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Direct vs retail vs super life insurance

Work out which type of life cover best suits your needs with the comparison tool below.

What are the main life insurance options?

life insurance icon

Directly from an insurance provider

Just like with car or home insurance, you can buy your life insurance by simply contacting a provider and starting off with a quote.

income protection

Through your superannuation fund

You can either go through your existing super fund or opt to sign up with a new fund that offers life insurance. Keep in mind: if you have life cover in your super, you could lose any existing terms or benefits if you switch to another fund.

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Through an advisor or insurance broker

Contact a professional who will help you to assess your financial situation and identify your insurance goals. Often referred to as retail life insurance.

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Through your employer

Your workplace may offer a standardised insurance plan at a discounted rate. This works similar to insurance through super and is also referred to as group life insurance.

Compare life insurance policies in Australia

1 - 6 of 13
Name Product Maximum Cover Maximum Entry Age Terminal Illness Benefit Claims Acceptance Rate Average Claim Time Sum Insured
NobleOak Life Insurance
$25,000,000
74
$25,000,000
96.90%
1.1 months
$24,483 million
Our verdict: Finder Life Insurance Award winner for the last 5 years in a row. Good value for money, simple application process and a high claims acceptance rate.

⭐ Current offer: Get one month free for a limited time - apply by 21 December 2023. Offer T&Cs on insurer website apply.
TAL Accelerated Protection Life Insurance
No set limit
73
Not stated
Data not available
1 months
$249,285 million
Our verdict: One of Australia's leading life insurers. Automatically includes child critical illness cover. Plus, it comes with a level premium option (e.g. costs remain similar as you get older).

⭐ Current offer: Get up to 15% off your TAL Life, Trauma or TPD insurance policy for life - if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 19 and 28 at the time of your application. Offer T&Cs on insurer website apply.
Medibank Life Insurance
$2,500,000
70
$2,500,000
Data not available
Data not available
Data not available
Our verdict: Medibank offers a higher payout limit ($2.5 million) than 15 other providers. Get a 10% discount if you're already a Medibank Health Insurance member.
ahm Life Insurance
$1,500,000
55
$1,500,000
Data not available
Data not available
Data not available
Our verdict: ahm offers a simple application process. You can be approved online or over the phone. There are no medical or blood tests required.
RAC Life Insurance
$25,000,000
74
$25,000,000
96.90%
1.1 months
$24,483 million
Our verdict: RAC’s maximum death cover limit of $25 million is one of the highest limits you’ll find, including $5 million in TPD insurance. You can get an online quote, but you’ll need to call RAC to get trauma cover. Benefit from added peace of mind with fully underwritten insurance.

Real Family Life Cover
$1,000,000
64
$1,000,000
88.90%
2.4 months
$53,238 million
Our verdict: The application is simple; it can be done with 1 phone call and there are no medical exams. But households with larger debts may need more than a $1 million payout.

⭐ Current offer: Get back 10% of the premiums you’ve paid after 1 year.
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Maximum coverMaximum Age EntryTerminal Illness benefitFuneral Benefit
TAL logoNo set limit73
$25,000Get quote
Zurich income protection$1,500,00069
$15,000
AIA LogoNo limit74
More info
Bendigo bank$1,000,00065
$15,000More info
Clearview logo$20,000,00075
$25,000More info
Commonwealth bank$1,000,00065
$15,000More info
MetLife logoNo limit73
$30,000More info
MLC Life insurance logoNo limit70
$20,000More info
Neos Life Insurance Logo$5,000,00075
$25,000More info
OnePath Life Insurance LogoNo limit75
$25,000More info
ProviderDeath CoverTotal & Permanent Disability CoverIncome Protection Maximum Monthly CoverOther Eligibility Requirements
Bendigo Bank$5,000,000$5,000,000The lesser of:
  1. The benefit accepted by the insurer.
  2. 75% of Earned Income (as defined in the Insurance Guide) plus super contribution benefit (up to 10% of Earned Income)
  3. $30,000 per month
  • Australian citizen aged 25+
  • Have a $6,000 account balance or request default cover to be provided to you
Suncorp$5,000,000$3,000,000$25,000
  • 25-65 year old Australian citizen or non-Australian resident with a valid visa
  • Have a $6,000 account balance
AustralianSuper$1,000,000$1,000,000Up to $20,000 a month or 85% of your salary (whichever is lower)
  • Income protection: Ages 15-69
  • TPD cover: Ages 15-64
ClearView$20,000,000$5,000,000$30,000
  • Be eligible to contribute to super, have contributions made on your behalf or be able to fund premiums by rolling over super benefits from another fund to this one
MLCNo general maximum, but special terms may apply for benefits greater than $15 million$5,000,000$50,000
  • Life cover: Ages 15-69, 70 expiry age
  • TPD standalone cover: Ages 15-64 can apply, 65 expiry age
TAL$2,000,000$2,000,000$12,000
  • 18-74 year old Australian citizen or New Zealand citizen residing permanently in Australia
  • Level premiums are available if you're aged 59 or under

Why compare life insurance with Finder?

  • You pay the same price as buying directly from the life insurer.

  • We're not owned by an insurer (unlike other comparison sites).

  • We've done 100+ hours of policy research to help you understand what you're comparing.

Pros and cons of each type of life insurance

life insurance icon

Direct life insurance

Direct life insurance is cover you take out directly via a comparison site or on an insurer's website. You can make the purchase without having to go through a broker or adviser with little to no medical underwriting needed.

Advantages of direct life insurance

  • Quick and easy application. Buying direct means you can purchase either online or over the phone and be covered straight away.
  • More control. You'll be able to tailor your policy including, how much you insure for down to which features you include.
  • Choice of premiums. You can choose to pay in stepped or level premiums. Stepped premiums tend to start out cheaper but will increase over time while level premiums remain the same for the length of the policy.

Disadvantages of direct life insurance

  • Requires more effort. Reading policy documents, comparing insurers and deciding on the right policy for you takes a bit of time and effort.
  • All the responsibility. It's all up to you to make sure you choose a suitable policy that will cover you when it comes time to claim and that you fill the application out correctly.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Some conditions may not automatically be covered or could be excluded for a certain period of time. Some, may not be covered at all.

Group

Life insurance through superannuation or an employer

If you've got a super fund, chances are, you've already got some level of life insurance. These group policies can be easy to attain but don't always provide as much cover as you need.

Advantages of group life insurance

  • It's often cheaper. A super fund usually buys life insurance in bulk for large groups of people, which means that premiums are often discounted. This form of pricing means you can expect to pay less for cover held inside superannuation.
  • It's convenient. This type of cover offers guaranteed acceptance, and premiums are taken directly from your super balance. Not having to maintain a standalone policy can also mean less paperwork and admin.
  • No medicals required. Unlike policies bought directly or through advisors, you won't usually have to supply your medical history or complete a medical examination.

Disadvantages of group life insurance

  • Cover can be limited. Guaranteed acceptance means you will be given an automatic level of cover rather than one that's specific to your circumstances. The standard benefit amount is usually between $100,000 and $200,000. That may seem like a lot, but it's generally recommended that your life insurance is around 5 to 10 times your annual salary.
  • If you change funds, your cover might end. It's common for us to change jobs these days, and with that, we often change super funds. But if you do this, there's a chance your cover will cease. That's because super funds must cancel insurance on inactive accounts after 16 continuous months.
  • Chips away at your retirement. Premiums are deducted from your super balance, which means you'll accrue less interest and have less money sitting in your retirement fund when you're ready for it.

Expert man icon

Retail life insurance

When ​​you hire a financial adviser or insurance broker, they deal directly with insurers, take care of the legwork and advocate on your behalf. Retail life insurance is essentially a policy that's bought with the help of an adviser.

Advantages of retail life insurance

  • Reliable and secure. You'll be fully assessed both medically and financially before your application is approved, which gives you an assurance that you'll be fully covered when it's time to make a claim.
  • Access to more complex products. Some advisors will be able to sell you products that are customised and tailored exactly to your needs. Retail insurance is also less likely to be available through any other channels, so you will have to use an advisor to access them.
  • Cover for more niche conditions. Whether it's a pre-existing condition, dangerous job or hobby, or you've been excluded before, an advisor can help you find cover when it's the most difficult.

Disadvantages of retail life insurance

  • Share everything upfront. Retail insurance is the most involved when it comes to medical underwriting. Along with sharing medical records and completing a detailed medical and lifestyle questionnaire, you may have to complete a medical exam.
  • A lengthy process. Consulting an advisor, receiving a statement of advice and finally setting up your life insurance policy can take much more time than simply buying one directly. Expect periods of up to 8 weeks before being insured.
  • More expensive than through super. An advisor's role is to find a policy that's best suited to your needs which doesn't always translate to the cheapest policy.

Life insurance options: Key differences side-by-side

Direct life insuranceSuperannuation insuranceAdvisor-led insurance
How do you buy a policy?Contact online or over the phone directlyCover is often included automatically in a super accountPolicy is set up by your advisor
The application processAutomatic acceptance is likely but you may need to do a medical as part of the underwriting processAcceptance is guaranteed based on shared termsYou'll need to go through a detailed medical and lifestyle questionnaire
Level of coverDecided by youAutomatically set by the group policyDecided by you and your advisor
CostCosts vary widely and buying direct doesn't always mean the lowest priceOften a cheaper option as policies are bought in bulkNot necessarily cheaper but you may get access to exclusive deals
How are premiums paid?Paid by you directlyPayments are taken from your super balancePaid by you directly
Choosing your beneficiariesYou nominate your beneficiaries with the insurer when you take out a policyYou'll have to get in contact with your super fund to add or edit your preferred beneficiaryYou decide on and nominate your beneficiaries, usually after a detailed assessment with your advisor
Tax treatmentPremiums are not tax-deductible but claims are tax-free (excluding income protection)Some tax benefits and concessions apply depending on type of fundPremiums are not tax-deductible but claims are tax-free (excluding income protection)

Why you can trust Finder's life insurance experts

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We're free

You pay the same as buying directly from the life insurer. Better still, we regularly run exclusive deals that you won't find on any other site – plus, our tables make it easy to compare policies.
expert advice

We're experts

Our team of life insurance experts have researched and rated dozens of policies as part of our Finder Awards and published 250+ guides to make it easier for you to compare.
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We're independent

Unlike other comparison sites, we're not owned by an insurer. That means our opinions are our own and we work with lots of life insurance brands, making it easier for you to find a good deal.
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We're here to help

Since 2016, we've helped 270,000+ people find life insurance by explaining your cover options, simply and clearly. We'll never ask for your number or email. We're here to help you make a decision.

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