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Why should you review your cover?

This guide explains when and why you should review your life cover to make sure that it fits your needs now or in the future

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 6 April 2023

7 min read

Why should you review your cover?

Life insurance is important to make sure that your family is properly protected. A life insurance policy will protect against loss of income because of death or serious illness. Insurance premiums can start from as low as £5 per month. This can be the most cost-effective way to make sure that your children are financially secure.

One of the most important things that people often miss is that your life insurance should be reviewed fairly regularly. It is especially important to review your cover following key events.

This guide explains when and why you should review your life cover to make sure that it fits your needs now or in the future. Your life will change and so will your needs for life insurance. It’s important to make sure that they match each other.

We also have more on this topic in our guide ‘Should I review my life insurance?’

How to review your cover

There are a few things that you can do to review your current life insurance policy and see what options you have. Most people don’t know that your existing life insurance provider allows you a certain amount of flexibility with your current cover.

Most life insurance policies come with something called ‘Guaranteed Insurability’. This is an option to review your cover without the need for further underwriting.

When reviewing your cover, the first and most simple option is to speak to your current provider. This allows you to see what they can offer, as they may have other options available. There are however some limitations to guaranteed insurability so this might not be suitable or appropriate, limitations include:

  • Maximum cover increase
  • Maximum term increase
  • Changes in cover type
  • Adding or removing policyholders

You might need to speak to a Life Insurance Specialist, if you need to make more significant changes to your cover. Extra advice can definitely be helpful, especially if your needs have changed completely.

Here are some of the main options for reviewing your life insurance:

  • Existing insurance provider
  • Get advice (e.g. Life Insurance Expert or IFA)
  • Online Quote
  • Apply direct to insurance provider

The best way for you to review your cover might be different to someone else. It’s not a one size fits all solution.

Note: it’s often advisable to speak to your existing insurance provider first. This allows you to see what the options are as this can be quicker and cheaper than changing insurer. Most life insurance policies will come with an element of flexibility to consider.

What options do you have to review your cover?

The most important thing to remember when you review your cover is that you aren’t tied in to any policy. You are free to change or transfer your policy without penalty.

If you need to update your life insurance policy then you have a number of options to think about. Remember, not all of the options will be right for you. People’s circumstances are different and therefore not all options are going to work your family.

For example, people with a pre-existing medical condition might have different or fewer options than someone else. If your circumstances are more complicated then you should ideally get proper advice from a Life Insurance Specialist.

Here are the main options to review your cover:

  • Amount of cover: you can increase or decrease the amount of life insurance that you have to suit your needs (e.g. mortgage amount, children, debts etc.). If you’re not sure how much cover is right for you, you can read our guide ‘How much life insurance do I need?’.
  • Term of policy: it is possible to adjust the amount of years you are covered for. You can get a longer or shorter term policy depending on your needs at the time.
  • Type of cover: you can review which type of cover you need if your situation has changed. This could be changes such as having children or repaying your mortgage early.
  • Policyholders: it is also an option to want to review the people that are insured or covered on the policy. You may review the policyholders when getting married, divorced or separating.

Some life insurance policies will allow you to make adjustments within certain limits and to different parts of the cover. These are usually quite limited and especially for people with medical conditions, high risk jobs or extreme sports.

Top 10 reasons to review your cover

Here are the main points that should cause you to review your cover to make sure that it still fits your needs.

1)   New child (childbirth or adopting a child)

This is the most important reason for reviewing your cover. You need to make sure that all of your children have adequate cover.

You could have an amount of cover that is enough to protect your new child. In this case, you might not need to do anything to your policy.

2)   Moving home

Moving home is a common reason for life insurance policyholders needing to review or change their cover. They may want to change their policy to fit with the new loan or mortgage.

Most house moves will be to either upsize or downsize which usually means that your mortgage will change as a result.

3)   Changing your mortgage

Changing a mortgage will usually happen several times during a mortgage term. You might remortgage your property or even repay large amounts.

Whether you are increasing or reducing your mortgage balance, there may be a need to review your cover to fit the new mortgage amount and term.

4)   Getting married

Getting married is an important event for many people and often is the first step towards starting a new family.

Marriage also means that your financial commitments are now combined. Your financial responsibilities become joint as well, including mortgages and other debts. You could be planning a new family immediately or sometime in the future. It’s worth making sure that both of you are properly protected if anything should happen to you or your partner.

5)   Divorce or separation

Legal separation and divorce are also common reasons for needing to check your life insurance. This helps you make sure that it’s still suitable for the future.

6)   Changing job or occupation

Changing your job or occupation might cause several different issues. These issues may result in the need to review your cover to make sure that it’s still suitable.

Even though life insurance doesn’t specifically cover your income, there are still several things that are linked to your job, occupation and income. The exception to this is if you have Family Income Benefit.

7)   Starting a business

Starting your own business is something that poses a number of questions and opportunities to review your cover. It potentially can also save you money on company funded cover.

Many business owners leave themselves exposed to extra risks. They do this by neglecting to protect themselves and their business.

This can also mean that your family is at a higher risk of financial loss. There are policies that are specifically designed for small business owners which have tax benefits. These policies can save you up to 49% on your premiums vs personal life insurance.

8)   Quitting smoking

9)   Improvements in your health

Improving your health is also an opportunity to review your cover and may result in lower premiums for some people with pre-existing medical conditions.

An example might be if you were previously diagnosed with cancer and several years have passed since any treatment or you’ve been in remission for several years.

10) Lost weight

Losing weight is another common reason why you should be reviewing your cover. This especially true for those who have had significant weight loss. Good weight management and weight loss though healthy eating, good food choices and exercise can drastically reduce your premiums.

Life insurance premiums for people with high to very high BMI levels can be double or even treble what you might pay for a standard height and weight measurement.

Reviewing your cover

If you need any further help or advice then you should speak to a Life Insurance Specialist. A specialist can help you to review your cover options. There are thousands of potential options and variables. This can make it difficult to know which are the best solutions to properly protect you and your family.

If you have other policies like critical illness cover or income protection, it is also worth occasionally reviewing and adjusting those. You always want to be certain your insurance cover lines up well with your current and future needs.

Resources

Statista – Life insurance industry in the United Kingdom (UK)

Finder.com – Life insurance statistics

ABI – UK Insurance & Long term savings: Key facts

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