Life insurance

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Save on life insurance premiums.

If people depend on you for income or care, you need life insurance. Choosing the right amount and buying from the right company can save you a lot of money. We've looked at "term life" policies, and asked 20 companies to provide quotes for our 2 case studies.

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About life insurance

Do you need it? What types of policies and payment options are there? We explain the basics.

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Our survey

We asked 20 life insurance providers to quote monthly premiums for a couple in their mid-30s and a couple in their mid-40s. For each couple, we asked for quotes based on $500,000 and $700,000 sum assured.

The premiums quoted are yearly stepped (see About life insurance for information about premium structures).

Our survey found premiums can vary by up to $270 per year depending on age and the sum assured. What’s more, different policies offer different levels of cover. So, which insurer should you pick?

Become a paying Consumer member to find out more.

Premium comparison

Become a paying Consumer member to view our premium comparison table.

Adviser commissions

Some financial advisers selling life insurance could be putting quantity of sales before quality of advice, an investigation by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has found. And it’s consumers who’ll ultimately foot the bill.

In May 2015, the FMA compelled 12 insurers to hand over four years of life insurance data. The data showed advisers who were paid an upfront commission for selling life insurance were more likely to switch their clients to new policies after only a few years.

This practice allowed advisers to increase their income and receive bonuses, such as overseas trips. But it also increased industry expenses, which are likely to be passed on to consumers as higher premiums.

Worryingly, the FMA found the quality of a policy was only a minor consideration when advisers upsold clients. “This suggests that some advisers are acting in their own interest, rather than in consumers’ best interests,” the report stated.

Learn more

Life insurance cover calculator

You must pick a sum assured when you take out life insurance. This should be enough to pay off your mortgage, clear any immediate debts (such as funeral expenses) and provide an income for your family. Use our calculator for an estimate.

Which company has the most satisfied customers?

Insurance providers (responses)[width=40%]Overall satisfaction[bar;width=40%]
MAS (69)70%
AA Life (85)54%
Cigna (67)48%
Foundation Life (88)47%
Partners Life (83)41%
Westpac (121)37%
AMP (736)35%
ASB (60)35%
Sovereign (728)34%
BNZ (141)33%
Asteron Life (277)32%
OnePath (169)31%
Fidelity Life (252)25%
AVERAGE (3201)36%

These results are from our 2016 insurance survey of 8000 Consumer NZ members.

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Income protection

Income-protection insurance can be just as important as term life insurance. It provides cover for you if you become unable to work and can’t provide income for your family. One insurance expert we spoke to prefers a balanced approach: he covers his income but has some life insurance and modest levels of trauma insurance too.

Our advice

Here's our advice for before and after you have life insurance.

  • Shopping for cover: Get at least 3 quotes. Premiums can differ by hundreds of dollars. Ensure any pre-existing medical conditions are covered.
  • Ask your financial adviser if there's anything you're unsure about, and get them to explain it to you. Make sure you do this before you sign.
  • When you have insurance: Keep the policy in a safe place - where your will is kept, or with your lawyer - and let your partner or family members know about it.
  • Every few years, review how much cover you need, particularly after major life changes such as marriage or divorce, having children, or children leaving home and becoming independent.
  • If you are changing insurers, don't cancel your old cover until you have been confirmed as a customer of the new insurer.
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