Royal London Life Insurance review

10 min Read Published: 15 May 2024

Royal London Life Insurance reviewIn this independent review, we take an in-depth look at Royal London life insurance, paying particular attention to the types of cover available, how much monthly premiums cost and the additional benefits provided.

We also explain how to choose the best life insurance provider for your needs and get up to £100 cashback* when you buy.

1 minute summary - Royal London life insurance

  • Royal London is a mutual society, established in 1861 and is one of the leading protection product providers in the UK
  • It offers a number of different insurance products including life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection.
  • Policy types include level term, decreasing term, increasing term cover, over 50s cover and family income benefit
  • It has a minimum age at entry of 18 and a maximum entry age of 70
  • It paid out 95.4% of life insurance claims and 93.6% of critical illness claims in 2022
  • Get quotes from a search of all insurance providers including Royal London and tailored advice from a specialist protection expert*
  • You'll qualify for up to £100 cashback if you take out a policy

Who is Royal London?

Royal London was founded in London in 1861 as the Royal London Life Insurance and Benefit Society. The company grew rapidly and in 1908 it converted from a Friendly Society to a Mutual Society.

In 2000, Royal London acquired United Assurance Group for £1.6 billion and a year later it acquired Scottish Life for £1.1 billion. Royal London launched the specialist protection business Bright Grey in 2003. Further acquisitions have included Scottish Provident, Phoenix Life Assurance Limited and Royal Liver, as well as new life, pensions and asset management businesses from The Cooperative.

In 2021, Royal London won five stars for both its pensions and protection services at the Financial Adviser Service Awards. Royal London was also awarded ‘Best Protection Provider' at Money Marketing's 2022 awards. It was awarded ‘gold’ for a number of its products, including life protection, mortgage protection, family income benefit and income protection by the Finance and Technology Research Centre. Protection Guru awarded Royal London the Best Insurer for Protecting Hard to Cover Clients at its 2022 awards ceremony.

Royal London life insurance overview

Below is an overview of Royal London’s life insurance policy, including the types of cover it offers, the insurer’s claims record and additional benefits of taking out a policy.

  • Policy types: Choose from level term, decreasing term, increasing term cover, over 50s cover, or family income benefit, as well as joint or single policies. Terminal Illness cover is automatically included and Serious Illness Benefit cover can be added for an additional cost. There’s also an option to choose a Life or Critical Illness policy that will pay out if you die or if you are diagnosed with a critical illness.
  • Claims record: 2022 – Life insurance 95.4%, critical illness 93.6%, 2021 – Life insurance 96%, critical illness 91.7%, 2020 – Life insurance 95.7%, critical illness 92.4%. 2019 – Life insurance 97.1%, critical illness 92.6%. 2018 – Life insurance 95.2%, critical illness 91%.
  • Additional benefits: Cover can start from the moment you complete your application. Policyholders have access to counselling support through the Helping Hand service.
  • Up to £100 cashback: If you take out a policy through LifeSearch* (simply click on the link and complete the short form), you’ll receive up to £100 cashback. We explain more below.
  • Purchase options: Royal London offers a range of direct-to-customer life insurance products which can be bought without advice but the most comprehensive and better quality life insurance policies will have to be arranged through a life insurance adviser such as LifeSearch where you have received independent advice.
  • Diabetes life insurance: Royal London offers a specialist life insurance policy that allows people with Diabetes to get life insurance and pay less if their health improves over time.

Royal London life insurance

The table below outlines the key facts and features of Royal London’s life insurance policy:

Royal London life insurance policy features

Type of Cover Royal London Life Insurance policy summary
Options Level term, decreasing term, increasing term, over 50s, family income benefit.
Policy Coverage Single, dual life (pays out twice) or joint life first event (pays out on the first death).
Terminal Illness Cover included? Terminal Illness Cover is included at no additional cost. It will pay out if you are diagnosed with an illness that is likely to cause death within 12 months.
Can cover increase over time (indexation)? You can choose to increase your cover in line with inflation each year.

This can be at a fixed rate of interest between 2% and 5%, or based on the change in the Retail Price Index (between 2% and 10%).

Waiver of Premium Available as an add-on, Royal London will pay your monthly payments if you are unable to work due to an accident or illness.
Minimum age at entry 18 years
Maximum age at entry 70 years
Qualifying criteria UK residents aged 18 to 70 years old
Policy Exclusions Suicide in the first 12 months is not covered.

Terminal Illness Cover will not pay out if the policyholder does not meet the definition of terminal illness listed in the plan details.

How much does Royal London life insurance cost?

The figures in the table below show how much £250,000 of level term life insurance would cost with Royal London over a 20-year term compared with the cheapest and most expensive policies across all life insurance companies. This has been broken down for both a non-smoker and a smoker of various age groups.

Royal London life insurance price comparison – £250,000 over 20 years (Non-Smoker) 

Age Royal London premium Cheapest premium Most expensive premium
25-year-old non-smoker £7.82 £5.82 £9.43
35-year-old non-smoker £12.31 £10.50 £14.28
45-year-old non-smoker £25.28 £22.58 £30.21
55-year-old non-smoker £63.19 £60.02 £81.83

Royal London life insurance price comparison – £250,000 over 20 years (Smoker) 

Age Royal London premium Cheapest premium Most expensive premium
25-year-old smoker £10.31 £9.80 £12.67
35-year-old smoker £23.84 £20.06 £26.45
45-year-old smoker £66.66 £54.76 £69.78
55-year-old smoker £189.38 £162.68 £233.35

The above figures should only be used as a guideline. How much you, as an individual, will pay for your life insurance will depend on a range of factors including your age, your health, whether you smoke, your occupation, how much cover you choose and the policy term.

Before taking out a policy it is worth speaking to an independent insurance specialist to ensure you are getting the right policy at the right price. Below we explain how you can also qualify for up to £100 cashback if you decide to take out a policy.

Royal London Critical illness insurance summary

Type of cover Royal London Critical Illness policy summary
Can it be combined with life cover? Yes under its Life or Critical Illness policy.
Premium type Guaranteed or Reviewable over the term of the plan.
Number of critical illnesses covered 46 conditions resulting in a full payout

32 conditions resulting in a partial payout

Children’s critical illness cover included Available at extra cost

Standard cover includes cover for 46 full payout conditions and 27 partial payout conditions

Enhanced cover includes cover for 46 of the core conditions and 27 partial payout conditions plus 13 child specific conditions and 8 pregnancy complications

Minimum age at entry 18 years
Maximum age at entry 69 years
Policy exclusions No payout will be given if the policyholder dies within 10 days of being diagnosed, if the illness or disability is as a result of an intentionally self-inflicted injury, or if the critical illness or disability is not listed in the policy.

Additional free benefits included with Royal London life insurance

  • Terminal illness cover – life insurance includes Terminal Illness Cover which will pay out if you are diagnosed with an illness that is likely to cause death within 12 months.
  • Care benefits – access to Royal London’s Helping Hand service which provides support through serious illness, injury or bereavement, as well as a second medical opinion.
  • Immediate life cover – Royal London offers a unique ‘underwrite later' option that can provide you with immediate insurance even if the underwriters have to write to your doctor for further medical information which would usually cause delays in starting your life insurance policy.
  • Flexibility – you can make changes to your life insurance when you need to. In some cases, cover can be increased without the need for medical evidence.
  • Dual life cover – the option to choose different owners for each cover under one plan. This means one policyholder could have cover for a higher amount or longer term. Both policyholders are covered separately so if a claim is made for one person, the cover will still continue for the other.
  • Critical illness cover  – pays out if you're diagnosed with one of a number of serious illnesses and can pay out a lump sum of money as soon as you’re on the NHS waiting list for 12 different types of surgery.

Optional benefits available with Royal London life insurance

  • Children's critical illness cover – option to add Enhanced or Standard children’s critical illness cover when you take out a critical illness policy. Enhanced cover automatically includes a conversion option so that within six months of the child’s cover ending when they become an adult, they can take out their own critical illness cover with no medical underwriting.
  • Waiver of premium (sickness) – this means Royal London will pay your premiums if you are unable to work due to an accident or illness. You can choose the amount of time between stopping work and Royal London paying your premiums – 4, 8, 13, 26 or 52 weeks.

Royal London Diabetes life insurance

Life insurance can be difficult to arrange if you are a diabetic – according to The British Diabetic Association ‘more than 4.3 million people in the UK live with diabetes and almost another 850,000 people could be living with diabetes who are yet to be diagnosed'. Royal London provides specialised life insurance for diabetics that tackles some of the difficulties that this group of customers may face. The key benefits for diabetics are that:

  • Monthly premiums are reviewable
  • Premiums are based on your health when you start your life insurance plan
  • Each year the premiums are reviewed based on your HbA1c blood test results
  • Premiums will be reduced if blood test results improve and increase if they decline
  • Premiums will never increase above the starting premium

Royal London's diabetes life cover reduces the cost of your life insurance if your diabetic results improve and this can be achieved with treatment and lifestyle changes. The life insurance negates the need for diabetics to reapply for life insurance if their health improves. However, it is currently only available as a level term life insurance where it would pay a lump sum amount that does not change during the term of the cover.

Diabetics can feel unfairly treated if they have received a recent diagnosis of diabetes and Royal London's life insurance allows these customers to buy life insurance without delay that may become cheaper over time.

Is Royal London life insurance any good?

Life insurance is a fairly simple product but customer experience, claims statistics and some of the ancillary benefits within life insurance mean that some policies are better than others. Below, we have looked at Royal London life insurance reviews and customer experiences as well as expert rankings to show how Royal London life insurance compares.

Royal London life insurance reviews

  • Royal London has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on the customer review website, Trustpilot based on over 1,900 customer reviews although these reviews are from customers of all Royal London's financial products are not limited to life insurance and other personal insurance products.
  • Royal London's term life insurance as well as its Pegasus whole of life insurance and all its critical illness insurance plans are rated 5 stars by Defaqto meaning they are “An excellent product with a comprehensive range of features and benefits”.
  • Royal London's Diabetes life insurance plan is rated ‘3-star' by Defaqto which means it is ‘a standard product providing an average level of features and benefits'.
  • Royal London is ranked 5th out of 24 providers and scores 80% overall based on claims scores, complaints performance and transparency rating assessed by Fairer Finance.

Is Royal London critical illness cover any good?

Royal London's critical illness insurance is 5-star Defaqto rated and provides a good level of cover. Unlike life insurance, critical illness insurance terms and conditions do vary considerably from one insurance company to another so it is worthwhile comparing the cost and quality of any critical illness contract you buy.

All critical illness insurance policies cover heart attack, stroke and cancer as standard as these conditions must be covered under the Association of British Insurers (ABI) standards. Overall, 46 conditions are covered that will result in a full payment upon claim and 32 additional conditions for which you can claim a partial payment. This makes Royal London's critical illness cover better than the average cover that is available to buy. Royal London added Severe mental illness and severe bowel disease to the list of conditions that it covers under the partial payment terms giving customers extra peace of mind in case of these types of health events.

Best way to buy Royal London life insurance

If you are thinking of buying life insurance with Royal London, it is a good idea to speak to an independent insurance specialist first as they will be able to access quotes from all major insurance companies and ensure you are getting the best deal. They will be well placed to advise you on the best life insurance or critical illness policy for your circumstances, by comparing life insurance across the market as well as help you to work out how much cover you need.

Independent specialists can match you with an insurance provider who will view your application more favourably and they can also help you complete your application forms. They can also provide support should you need to make a claim in the future. Simply complete this short form* to get a quote. There is no obligation to take things further, but if you do take out an insurance policy, you will qualify for up to £100 cashback.

Royal London life insurance summary

  • Established in 1861.
  • In 2022, Royal London paid out 95.4% of life insurance claims and 93.6% of critical illness claims.
  • Life insurance cover automatically includes Terminal Illness Cover, while Serious Illness Benefit can be added for an additional cost.
  • Policyholders have access to Royal London’s Helping Hand service for additional support.
  • Cover can often start as soon as you’ve completed your application.
  • If you take out critical illness cover, there is the option to add children’s critical illness cover to your own critical illness policy.
  • Royal London's improved mental health underwriting could mean that life insurance applicants who have a history of mental health concerns will receive acceptance, potentially at lower premiums than was previously available.
  • Royal London’s life insurance premiums are not necessarily the cheapest. How much you pay for your cover will depend on a range of factors, so it is best to shop around and compare policies carefully.
  • You’ll receive up to £100 cashback if you buy a policy through LifeSearch*, just click on the link and complete the short form to be called back at a time that suits you.



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. The following 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 – LifeSearch