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Scottish Widows Life Insurance Review

Learn more about who Scottish Widows are and the features of their life insurance policies

A photo of Grace Lynch, the author

By Grace Lynch

Published on: 1 March 2023

12 min read

Scottish Widows Life Insurance Review

Scottish Widows has been providing people in the UK with life insurance policies for nearly 200 years. They are well known in the world of insurance and offer other services as well, including pensions, investments, and mortgages.  

Choosing your life insurance is an important decision and Scottish Widows work hard to provide great cover and customer service. They have even got a 5-star Defaqto rating for their life insurance and critical illness cover policies. 

Why choose a Scottish Widows life insurance policy? 

Scottish Widows have a lot to offer as an insurance provider. They offer flexible insurance plans so you can adjust your policy as needed over the years. They also have a range of different policies to suit each person.  

They provide a service called Scottish Widows Care. This service which offers:

  • Emotional support and counselling in partnership with RedArc and Clinic in a Pocket.
  • RedArc gives Scottish Widows policy holders access to qualified nurses who can help with bereavement support, long term illness and more. They can even offer a course of therapy or a face-to-face second medical opinion. 
  • Clinic in a Pocket is available to people who have taken out a policy with Scottish Widows after 22nd March 2021. This can provide remote GP and online prescription services. Clinic in a Pocket provides convenient 24/7 access to speak to a doctor for you, your partner and child(ren). 

The Scottish Widow’s Fund and Life Assurance Society was founded in 1815. They began as a business to support women and children. This was specifically those who had lost husbands, brothers, and fathers in the War (hence the name Scottish Widows).  

They provided their first ever life insurance policy in 1824 and the business grew from there. Now Scottish Widows has over 6 million UK customers. They diversified into banking in 1995, officially becoming part of the Lloyds Banking Group in 2009. 

They decided to use a ‘living logo’ of the Scottish Widow as their brand ambassador in 1986. They chose actress Deborah Moore – the daughter of James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore! A further 3 women have taken over this role in the years since. 

Areas of business Scottish Widows Ltd are well known for include: 

Scottish Widows is a key figure in UK pensions and life insurance. They paid out 98% of all their life insurance claims in 2021.  

When choosing your life insurance provider, it is important to take some time to look at the policies on offer. You might be thinking about choosing Scottish Widow life insurance. If you are, we have highlighted some of the key features of their policies below: 

Policy type Life insurance 
Premium options Guaranteed premiums (fixed) 
Reviewable premiums (variable) 
Cover options Scottish Widows level term life insurance (family protection)  
Scottish Widows decreasing life insurance (mortgage protection) 
Increasing life insurance (Indexed) 
Scottish Widows Protect Personal Protection (combined life and critical illness cover)
Scottish Widows Over 50s life insurance  
Family income benefit 
Coverage type Single life. 
Joint life (first death). 
Terminal illness cover benefit All Scottish Widows life insurance policies will include terminal illness cover free of charge.
You can claim on terminal illness benefit if you are diagnosed with an illness with a life expectancy of 12 months or less. 
Waiver of Premium benefit Can be added at an extra cost.
This will pay your insurance premiums after 26 weeks, if you are unable to work due to illness or injury.  (Known as Premium Protection with Scottish Widows.) 
Indexation option (RPI) The amount you are covered for will increase each year in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI). The increase will be at least 2%, up to a maximum of 10% 
Age limits (minimum and maximum ages) Minimum age at policy start 18. 
Maximum age at policy start 79 (60 for premium protection) 
Life insurance exclusions Suicidal death within the first 12 months of the policy start date. 
Terminal illness where the condition or illness does not meet the criteria of the policy definitions. 

Find out more about life insurance in our MPO Life Insurance Guide.

There will be times during your policy term when you might need to get in touch with your life insurance provider. This could be to adjust your policy, check policy details or even cancel your cover.  

As Scottish Widows has grown over the years, they have bought out companies and partnered with others. You may find yourself covered by Scottish Widows when you initially bought your policy through another company or provider. 

There are several Scottish Widows life insurance phone numbers and ways of contacting Scottish Widows life insurance customer service. It can be frustrating having to search high and low for the right contact details. We have listed them for you below to make things a bit easier. 

Scottish Widows life insurance contact number (existing customers) 

If you bought a policy before 2006 from Scottish Widows, Lloyds Bank, Halifax or Clerical Medical: 

Tel. 0345 300 4455 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 

If you bought a Protection for Life (P4L) Policy between 2006-2020, either through your bank or Scottish Widows directly: 

Tel. 0345 300 0698  

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 

(You will need your 8-digit policy number that starts with 5) 

If you bought a Scottish Widows Protect policy from an advisor or comparison site (2015 onwards):  

Tel. 0345 030 6240 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 

(You will need your 8-digit policy number that starts with 5) 

If you bought a Mortgage Plan & Protect Policy from Halifax, Lloyds Bank, or the Bank of Scotland (October 2018 onwards): 

Tel. 0330 678 1060  

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5:30pm 

(You will need your policy number that starts with SW5) 

If you bought a Digital Plan & Protect Policy from Halifax, Lloyds Bank, or the Bank of Scotland (March 2021 onwards): 

Tel. 0345 608 0378 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 

(You will need your 12 digit policy number that starts with 4) 

If you bought a Halifax Total Mortgage Protection Policy (TMPP): 

Tel. 0345 608 0378 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 

(You will need your policy number that starts with TMP) 

If you bought a Halifax Reassurance Range Policy (Level Life Cover Plan, Lump Sum Protection Plan, Mortgage Protection Plan, Decreasing Life Cover Plan, Family Income Benefit, Family Income Life Plan):  

Tel. 0345 600 1194 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 

If you bought a Halifax or Bank of Scotland Over 50s Guaranteed Life Insurance Plan (originally provided by St Andrews):  

Tel. 0345 608 0390 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5:30pm 

If you bought Scottish Widows Life Cover for You: 

Tel. 0844 324 9314  

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5:30pm 

If you bought a My Life Insurance policy: 

Tel. 0800 324 9314  

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5:30pm 

(You will need your 6-digit policy number starting with a 1) 

Note: These numbers are up to date as of January 2023 but may change over time. Please let us know if any are no longer working and we will update our list. It is also important to remember 03 numbers will not be free to phone. You may want to check pricing with your phone provider before calling. 

You can also write to Scottish Widows about your policy by posting a letter to: 

Scottish Widows Limited  

PO Box 24171 

69 Morrison Street 

Edinburgh 

Scottish Widows life insurance critical illness cover 

Scottish Widows offers critical illness cover as well as life insurance. Critical illness insurance can be bought on its own, or alongside life insurance as a combined policy.  

 These are some of the key features of Scottish Widows critical illness insurance: 

Policy type Critical illness insurance 
Premium options Guaranteed premiums (fixed payment that won’t change) (minimum term 5 years) 
Cover options Level term critical illness cover (family protection) 
Decreasing term critical illness cover (mortgage protection) 
Increasing term critical illness cover (Indexed) 
Coverage type Single life.  
Joint life. 
Illnesses covered by core plan option 40 conditions covered overall 
30 conditions covered (100% payout) 
10 conditions covered (partial payout of 25% of the amount of £s you are covered for, up to £30,000) 
 
For some conditions you will qualify for a ‘booster payment’. A booster payment is a 150% payout (your full sum assured plus an additional 50%): You will qualify if you are under 45 and diagnosed with: 

Dementia/Alzheimer’s 
Motor Neurone Disease 
Parkinson’s Disease 
Parkinson Plus syndromes  
Children’s Critical illness insurance core plan option Is included at no extra cost with any adult critical illness policy.
Your child will be covered up until their 22nd birthday.  
They will be covered up for a maximum of 50% of the amount of £s you are covered for (up to £30,000).

They will be covered for all conditions adults are, as well as:  

Cerebral Palsy 
Spina Bifida 
Muscular dystrophy 
Hydrocephalus 
Cystic fibrosis  
Age limits (minimum and maximum ages) Minimum age 18 at policy start. 
Maximum age 64 at policy start.  
Cover must end before the policyholder’s 70th birthday.  
Critical illness insurance exclusions The policy will not pay out if the illness is not included in your policy terms. It also won’t pay out if the policy holder dies within 10 days of diagnosis. 

More on this topic:

Losing a loved one is a difficult time and struggling to claim on their life cover can make things harder. You may even need to claim on your own policy, if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. 

Insurers understand that making a bereavement claim or terminal illness claim can be upsetting. They will work hard to make this process easier for you, to avoid adding additional stress.  

Below we have some details that may help you, if you need to claim on a Scottish Widows policy.

How to claim on life insurance Scottish Widows 

There are several things you will need to do before you can receive a Scottish Widows life insurance payout. Your first point of call will be to contact Scottish Widows. You will need to inform them that the policy holder has passed away (if a bereavement claim). 

The policy could have been taken out through Lloyds Bank, Halifax or Bank of Scotland. If you have spoken to the bank the policy was bought with, you won’t need to contact Scottish Widows as well. When contacting the claims team they will ask for the following details: 

  • Your name, address, contact phone number and email address 
  • The policy holder’s name and their policy number (if possible) 
  • Their date of birth and address (if you do not have their policy details) 
  • Your relationship to the policy holder (spouse, child, parent etc) 
  • The policy holder’s next of kin (this could be you or someone else) 
  • Detail of any accounts the policyholder had with Lloyd’s Bank, Bank of Scotland, Clerical Medical, Halifax or St Andrew’s Life. As Scottish Widows is a part of Lloyds Banking Group they can inform these companies on your behalf. This can help you close accounts more quickly and easily.

What happens next with your claim:

  • You will need to send over the original copy of the death certificate. You can in some cases send a copy that has been certified as valid by a solicitor. After this premiums will no longer need to be paid.
  • They may also need a copy of the will, probate documents or further medical information from the coroner in some circumstances 
  • How long it will take to receive your payout can vary. The claims team should be able to give you a rough estimate of timescales if asked. This will be once they have all the details and documents they need. 

There are several ways you can contact Scottish Widows to start a life insurance claim. You can fill in an online claim form, make a phone call or contact via post. If the policy was taken out through a bank or other third party, you may choose to contact them directly. 

To start your claim by phone: 

Tel. 0345 601 4179 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm  

Note: You can also use the Next Generation Text (NGT) service, if you have a hearing or speech impediment. 

To claim via post, write to: 

Scottish Widows Limited  

PO Box 24171 

69 Morrison Street 

EDINBURGH 

Scottish Widows claims statistics 2021 

Here we have the top statistics for Scottish Widows in 2021, regarding life and critical illness cover claims. 

  • Total paid out: £207.9million (£132.9million life insurance, £74.9million critical illness) 
  • Customers paid out: 10,426 (9,035 life insurance, 1,391 critical illness) 
  • Percentage of claims paid: 98% (99% life cover claims, 93% critical illness claims) 
  • Amount paid out each working day: £821,772 
  • Top reasons for life insurance claims: cancer, respiratory issues, heart conditions 

Scottish Widows claims statistics 2022

Here are the key statistics for Scottish Widows in 2022 for life and critical illness cover claims.

  • Total amount paid out: £199million (£122.8million life insurance, £86.2 million critical illness)
  • Percentage of claims paid: 98% (98% life cover claims, 93.3% critical illness claims)
  • Amount paid out each working day: Over £800,000
  • Amount paid out for terminal illness claims: Over £8million
  • Top reasons for claims: Cancer (both life and critical illness)

Find out more – Scottish Widows Claims Statistics (2022)

Writing a life insurance policy into trust can be a great option. A trust allows you to specify exactly who receives the pay out from your policy. You can even specify how the money is used. Scottish Widows gives you the option of putting your policy into a trust, with several types to choose from. 

The main benefits of a Scottish Widows life insurance trust 

  • Can be a lower cost alternative to a will (usually free) 
  • Allows you to specify exactly who receives the benefit from your policy (through beneficiaries and trustees) 
  • Can avoid probate so beneficiaries receive the pay out more quickly 
  • Can help to avoid or reduce Inheritance Tax (40%) 

Types of available Scottish Widows trust deed: 

  • Scottish Widows Flexible Split Trust: can be used if your policy includes combined cover (e.g. life and critical illness cover) 
  • Scottish Widows Flexible Survivorship Trust (can also be a split trust): can be used for joint life insurance policies. If the first policy holder dies, the trust amount passes to the other policy holder (if they survive for 30 or more days). 
  • Scottish Widows Flexible (Discretionary) Gift Trust: a family protection trust where all policy benefits are gifted to the beneficiaries 
  • Scottish Widows Absolute Split Trust: beneficiaries cannot be changed and is used for combined cover (e.g. life and critical illness) 
  • Scottish Widows Absolute Gift Trust: beneficiaries cannot be changed. This is a family protection trust where all policy benefits are gifted to the beneficiaries  
  • Scottish Widows Relevant Life Policy Trust: a form of discretionary trust. These are used for relevant life cover (life insurance taken out on your behalf via your employer) 
  • Scottish Widows Business Trust: a discretionary trust designed for business use, shareholder, and partnership protection 

For whatever reason, you might decide to cancel your life insurance policy with Scottish Widows. Many people wrongly believe you cannot cancel life cover once it is in place, but this is false. You can adjust or cancel a life insurance policy at any point and for any reason. 

You may decide you no longer need the cover or want to look for a lower cost policy.  

The main ways to cancel your Scottish Widows life insurance policy: 

  • Cancel the direct debit with your bank or building society 
  • Contact Scottish Widows directly (if you have a joint policy or trust, they will need confirmation to cancel from all policyholders/trustees) 

There is a 30 day period from your policy start where you can cancel your policy. This is referred to as a ‘cooling off’ period and you will be refunded any premiums you have paid.  

Note: If you cancel after this point, you will lose your premiums that have already been paid and your cover will end. 

Find out more about how to cancel your policy in our guide ‘Can I cancel life insurance?’.

Can I cash in my Scottish Widows life insurance policy?

It is not possible to ‘cash in’ your life insurance policy at any point with Scottish Widows. They state clearly on their website that their policies do not have a cash value that could be refunded.

As with any policy, you pay your policy premiums each month. You won’t receive any money back if you cancel your policy or do not claim by the end of the policy term.

Benefits of Scottish Widows life insurance (included free) 

  • FREE accidental death and mortgage cover for new mortgages is included for 90 days from while your life insurance or critical illness application is being considered. 
  • Access to Scottish Widows Care which is a support service offering counselling provided by trained and qualified nurses 
  • Terminal illness cover is added to every life insurance policy at no extra cost. This will pay out if you are diagnosed with an illness that gives you a life expectancy of 12 months or less.  
  • Replacement cover is included as standard with joint policies. Joint cover will end once there has been a claim for the first life on the policy. Replacement cover allows you to take out new cover with the same terms after a joint policy has paid out. You will need to take out the new policy within 3 months of the joint life claim paying out. 
  • Ability to split joint policies and move to a new plan if needed (for example after a divorce or separation) 
  • FREE children’s critical illness cover is included with adult critical illness cover or combined life and critical illness policies. 
  • Critical illness cover can be added onto your life insurance policy for an extra cost. Children’s critical illness cover will be included with this free of charge though 
  • Waiver of premium (Premium Protection) can be added, which will pay for your premiums if you are unable to work due to illness or injury for longer than 26 weeks. This can be added to both single and joint life policies. 
  • Life Cover Buy back allows you to reinstate your life insurance with the same terms and pricing, if you have claimed for critical illness on a combined critical illness cover and life insurance policy. 

Buying life insurance may seem a complicated process, particularly if you have never applied for a policy before. If you think Scottish Widows seems the right fit for you, there are a few ways you can take out a policy with them.  

You can:

You can also read more advice for buying life insurance in some of our other MPO guides. We have guides for:

Scottish Widows life insurance reviews 

You can find independent reviews of Scottish Widows’ service on the online review website Trust Pilot.  

As of January 2023, Scottish Widows is rated 1.2 out of 5.0 stars based on 622 customer reviews. Although this score is low, it is important to note this includes all their services. The score is not specific to life insurance. 

You can read the reviews yourself or add your own on the Scottish Widows Trust Pilot page.

Resources

Scottish Widows – Contact Us

Finder.com – Life insurance statistics

Statista – Life insurance industry in the UK: Statistics & Facts

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