How to get life insurance online

7 min Read Published: 13 Feb 2024

How to buy life insurance onlineIn this article, we explore the different ways that you can buy life insurance online and what you should look out for to get the best life cover deals. We also share how to buy online life insurance through experts and get up to £100 cashback* when you do so.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a type of personal insurance that pays out a cash lump sum or a regular cash income if the insured person dies. It provides peace of mind and financial protection for anyone whose death would cause a financial loss by paying money to their beneficiaries to settle financial obligations and replace lost income and revenues to pay for living expenses.

If your death would cause financial hardship for another person because they would lose your income or be left with unpaid debts life insurance is often a good idea. It means that if you were to die, a sum of money or an income would support those left behind to keep paying regular bills and living costs. The money can also be used to pay off debts such as a mortgage, loan or credit card. Often, large financial commitments like taking on a mortgage or starting a family are the catalyst for buying online life insurance. However, individuals' needs and concerns vary and life insurance can and should be tailored to suit the particular concerns of people in different situations.

Best ways to buy life insurance online

Simply searching for online life insurance may return a large amount of results that can be daunting if you don't know what you're looking for. You will find that you can buy directly from an insurance company or through a broker. It can feel safer to go with a large insurance brand that you recognise and trust but you should take the time to compare life cover policies. Besides the cost of life insurance, you will find that some life insurance policies work in slightly different ways to others and importantly, insurance companies can increase the cost of your life insurance based on how you answer the questions within your life insurance application.

When you search for life insurance online you will find results that include:

  • Comparison websites
  • Insurance providers
  • Banks
  • Supermarkets
  • Life insurance brokers

Some websites will allow you to complete your purchase online while others merely provide you with a quotation before prompting you to speak to someone to complete your purchase. It can be difficult to decipher which online quotes will allow you to apply for online life insurance until you get through the initial stages of the online process.

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Buying life insurance online - what to look out for

Buying any product or service online can put you in the driving seat and allow you to read information and search options at your own pace and comfort. If you are making decisions with your family or partner, it can be easier to work through information online together whilst discussing your priorities and agreeing on what you need. However, buying life insurance online can be confusing and some websites provide limited options making the process slightly restrictive so consider the following before finalising your choices:

Life insurance quotes vs what you will pay

Life insurance quotes are usually based on your age and whether you smoke or not but do not assess your health, lifestyle and occupation until you apply for the life cover. You will find that if you tell the insurance company about something that is deemed to increase your risk for a claim, the insurance company will increase your monthly premium so you will pay more than what you were quoted. Your life insurance is only valid if you answer all the questions on your application honestly.  If you have any health concerns, past or present; a family medical history of serious medical conditions; a risky sport or hobby that you pursue or if your job requires some manual tasks, you may need to speak to a broker to make sure you apply to a life insurance company that will treat you fairly and offer the lowest monthly payment for your life insurance.

Terms and conditions of life insurance

Many insurance policies use the same product name, but when you look under the bonnet you'll find that there are subtle differences. The small print within the terms and conditions of life insurance cover can often reveal restrictions and caveats to the cover they provide but also some added benefits that you may not appreciate when buying online as they may be hidden in the terms and conditions statements. Even when you do click on the small print, a large amount of technical jargon can prevent you from deciphering exactly what you are buying.

For example, terminal illness benefit pays your death benefit early if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and your life expectancy is 12 months or less - it is usually included free of charge with your life insurance. Critical illness benefit, on the other hand, pays out a lump sum of money if you are diagnosed with one of the illnesses that are covered in the benefit terms and will pay out even if you survive but will cost more to add to your life insurance policy. It would be easy to confuse these two benefits due to the similar terminology used to describe them.

Life insurance with free rewards and discounts

Some life insurance policies provide more than just the insurance and you can often access a variety of free services, discounts and rewards that may include:

  • Access to counselling for you and your family
  • Virtual private GP access
  • Access to a second medical opinion
  • Discounts of goods and services
  • Discounts on gym memberships

Life insurance companies increasingly offer extra benefits to policyholders providing them with access to services and lifestyle purchases that promote health. These can sometimes be worth more than the cost of your life insurance.

Gift card and cashback incentives

Many companies use gift cards and cashback incentives to persuade you to buy their life insurance policies and often a £100 gift card or the promise of some cashback can be enticing but these incentives are usually priced into the product. It is wise to compare the difference in cost between the cheapest price you can find and the one that offers you an incentive to work out whether you're paying more for the incentive than it is worth. You can read more about how to navigate such incentives in our articles, "Life insurance with cashback" and "Over 50s life insurance: We rank the best FREE gifts"

Customer service and claims support

Buying your life insurance online usually makes you responsible for making choices; completing your application (sometimes a lengthy and difficult process if you have health concerns) and making claims. What this means is that you may not have any way to complain if your life insurance does not suit your needs or does not pay out in the event of your death. Furthermore, if you don't have an adviser or broker that provides ongoing support, you'll have to deal with the insurance company yourself and most people do not have the necessary knowledge to do this effectively. Additionally, if you find yourself in a situation where your application or claim is declined, the support of an adviser can be invaluable in determining whether the decision can be challenged and good advisers will do this on your behalf without charging you a penny.

Payout rates

Most life insurance companies publish their claims statistics so that you can see what percentage of the claims that they received were paid out before you make your decision. You will find more information about payout rates in our article, "Life insurance payout rates explained".

Who will get your life insurance claim money?

Getting your life insurance claim money to your intended recipients is vital and you may need to put your wishes in writing to make sure money is distributed accordingly. The most effective way to do this is by completing a legal trust form to write your policy in trust - it isn't the most difficult thing to do but you might need some help with it. Check that you are offered the opportunity to set up a trust for your life insurance and don't pay more for this as there are ways to arrange your life insurance in a trust without any extra cost - we explain how later on in this article.

Which types of life insurance can you buy online?

While you can get life insurance quotes online, depending on your health, lifestyle and occupation, you may find that you're unable to complete the entire buying process online. Some types of life insurance only pay if you die during the term of the policy while others will pay out whenever you die.

Here are some types of life insurance you can normally get online:

Term life insurance - this type of life insurance pays a sum of money if you die within the term which is the number of years that you've chosen to be covered for and includes mortgage decreasing life insurance and level term life insurance.

Over 50s life insurance and Funeral Plans - this type of life insurance is usually limited to a smaller payout of up to £20,000 and is designed to cover the cost of a funeral when you die as it covers you for the rest of your life.

Online processes are usually simple to use but can limit your ability to tailor or personalise the life insurance for your particular needs and budget.

Is buying life insurance online the best way to buy it?

Online is a great place to start if you're looking to buy life insurance. There is plenty of information and guidance that can get you thinking about what you want and how to get the right type of cover. You can also start looking at monthly premiums and work out how much you may need to budget for the life cover you need. However, few online platforms that sell life insurance give you a fully online experience when it comes to buying life insurance.

While speaking to a life insurance adviser* may not be ideal if you prefer to buy online, the benefits are too important to ignore. You'll receive bespoke advice, free of charge; help with your application and claims; ways to reduce your monthly premium while addressing your priorities and they'll organise the trust forms that allow you to nominate your beneficiaries and avoid inheritance tax.

You can contact a specialist life insurance broker* that does all of the above without any obligation to buy but as a Money to the Masses reader you'll get up to £100 cashback if you do.

Further reading

How much life insurance do you need?

Should we take out single or joint life insurance policies?

Which life insurance is best for me?

If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. This link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article