Looking for life insurance that comes straight from a provider? Get cover without the added expense of an adviser.
Direct life insurance is different to traditional retail cover: it's purchased directly from an insurer, as opposed to buying through an adviser or broker. Buying direct usually only requires a limited level of medical underwriting or non at all. Direct term life insurance can be obtained:
- From an organisation’s branch office
- Over the phone
Compare direct life insurance brands and apply.
The finder.com.au best* direct life insurance brands
Here are the three direct life insurance brands offered through finder.com.au's panel:
|Virgin Life Insurance||Choice of cover options and adjustable premiums to suit your budget. Fast application without a lock-in contract.|
|American Express Term Life Insurance||Pay nothing in premiums for the first month. Discount up to 10% available when multiple policies are purchased.|
|NobleOak Term Life Insurance||Save 25% on NobleOak life insurance with no premium payments in the first month.|
|ANZ Life Insurance||Fast cover application and flexible payment options.|
|Zurich Ezicover Life Insurance||Get up to 10% discount when multiple policies are purchased.|
How is life insurance sold in Australia?
Direct life insurance works as the name suggests. You'll compare policies directly either on a comparison site or on the insurers website. When you make a purchase, it will be directly from the brand without any commissions going to an adviser. Here's how buying direct compares to the options you have:
- Ease of purchase. Direct life insurance is designed for people who need life insurance but don't have the time nor inclination to go through the process of comparing products with an insurance consultant or financial planner. It fills a gap in the market for people looking for a quick solution while still receiving an adequate level of cover. Most policies don't require you to undertake medical underwriting to receive approval. Cover can usually be arranged online or over the phone, ensuring the application process is fast and straightforward.
- Immediate death cover. Direct life insurance policies often provide immediate death cover once the application has been received. You're not required to go through the entire underwriting process, which makes the purchase process more convenient if you know what you need from a policy.
- Bundle cover. Some insurance companies allow you to add benefits like total and permanent disablement, trauma and income protection to your policy.
Strangely, the same aspects that make direct life insurance very attractive can be detrimental. Buying an insurance product over the counter means that you don't have time to compare and review products with a certified financial consultant.
- Less comparison of policy options. Purchasing through an insurance consultant enables you to review hundreds options at once. Benefits of this process include:
- An insurance broker can compare the market for you and has access to hundreds of different policy variations
- A consultant can discuss the different components of a policy and ensure you have a clear understanding of each of the policy benefits and feature
- A broker has the ability to source competitive premiums on policies that could potentially save the applicant thousands in the long run
- They will assist you through the application process. While the application process may be more difficult to that of buying direct, a consultant will assist you with all of the necessary paperwork and provide help right through to policy approval
- More responsibility for you. You will have to read through all of the policy clauses and have a clear understanding of the policy exclusions without the assistance of a financial planner. This will involve being clear on the different definitions of for topics such as pre-existing medical conditions, the policy payment structure and specified conditions covered.
- Cover may not be as closely tailored towards your needs. Another sacrifice that you make when purchasing cover direct is that the cover may not be as closely tailored to relevant to the your needs. The benefit of purchasing through a financial planner is that the policy found through the comparison process will have benefits and features that are actually required for your situation. The comparison process can weed out expensive extras that aren't actually required.
- Price. While not going through extensive medical underwriting may appear more convenient, it also means that the insurer may make assumptions about your health and your overall level of risk. This can also cause premium payments to be driven up.
Direct vs cover provided with advice: How do the policy features compare?
|How they compare?||Direct policy||Policy provided with advice|
|Medical questions||No detailed medical examination, just simple questions||Fully underwritten - you will need to go through a detailed medical and lifestyle questionnaire|
|Occupation||Not asked for||Full disclosure|
|Is advice provided?||No||Yes|
|Is a statement of advice provided?||No||Yes|
|Will an adviser advocate for me in the event of a claim||No||Yes|
|Can you claim with more than one policy from the same insurer?||No, premiums will be refunded for an extra policy||If disclosed, additional cover can be included|
|Exclusions||Direct policy||Policy provided with advice|
|Suicide or intentional self-inflicted injury or illness||Excluded||Excluded in the 13 months|
|Under the influence of drugs or alcohol||Excluded (unless under the direction of a medical practitioner)||Not excluded|
|Working underground or over 10 metres||Excluded||Maybe excluded (details are assessed when you apply)|
|If you mountaineer, rock climb, scuba dive or participate in dangerous activities.||Excluded||Maybe excluded (details are assessed when you apply)|
|Flying an airplane||Excluded (unless as a passenger on a regularly scheduled flight).||Not excluded|
Note: The table above is purely for illustrative purposes and not indicative of a real policy. Source: Life insurance Industry Submission 64
Do any direct brands offer tailored cover?
There are some brands that offer a more tailored policy, with a more detailed questionnaire upfront.
|Virgin||Virgin offers two types of cover: Quick & Easy and it's Tailored cover. On it's tailored option you'll need to answer extensive health and lifestyle questions when you apply.|
|NobleOak||Life Insurance from NobleOak is full underwritten. This means you go through an extensive health and lifestyle questionnaire then your premium and cover is tailored according to your answers.|
Direct life insurance is growing in popularity in Australia and is only expected to continue, with a Plan for Life report predicting that direct insurance will account for up to 40% of new products bought in the next 10 years.
Why are more customers looking at life insurance directly?
Direct life insurance is relatively new to Australian consumers and although some companies do include options such as income protection and total and permanent disability insurance, many others don't. Despite this, direct life insurance is easier to obtain and simpler because no financial planner is involved, it has fewer medical restrictions, can be obtained online, or over the phone and the cover is immediate.
Could direct cover threaten traditional purchase channels?
Despite this growth, there is a strong belief that there will always be a place for advisers in the Australian insurance industry. While the convenience of direct cover may appeal to many, there is still a number of people who would prefer to purchase through an adviser. At the end of the day there is benefits in both avenues and it really comes down to the type of buyer looking to purchase the cover.
Increased competition across market
The increase in popularity of direct insurance products means an increase in competition in the Australian market, bringing a greater selection of products to consumers each offering the most competitive premium possible. Australians are fortunate to have such a diverse market of products to choose from.
Q. How long does it take to receive an online quote?
- A. In most cases your online quote will be returned within minutes. However, to go ahead with the application you may need to answer further health, lifestyle and occupation questions.
Q. What information is required to complete an online quote?
- A. You will need to enter your date of birth, gender, smoking status, occupation, policy type and the benefit amount you would like to receive from the policy.
Q. How long is it before the life insurance cover is active?
- A. Once you finalise payment online for your life insurance, your cover is active.
* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.