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Can I change life insurance companies?
Do you often shop around when you get your car and home insurance renewal quotes? It’s a great way to hunt down a better deal! So should you do the same for your life insurance?
While there can be some big savings up for grabs with some of your annual insurance policies, for longer term protection products like life insurance, critical illness insurance and income protection insurance, that may not always be the case. We explain all in this guide, and the key things you should consider before changing protection insurance providers.
- Why would I need to switch insurers?
- Can I make changes to my existing protection policy?
- When should I change my protection insurance plan?
- I want to know more…
Things change, it’s what makes life exciting! Maybe you buy your first property, perhaps you upsize, you might start a family, move jobs, get a nice payrise. But did you know that all of these things have the potential to change your protection insurance needs?
If you buy a bigger house, with a bigger mortgage, you may need to up your life or critical illness insurance cover to protect this increased level of debt. If your pay packet has been boosted, you may need to increase the level of income protection cover you have.
If you purchased a product like life insurance, critical illness insurance or income protection insurance years ago, it might be time for a review, just to check that these policies still perfectly reflect your circumstances. Need a hand? Contact our specialist protection team here at LifeSearch on 0800 316 3166, they’d be happy to help! And who knows, we may even be able to save you a few pennies on your existing cover.
Often, yes! And this is a great first step if you do find that your old insurance policies no longer fit the bill.
Some insurers allow you to easily make adjustments to your existing cover. They might allow you to increase your cover by a certain amount if you’ve had a pay rise, taken on a larger mortgage or had a child. This flexibility to make policy adjustments is called a guaranteed insurability option (sorry for the jargon!). Not all insurers offer this flexibility though, so it’s definitely worth checking your policy documentation, or contacting your existing insurer, or insurance broker, to check.
You might be thinking - ‘I can make changes to my car insurance, whenever I want! Why can’t I do the same for my life insurance?’ Good question, and the reason is that protection insurance, like life insurance, is a long term product - you might have a policy for 25 years plus. Insurers have to take a long-term view on your risk of things like illness and death, and they set your premiums based on that. Normally when you want to increase your level of insurance cover, say if you’ve had a baby, your insurer will want to ask the full set of medical application questions again, so that they can reassess your risk level and make sure that the price they charge is accurate. This isn’t usually a problem, but, if your health has changed since you purchased your policy, you could see your premiums jumping up, or you might actually struggle to get more insurance.
This is why guaranteed insurability options are so great, because they allow you to make a number of changes to your existing policy, without having to go back through any medical questions!
There might be times when you find that your existing cover has fallen behind your needs, and there’s sadly no option to make changes to your existing policy. In this case it might be time to look at either taking out another life insurance, critical illness insurance or income protection insurance plan, alongside your existing cover, to fill any gaps. Alternatively, you could take out a new protection plan and cancel your old one.
Making a change or cancellation to your protection cover is actually a pretty big decision, because there are lots of things to think about:
Protection insurance cover becomes more expensive the older you get, so if you take out a new policy years after you purchased your first insurance plan, you could see quite a jump in price. It’s always important to factor in whether you can afford this increase.
We’re referring to critical illness insurance in particular here. Over time, insurers have changed the numbers of conditions covered and what they’ll pay out for. It may actually be the case that your old policy is more likely to pay out than a newer one. It’s important to be aware of this before deciding to cancel an old critical illness insurance plan.
The sad reality is that as we get older, we’re more likely to fall ill. If you’ve developed any health conditions since you first purchased protection insurance, you might find it harder to buy a new insurance plan today, cover may be unaffordable or exclusions may be applied. For this reason, it’s important to never cancel an old protection policy until your new policy is in place and active. We would never want anyone to be left completely unprotected after cancelling some old cover!
If you have an existing life, critical illness or income protection plan that you’re thinking about cancelling, we’d always recommend speaking to an insurance expert. At LifeSearch, we’ve protected over 650,000 people and work with the biggest and best UK insurers. We’ll get to know you and your personal needs, and work out a plan of action - whether that means adjusting an existing policy via your current insurer or buying a new one. We’re here to protect the lives you love, which for us means finding you the right cover at the best price!
Call us on 0800 316 7253 or request a callback from one of our expert protection advisers who will happily answer any questions you have. We look forward to chatting with you soon.
A qualified actuary, turned consultant, Katie works with insurers and distributors to make protection propositions more accessible, pricing more transparent and marketing messages more simple. With experience at Swiss Re and Vitality, she looks to do things better across the full insurance value chain.See all articles by Katie Crook-Davies
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