The Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies in The UK. Definitive Guide 2020

The Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies in The UK. Definitive Guide 2020

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Life insurance is without doubt one of the best ways of helping to secure the financial stability of your family in the event of your death. But what are the best life insurance companies in the UK? The UK is home to a vast collection of different life insurance providers. While you can find plenty of comparison sites around the web, figuring out which of these is the best will never be that simple. Thankfully, though, we’re here to help. This article will break down the differences between the UK’s top providers. Ensuring you can make an informed decision when choosing a provider. Your age, physical health, and a range of other factors can influence your decision, so its well worth doing your research before you settle on a policy. 

The 10 Best Life Insurance Companies In The UK Are:

  • Legal & General
  • AIG
  • Aviva
  • Zurich
  • Vitality
  • Royal London
  • LV (Liverpool Victoria)
  • Beagle Street Life Insurance
  • AEGON
  • Scottish Widows
Life insurance policies can be quite expensive, and it’s worth making sure that you’re getting as much as possible for your money. Each section below includes a brief description of the company’s life policies, along with a set of pros and cons. We have also added a quick reference for critical illness at the bottom.  So lets get straight into the action!

Legal and General

Legal & GeneralLegal and General are a household name across the UK, with their investments, mortgages, and full range of insurance products popular in the UK market. Accidental Death Benefit and Terminal Illness Cover are included with all of the Legal and General’s life insurance policies. Legal and General don’t really have much more than a standard term life insurance or a decreasing option. However when it comes to Critical illness, they do have the option to add critical illness “CI Extra”. This will up the total amount of definitions to 91. They are and have been one of the best value providers for a long time. If its cheap simple life insurance you are looking for then you cant go far wrong.   
Legal & General paid out £313m in Life claims in 2017 across 9004 claims, the equivalent of 25 claims a day. The figures mean the insurer paid 98% of all life insurance claims that year.
You can find a handy calculator on their website which can be used to determine the level of cover you’re going to need based on your personal requirements. Legal and General have a 5 star Defaqto rating for their level term life insurance product. For more information or quotes on Legal and General click here

Legal and General Pros

  • Affordable cover: The life insurance policies from Legal and General start at £6 per month. This is quite a bit cheaper than many other providers, and this trend carries on as you look at pricier policies.
  • 91 Critical Illness Definitions: Only with critical illness extra
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating: Meets or exceeds the benchmark set by Defaqto
  • Included benefits: Legal and General have carefully chosen a range of benefits that can be very valuable to their customers. Accidental death and terminal illness cover can make your life insurance pay out in circumstances which wouldn’t usually be allowed.
  • Fast cover: Your cover starts as soon as you make your first payment, and this will usually only be broken if you die as the result of suicide or fail to make payments against your policy.
  • Additional benefits available: Along with the benefits included with Legal and General life insurance, you can also add things like critical illness cover to your policy, protecting you and your loved ones if you find yourself too ill to support yourselves.

Legal and General Cons

  • Fewer Payouts: It can often be tricky to get a life insurance provider to pay out when the circumstances of someone’s death break the rules. Legal and General are stricter than their counterparts when it comes to this, and you have to be careful.
  • Rigid Options: Unlike many other life insurance providers, Legal and General only offer one product in this area, and work to tailor it to your situation by adding and removing things from your policy.
  • Loadings: They do tend to like very healthy people and are fast to load a premium for someone with medical history.
 

AIG

AIG InsuranceAIG are giants of the life insurance industry. Many will know them for their travel and health insurance options. AIG’s life insurance policies come in a diverse range, including term insurance, family income benefit, and instant life insurance. Having a range of options like this often enables people to save money.  AIG’s Instant Life Insurance is offered with level, increasing or decreasing term options.  The Instant Life Insurance is available with a simple online application that takes fewer than eight minutes. There’s no manual or medical underwriting needed. This means clients can get an instant decision. Those looking for over 50’s life insurance can get up to £300,000 without the need for any medical evidence. AIG will even offer 70s life insurance of up to £50,000 without any medical evidence. This is great for those older folk looking to be covered quickly. 
AIG Life paid 99% of life claims in 2017. AIG Life has revealed that it paid 99% of life claims (up from 96% in 2016) and 93% of CIC claims (up from 92.3% in 2016), with the highest pay-outs sitting at over £5m for life, £765,000 for CIC and £459,000 for terminal illness.
Up to £10,000 of funeral cover is included with all of AIG’s policies.  AIG can also help to cover medical transport and treatment costs, though this is at their discretion and may be limited to a set budget. More information or quotes AIG life insurance please click here.

AIG Pros

  • Instant Cover: AIG provides their life insurance cover from the moment your application is accepted and you make your first payment, ensuring that you are covered as soon as possible.
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating: Meets or exceeds the benchmark set by Defaqto
  • Good for over 50’s life insurance – Those aged between 50 and 54 can get up to £300,000 Life insurance without medical evidence.
  • Varied Options: AIG offers a range of different life insurance policies, from term-based options with critical illness to policies which will cover which also covers your family.
  • Leading Child Support: Nothing will scare a parent more than the idea of their child being left alone in the world. AIG have teamed with Winston’s Wish to provide support to bereaved children.

AIG Cons

  • No Direct Sales: AIG don’t sell their policies directly, and this means that you have to see a financial advisor or have your life insurance provided by your employer if you want to work with AIG.

Aviva

AvivaAviva is the largest UK insurer with just over 15 million customers. They offer a wide range of policies including life on its own or with critical illness. Aviva are the only UK company that will offer Relevant Life Insurance with Serious Illness Cover. Their policies start from as little as £5 per month and can be over a term of up to 50 years. Aviva offers both decreasing and level term cover and has a 5 star Defaqto rating. More info and quotes here for Aviva Life Insurance.
Aviva paid out 98.9% of Life Insurance claims (including Terminal Illness Cover) in 2017 with upt to 16,178 clients. … The third-most common cause of death last year for Aviva’s Life Insurance was respiratory illnesses, which accounted for 5.9% of deaths. Cancer made up 41.5% of claims. 
  Aviva like to boast “We’re taking action on climate change” by being an award-winner for reducing our environmental impact, and for inspiring action on climate change 

Aviva Pros

  • Significant Cover: Aviva offers policies with cover for as much as £5 million which can be paid out as a lump sum. This is a lot more than many other companies, though it will make your premium much higher if you decide to go for a policy this large.
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating
  • Flexible Cover: Aviva lets you choose how long your policy should last, giving you the chance to tailor your cover to your situation. For example, some parents will only want cover as long as their children are young, and might not want to keep paying once they’ve left home.
  • High Age Boundaries: Many life insurance companies won’t accept older people. Aviva can cover you until you’re 90 years old, this is 20 years more than a lot of other providers in the UK.

Aviva Cons

  • Term-Based Only: Aviva only offers term-based policies, and this means that you will only be covered for as long as you’re paying your policy. This isn’t uncommon, but they don’t offer any options which go beyond your policy’s period, even as an add-on.
 

Zurich

ZurichZurich has been in the life insurance game for a very long time, and has managed to develop a good range of options. Their life insurance products come in two main flavours; basic life insurance and life insurance with critical illness. They allow you to vary the sum assured during the policy and shorten or extend the term. Along with the additional benefits and features this makes Zurich a great option. Their critical illness contract is one of the best in the market with 99 conditions covered. You can get more information and quotes for Zurich life insurance here
Zurich’s latest life insurance claims paid are 99.7% with over 90% of critical illness claims also paid last year.

Zurich Pros

  • Extremely High Payout Rates: Zurich are more compassionate than many of the other companies on the market, and are proud to shout about the fact that they approve around 99% of their life insurance claims.
  • 99 Critical Illness Definitions: Under their Zurich select policy.
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating: Meets or exceeds the benchmark set by Defaqto
  • 42 Critical Illness Conditions: Childrens cover available
  • Affordable Cover: Cover with Zurich starts at £5 per month, making their services affordable for even the most cash-strapped households. Of course, this will go up as your cover improves.
  • Lots Of Options: From protecting your children to keeping yourself afloat after suffering a bone fracture, Zurich offers a huge range of optional extras which can be added to your policy at any time.

Zurich Cons

  • Term-based Only: Much like Aviva, Zurich only offers term based support, and this means that you might not get a pay out if you die once your policy has been paid in full.
  • Standard Features As Extras: Many of the optional extras available with Zurich come as standard on other plans. This lowers the value of the policy you get, and means that you may have to pay more to get everything you need.

Vitality

Many life insurance companies punish those who live unhealthy lives or have pre existing medical conditions, though Vitality has a different take. Rather than raising prices for those who don’t look after their health, Vitality offers a range of benefits to those willing to get into better shape. This includes discounted gym memberships and activity trackers, and can even make your policy cheaper if you show dramatic improvements. You can quote Vitality Life Insurance by going here Vitality’s serious illness was a revelation when it first came to market with over 100 critical illness conditions covered within the policy. They offer a term life insurance or a reasonably priced whole of life insurance. 
The Vitality Serious Illness Cover pays out a cash lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness. Unlike a typical critical illness plan, we pay out for the less severe conditions as well as the more critical ones

Vitality Pros

  • Healthy Living Rewards: Being rewarded for living a healthy lifestyle is something which everyone should be able to get behind. Vitality is one of the only life insurance providers in the UK to offer rewards for keeping yourself in good shape.
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating: Meets or exceeds the benchmark set by Defaqto
  • Excellent Reviews: Vitality has consistently high reviews on pretty much every platform around the web. This shows that their customers are happy, and this can be a good indication that they are the right company for you.
  • High Payout Rates: More than 99.8% of claims made through Vitality are accepted, and this is far higher than many of the other companies on the market. This ensures that your loved ones will get the help they need, no matter how you die.
  • Over 100 illnesses covered: Most conditions covered in the market!

Vitality Cons

  • Expensive Extras: All of the extras which come with Vitality come at a high cost. Their cheapest options will cost more than £9 per month, making them almost double the price of other policies on the market.
  • Low Start Premiums: Sometimes their low start policies can seem cheap at the beginning but may cost you more in the long term

Royal London

Royal LondonRoyal London is better known for providing pensions than life insurance, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t do both jobs equally well. Unlike some other companies, Royal London is happy to accept service members and others working in risky jobs, and this makes them a great option for anyone who has been rejected by other life insurance providers. Their cover options don’t differ very much from those being offered by other providers, though they have very good reviews from their past customers. Premiums start from as low as £7 per month and always include terminal illness. They also offer a serious illness benefit which can be added to the life insurance policy. This covers 6 conditions for you and your children. This is a good options for those who would like some illness cover but can not afford a full critical illness policy. More info and quotes for Royal London here.
We go better than gold…platinum! We’ve won a Gold Trusted Service award for three years in a row, which now gives us a Platinum Trusted Service award. That makes us very proud to be recognised by Feefo as providing exceptional levels of trusted service.

Royal London Pros

  • Tailor Made Policies: Royal London has a dedicated Advised Life Cover service which is designed to help you to get exactly the cover you need. This may take some time, but will give you the chance to add a huge range of extras which other companies don’t provide.
  • Instant Cover: Unlike other insurance providers, Royal London will start providing cover from the moment your application is accepted, rather than when you make your first payment.
  • Feefo Reviews: Excellent customer service
  • Specific Conditions: Royal London offers a range of services which are designed to support those suffering with conditions like diabetes and heart attacks, ensuring that you cover works for you.

Royal London Cons

  • Restricted Options: While they’ve worked hard to provide cover which supports a range of different conditions, Royal London can be quite restrictive when it comes to other conditions.
  • Expensive Cover: As a more traditional option, Royal London can be very expensive for those looking for budget cover. The more support you take on the better value your policy will end up being.

LV

LVLV, or Liverpool Victoria, are another veteran of the life insurance market. Their life insurance has long been considered one of the best options available to normal working people, balancing affordability with the level of cover you need.  One of the key benefits of this provider over the others is access to LV= Doctor Services. This allows you to get medical support and advice no matter where you are, with the support being provided by expert doctors. They also offer large discounts on their other financial services when you take up a life insurance policy with them. More information for LV here. 

99% of claims were paid in 2019. These figures include claims paid for Life Insurance, Terminal Illness and Lifetime+. 

LV Pros

  • Medical Support Freebies: Getting medical support from your life insurance provider is very rare, and LV have worked extremely hard to provide excellent service in this area with free access to LV= Doctor. 
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating: Meets or exceeds the benchmark set by Defaqto
  • Affordable Policies: LV is one of the more affordable life insurance providers out there, with their policies aimed at those on normal incomes. This enables anyone to get the cover they need from a company like this.
  • Discounted Services: When you buy life insurance with LV, they will also provide you with a range of discounts on their other services. This can make things like driving and securing a business much cheaper.
  • Claims paid within 3 days – Once a final decision has been made.

LV Cons

  • A Large Company: While being a large company isn’t always a bad thing, it means that providers like LV will always have large volumes of customers to deal with. This can have an impact on the support you get from them.

Beagle Street

Beagle StreetBeagle Street is one of the more modern providers on this list. Their life insurance policies are very similar to many of the others covered in the post, with policies starting at £5 per month. This provider has made a good name for itself over the last few years for providing incredible training to its customer service teams. On top of the things you’d expect from a policy like this, Beagle Street also offers free will writing service. It also receives some excellent feedback from its customers with 84% of its trust pilot reviews rating them as excellent. However they do have the lowest Defaqto rating out of all our listed providers. Probably down to the average level of features and benefits. Probably due to the fact that they are relatively new in the market. Our experience of them has been very good and they definitely get in to our top 10. More information can be found here

Beagle Street Pros

  • Low Premiums: Starting from just £5 per month, Beagle Street offers some of the cheapest policies on this list. This ensures that you only have to pay for what you get with their services.
  • Excellent Customer Support: With customer support teams trained by the Samaritans, few companies can offer the same compassion as Beagle Street. This is easy to see when you get in contact with them.
  • Free Will Writing: Will writing can be a stressful and unpleasant process. Beagle Street can take this out of your hands, and won’t charge anything for the service as long as you have one of their life insurance policies.

Beagle Street Cons

  • Limited Options: While they will provide more than enough for most people, Beagle Street doesn’t offer quite as many options as many of the other providers on the market. This makes it hard to tailor their plans to your needs.
  • 3 Star Defaqto Rating

AEGON

AEGONAegon takes a very different approach to their life insurance than other companies. Instead of offering a range of pre-made options, they will look at your needs and circumstances. Thus building a policy which properly reflects your life. This can make them a lot more affordable than other providers, but will also make it a little more complicated to apply for. AEGON are a broker only provider which means you are unable to go direct and would need to go through a broker like us! Alongside life insurance and critical illness cover, they also offer personal income protection and whole of life insurancePlease go here for more information and quotes on AEGON.
In 2019 we paid 96% of life protection claims. Over the past three years, we’ve paid, on average, 97%.

Aegon Pros

  • Tailored Policies: Having your life insurance tailored to you will ensure that you’re only paying for what you need, while also keeping you covered in every area. It can be easy to miss things out of your policy without this support.
  • Additional Options: Like many of the other providers on this list, Aegon offers loads of different additional options which can be added to your policy, from income protection to critical illness cover.
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating: Meets or exceeds the benchmark set by Defaqto
Aegon Cons
  • No Information: As their policies are tailormade, Aegon can’t give you much information before you start the application process. This makes it hard to get an idea of what the whole thing will cost by the time you’ve built your policy.

Scottish Widows

Scottish WidowsScottish Widows is one of the oldest insurance providers in the UK, with more than 200 years of experience in this field. While this background makes them very knowledgeable, it also makes them quite old fashioned. We found Scottish Widows to be the most generous when its comes to offering over 70’s life insurance with up to £75,000 of cover. They are a well known brand and do offer that security that people tend to prefer. Like the other providers on this list, Scottish Widows can provide both normal life insurance and critical illness cover. For quotes and more information go here
Last year, (2018) 99.3% of life claims and 94.1% of critical illness claims were paid out by Scottish Widows, according to the insurer’s latest claims statistics. 

Scottish Widows Pros

  • Vast Experience: Having been in the insurance market for so long, Scottish Widows are able to build policies which are relevant and don’t waste any of your money. As a big part of this, they can use their expertise to offer advice and support before you start your policy.
  • Good Support: While they are a large business, Scottish Widows has proven itself to be a very good support provider. Not only are their phone lines usually fast to respond, but they also offer live chat and call backs.
  • 5 Star Defaqto Rating: Meets or exceeds the benchmark set by Defaqto

Scottish Widows Cons

  • Limited Flexibility: Being a more old-fashioned company, Scottish Widows don’t provide the same flexibility as other companies. They only have a couple of different policy options, and it can be hard to find add-ons for them.

Comparing Critical Illness

This is a minefield as there are so many variations on offer. Life insurance is pretty straight forward. You are either alive or dead! With critical illness there are lots more options. We will make a seperate post on this at a later stage but for now please use our simple reference below.
Critical Illness Comparison

Some information may be out of date as its changing all the time..

The Best Life Insurance for Over 50s

Over 50's Life Insurance

Overs 50s can sometimes struggle to get cover under normal policies.

The world of life insurance is very different for those over 50 years old. Most policies are built around the idea that the payments you make throughout your life will end up equal to the value of the policy at the end. Of course, though, once you reach the age of 50 or so, you’d need to pay a much larger monthly premium to be able to reach the right level of support.  To make up for this and to keep the policies affordable, most companies will offer different options for those who are at this point in their lives. This can mean putting stricter rules in place, raising the price of premiums, or simply removing features from their policies. This is so impactful that some companies will even have separate policies and services available for people in higher age brackets. Finding the best life insurance for the over 50s is a challenge, and it’s usually best to search for companies which don’t form a distinction between these two, instead letting you pick up a normal policy. Of course, though, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look at the options for your age group. It can be shocking to see what some companies will offer compared to others, and this is the age group where shopping around for the best deal will make the most difference. Martin Lewis certainly didn’t have much good to say about a few of the options on the market. Our advice would be to go for one of our top 10 providers above.  

So What Is The Best Life Insurance UK?

The best life insurance companies for those under 50 is a little bit easier. You can base the policy you pick on your budget and the features you want.  Being younger will also mean more options and a cheaper price. Hence why it’s better to buy when you are young. Each of the companies this article has covered are well trusted.  But it’s critical that you weigh up your options and compare them with one another. A cheaper policy isn’t necessarily better value. Paying more for your life insurance could give your broader range of cover suited to your needs. We would always recommend to do your own research. Use a comparison site (like us) to compare life insurance and get the best prices etc.   Life insurance can be an invaluable tool. While it’s never nice to think about dying, it’s always a smart move to have provisions in place. There are a lot of things in the world which can do you harm, but those who will suffer the most will be the people who care about you. Life insurance won’t ease their grief, but it will certainly take stress and pressure out of this already difficult time. THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE. PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU SEE ANYTHING WHICH IS WRONG. POLICIES CHANGE ALL THE TIME SO MAKE SURE TO CHECK WITH THE PROVIDER. ALTERNATIVELY YOU CAN CALL AND SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR QUALIFIED ADVISORS.

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The standard of service was first class. They kept me up to date with progress on my Relevant Life Policy, followed up promptly following delays caused by my medical practice being slow in compiling reports, and responded instantly and clearly to any questions I had.

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Everything was made very easy to understand. The quotes were the cheapest we found too. Very happy!

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We received a brilliant service from the team. We would be happy to suggest them to anyone for business insurance.

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