What happens if I can’t make a life insurance payment?
Adjusting or freezing your premium are among the options to consider if you find yourself unable to keep up with your life insurance payments.
Keeping up with your premium payments it's crucial to prevent your policy from lapsing. Unfortunately, circumstances do change, new expenses arise and it’s not always possible to keep up with premiums.
A premium freeze lets you stop your premiums from increasing as you age. It's only available with stepped premium life insurance policies because the cost rises with age.
Typically it can last until you choose to cancel it, or make a claim or adjust your level of cover in some other way. You will still have to pay premiums but the price won't increase with time, as long as it's active – however, your level of cover will drop.
- Not all policies will include this option. If you’re interested, check whether your current policy includes it or if it’s available with new policies.
- Limited window to activate option. If your premiums have recently gone up, you may have a limited window in which to activate a premium freeze. Typically a premium freeze must be activated within 30 days of policy renewal.
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FAQs about life insurance premium freezes
Which insurers may offer premium freezes?
Here are some of the brands on Finder that offer premium freezes.
|Brand||What age is this available?||More info|
|Request a premium freeze at any time. This means your future premiums will be fixed at the amount you were paying on the date you notified the provider.|
|Request a premium freeze or policy cancellation at any time. This takes effect from the next extension date of the plan.|
|If you're paying premiums on a stepped basis, you can request a premium freeze on your life, TPD or trauma cover at any time. This excludes policy fees and government charges.|
Note that premium freeze options will reduce your sum insured amount and might not be available in super policies. Data taken from brand product disclosure statements, June 2021. Benefits, conditions and amounts are subject to change at anytime.
Unlike a premium freeze which merely stops premiums from increasing, this option means you stop paying premiums entirely. However, you will typically lose all your cover, and cannot make claims for anything that occurs while your cover is suspended. Not all life insurance policies will include a suspended cover benefit, and where they do it may be variously known as a premium holiday, premium pause or other variation.
- Suspended cover works differently between insurers and policies. Some may require you to provide evidence of financial hardship while others might let anyone suspend cover without condition.
- Length of suspension. Some insurers might let you suspend cover for a full year, while others will limit you to only a few months.
- Terms and conditions will apply. For example, you might be limited to only one premium suspension over the policy lifespan, and it might be restricted to no more than three months. Make sure you are familiar with all conditions before committing to this option.
Life insurance policies are often more complex and multifaceted than others. This can make it more difficult to navigate, but also means there are many ways to reduce costs.
- Reduce your sum insured. If you've used the premium freeze option, you may want to consider reducing your cover before cancelling your policy altogether. For example, if your current benefit amount is $1 million, you might be able to save by reducing it.
- Remove CPI increases. Every year you hold life insurance cover, it will automatically increase to keep up with inflation. One more way to reduce the cost of your premiums is to request to your insurer to remove the increase. You can usually do this in writing or over the phone.
- Share a policy. You can often pay less overall or get a “bulk discount” with joint life insurance policies.
- Shop around. It’s important to be aware of the downsides of switching life insurance policies, but it may still be worth considering. Whatever life insurance policy you have, it’s still only one option among many. Compare it side by side with other policies to see if you’re getting value for money.
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