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Life insurance broker: Do I need one?

A life insurance broker can be a big help as we're talking about a product that isn't one-size-fits-all. However, you'll need to pay at least one fee for their services.

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What you need to know

  • Insurance brokers are qualified professionals who can source multiple life cover quotes and relevant information on your behalf.
  • Life insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product and some people opt for a broker if they are seeking more personalised cover. Examples can include those with more complex medical histories, often with pre-existing conditions.
  • One drawback of using a broker is that they will charge a commission or broker fee for their service; or both.

Knowing how much life insurance to take out or which policy will best suit you and your family's needs can be tricky. Having someone with expertise to help you rather than finding a policy on your own could save you time and money. That's where a life insurance broker can help.

What is a life insurance broker?

A life insurance broker is essentially an intermediary between you and an insurer. Their job is to source a policy that's matched to your needs and personal circumstances, for a competitive price.

Insurance brokers are often confused with insurance agents; however, they are different. An insurance agent is someone who works for a certain insurance company, or for a number of insurance companies. So, an agent is a representative of an insurance company with a purpose of selling policies to those who need them.

How do life insurance brokers work?

An insurance broker gathers different quotes from various companies and presents them to you. They can help you gather the necessary information you need for the application process, and submit them to different insurance providers.

When the provider agrees, they will then give a binder to the broker who will then present it to you. The binder includes all the terms and conditions of the insurance contract you will enter into.

Pros and cons of life insurance brokers

Pros

  • You'll have more chance of finding tailored cover, and you could avoid the disappointment of being denied cover.
  • An experienced broker could help you with various other insurance needs.
  • Brokers can offer ongoing care, helping you to make sure you stay on the right deal for your needs.

Cons

  • You'll need to pay a fee for their service.
  • Using a broker on a one-off basis can be a less financially viable option.
  • The products they help you pick might be influenced by any deals or agreements they have with their providers or contacts.

Speak with an insurance broker today

Life insurance brokers vs going direct

Here are some things that you may want to consider when deciding whether or not you require a life insurance broker:

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Cost. Finding a policy on your own, without the help of a broker, could be more cost-effective as you do not need to pay a professional fee for a service. You can save money by going online and using the services of a comparison site such as Life Insurance Finder, where you get to compare multiple policies from Australian providers. On the other hand, given the way a broker will know the ins and outs of the market, they could stop you from buying more cover than you really need.
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Time. Looking around for different policies on the market can be a significant investment of your time, if you're not sure what you are looking for. This may be particularly true for first-time buyers who may not have a wealth of knowledge of life insurance at hand. With the help of an insurance broker, you can get access to information and recommendations to life insurance policies that are tailored to your situation, without costing too much of your time.
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Effort. Finding a policy on your own gives you the advantage of making a decision at your own pace. On the other hand, getting some assistance from an expert can save you from being overwhelmed by a wealth of information from multiple sources, some of which might be unfamiliar. An insurance broker's expertise can be very valuable, finding various solutions that could put you at an advantage in your search for cover.

What are the key responsibilities of a broker?

Insurance brokers have a duty of care to you as the customer and their actions should therefore be focused on helping you to get suitable coverage at a competitive price.

Other key duties and responsibilities include:

  • Acting with integrity and honesty at all times when it comes to dealing with clients and insurers.
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest, and disclosing any partnerships.
  • Ensuring that any fees, commissions or other benefits they will receive are disclosed to the customer.
  • Adhering to client confidentiality regulations and data protection rules.
  • Complying with the Insurance (Agents & Brokers) Act 1984, the Insurance Contracts Act 1984, the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the State Fair Trading Acts.
  • Ensuring that the accuracy of the insurance documentation is checked.
  • Making sure that no non-disclosure or misrepresentation takes place.

Fees and costs explained

Given that life insurance premiums can vary a lot, it's hard to give a specific range of the fees you might expect to pay to a broker. Broadly, you might pay them 10–25% of a base premium amount. That's assuming they are charging a one-off fee for one service. You might reduce this if you use the same broker for a number of other insurances, including if you agree to an ongoing fee instead.

How to look for an experienced life insurance broker

Being able to find a good insurance broker is like finding a gem, and in order to do that you have to know where to look for it and the standards you can use in spotting a good insurance broker. There are several places and methods where you can find an insurance broker, some of which we've listed below.

  • Through word of mouth. You may have family and friends who have used or are using the services of an insurance broker. One of the advantages of finding an insurance broker through your circle of friends is that you can get first-hand information and an honest review about a certain broker. However, you should also try to do a little homework when checking out the broker being referred to you, as rapport between a client and a broker is very important.
  • At online review sites. Another easy way to find an insurance broker is by clicking your mouse and browsing through different review sites dedicated to insurance brokers. Exercise caution and discernment when using this method though, in order to sort out which review is real and which is not. You can do this by checking out the brokers within your area and set up an appointment with them in order to assess them. Examine their credentials, track record and credible customer reviews.
  • At the NIBA. The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) is another good place. Looking for a broker through the NIBA gives you the assurance that you are getting someone who is licensed and certified.

5 key tips for sourcing a quality insurance broker

It might be fairly straightforward to work out where to find an insurance broker, but it can still be quite a feat to find a good one. Keep in mind the following:

Number one

An insurance broker should disclose their commission

Also bear in mind that an insurance broker should not charge you a separate fee when helping you secure an insurance policy.

Number 2

An insurance broker should help you in every step of the process

This includes reminding you of the necessary actions you need to take while processing your insurance application, such as getting a physical or medical examination.

Number three

An insurance broker should not force a policy on you

A good insurance broker should consider your needs and give you ample time to sort through various policies and think through your decision. They should never impose a policy on you nor hasten you to make a decision.

Number four

An insurance broker should have a wide range of insurers in their portfolio

A good insurance broker is someone who has a wide portfolio of various insurance providers. The reason for this is so they can give you more options and expose you to better policies.

Number five

An insurance broker should be licensed

Looking into the broker's credentials can help you confirm that you're dealing with someone who is accredited by the state. You should also search out past reviews with previous clients.

Make an enquiry with a life insurance broker

Or get life insurance directly through an insurer

1 - 8 of 15
Name Product Maximum Cover Maximum Entry Age Terminal Illness Benefit Claims Acceptance Rate Average Claim Time Sum Insured
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.
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.
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.

Why you can trust Finder's life insurance experts

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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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