Life insurance vs health insurance – which is best for you?

life insurance

There’s been some pretty big fights down the years, box office blockbusters which people are still talking about today. Historically, some of the greats have climbed into a boxing ring in front of a global audience of millions and duked it out for fame and glory; not to mention some impressive purses. Belts have been won, lost and won back again, initial weigh-ins have gotten kinda tasty and some duals have gone the distance and then some, whilst others have been knocked-out after just a couple of rounds. Some have promised so much (hyped to the max), yet delivered so little (with challengers disappearing without trace), some vice versa.

From Muhammad Ali v Frazer, Ali v Foreman, Holyfield v Tyson and more recently, Pacquiao v Mayweather Jnr through to Benn v Eubank (OK, we’re scraping the barrel now – time to move on), there’s been something for everyone. Bit like life insurance vs health insurance. Two do-or-die challengers which habitually come head-to-head and routinely spoken about when the conversation turns to ‘which big-hitting insurance policy is best for you?’

Well now the waiting is finally over, the pre-fight talk can cease talking and the walk can be prepared to do the walking. What we want to know is just which of these two insurance heavyweight egos are writing cheques that their policies can’t always cash, to coin a modern turn of phrase. Or words to that effect. To differentiate between any two adversaries you first need to determine what each one stands for and represents, and a long time before squaring up to one another.

Life insurance – in a nutshell – is a policy which essentially only pays out in the event of the insured party dying; subsequently providing a lump sum for surviving relatives/dependents. Conversely health insurance is fundamentally designed to protect your finances (and financial future) from unexpected medical costs, and to provide you with better access to medical care, and will only pay out should the policyholder require diagnosis, treatment and aftercare for what’s considered acute (and unpredictable) medical conditions; typically covering a range of diseases, serious illnesses and/or injuries.

To try and establish which is best for an individual between life insurance and health insurance products (bearing in mind that it’s akin to comparing chalk with cheese for the most part), perhaps flagging up the predominant reasons why it makes sense to opt for either will equip people currently sat on the fence with the necessary information to work out which is most suitable for their specific needs; largely because everyone has very different requirements from their insurance products, and what might seem like a good idea/sound investment to one person could easily be pointless in another’s opinion.

So as opposed to having a full-on fist fight, both life insurance and health insurance should be based on a points decision at the end of the day, with members of the UK audience plumping for which product they best feels serves their particular needs. That’s our opinion anyway. Plus being the insurance products ringmasters that we are, we’re resolutely impartial, and exist solely to impart the relevant information with regards to what’s available out there. So let’s take the gloves off and cut to the chase shall we?

Why choose life insurance over health insurance?

You’ve just bought your first home

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Which means that you’ve also just arranged a mortgage which as we all know, don’t come cheap. It may sound a bit dark, but you really have to ask yourself the question, ‘could my family continue to meet the mortgage payments in my absence?’ The answer to that is probably a big, fat no. Chiefly because you’re the main bread winner; which subsequently means that you’re responsible for paying the lion’s share of the mortgage.

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Don’t fret though, as the majority of mortgage lenders stipulate that borrowers take out a life insurance policy before they rubber stamp the deal; safe in the knowledge that should the mortgagee/policyholder die during the mortgage term then any outstanding monies would be therefore settled.

You’ve just welcomed a new baby into the world

Congratulations are in order. Yet this landmark juncture in anyone’s life more often than not triggers a more far-reaching approach to life thereafter. Not least because they’ve suddenly got someone else to take care of and look out for aside from themselves. So – as depressing thought as this is – what would happen if you were to die? Exactly, your partner/spouse would be even more financially burdened; to breaking point probably. But not if you had a life insurance policy in place which would automatically cater for your dependents if and when your number’s (prematurely) up. Just make sure that your cover stretches to cover every potential eventuality should these circumstances come to bear. Read our guide on life insurance for new parents for more information.

You’re contemplating your own mortality

Still a sad thing to dwell on, but nevertheless an important one if you intend to help your loved ones pick up the pieces in the wake or your, er wake. Have you seen how much funerals cost these days?! According to recent figures the average funeral (and we’re not referring to an official send-off fit for royalty, complete with a six-gun salute and a fly-past by the Red Arrows) costs in the region of £3,400. However if you choose to arrange a life insurance policy then a percentage of this lump sum pay-out can be ring-fenced for settling the bill with the funeral directors once you’ve said your final goodbyes; without your nearest and dearests expecting to foot the bill out of their own coffers. It’s called thinking ahead.

You want to know that your kids have had every opportunity even after your death

We know. We just can’t let go off this whole death vibe, yet unfortunately if we’re talking about life insurance it tends to be an occupational hazard and wholly unavoidable. Seriously though, you won’t just wish to know that they’ve coped (financially, anyway) after your departure, but also that they are provided for in the medium to long term too. Which invariably means when they’re heading towards adulthood themselves. We all want to give our kids the best possible start in life, and often this means packing them off to university so as to achieve this, but higher education comes at a cost. By arranging a life insurance policy, everyone’s a winner. Except you, sadly.

You have a family history of with serious illnesses

Despite many health insurance policies NOT granting would-be policyholders cover should they disclose a history of family health conditions, life insurance providers take an altogether different and more positive view of this. Indeed, many life insurance policies available today take into account pre-existing medical conditions (although be warned, you will pay higher premiums as a result) and are prepared to take a punt on an individual who – whilst not presenting at the time of sign-up – could well at a later date. And moreover, during the term of their life insurance plan.

You’ve recently separated/divorced

Commiserations. Unfortunately break-ups happen and although the last thing you are probably thinking about when they do, it’s worth remembering that joint commitments previously made still count and could remain in force, irrespective of your latest Facebook relationship status. These could easily include mortgage, car and credit card bills for starters. Which is the underlying reason that many long-sighted couples elect to take out a life insurance policy on the person who’ll be responsible for paying the child support in the event of this scenario playing out in the future; so that money remains available to them if anything more life-threatening happens to either party post-split.

Why choose health insurance over life insurance?

You want direct and speedy access to diagnosis and treatment

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If you’ve become recently worried about something of a health nature, then the last thing you want is to join a notoriously lengthy NHS waiting list to get seen/checked out by a specialist. Especially if your GP has referred you in the first instance, suggesting that there might, possibly be something amiss. Signing-up to a decent health insurance plan though means you can indulge in that most British of pastimes, the queue jump.

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Many private healthcare policy providers afford insured parties access to a fast-track team, whose job it is to book you an appointment with a relevant consultant at a location and time which works best for you. And inevitably much quicker than if you went down the NHS route. Now, what price would you pay for peace of mind?

You would like to think that you’d be given ready access to the latest drugs and treatments should you suffer a major illness

Of course you would, who wouldn’t? But that’s not to say that it’s a given on the NHS, which as well-documented of late could easily depend on something of a postcode lottery taking effect. The viable alternative is a private health insurance which typically affords the insured access to the very latest licensed drugs and proven treatments, so that you can receive the very best care should the worst happen and a consultant turns out to be the bearer of bad tidings.

You want some privacy when you’re at your lowest ebb

It’s only natural. You don’t really want to be surrounded by ill-looking people when you’re ill and feeling glum yourself, as it does little to lighten the general atmosphere. Health insurance policies often result in patients/policyholders bagging their very own rooms in private hospitals, which would be an instant pick-me-up to many suffering from either ill health or going through the emotional ordeal of various medical procedures to ascertain what’s wrong with them and which is the best way forward. There’s nothing more reassuring than not being left on a general ward in these situations, more so if you require invasive treatment; so that your family and loved ones can come and visit whenever you want.

You want to ensure that you’re not exposed to infection while hospitalised

It’s been statistically proven that the perceived risk of patients being infected by debilitating and sometimes life-threatening (when complications are involved) bugs and germs, such as the much publicised MRSA and C.difficile, are significantly reduced when attending private hospitals.

You want to know that help is only ever a phone call away

Not always guaranteed in life, sadly, yet when you want immediate help or assistance (or alternatively, reassurance most), it’s hugely gratifying to be aware that there’s a voice on the other end of the line who can provide you with whatever cause of action is necessitated at the time. Health insurance plans habitually provide this priceless lifeline to its policyholders, with omnipresent telephone support offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where you are given one-to-one advice from a team of dedicated support staff and specialist nurses.

You want wide-ranging and extensive health insurance cover

And why shouldn’t you? It’s what you’re opting to pay for so you can expect to receive individually-tailored health insurance options packages which habitually comprise of everything from therapy access and diagnostic testing to out-patient care, as and when required. That includes physiotherapy, osteotherapy and chiropractic treatment to name but a few, along with the means necessary to arrange out-patient specialist consultations and diagnostic tests on specialist referral basis.

Ultimately it makes sense to arrange the two key insurance products in our book, both of which are expansive enough to cover most eventualities and most importantly of all, safeguard our finances and protect our loved ones from facing any needless monetary strain on top of what they might already be going through at the time.

For these reasons alone we would keen advise both life insurance AND health insurance policies are looked into and genuinely considered. All of which will save anyone cushioning a massive blow to their bank accounts and potentially flooring their dependents way beyond the count of 10.