Scottish Widows Life Insurance review

8 min Read Published: 15 Mar 2023

Scottish widows life insurance review logoIf you have dependents or financial commitments like a mortgage, life insurance is an important consideration as it will pay out a cash lump sum when you die. This independent Scottish Widows review takes a closer look at Scottish Widows’ life insurance policy, including the types of cover available, typical costs and additional benefits. We describe if Scottish Widows life insurance and critical illness cover is any good by sharing customer reviews and rankings while explaining how to compare the price and quality of life insurance policies from across the market - you can get up to £100 cashback* when you buy life insurance this way.

Who is Scottish Widows

Scottish Widows was established in 1815 to take care of women and children who had lost their fathers, brothers and husbands in the Napoleonic Wars. The Scottish Widows’ Fund and Life Assurance Society opened for business on 2 January that year, and in 1821 it bought its first property for its sole use in Edinburgh.

In 1995, Scottish Widows Bank launched, offering customers a range of savings, loans and mortgage products. Five years later it was demutualised and became part of the Lloyds TSB Marketing Group. In January 2009, Scottish Widows became part of the Lloyds Banking Group, and it now has almost six million customers.

Scottish Widows was the winner of Moneyfacts Best Personal Pension Provider in 2022 as well as a 5 star Financial Adviser award for Pensions and Protection in the same year. Also, Scottish Widows level and decreasing life and critical illness insurance products received a 5-star Defaqto rating in 2023.

Scottish Widows Overview

Below is an overview of Scottish Widows’ life insurance policy, including cover types, the company’s claims record and additional benefits.

  • Policy types: Choose from level term, decreasing term and increasing term cover, as well as single and joint policies. Terminal Illness Cover is automatically included and you can combine life insurance with Critical Illness cover.
  • Claims record: 2022 - Life insurance 99%, critical illness 93%. 2021 - Life insurance 98%, critical illness 93%. 2020 - Life insurance 99.5%, critical illness 94.2%. 2019 - Life insurance 99%, critical illness 93%.
  • Additional benefits: Free accidental death cover and free mortgage cover are included from when your application is received for up to 90 days. Policyholders have access to Scottish Widows Care which provides counselling services and other support from qualified nurses.
  • Up to £100 cashback: If you apply for a policy through LifeSearch* (simply click on the link and fill out the short form), you will receive up to £100 cashback. You can find out more below.

Scottish Widows Policy Summary

Key facts and features for Scottish Widows' life insurance policy can be found in the table below:

Scottish Widows life insurance summary

Type of cover Life Insurance
Options Level, decreasing and increasing term cover.
Policy Coverage Single or joint life first event (pays out on first death).
Terminal Illness Cover included? Terminal Illness Cover is included which pays out if the policyholder is diagnosed with an illness that is likely to cause death within 12 months.
Can cover increase over time (indexation)? If you choose increasing cover, the sum assured will increase each year in line with the Retail Price Index. The increase will be at least 2%, up to a maximum of 10%.
Waiver of Premium You can choose to add waiver of premium (Premium Protection) for an additional cost. This means you won’t have to pay your premiums after 26 weeks if you cannot work.
Minimum age at entry 18
Maximum age at entry 79
Policy Exclusions No life insurance payout will be made in the circumstances of suicide in the first 12 months. Terminal Illness Cover will not pay out if the illness is not expected to cause death within 12 months.

Key facts and features for Scottish Widows’ critical illness policy can be found in the table below:

Scottish Widows critical illness insurance summary

Type of cover Critical Illness
Can it be combined with life cover Yes
Premium type Guaranteed
Number of critical illnesses covered 30 full payment conditions,10 partial payment (50% of sum assured up to £30,000) conditions and 5 child-specific conditions are covered
Children's critical illness cover included Yes - automatically included. Your child will be covered for 50% of the adult cover amount up to £30,000
Minimum age at entry 18
Maximum age at entry 64
Policy exclusions No payout will be given if you are diagnosed with an illness that is not covered by the policy. Children’s critical illness will not pay out if the illness symptoms started before the policy began.

Additional free benefits provided by Scottish Widows

  • Terminal Illness Cover is automatically included with life cover and will pay out if you are diagnosed with an illness that is likely to cause death within 12 months.
  • Accidental death benefit provides cover from when your application is received for up to 90 days or until your application is accepted, declined or postponed.
  • Free mortgage cover for new mortgages starts from the date your application is received and lasts for up to 90 days.
  • Access to Scottish Widows Care which is provided in partnership with RedArc and offers long-term practical advice and emotional support.
  • Replacement cover is included if you have a joint policy. This means that after a claim is made, the person who hasn’t claimed can take out a new policy on the terms and conditions of the previous policy.
  • Children’s critical illness cover is automatically included if you take out your own policy. This will cover your children from birth to the age of 22 and will pay out 50% of the amount of your cover, up to a maximum of £30,000.
  • Children’s life cover is also included if you take out critical illness cover. This will pay out £10,000 in the event of the death of a child.
  • Policies are portable so where two people have policies within the same plan, they can split the plan and move policies into a new plan if they choose to.

Optional benefits provided by Scottish Widows

  • Option to include Critical illness cover which pays if you are diagnosed with a critical illness that is listed within the policy terms.
  • Option to add Premium Protection (sometimes called Waiver of Premium) which means you won’t have to pay your premiums if you are unable to work due to an accident or illness. Scottish Widows will start to pay your premiums after 26 weeks.
  • Option to add Life Cover Buyback to a life and critical illness policy. This allows you to buy back your life cover if a critical illness claim has been paid.

How much does Scottish Widows insurance cost?

The tables below show monthly premiums for £250,000 of level term life insurance with Scottish Widows over a 20-year term.

We have looked at figures for both a non-smoker and a smoker in various age groups and compared the costs to the cheapest and most expensive premiums in the market.

Scottish Widows life insurance price comparison - £250,000 of cover over 20 years (Non-Smoker)

Scottish Widows premium Cheapest premium Most expensive premium
25-year-old non-smoker £7.84 £5.82 £9.43
35-year-old non-smoker £12.75 £10.50 £14.28
45-year-old non-smoker £26.32 £22.58 £30.21
55-year-old non-smoker £63.02 £60.02 £81.83

Scottish Widows life insurance price comparison - £250,000 of cover over 20 years (Smoker)

Scottish Widows premium Cheapest premium Most expensive premium
25-year-old smoker £12.07 £9.80 £12.67
35-year-old smoker £25.44 £20.06 £26.45
45-year-old smoker £65.48 £54.76 £69.78
55-year-old smoker £166.25 £162.68 £233.35

It’s important to use the above figures as a guideline only. The amount you, as an individual, will pay for your life insurance premiums will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Your health
  • Whether you smoke
  • Your occupation (some roles are deemed as higher risk so premiums will be higher)
  • The amount of cover you choose
  • The term of your policy

To ensure you choose the right policy at the best price, it is worth speaking to an independent insurance specialist first. Below we explain how you can also qualify for up to £100 cashback if you decide to take out a life insurance cover policy.

Is Scottish Widows life insurance any good?

Although life insurance can seem straightforward, insurance companies vary in the quality of service and benefits that you receive as a customer. One of the key measures is claims and Scottish Widows paid out an average of 98.9% of its claims for life insurance over four years. The time that claims take to be paid and the care that an insurer shows will impact your customer experience and some insurers are better than others when it comes to making changes to your policy during your life or requesting other types of administrative assistance. The reviews that we have detailed below reflect customers' ratings based on their experience of Scottish Widows as well as how Scottish Widows performs against the criteria set out by financial performance organisations such as Defaqto and Fairer Finance.

Scottish Widows life insurance reviews

  • Scottish Widows life insurance and critical illness products are rated 5 stars by Defaqto which means the products are deemed to provide a comprehensive range of features and benefits.
  • Defaqto also rates Scottish Widows' Protection service, 'Gold'.
  • Trustpilot customer reviews rank Scottish Widows at 3.6 out of 5 stars based on over 2,000 customer experiences but this covers all of Scottish Widow's financial products and not only life insurance.
  • Scottish Widows life insurance received a 75% Fairer Finance score and was ranked 19th out of 26 providers.
  • Fairer Finance scored Scottish Widows life insurance 73% overall - while it scored highly for claims at 90.4%, the transparency score was relatively low at 55.98%.

Is Scottish Widows critical illness cover any good?

Scottish Widows critical illness cover is rated 5-star by Defaqto, which means it offers comprehensive features and benefits. When comparing critical illness cover, you should consider the cost, claims history and the range of conditions the policy will cover. It is important to note that a higher price doesn't always denote a better quality of cover when it comes to critical illness insurance. Scottish Widows has paid out an average of 93.3% of the critical illness claims it received over 4 years. Although this is a high statistic, many insurers have paid over 95% or even 98% of the critical illness claims against similar policies.

Scottish Widows critical illness insurance provides cover for children within the adult policy so it is automatically included. The number of conditions covered under Scottish Widows critical illness insurance is relatively low - 30 conditions are covered for a full payout and a further 10 for a partial payout. Some insurers provide cover for over twice as many medical conditions. If you wish to compare critical illness policies and what they cost across a wide range of insurers, you should speak to a specialist personal insurance adviser* who will recommend the best life and critical illness cover that suits your budget.

Best way to buy Scottish Widows life insurance?

If you’re planning to buy a life insurance policy with Scottish Widows, it’s a good idea to speak to an independent insurance specialist first. They will be able to advise you on the best life insurance or critical illness policy for your circumstances and help you assess how much cover you need for full financial protection and peace of mind.

Independent specialists will be able to access quotes from all major insurance companies, and they can also match you with an insurance provider who will view your application more favourably. In addition, they will be on hand to help you complete your application forms, put your policy into trust and help you claim in the future.

Simply complete this short form* to receive a callback at a time that suits you. There is no obligation to take things further but if you do, you will qualify for up to £100 cashback.

Scottish Widows life insurance summary

  • Established in 1815.
  • In 2022, Scottish Widows paid out 99% of all life insurance claims and 93% of critical illness insurance claims.
  • Life insurance automatically includes Terminal Illness Cover and can also be combined with Critical Illness cover.
  • Children’s critical illness cover and life cover are automatically included if you take out your own critical illness policy.
  • Free accidental death cover and free mortgage cover are included from when your application is received for up to 90 days.
  • Policyholders have access to Scottish Widows Care which provides counselling and other support services.
  • Scottish Widows life insurance may not necessarily be the cheapest option for you as the amount you pay will depend on a number of factors. It’s therefore best to shop around and compare deals carefully.
  • If you buy a life insurance policy through LifeSearch*, you will receive up to £100 cashback. Simply click on the link and fill in 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