What is the average cost of a life insurance policy in Australia?

You could spend as little as $2.93 per week.

We looked at three different age groups (30, 40 and 50) for people looking for cover amounts of $250,000 and $500,000. Here's what we found:

The table below shows the weekly cost of life insurance for 30-year-old male and female applicants.

Cover amountMaleFemale
30-year-oldCost per weekCost per week
50-year -old

Prices shown in table are an average taken from the finder.com.au quote engine and are for non-smoking office worker. These prices should only be taken as a rough guide. Rates last checked on September 2017.

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Get a quote for up to $15 million in life insurance cover. Cover can be tailored to meet your personal needs.
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No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Cover up to $1.5 million with Guardian Life Insurance.

A simple life insurance product that can offer up to $1,500,000 in a lump sum payment on death or diagnosis of terminal illness.

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Cost of life insurance: Facts

  • As little as $2.93 per week. That's how much it costs to get life insurance for 30 year old male.
  • It's cheaper for females. Using the same details, a 40 year old female costs $2.76 per week vs $3.39 for a male (500,000 in cover)
  • Less than two cups of coffee. If you're 30, it can cost less than two cups of coffee per week ($3 per coffee)
  • Prices will change with personal circumstances. The cost depends on a variety of different factors including your age, smoking status and how much cover you obtain.

How does the cost of life insurance compare to some of your regular expenses?

Updated August 2018. We took the average monthly cost of a $500,000 policy for a 40-year-old and compared it with some regular living expenses.

Expense Average cost (Sydney)
Monthly life insurance premium ($500,000 of cover) $30
Internet 8 Mbps (1 month of connection) $59
Flat screen TV (40 inches) $653
Microwave (800/900 Watts) e.g. Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, or equivalent brands $203
Laundry detergent (3 l.) $11
Cleaning (hourly) $35
Pair of jeans e.g. Levis 501 or similar $111
A summer dress in a High Street Store e.g. Uniqlo, Zara, H&M $82
Pair of sport shoes e.g. Adidas, Nike, Puma, etc $155
Pair of leather shoes (Mens) $169
1 liter of petrol $1.43
Monthly ticket public transport $166
Taxi trip on a business day (normal rate) 8 km $22
Basic pub dinner out for two $52
2 movie tickets $39
Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant (includes appetisers, main course, wine and dessert) $113
1 cocktail drink at a downtown club $18
Coffee in the city $4.29
1 beer in neighbourhood pub (500ml) $8
1 min. of prepaid mobile phone chat $0.76
1 month of gym membership (business district) $98
1 package of cigarettes e.g. Marlboro $29

Based on the cost of living in Sydney. Data sourced from Expatistan.com. Expatistan indexes and compares the cost of living around the world. The costs are based on over 3,000 prices entered by over 600 different people.
Find out much the cost of life insurance is relatively to the cost of living

What affects the cost of life insurance?

There are several factors which insurers consider when determining how much you will pay for life insurance. These include:

  • Age. The older you get, the greater the risk you become to the insurer and the more you will pay for your life insurance. For this reason, many people opt for level premiums (remain the same for the life of the policy) rather than stepped premiums (which start low and get higher as you age)
  • Gender. Males and females are assessed differently by insurers, with females generally seen as lower risk than males.
  • Smoking status. If you are a smoker, you are seen as high risk and will pay more for your premiums. The only way to alter this and reduce your premiums is to give up smoking for at least 12 months.
  • Occupation. What you do for a living can affect how much you pay for life insurance. If you are an underground miner for instance, you are considered to be in a high risk occupation. The best way to alter this and reduce your premiums would be to move to a lower risk occupation.
  • Lifestyle. The things you do in your spare time can also have an influence on your risk rating. If you pursue risky pastimes such as rock climbing or driving fast cars, then your premiums may be higher. And you must tell your insurer about these pastimes, because if you don’t and you die as a result of them, you would not be covered.
  • Current medical condition. Depending on the policy and level of cover, you may be required to have a medical examination. A policy that does not require this generally provides less cover than one that does.
  • Past medical history. Any pre-existing medical conditions you have or have had in the past can affect your premiums. They generally make your insurance more expensive and may even exclude you from cover in some situations.
  • Amount and period of cover required. How much cover you take out and for how long will directly affect the cost of your life insurance. The greater the amount and the longer the period, the higher your premiums will be.

How can you cut down your life insurance costs?

  • Quit smoking. At the top of the list of possible lifestyle changes is quitting smoking. The myriad diseases and associated health problems linked to smoking are well known. If you’re a smoker, you can expect to pay close to double the premiums than that of a nonsmoker.
  • Cut down on drinking. Reducing the amount you drink, like quitting smoking, may allow you to find cheaper life insurance.
  • Lose some weight. Your BMI is an important factor to your life insurer and the lower your BMI the lower the risk you pose to an insurer.
  • Get a lower level of cover. If your circumstances have changed since you first took out cover, you may want to consider reassessing your cover amount. If your financial obligations have lessened, for example your children have become independent, then you may wish consider lowering your benefit amount.
  • Review your options. Looking around for a new provider and a new policy is another option. Make sure to find a trusted and reputable insurance company, as well as a policy that can be tailored to suit your needs.
  • Look for discounts. One final trick to keep more money in your wallet is to look for discounts. You may be able to take advantage of cheaper premiums by taking out a family or joint policy instead of single cover.

Cost of living in Sydney vs the cost of life insurance

Premium structures: Stepped or level

When you take out life insurance, you usually have a choice of stepped or level premiums and which structure you choose can have a significant impact on how much you pay.

Stepped premiums are premiums that are recalculated by the insurer at each policy renewal as you get older and your level of risk increases. Stepped premiums are more advantageous when you are younger, because they are cheaper than level premiums, but as you get older they will become more expensive and unless your income has increased as well, they will become more difficult to pay.

Level premiums are averaged out over the life of the policy so that you pay the same amount every time. Level premiums are less advantageous when you are younger as they are higher than stepped premiums, but as time goes by, they will become less burdensome as your income will also increase over time.

As a general rule, stepped premiums are more suitable for those who only require short term life insurance, while level premiums are more suited to those seeking long term cover.

You should seek professional advice before committing to one or the other however, as their benefits will depend on your particular circumstances. What if I can't afford to pay my life insurance premium?

How much life insurance do you need?

Working out exactly how much life insurance you need is not an easy task. In order to determine your cover needs, you’ll need to take a number of factors into account:

  • Your income. If you're unable to work due to illness, injury or death how would your family cope with out your income? Make sure you life insurance policy is enough to replace your income for the foreseeable future.
  • Your dependents. If you have people that are financially dependent upon you, you need to take into account their ongoing expenses and think about how they'd be affected by the loss of your income.
  • Your expenses. Do you have a mortgage, car loan, credit card or other debts? Calculate the ongoing expenses your family will need to be able to pay in order to maintain their lifestyle?
  • Your assets. Consider any assets you may have accumulated, for example shares, savings or investment properties. Do you want your family to live off these or would it be more prudent to provide them with enough cover so that they could keep these investments?

Dangers of underinsurance

Research has determined that the majority of Australians are underinsured. The danger this poses with regard to life insurance is that, should you die prematurely, your family will not be protected financially and could lose everything you have worked for.

Recent research has revealed that Australians are aware of the dangers of underinsurance, but are not motivated to purchase insurance in the current economic climate. The research suggested that incentives were needed to encourage them to do so and could include a government tax incentive, a tax dis-incentive and greater cover through superannuation funds.

How to get life insurance

The steps involved in taking out life insurance are similar to those you should employ when choosing any kind of insurance.

  1. Determine how much cover you need and can afford, based on the amount your beneficiaries would require to maintain their lifestyle if you were gone.
  2. Determine how long you will need cover for, factoring in likely changes to your assets and lifestyle in the future.
  3. Compare policies and quotes online to determine which provides the best cover and best value for money.
  4. Talk to an insurance adviser or consultant or approach an insurer directly if you are confident about your cover needs.

When comparing life insurance policies, it is important to consider:

    • The cost in relation to the cover provided
    • Any exclusions or restrictions which could limit the extent of cover
    • Whether the premiums are CPI-indexed to keep pace with inflation
    • Whether the policy has guaranteed future reliability, allowing it to be renewed without further medical underwriting.
    • Whether it has a funeral advancement benefit to cover funeral expenses
    • Whether it includes the option of joint cover for your spouse (can save you up to 10% on your premiums).

Myths about life insurance

Myth 1

  • Life insurance is too expensive. This is simply not true. This article contains plenty of tips on how to keep your premium costs to a minimum, and when you consider the importance of the financial protection that life insurance provides, it quickly becomes obvious that it is a very worthwhile investment.

Myth 2

  • It’s a waste of money. Life insurance is designed to protect those you love in times of need. How would your family cope if you were injured and unable to work? How would they keep up with mortgage repayments, credit card debts and other ongoing expenses? Life insurance is like a financial safety net for your loved ones, ensuring that they will be able to cope with whatever life throws at them.

Myth 3

  • Applying for cover is a long and hard process. With the rise of direct life insurance, applying for cover is easier than ever before. Direct life insurance policies are designed to be simple and straightforward, allowing you to apply for cover and receive approval in a very short period of time. You’ll just have to answer a few questions about your health, while many companies will provide cover without even requiring you to undergo any medical tests.

Life insurance FAQs

Richard Laycock

Richard is the Insurance Editor at finder, and has been wrangling insurance Product Disclosure Statements for the last 4 years. When he’s not helping Aussies make sense of the fine print, he can be found testing the quality of Aperol Spritzes in his new found home of New York. Richard studied Journalism at Macquarie University and The Missouri School of Journalism, and has a Tier 1 certification in General Advice for Life Insurance. He has also been published in CSO Australia and Dynamic Business.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AndreaApril 30, 2018

    Looking at life insurance for my 76 year-old father with a payout of $400 000 -$500 000. Non smoker. Thanks.

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniApril 30, 2018Staff

      Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      While we are not allowed to provide specific recommendations, let me give you general information to help you make a better choice.

      Kindly check out this link to get tips and quotes from insurers that offer life insurance for seniors.

      I also suggest that you obtain expert advice from an insurance adviser and help you find the right policy for your father.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


  2. Default Gravatar
    LieuNovember 18, 2016

    I am an Australian Citizen but permanently living outside of Australia, Will I still can claim my life insurance?

    • finder Customer Care
      RichardNovember 21, 2016Staff

      Hi Lieu,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You should contact your insurer, as claim conditions can vary between insurers. Some insurers have a maximum of 5 years for Australian expats wanting to claim.

      All the best,

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