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What does Martin Lewis say about Life Insurance 2024?

Martin Lewis has been providing personal finance and money saving tips to the British public for just over two decades. In this guide, our team of qualified financial experts looks at the latest Martin Lewis life insurance guidance and what it really means for you and your family.

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 19 May 2024

12 min read

What does Martin Lewis say about Life Insurance 2024?

Martin Lewis CBE writes and talks about life insurance in his personal finance advice for UK households and for parents. So why should you listen to Martin Lewis’s life insurance recommendations if you’re thinking about how to protect our family? We look at everything that Martin Lewis says about life insurance and all of his recommendations from MoneySavingExpert.com and various television appearances.

Life insurance is the best financial protection for your family to protect them against loss of income from the death of a parent. Policies start from as little as £5 per month with many of the top high-street insurance companies which can provide £100,000’s of cover for your loved ones.

Millions of families now turn to Martin Lewis CBE and his free money advice services for advice about their own personal finances. His website, MoneySavingExpert.com provides detailed information and impartial independent personal finance guidance (not advice) for life insurance as well as hundreds of other financial products.

In this guide, our team of qualified financial experts looks at the latest Martin Lewis life insurance guidance and what it really means. We also look at the information that is offered by the team of financial journalists at MSE and some other information from several television interviews with Mr Lewis himself.

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60-Second Summary – Does Martin Lewis recommend Life Insurance?

We know that millions of UK households seek guidance from Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert.com for their own personal finance needs, including life insurance advice. Martin Lewis strongly recommends that all parents with dependent children should have life insurance to protect their family against financial loss.

Martin Lewis has been providing personal finance and money saving tips to the British public for just over two decades.

  • Martin Lewis recommends life insurance from his own personal experiences and the tragic loss of his Mother at just 11 years of age in a tragic horse riding accident.
  • MoneySavingExpert.com talks about how to compare different types of life insurance to protect your family and how to save money on life cover.
  • Martin Lewis has also famously appeared on ITV’s This Morning where he spoke candidly about life insurance with previous hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
  • MoneyPeopleOnline experts aim to add more information from our three decades of experience to the somewhat limited information that is provided by Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert.com.

Life insurance pays out a lump sum to protect your family and your home if you or your partner dies during the term of the policy. There are several different types of life insurance, the two most common types are family life insurance (level term life insurance) and mortgage life insurance (decreasing term life insurance).

There are several well-known life insurance companies (providers) in the UK and the industry is worth just over £40bn according to IBIS World. The top 3 life insurance companies in the UK currently are Legal & General, Aviva, and Vitality.

The only exclusion with traditional life insurance is that it won’t pay out for suicidal death in the first 12 months of the policy. Contrary to popular opinion, life insurance has the highest pay out rate of all insurance products in the UK at around 98% of all claims paid.

Life insurance premiums start from as little as £4 per month with some insurers and you can get cover for £100,000’s or even millions if you needed it. There is no investment or cash in value for life insurance which is a common misconception.

Martin Lewis definitely recommends that households should have life insurance and especially parents with dependent children. His advice to parents on an interview on ITV’s This Morning about life insurance was “get over your sensitivities and deal with it”, when he was questioned about the topic by Phillip Schofield. This moment and part of the full Martin Lewis interview can be viewed in the clip below, which is taken from the This Morning YouTube channel.

Martin Lewis’ Guide to Life Insurance – Different Types | This Morning

Another key point that Martin Lewis raises on this interview is that life insurance helps to prevent further emotional distress after the loss of a loved one. He says “imagine the heartbreak of losing a parent, and then add to that the financial distress of not being able to pay your bills”. We think that this is a really important point and one that needs to be highlighted to parents that don’t have life insurance.

Martin Lewis also appears on another emotional interview on BBC’s Radio Five Live where he talks openly about the loss of his own Mother. While this doesn’t necessarily talk about life insurance, it clearly shows how much he was impacted by the tragic loss of a parent at a very young age and how long-lasting that has been for him.

Following the tragic loss of his Mother, Martin Lewis now works closely with one of the top children’s bereavement charities called Grief Encounter. Mr Lewis is an ambassador for the charity and uses his own experiences to help support other children in a similar position to him.

About Grief Encounter

Grief Encounter was founded in 2004 by Dr Shelley Gilbert MBE to provide bereavement support for children and young people following the death of a parent or sibling. The charity works closely with families, schools, and professionals to help youngsters to deal with anxiety, fear, and isolation.

They recently released this video titled ‘Why It Matters’, which helps to highlight the impact of their work and why it is so important to provide extra support to children who have lost a parent.

“Why It Matters” An animation film by Grief Encounter, leading UK bereavement charity

MoneySavingExpert.com provides some very useful information for parents to help them to navigate the complicated world of life insurance. In this section we’ll look deeper in to the Martin Lewis and MSE life insurance guidance to explain his top tips about life insurance.

Below, we look at all of the different things that Martin Lewis says about life insurance on his website MoneySavingExpert.com.

What types of life insurance are available?

Martin Lewis only talks about family life insurance or level term life insurance during his interview on ITV’s This Morning. He then goes in to more detail about several other types of life insurance on MSE, including Over 50’s, Family Income Benefit, Whole of Life, and Joint Life Insurance.

Note: Firstly, we wanted to mention that ‘Joint Life Insurance’ is not a type of life insurance and that this is an option that is available on most policies. You can choose to have joint or single life insurance with almost any of the different cover types.

While it’s important to understand that there are several different options for life insurance, the main two are family life insurance (level term) and mortgage life insurance (decreasing term).

Family life insurance (Level term life insurance)

Family life insurance (Level term life insurance) is by far the most common and most popular type of cover in the UK. As it says on the Martin Lewis life insurance guide, this pays out a level lump sum which is fixed until the end of the term or early if you die.

Martin Lewis also mentions that you can’t usually remain covered past the age of 80, however most providers will cover you to 90 years of age currently. This can be a good alternative to Over 50s life insurance for those looking for funeral cover for example.

Mortgage life insurance (Decreasing term life insurance)

Mortgage life insurance (Decreasing term life insurance) is the second most popular type of life insurance and it is specifically designed to cover your mortgage if you die. This simply means that the life insurance policy would pay out a lump sum that would repay your mortgage balance as it reduces so that your family wouldn’t need to continue to make mortgage repayments.

The Martin Lewis life insurance guidance for this is correct and it is not designed to provide an additional lump sum for your dependents for other debts, and other outgoings. You can take out a mortgage life insurance policy to repay your mortgage balance and a family life insurance policy to provide a lump sum for other costs.

Martin Lewis clearly recommends that ‘every parent, partner, or someone with dependents should consider’ life insurance. This is sound advice and the message is clear to all parents, that they need to think about life insurance to protect their family if they die.

MoneySavingExpert also mentions that ‘you’re not obliged to have life insurance’ which is correct because life insurance is not mandatory, not even with a mortgage. It is however strongly advisable to have life insurance and even the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recommends that you should have it.

Martin Lewis also mentions two main reasons why you might not need life insurance, which we don’t fully agree with.

  • If you don’t have dependents, you don’t need life insurance. we should be clear that a ‘dependent’ is a person who is financially or emotionally reliant on you. This can be a partner, child, or even an elderly parent. Life insurance is designed to provide financial protection to anyone that you want the money to go to, this can be anyone in your family, or even a close friend. We’d suggest that you think about what financial and emotional impact would be if you died and how your loved ones would cope if you died.

  • Check if you’ve any cover with your employer. Martin Lewis life insurance guidance suggests that any death in service cover through your employer might be sufficient. We would strongly recommend that you take out your own life insurance to protect your family and not rely solely on cover through your employer. One of the biggest risks with this is if you leave your job for any reason or if you lose your job, then you won’t be covered. Also, the amount of cover that you get (usually four times your salary) would not be enough to pay off your mortgage and provide sufficient financial protection for your family.

Martin Lewis also provides you with five key points that you’ll need to know when you’re thinking about buying life insurance. There are several points to think about with the Martin Lewis life insurance need-to-knows, such as:

1. Opt for ‘guaranteed premiums’ as this means the monthly cost is fixed.

This is good advice and in reality most life insurance policies are guaranteed these days, unless you specifically ask for reviewable life insurance.

Guaranteed premiums are the best way to set up your life insurance cover and in reality the cost is almost the same as reviewable life insurance. You should almost always be offered guaranteed life insurance premiums as a default option and reviewable is only available by request.

There are also some life insurance policies that are reviewable, such as the Vitality life insurance ‘Optimiser’ policy. This is a specific health and wellbeing related policy which offers an upfront discount on your premiums of up to 40% and your premiums increase if you don’t engage in the active rewards scheme (e.g. steps, activity, medicals, healthy eating etc.).

2. Disclose all health conditions and risks when you apply or your insurer may not pay out.

This is also a very good point and it is always important to make sure that you’re open and honest with your insurer about your medical history, lifestyle, and occupation.

It is true that if you intentionally fail to disclose medical, health, or lifestyle information on your life insurance application then your cover may be void. Obviously, the implications of this could be catastrophic and your family could be severely financially impacted if you died and your claim was refused.

Martin Lewis life insurance guidance also suggests that premiums for pre-existing conditions will cost significantly more, which isn’t necessarily true. Life insurance premiums are always based on your health and medical history which is linked to your life expectancy, however this can be minimal if your condition is well managed or not serious.

MoneySavingExpert.com also recommends that you consider Over 50’s life insurance if you are indeed over the age of 50 and you want cover without any medical questions. This can be a good alternative, but only if you need to get cover for smaller amounts and not for large amounts of cover.

3. Write your policy ‘in trust’ and the money can’t be claimed by the taxman.

Most life insurance policies can be written in trust for free and this is usually done via your life insurance broker. It is sound advice to write your life insurance in trust to help your family to avoid paying inheritance tax on the pay out (benefit).

As it also suggests on the Martin Lewis life insurance guide, this is a legal document which assigns the payout to your family to avoid it becoming part of your estate, which can significantly reduce the time it takes for your family to receive their money.

Inheritance Tax only applies to people with an estate which is over the threshold for them and their partner (if applicable). The current threshold for inheritance tax is £325,000 per person or £650,000 for couples, which is significantly more than most families would have in their estate.

Most life insurance companies (providers) have an online trust platform which allows you to complete your trust details online, if your broker does not offer this service. The main type of trust that you should complete for life insurance is ‘discretionary trust deed’ which can be changed in the future.

4. You can switch your policies to try and save (e.g. if you’ve quit smoking) but savings aren’t always possible.

We strongly recommend that you regularly review your life insurance, this at least tells you how much cover you have, how much you’re paying, and who your cover is with.

What it doesn’t say on the Martin Lewis life insurance guide, is that you should regularly check to make sure that your cover is still suitable. Our financial needs change regularly throughout our lifetime and so do our protection needs which can lead to needing more or even less life insurance.

Changes in our lifestyle (e.g. quitting smoking) can help to significantly reduce your life insurance premiums, but this is probably less common in the modern era. The most important thing here is to make sure that your cover still suits your needs, for example if you have remortgaged, if you’ve had more children, or if you’ve changed jobs.

6. You’re protected if your insurer goes bust.

This isn’t quite as relevant as the points above and in reality this hasn’t actually ever happened, because most life insurance companies are extremely sound and heavily regulated businesses.

If your insurance company does stop selling life insurance or they cease trading altogether, then they will usually pass their book of customers on to another provider. This has happened several times in recent years with major insurers like Aegon, Old Mutual Wealth, and Friends Life.

All life insurance policies in the UK are also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which protects you against any financial loss and for mis-selling.

Our Insurer Went Bust! Here’s How We Got Money Back.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) released this short video several years ago, which explains more about how they can support you if your insurer goes bust.

One of the key messages in the Martin Lewis life insurance guide is to look for the amount of cover that you can afford, or ‘a good rule of thumb is to aim for 10 times the annual income of the highest earner’.

Again, this is fairly sound advice and at least helps people to think about a potential starting point for the amount of life insurance they need. Life insurance premiums are mainly priced based on the amount of cover, term of the policy, and your age.

If you’re taking out life insurance for the first time then it can be a good idea to think about the Martin Lewis life insurance 10 times rule to get you started. However, think about how your income might change over time and this can be especially important for young professionals who are likely to get significant increases in salary.

You can also use our MoneyPeopleOnline life insurance calculator to help you to work out roughly how much cover you need to protect your family.

Finding the best and cheapest life insurance is one of the main things that Martin Lewis talks about on MoneySavingExpert. There are several key tips to think about to save yourself money and to help you get the best cover to protect your family.

Martin Lewis money saving top tips for life insurance:

1. Don’t buy life insurance from your bank or direct from an insurer.

This is sound advice because typically banks will charge more than anyone else for life insurance, and the policies are usually provided by another company. In most cases, banks don’t offer any choice when you’re buying life insurance and the policies that they sell are expensive and basic.

If you get life insurance direct from an insurance company (e.g. Legal & General, Aviva, or Vitality) then you’re likely to pay top dollar. Discount life insurance brokers will not only compare quotes from all of the top insurance companies for you, but they will also usually offer a small discount or incentive that could save you £1,000’s over the term of the policy.

The other route to avoid is ‘price comparison websites (e.g. MoneySupermarket, GoCompare, and Compare the Market) because all of these are also expensive and they don’t offer a full range of insurance companies.

2. Get a policy from a non-advised broker.

There are several major non-advised brokers in the UK and most of them suggest that they offer discounted premiums. In reality, most of the discounted life insurance brokers are telephone call centres and they will bombard you with telephone calls to sell you a policy.

Most of these non-advised life insurance call centres actually offer a limited panel of insurance providers, and they aren’t ideal for everyone. If you’ve got complicated needs such as a pre-existing medical condition then these aren’t always a good option.

MoneyPeopleOnline is a life insurance and personal finance expert for parents and families all over the UK. Our life insurance specialists have over 30 year’s experience and have helped thousands of families like yours to get the best cover at the right price.

You can speak to one of the team of qualified life insurance experts by calling 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE for more information.

Our advice is free and independent, providing you with discount life insurance quotes from all of the UK’s top life insurance providers. We provide you with a no-obligation quote to help you to protect your whole family against financial loss.

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Is it worth paying for life insurance?

Life insurance can be worth it for many people, especially if you have a family or mortgage to think about. It's not a fun topic to think about, but it is important to consider what might happen to the people that you care about if you died.

  • Many industry experts like Martin Lewis MBE recommend having life insurance if you are a parent, as 23,500 UK children under 18 lose a parent each year (on average)
  • You should seriously consider buying life insurance if your family is likely to lose a significant amount of income and financial support in the event of your death
  • There are a lot of options for life insurance which is great as you have a range of choice, but it can also make it harder to decide which policy is right for you.
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What are the 3 main types of life insurance?

There are 3 main types of life insurance that UK consumers can buy, which are level term, decreasing term, and whole life insurance. There are pros and cons to each type of policy, so you should do some research and consider which feels like the best fit for you.

You can also choose between single life or joint life cover depending on what works best for you. A single life policy will protect one person, and a joint life policy can be used to protect both you and your partner in one policy.

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Which life insurance is best in UK?

There isn't going to be one overall 'best' life insurance company or policy in the UK, as everyone will need something slightly different from their cover.

There are a lot of options for life insurance companies in the UK and some companies will work better than others for certain types of customers. If you have a high risk job, dangerous hobby or any pre-existing conditions, it is usually best to get some advice from an experienced life insurance specialist.

How does life insurance work?

Life Insurance is a simple way to protect your family from financial difficulty if you were to die. A life insurance policy will pay out a cash lump sum in the event of your death, which your loved ones can use to cover important bills and expenses like:

  • The cost of your funeral
  • Repaying some or all of your mortgage
  • Helping with the cost of childcare, school fees etc.
  • Support with cost of living expenses (e.g. utility bills)
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