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Life Assurance Quote

A market full of new products and investment methods is changing the way we buy life assurance.

Getting a life assurance quote has changed in recent years- with new companies entering the market in the overcrowded term life sector, and traditional companies battening down the hatches against a cold investment climate in the whole of life sector. If unitised policies sound like Double Dutch, it’s time to do some research!

If you’re getting a life assurance quote for the first time in the past five years or so (and most people don’t do this sort of thing daily…) you need to know that the life market has changed dramatically.

If you had a policy previously, it was almost certainly an endowment policy (over a set term) or a whole of life policy (set up to deliver at death irrespective of the date); and either one would have almost certainly been “with-profits”. That meant that there were certain bonuses depending on your contract added to the overall amount you would receive back on maturity.

Unfortunately, the markets haven’t been good to the insurance companies recently, and many have stopped writing with-profits contracts (which gave you some clever guarantees irrespective of how well the company was doing). It’s highly likely now that a new life assurance quote will be for a newer type of product: a “unit-linked” policy. This ties the performance of your policy much more directly to the performance of the life company; although the unit price is guaranteed not to fall, and many people with the new funds say they’re easier to understand! By popping a unit trust between you and the company, your money becomes an investment gamble. Your premiums buy units at the current price; and the future value of the policy is dictated by fluctuations in the value of the unit fund. Of course, like all investments, a fund manager is appointed by the life company to manage the fund on your behalf.

What you also need to know is that with all this complication, your life assurance quote now includes the fees and charges associated with managing a fund. This includes a bid/offer spread (the difference in price between buying units from and selling units to a fund- just like the spread in value when you buy foreign currency), and any annual management or setup charges. A competitive market is rapidly evening out these charges to pretty low levels, but you need to be aware of what you’re paying for and how; so if you do go for a unitised policy (and you may not have many other options for a whole of life policy), be sure your life assurance quote itemises to your satisfaction and complete understanding the fees associated with the fund investment.