The definitions below are provided for guidance purposes. Many insurance specific terms are used on this website and this glossary of those terms will help you in understanding them. However, these definitions are not insurer definitions and you should make sure that you read your policy terms and conditions fully before committing to anything. As always, If you are in any doubt, speak to your adviser.

Critical Illness Cover

This is not offered as a standard part of a life insurance policy. Cover for a range of critical illnesses covered by your policy which may or may not be fatal. These include many cancers, multiple sclerosis, heart attack or stroke.

Income Protection

This cover provides tax-free replacement income in the event of ill health until you either return to work, retire, the policy term expires, or death.

Level Term Assurance

Being ‘level’ your premiums will not change during the lifetime of the policy and neither will the sum assured (the amount paid out if you die). You will specify how much cover you want and for how long. The premiums are set for the lifetime of the policy.

Increasing Term Assurance

With these policies, the sums insured are lower when you are younger, but rise over time. Premiums ‘escalate’ in line with the sum insured increases.

Mortgage Protection Assurance

This is life cover where the lump sum reduces in line with the outstanding mortgage balance over time.

Decreasing Term Assurance

Also known as mortgage protection insurance, with decreasing terms, the premiums you pay remain the same, but the cover reduces slowly during the term of your policy, dropping off steeply at the end. You specify how long you want the life insurance policy for and the starting sum assured (the amount your dependants receive if you die).

Renewable Term Assurance

This is typically short term cover that can be renewed, without medical underwriting, every 5 - 10 years.

Convertible Term Assurance

A Level Term life cover policy with the built in option to convert the policy into something different, such as a Whole of life policy, at a later stage.

Whole of Life

This is an open ended life cover policy. It is available either with an investment element or as a more expensive guaranteed rate, non-investment contract.

Terminal Illness Benefit

Not to be confused with Critical Illness, this benefit simply allows those who are diagnosed with less than 12 months to live to claim early on a life insurance policy. The benefit is often included with life cover at no extra cost.

Guaranteed Premiums

The amount you pay monthly for your life insurance e.g. a “£5 monthly premium” is guaranteed never to increase for the full term of your policy. Guaranteed premiums may be higher than reviewable premiums but are very popular because they allow an individual to budget accurately for their life cover.

Reviewable Premiums

Often cheaper initially than guaranteed premiums, reviewable premiums are reviewed regularly by the life insurance company every few years and can be reduced or increased depending upon any claims you make or changes to your circumstances or other factors.