Insurance (Cover Excellence Awards 2022)
  • 5 Stars for Pensions & Protection (Financial Times Financial Adviser Service Awards 2021)
  • Gold rating for Life Insurance, Critical Illness Cover, Income Protection and Family Income Benefit (Protection Guru Awards 2021)

About Guardian 1821

Guardian 1821 was founded in its current form back in 2017. However, Guardian has a longer history than this, originally being established in the year 1821. They began by offering fire and life insurance before developing a wider range of policies.

They were bought out by large insurance business AXA in 1999. The life and pensions arm of the business was bought by Aegon in the same year. Guardian eventually closed for business in 2016. 2 years later, they were bought and rebranded as Guardian 1821 by Gryphon Group Holdings.

Main areas of business for Guardian Financial Services include:

There are a lot of different options available for life insurance in the UK, so it is important to think carefully before choosing your policy. You don’t want to end up with one that doesn’t suit your needs or costs more than it should.

Here are all the main details about Guardian 1821 life insurance, to help you decide if Guardian feels like a good fit for the cover you need:

Policy typeGuardian Life Protection Policies
Premium optionsGuaranteed (fixed payments that never change)
Variable (you can increase or decrease your cover over time so premiums can change)
Cover optionsGuardian Level Term Life Insurance (Family protection)
Guardian Decreasing Term Life Insurance (Mortgage Protection)
Guardian Increasing Life Insurance (Indexed)
Guardian Life and Critical Illness Cover
Guardian Family Income Benefit
Coverage typeSingle life.
Dual life (first event, pays out twice per policy, after the death of each policy holder)
Terminal illness cover benefitIncluded as standard with life and life and critical illness policies. This benefit will pay out if given a terminal prognosis (12 months or less life expectancy).  

Guardian will also pay out if you are diagnosed with 1 of 4 specified life limiting conditions. These are:  
Parkinson-Plus Syndromes
Motor Neurone Disease
Stage 4 Cancer
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
Waiver of Premium benefitIncluded free of charge. Will pay your premiums if you cannot work, are made redundant or go on maternity/paternity leave.
Indexation option (RPI)You can choose for your cover to increase each year as the Retail Price Index (RPI) does (indexed cover). This is designed to protect your policy against inflation. Your monthly payments will increase by inflation multiplied by 1.5.  

Your policy can only increase to a maximum of £20million (across all policies). You can decline to increase your cover when asked. If you decline for 3 consecutive years, you will be switched to a level term policy.
Age limits (minimum and maximum ages)Minimum age 18 at policy start.
Maximum age 64 at policy start.
Maximum age 90 at policy end.
Life insurance exclusionsGuardian 1821 does not include any exclusions within their policy terms and conditions.

Many life insurance businesses make it overly complicated to get in touch with them. There are often many options for phone numbers and it can be confusing to know which is the right one.

Guardian 1821 has simplified this with a limited number of ways to contact the Guardian life insurance customer service team.

If at any point you need to speak to Guardian about your policy, here are all the contact details you will need.

Guardian life insurance phone number

Tel. 0808 123 1821

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Guardian life insurance email: heretohelp@guardian1821.co.uk

Guardian critical illness cover

You can also buy critical illness cover from Guardian, which provides you with a cash lump sum if diagnosed with a serious medical issue. Critical illness cover can help support you if you are not able to work or need to pay for treatments or adjustments to your home.

You have a few options for cover with Guardian 1821 including level term, increasing and decreasing policies. You can also choose to combine your life insurance and critical illness cover into one policy, if you wish to have both.

Here are the key features of Guardian’s critical illness insurance policies:

Policy typeGuardian Critical Illness Insurance
Premium optionsGuaranteed (fixed payments that never change)
Variable (you can increase or decrease your cover over time so premiums can change)
Cover optionsGuardian Critical Illness Cover (level term)
Guardian Critical Illness Cover (decreasing term)
Guardian Critical Illness Cover (increasing)
Guardian Family Income Benefit
Guardian Life and Critical illness cover
Coverage typeSingle life.
Dual life (pays out for each policy holder)
Illnesses covered by core plan option76 conditions covered  
54 conditions full 100% payments  
22 additional payment (the lower of 10%-25% of the cover amount depending on the condition or £50,000)  
Also includes surgery cover which pays out 25% of the cover amount if placed on a UK surgery waiting list.
Children’s Critical illness insurance core plan optionCan be added as an additional option and covers your child up until their 23nd birthday.  
Only pays out once per child and covers all the illnesses covered in an adult critical illness policy.  
Funeral cover will sat in place after the policy pays out for illness, but you cannot claim for illness again.  

Funeral benefit pays out £10,000 if your child was to pass away between the 24th week of pregnancy and their 23rd birthday.  
Age limits (minimum and maximum ages)Minimum age 18 at policy start.
Maximum age 64 at policy start.
Minimum term 5 years and cover must end before your 70th birthday.
Critical illness insurance exclusionsThe condition you claim for must meet the definitions in your policy terms and conditions.
You have to survive 14 days or longer from diagnosis for a valid claim.

More about critical illness cover:

It will never be a nice experience having to claim on a life insurance policy. Insurers will try hard to sensitive to this and make claiming as simple as they can.

Whether you need to claim on a loved ones policy or on your own (terminal illness claim), here are some things you should know.

How to make a Guardian life insurance claim

If you need to claim on a Guardian life insurance policy, there are a few things to know before contacting their claims team. It can be helpful to have the following information readily available to make the process smoother:

  • Name and date of birth of the deceased (or your own details if claiming on your terminal illness benefit)
  • The policy number
  • Death certificate (if claiming for bereavement)

Most insurers will allow you to start your claim online. Guardian asks you to call to begin your claim, with no online option available.

What happens next with your claim:

  • You will be emailed confirmation of your claim after speaking with the Guardian claims team over the phone
  • You may be emailed forms to complete, sign and send back if applicable
  • You should receive updates throughout the claims process about the status of your claim
  • Guardian will also advise you about how to access their support services such as the bereavement counselling available through Guardian HALO

More information – Guardian – How to make a claim

Guardian life insurance claims contact details

Tel. 0808 123 1821

Email: heretohelp@guardian1821.co.uk (advice and support, claims need to be started via phone call)

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Guardian life insurance claims statistics

Here at MoneyPeopleOnline, we believe it’s incredibly important for insurers to be open and transparent about their claims history. This helps consumers and regulators assess whether claims are being paid out fairly and if policies are good value for money.

As a relatively new insurer, Guardian does not yet post full claims statistics. This is based on recommendations from regulatory bodies. A proper comparison with other insurers cannot be made until they have at least 5 years of statistics available.

This makes it harder to judge how well Guardian 1821 handles claims, though they are nearly at the point now when full claims statistics should start to be published. As of now, all we can assess is the following statistics posted on their website:

YearAmount paid out for life insurance claims (£s)Amount paid out for critical illness claims (£s)
2020£816,549£1,409,234
2021£3,263,326£2,813,910
2022£3,741,736£4,913,796

Guardian life insurance trusts

A trust can be a good way to specify who benefits from your life insurance policy. It is also a cost effective alternative to a will, as it is offered free alongside most policies.

Guardian does give you the option to write your policy into trust. While Guardian Financial Services organise arranging your trust, the trust itself will be held by Scottish Friendly.

Guardian life insurance complaints

All insurance companies should be prepared to handle complaints from time to time, as occasionally customers may feel unhappy with their policy or the company’s service. Guardian has a set complaints policy in place to try and resolves any issues customers may have.

Once you have submitted a complaint with Guardian 1821, you will be assigned one person who handles your complaint. Guardian aims to resolve complaints within 5 working days if possible. If it will take longer than this, they should get in touch with you to explain why.

You can submit a complaint by contacting:

Tel. 0808 123 1821

Email: heretohelp@guardian1821.co.uk

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

You can also write to Guardian and complain via post if you would prefer to, by writing to:

Guardian Customer Complaints,

Forbury Works,

37/34 Blagrave Street,

Reading,

RG1 1PZ

More information – Guardian 1821 – Complaints Process

If you want to take your complaint further, you always have the option to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). They help to mediate any disputes between financial services businesses and consumers, to make sure everyone is treated fairly.

Tel. 0800 023 4567 OR 0300 123 9123

Tel. 0207 964 0500 (calling from overseas)

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

How to cancel Guardian life insurance

You aren’t tied into life insurance policies indefinitely and always have the option to cancel if you need to or want to. If you have found another policy you prefer, or simply want to cancel, this is what you need to do.

  • First, contact Guardian to inform them you want to cancel (they recommend emailing them at heretohelp@guardian1821.co.uk)
  • Next, cancel your direct debit with your bank to stop your monthly payments

Guardian life insurance benefits

  • FREE waiver of premium is included as standard with your life insurance policy. This pays policy premiums on your behalf if you’re unable to work. Guardian also will pay your premiums if you are on maternity/paternity leave or are made redundant.
  • FREE terminal illness benefit will be included with your Guardian life insurance policy. This benefit pays out if you are given a terminal prognosis (life expectancy 12 months or less). Guardian also pays out on diagnosis of 4 serious conditions (Parkinson-Plus syndromes, Motor Neurone Disease, Stage 4 Cancer (terminal), Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).
  • 24/7 Remote GP access is available through Guardian Anytime. As well as this, Guardian Anytime provides access to second medical opinions, medical treatment plans and more.
  • Return to work support and bereavement counselling are both available through Guardian HALO. This also gives you access to other services such as estate planning, and legal advice regarding probate.
  • Guaranteed Insurability Option (GIO) allows you to increase your cover amount with no additional medical questions
  • Guardian Mortgage Guarantee will cover your outstanding mortgage balance if it is more than expected due to interest, provided the amount of cover was correct when you applied. This is for decreasing life insurance (mortgage protection) only.
  • Guardian Lifestyle Promise can allow you to reduce your premiums following a significant improvement in your health/lifestyle. This includes things such as quitting smoking, losing weight or leaving a high risk job role.

Guardian life insurance can only be bought through a life insurance advisor, as Guardian 1821 do not accept direct applications. If you want to buy life insurance with Guardian 1821, you will need to speak to an insurance specialist.

In many cases, it can be better to speak to an experience life insurance specialist for additional help and support anyway. If you have a serious medical condition for example, you could end up paying way more than necessary without the right advice.

Find out more useful tips about buying life insurance in some of our top MPO guides:

Resources

Guardian 1821 – Customer Stories

Guardian – Protection Policy Terms and Conditions

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