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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.

1. Premium freeze

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

Finder survey: Do Australians typically have stepped or level life insurance premiums?

Response
I don't know49.04%
Level35.25%
Stepped15.71%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1110 Australians, December 2023

Which insurers may offer premium freezes?

Here are some of the brands on Finder that offer premium freezes.

BrandWhat age is this available?More info
NobleOak Income Protection (Pre-existing conditions)

NobleOak

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.
amount.

Read the review

AIA Life Insurance Logo

AIA

35

Read the review

AMP Life insurance logo

AMP Elevate

Request a premium freeze or policy cancellation at any time. This takes effect from the next extension date of the plan.

Read the review

Asteron Life Insurance Logo

Asteron

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.

Read the review

MLC life insurance logo

MLC

30

Read the review

OnePath Life Insurance Logo

OnePath

Not specified

Read the review

Picture not described

Clearview

30

Read the review

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.

2. Temporarily suspend your cover

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.

3. Other ways to reduce your life insurance premiums

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.

Compare life insurance

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.
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.
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.
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 needed.
RACWA 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. RAC is also WA-based but services all of Australia.
AAMI Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$1,500,000
Data not available
3.1 months
$37,768 million
Our verdict: There’s flexibility with AAMI as you can add another adult to your cover, with a competitive limit of $1.5 million. Easy application process with no medical exams.

⭐ Current offer: Take out a new AAMI Life Insurance policy and get $100 eGift card after your first 4 months of cover. T&Cs apply. Ends June 30, 2024.
Suncorp Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$1,500,000
Data not available
3.1 months
$37,768 million
Our verdict: Competitive maximum cover limit of $1.5 million. Suncorp lets you change your cover amount by up to $100,000 after a big life event, such as having a baby.

⭐ Current offer: Take out a new Suncorp Life Insurance policy and get $100 eGift card after your first 4 months of cover. T&Cs apply. Ends June 30, 2024.
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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  • 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.

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