The average man in the street assumes that Life Insurance and Life Assurance are names for the same form of insurance. How wrong they are! But don’t hang your head in shame, many financial commentators get it wrong too! Life Insurance and Life Assurance perform different financial roles and are poles apart in cost – so it helps to surf for the correct product.
Life Insurance provides you with insurance cover for a specific period of time (known as the policy’s “term”). Then, if you were to die whilst the policy is in force, the insurance company pays out a tax-free sum. If you survive to the end of the term, the policy is finished and has no residual value whatsoever. It only has a value if there is a claim – in that context it’s just like your car insurance!
Life Assurance is different. It is a hybrid mix of investment and insurance. A Life Assurance policy pays out a sum equal to the higher of either a guaranteed minimum underwritten by the policy’s insurance provisions or its investment valuation. The value of the investment element is then a reliant on the Insurance Company’s investment performance and length of time you have been paying the premiums.
Each year the insurance company adds an annual bonus to the guaranteed value of your life assurance policy and there is normally an extra “terminal bonus” at the end. Therefore, as the years go by your life assurance policy increases in value as the investment bonuses accumulate. The value of these bonuses are then determined by the insurance company’s investment performance. Once investment value has been assigned to the policy, you can cash it in with the insurance company. However, most people get a far better price for their life assurance