Matthews IFA Ltd
We use cookies to ensure that we provide you with the best experience of our site. If you continue to browse our website we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies.
To learn more about how they are used please view our Cookie Policy. [X]

Have you got the right cover?

Many of our new clients already have life insurance policies in place when they first come to see us and naturally assume their family is covered should the worst happen. Unfortunately, when we delve into these policies a little deeper, we often find hidden problems.

A key issue we see is policies that don't do what our clients think they do.

The most common example is people confusing “terminal illness cover” with “critical illness cover”. These sound similar but are used for entirely different purposes.

Terminal illness cover pays out if a doctor certifies someone has less than 12 months to live, whereas critical illness cover pays out if someone is diagnosed with a pre-defined serious illness (such as heart attack, cancer or stroke).

Many people who suffer a serious illness will survive longer than a year. If their policy only covers terminal illness, they won’t receive a penny.

Another common issue, is people thinking they are covered for the same amount throughout the policy – referred to as “level cover” – whilst, in fact, they are covered for less and less each year, which is known as “decreasing cover”.

Decreasing cover is ideal if the amount you require reduces each year, such as for a repayment mortgage, but not if your requirement doesn't change, as with an interest-only mortgage, for example.

We often see people who have been sucked in by cheap cover via internet comparison sites. These usually ask few (if any) questions and only quote a limited number of providers, often not on a like-for-like basis. This can lead to people taking out unsuitable cover, which might not even be relevant for their circumstances.

A professionally qualified adviser will consider all your circumstances, assess your requirements and evaluate the whole market to find the best product for you.

Another issue we often see is life insurance policies not written under a Trust. A Trust allows the policy – and any eventual payout – to be legally separated from other assets.

This has two key benefits. Firstly, it can enable a faster payout in the event of a claim. Secondly, it reduces the chances of being landed with an Inheritance Tax bill on death.

The current Inheritance Tax threshold is £325,000, so someone with £200,000 of life insurance (not written under a Trust) and a £250,000 house would fall well above the threshold. Their family would have to pay 40 per cent tax on the excess.

Not all policies need to be written under trust and, thankfully, most problems can be fixed relatively easily with our assistance, providing they are addressed early on.

When we first meet a new client, we always recommend that the client considers protection and insurance before looking at other financial matters. Without adequate cover, it’s both impossible and pointless considering other areas, such as investments and retirement.

We never cease to be amazed by the fact that most people always insure the trappings of wealth, i.e. the car, the home and its contents, their holidays, etc., but they often fail to insure the generators of this wealth, i.e. themselves!

If we lose any of our possessions, as long as we are alive and well and in a job, we can always replace those things, but if we die or cannot work due to sickness or accident, then our income stops and our families can be left destitute.

It is also crucial to double-check existing policies and establish what you are and aren’t covered for, and if you have any concerns, or are unclear about these details, always seek advice from an independent adviser.

Your session will expire in xx.xx
Continue or Log Out