Joe Davine

Review of Zurich Life Insurance

Zurich is one of the UK’s most well established life insurance providers, and they have some excellent life cover options, with additional extras which allow for largely custmisable insurance policies.

At times their policies and website can be difficult to navigate, but behind this Zurich offer a large variety of options which can get you the right level of coverage, with appealing benefits. We've deconstructed everything for you right here to help you decide if Zurich offers a policy that’s right for you.

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Pros
  • Optional extras: payment protection benefit, total permanent disability cover, and waiver of payment benefit.
  • Comprehensive critical illness cover - including coverage for your children.
  • Flexible cover that can be adjusted once the policy begins.
  • A level protection plan which can be renewed or converted.
Cons
  • Zurich’s policies and website can be difficult to navigate.
  • Customer support is limited to Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 6 pm.

About Zurich

Zurich is one of the most reputable, and long-standing life insurers out there. The company has over 130 years of experience and currently operates in more than 170 countries, with 55,000 employees working worldwide, and 4,500 in the UK alone.

Zurich insurance specialise in the following financial fields:

  • General insurance - property, accident, car, and liability
  • Life insurance
  • Pensions
  • Savings and investments

Zurich’s life insurance policies stand out due to their high payout rates (97%) and additional coverage options, which ensure most of their policies are largely customisable in order to suit your needs.

Insurance options: our honest breakdown

Zurich’s life insurance policies are very varied. Each policy is extremely customisable and can be tailored to most people’s specific needs.

As well as their flexibility, Zurich insurance are also known for their high payout rates, and in 2017 Zurich paid out 99% of all UK claims across all of their products, with 97% of life insurance claims being paid out across the year.

Zurich often rename common policies, but their level protection plan is a term life insurance plan. This is available in both fixed and increasing term coverage, and can be both converted into a life assurance plan, or renewed when the policy comes to an end.

Their adaptable life plan is a life assurance policy which can be taken out between the ages of 16 and 83. Once again, this policy can also be taken out with both fixed and increasing coverage.

Zurich also provides a decreasing mortgage cover insurance which offers additional coverage such as critical illness cover and a payment protection benefit.

Within these three policy styles, there are further additional benefits which are discussed further below. Here’s a breakdown of each of Zurich’s policies and their benefits:

Level protection plan

Zurich’s level protection plan is a term life insurance policy, which is designed to insure you for a fixed period and pay out a cash sum should you die within this term. Zurich’s level protection plan is ideal for supporting you and your family financially, by providing coverage for interest-only mortgages and loans, or covering your business.

The policy can be paid for either in monthly instalments via direct debit, or annually through direct debit or check. In the case of your death or diagnosis with a terminal illness, you or your loved ones will be given a lump sum cash payout.

Like many of their policies, Zurich’s level protection plan has additional covers and options, namely an add-on critical illness cover and they offer both fixed and increasing coverage on their term life insurance plans. With a fixed cover, your payments will stay the same, and your coverage will remain at a fixed rate. Whereas with increasing coverage you can elect to pay more over time to up your coverage and offset the costs of inflation.

Renewable term

With Zurich’s level protection plan, you have the option of renewing your policy when it’s due to expire. The plan can be renewed up to, or equal to, the original policy term and cover. Zurich insurance assures that you won’t have to provide any more details about your health or lifestyle; however, it's worth noting that the premiums may be higher after renewal.

Please note, in order to be eligible to renew your policy, you must be aged under 70 years old.

  • Your plan can be renewed when it’s due to expire.
  • The plan can be renewed up to, or equal to, its original value/cover.
  • Doesn’t require any more details about your health or lifestyle.
  • Premiums may be higher after renewal.
  • Eligibility is capped at 70.

Convertible term

If you take out a level protection plan (for life cover only), then you can convert some or all of your cover into Zurich’s adaptable life plan - which is their life assurance policy. However, to be eligible to renew your policy, you must be aged 83 or younger.

As with the renewable term, you won’t have to give out any more personal details about your health or lifestyle, but your premium is likely to be more expensive after converting your policy to an adaptable life plan.

  • Convert your level protection plan into a life assurance plan.
  • You must be 83 or younger to renew your policy.
  • No further questions about your health or lifestyle.
  • Higher premiums after you convert your policy.

Adaptable life plan

Zurich’s adaptable life plan is a life assurance policy: it provides coverage for your entire life and pays out a cash sum to your loved ones when you die. However, the policy will pay out early should become terminally ill and it’s expected that you’ll pass away within the next 12 months.

This policy can be taken out for anyone aged between 16 and 83, either as a single or joint policy. However, if you take out Zurich’s adaptable life plan as a joint policy and choose for the plan to pay out when the first person dies, then the maximum age of the oldest person must be below 70.

This policy can be taken out with both fixed and increasing coverage. With fixed coverage, it's guaranteed that your payments and coverage will remain at a fixed rate. However, if you elect to take out an increasing cover, you’ll gradually pay more over time to up your coverage and offset the costs of inflation.

Zurich’s adaptable life plan:

  • Provides coverage for your whole life and pays out a cash sum when you die.
  • Provides coverage should you become terminally ill (if you’re expected to pass within 12 months).
  • Can be taken out by anyone aged between 16 and 83.
  • Can be taken out as a joint policy.
  • Available with fixed or increasing coverage.

Increasing cover

Both Zurich’s level protection plan and adaptable life plan offer the option of increasing coverage. With an increasing term policy, both your cover and monthly premiums increase gradually over time, protection you from the effects of inflation and ensuring the value of your payout against the increasing cost of living.

This option can be beneficial when it comes to ensuring your cover doesn’t reduce in value over time, and with Zurich insurance, you can switch back to level cover whenever it suits you, so you’re not tied down should the premiums increase too high.

Increasing cover means:

  • Your cover and premiums increase gradually over time.
  • You’re protected from the effects of inflation.
  • You can switch back to level cover whenever you choose.

Decreasing mortgage cover plan

If you’re looking to cover the repayments of a mortgage or loan in the case of your death, diagnosis with a terminal illness or critical illness, then Zurich’s decreasing mortgage cover plan may be a suitable policy for your needs.

Decreasing mortgage cover is a term life insurance policy, the coverage of which is set to decrease over time. It’s designed this way as your debt decreases over time, such as a mortgage. However, it’s important to look at the interest rates before taking out a policy, to ensure the payout can cover your outstanding loan.

The premiums for decreasing mortgage cover can be paid for monthly via direct debit, or annually via cheque or direct debit. While payout takes the form of a cash sum, which is paid out should you die or become terminally ill.

Zurich’s decreasing mortgage cover is customisable, and gives you the option to add critical illness cover and payment protection benefit to your policy. Keep reading to find more details on how these two policies operate within Zurich’s decreasing mortgage cover.

With Zurich’s Decreasing mortgage cover plan:

  • Coverage decreases over time.
  • You can pay either monthly via direct debit or annually via cheque/direct debit.
  • The benefit is paid as a cash sum payout.
  • You’re covered for death or terminal illness.

Critical illness cover

Available with both a level protection plan and decreasing mortgage cover, Zurich’s critical illness cover is designed to pay out in a one-off, lump sum payment should you fall critically ill with one of 85 illnesses specified in the policy. In 2017, the average critical illness cover payout made by Zurich was around £75,000.

In order to qualify for this critical illness cover, your level protection plan or decreasing mortgage cover must have a term length between 5 and 40 years. You must be a UK resident, and these plans must end before your 75th birthday. If you don’t live in one of the specified countries when you make a claim, Zurich insurance will not pay out.

While Zurich’s list of the critical illnesses covered is longer than many of their competitors, you should still pay close attention to the fine print as for most conditions they only offer coverage under specific circumstances. For example with HIV and AIDS, how and where you contracted the virus can influence whether or not you’re eligible for a payout.

With Zurich’s critical illness cover, you can also take out a total permanent disability cover as an optional add-on. More information on this additional coverage follows.

Zurich’s critical illness cover:

  • Has to be taken out with either a level protection plan or decreasing mortgage cover.
  • Pays out in a one-off, lump sum payment.
  • Covers 85 illnesses.
  • Has substantial payouts. In 2017, the average critical illness cover payout was £75,000.
  • Is only available on specific policies. To qualify for critical illness cover, your level protection plan or decreasing mortgage cover must have a term length between 5 and 40 years.
  • Must end before your 75th birthday.
  • Is only available to UK residents.
  • Only pays out if you live in one of the policy’s specified countries when you make a claim.
  • Offers the option to take out total permanent disability cover as an optional extra.

Can my child have critical illness cover?

Yes, if you take out critical illness cover alongside your insurance policy with Zurich, your child will also be covered at no extra cost. Your child will be eligible for this coverage between the ages of three months and 18 years.

Should you make a successful claim on behalf of your critically ill child, you’ll receive a payout of half your plan’s value, or £25,000 - whichever sum is less.

It’s worth noting that Zurich will only pay out once per child, and in order to be eligible for a successful claim, your child must survive at least 14 days after their diagnosis or operation.

  • Your child will be covered by your critical illness cover at no extra cost.
  • Your child must be aged between 3 months and 18 years to be covered.
  • If your claim is successful, you’ll receive a payout of half your plan’s value, or £25,000 - whichever is less.
  • The policy will only pay out once per child.
  • To make a successful claim, your child must survive at least 14 days after diagnosis.

Total permanent disability cover

Zurich’s total permanent disability cover is an additional benefit that’s designed to pay out a cash sum should you become permanently disabled.

In order to be determined as permanently disabled, you must have experienced a loss of physical or mental ability through an illness or injury, before the age of 60, and you must be deemed unable to work in your current occupation again.

There are some restrictions on who is eligible for this policy. Here is a list of factors which may inhibit your eligibility:

  • To take out the policy, you have to be under 55.
  • The benefit stops when you turn 60.
  • Not all occupations will qualify for total permanent disability cover.
  • You must have taken out critical illness cover with your level protection plan or decreasing mortgage cover to qualify.

Income protection

Income protection insurance is designed to provide a regular income which partially replaces your wage should you fall ill or get injured and find yourself unable to work.

Alternatively, Zurich’s income protection plan can also pay out a monthly figure in order to protect a business’ finances should a key person in the company fall ill or get injured.

Income protection is available to you if you’re either employed and self-employed people. However, income protection can only be used to provide financial cover for a person up to the age of 65.

Much like any of their policies, Zurich’s income protection plan is largely customisable, allowing you to determine the level of protection needed, its start date, and the length of the term. For this reason, income protection insurance can only be taken out through a financial adviser - and this service may cost you.

Due to the customisable nature of the policy, it’s difficult to estimate the cost of income protection insurance accurately; however in 2017 the average monthly payout was over £1,400, so you can expect your monthly premiums to reflect this. It’s also worth noting that Zurich’s income protection policy is paid for in monthly reviewable payments, this means that Zurich insurance will regularly review your plan and can potentially increase your monthly premiums.

  • Provides a regular income that partially replaces your wage.
  • Following a successful claim, Zurich pays out a set amount each month.
  • Available for both employed and self-employed people.
  • To be eligible, you must be under the age of 65.
  • Largely customisable.
  • Can only be taken out through a financial advisor, which may cost extra.
  • Paid for in monthly reviewable payments, so your monthly premiums can potentially increase.

Additional benefits

Waiver of payment benefit

Zurich also offers a waiver of payment benefit on all of their life insurance plans. This benefit ensures that should you fall ill or get injured during your policy and find yourself unable to work, your monthly premiums will be covered, and your policy will remain in effect.

However, in order to be eligible for this benefit you must be:

  • Employed.
  • Under 55 when the policy begins.

Payment protection benefit

If you take out a level protection plan or decreasing mortgage cover with Zurich insurance, you can take out a payment protection benefit. This benefit will pay out a monthly income should you find yourself unable to work due to illness or injury. However, it’s worth noting that in order to be eligible, you must be under 60 years old.

  • Following a successful claim, Zurich pays out a monthly income.
  • You must be under 60 years old to be eligible.

Zurich life insurance: conclusion

Zurich offers flexible life insurance and life assurance policies, each of which is customisable and allows you to tailor them specifically to your needs - and even offset the rise of inflation through increasing coverage.

Furthermore, each of Zurich’s three policies can be taken out in conjunction with additional benefits, including critical illness cover (for both you and your child), total permanent disability cover, waiver of payment benefit, and payment protection benefit.

These benefits coupled with their high payout rate afford you the peace of mind that you’re with a reputable provider who is likely to provide you with the coverage you need when you need it most. But bear in mind, their customer service line isn’t open 24/7, nor do they offer a LiveChat service, so if you need to contact them it’ll have to be Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 6.00pm.

Zurich offers a range of benefits, and surprisingly high policy caps on most policies - insuring people well into their 70s, and even 80s, so almost anyone will be able to get some level of coverage through Zurich.

Ultimately, If you’re looking for a large reputable insurer with flexible, customisable policies, then Zurich is certainly worth considering.