Multiple Life Insurance Policies

Recently there has been an increase of questions around people having more than one life insurance policy and then claiming on them, especially with the ASIC 498 report revealing a multitude of claims being declined. We’d like to put your minds at ease by answering your most prevalent questions.

Life insurance companies in Australia generally do not have any restrictions when it comes to purchasing multiple life insurance policies.

However, the amount of cover must be justified and you have to clearly disclose all existing policy information when completing the subsequent application forms.

Can you have more than one life insurance policy?

Yes, as long as you aren’t over-insured. For example, a top-up policy on a group policy in your super fund or another policy with additional types of cover i.e. Trauma Cover is acceptable. Be aware that income protection policies have built-in offset clauses, meaning you can generally only insure up to 75% of your salary.

The reason behind these offset clauses is to prevent you from taking out two policies and trying to claim on more than a 100% of your policy. The intention here is to provide you with a maximum benefit of 75% of your salary (pre-disablement income) because if you were to receive more than your salary, you would not be motivated to go back to work.

You can, however, have two Income Protection policies that have complimentary waiting and benefit periods. For example, you might have an Income Protection policy in your super fund (salary continuance) that has a 30 day waiting period and a two-year benefit period complimented by another Income Protection policy, this one with a two year wait period for which the benefit pays out until your 65th birthday

Can you have multiple life insurance policies on one person?

Yes, you can have multiple life insurance policies on one person. An example of this is a top-up policy on a group policy or another policy with additional types of cover i.e. Trauma Cover. This is totally acceptable however be aware that income protection policies have built-in offset clauses, meaning only up to 75% of your salary can generally be insured.

It’s important to note that each insurer has their own underwriting guidelines on the maximum level of cover they will offer for a policy, as well as the maximum sum insured of all policies held in one person’s life based on what their financial position can justify.

Justification is done by demonstrating to the underwriter (person reviewing your application) the person’s liabilities plus other financial obligations (i.e., kids) less your assets justify your collective sum insured of all the policies you currently have in place. The fact that you can afford the premiums doesn’t mean you can financially justify a higher level of cover.

The insurance application will ask you if you have any existing policies on your life. It is vital that you answer this question honestly and accurately. If you do not disclose this information your application might be denied or worse your future claim might be declined.

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Cieran
Cieran Murphy

I have received nothing but attentive, detailed, consistent advice from Life Insurance Direct. My case officer was patient, professional and successful in securing my claim when I needed it. I would recommend the service and will use them again should I need to in the future.

Can you claim on multiple life insurance policies?

Yes, you can claim on multiple life insurance policies where you have complied with your duty of disclosure and disclosed this in every subsequent life insurance application form that you have an existing policy and the fact you are maintaining the existing policy as well as taking out an additional policy.

When claiming on more than one policy, you’ll need to complete a claim form for each company separately, and they will generally ask you to list every insurer you’re claiming from. However, if you have complied with the above, you shouldn’t have any issues with claiming on multiple life insurance policies.

For further clarification regarding claiming on multiple life insurance policies, we recommend you review the particular product disclosure statement of the multiple policies you are considering holding at the same time. If you are still unsure about taking out a new or added policy, request a quote, and we’ll provide you with the guidance you need.

Published: December 5, 2017
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14 Comments

  • Angela May |

    Hi,
    I have three superannuation funds, all with life cover included. – Colonial Mutual, REIV and REST

    As I did not qualify for any other life insurance I have always thought that these would all pay out if I was to become deceased.

    While discussing this with a friend recently, she intimated that my estate may only be able to receive proceeds from one of these.

    Would love this clarified.

    • SPECIALIST
      Russell |

      Hi Angela,

      There is a huge misconception that you cannot have multiple life insurance policies in Australia however in general this is not true (excluding income protection – where this may be the case) however I would do two things to be certain.

      Firstly I would contact your superfund, and ask them to explain and send you a copy of the latest PDS for that covers your life insurance cover and ask them to confirm if it would present a problem with you having multiple policies and ask them to highlight the pages that cover exclusions and limitations. While I did review one of the PDS’s which did allow for multiple policies it would be best for you to contact them each provider and confirm and to get a copy of the latest Product Disclosure Statement for your records.

      Secondly group life insurance policies provided by superfunds are generally not guaranteed renewable which means that the REST, REIV or Colonial Mutual group policies terms and conditions can be downgraded at any time. Therefore while they may allow you to hold multiple policies today they may not in the future. Therefore you would want to review any alterations to the product terms and conditions as and when they happen or to review these on a yearly basis to ensure that they still allow you to have multiple policies at that time.

      If you need further assistance please give us a call.

  • Cathy David |

    Hi, I have death cover with two superannuation funds. My understanding is that if I passed away my dependants or estate would be entitled to receive proceeds from both funds. However, the underwriter happens to be the same insurer for both funds – can this affect whether both are paid out?

    • SPECIALIST
      Russell |

      Hi Cathy

      Great question, in general where both polices have been fully underwritten and you have disclosed to the insurer / underwriter that you have multiple polices. They will generally both pay out.

      However group policies are generally not underwritten at application time, therefore you will need to check the PDS / Policy Documents to ensure holding multiple death cover is permitted according to the policy of both funds. Most will allow you to but important to check.

      Secondly important to note that group policies offered through superannuation funds are not Guaranteed Renewable contracts therefore from time to time the insurer may change the terms and conditions of the policy that could prohibit you from claiming on multiple death cover benefits in the future?

  • Wayne Mackenzie |

    I had life/ TPD and IP insurance with my Superfund. However, I have ceased this given I am covered under my home insurance policy and felt paying for 2 was a waste. The amount my Superfund covered me for was minimal compared to my home loan insurance. Was this wise?

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke |

      Hi, Wayne.

      Thank you for your question.

      As I am not aware of your personal circumstances, I can’t tell you whether cancelling your TPD and IP taken through your Superfund was a good idea or not.

      However, it’s important that you understand the features, benefits and terms and conditions of your policy, whether purchased through Super or an external provider to determine if it meets your specific requirements.

      If you would like to discuss the pros and cons of holding your policy inside vs outside your Super in more detail please contact us.

  • Tony |

    Hi,
    I am currently in the process of sorting out insurances for my family. I sought out some guidance from a financial planner recently and would like to get some clarifications if possible.

    Quick background. My current super fund will only fund me up to $800,000 for life and TPD insurance so it has been recommended I then take out an additional $2 million in cover separately to ensure I have adequate cover.

    My wife, on the other hand, is through another super fund that apparently will cover her up to $2 million in cover as required.

    My question is, is there a reason I can’t take out the recommended cover through the same super fund as my wife if they will give me the recommended amount?
    Thanks in advance.
    TJ.

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke |

      Hello TJ.
      Thanks for your question.

      You can generally change your super fund anytime, using superannuation rollovers. However, before doing so you might want to first inquire whether you wife’s super fund will provide you the $2 million cover you’re seeking. The fund might require additional information for such a high sum insured, for example, how high-risk your occupation, your age and your general health.

      On the other hand, purchasing an individual life and TPD policy outside your super has its own benefits, including the ability to customise your cover, choosing your ownership structure and the ability to include critical illness insurance.

      Please feel free to give us a call and specialist will assist you in making an informed decision.

  • Ellen Shaw |

    I have two funeral policies. Do both payout upon my death? If not, then I don’t want to be paying for two if only one will be covered. Thanks.

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke |

      Hello Ellen.
      You are generally allowed to have multiple funeral insurance policies. However, the total amount of cover you purchase is usually limited to $15,000.

      Also make sure the underlying insurer of each policy is different because if you have more than one policy from the same underlying insurer, chances are they’ll have a clause stating the maximum amount payable when you lodge a claim.

      If you’d like a specialist to assist you in reviewing your policies, please give us a call on 1300 135 205.

  • Sandra Caisey |

    The issue is that from what I could see none of the documents that BT provided (statements, welcome letter, PDS) made clear that the benefit would be offset. There are two different structures in the PDS and at least one of the documents BT provided should have clarified which one applied.

    I have been recently diagnosed with 4th stage Breast and Bone Cancer and received a payout from my Super, Income insurance is set up and being paid plus my Life Insurance was paid. I also had TPD insurance which I expected to be paid too.

    BT are now saying that the TPD insurance was offset and they don’t have to pay it. I have lodged a complaint just waiting on feedback from them.

    Can you please advise how they could possibly get away with this?

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke |

      Hi Sandra,
      I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

      As I’m not familiar with the specifics of your life insurance contract with BT I can’t provide you with a clear answer. However, if you purchased TPD and Life insurance through your superannuation, your claim might be dependent on the policy structure you chose; combined, individual or flexible policy linking.

      While combined policies are generally cheaper, when a claim is paid out in one cover type, the insured amount of the other cover types included in your policy is set to reduce by the amount claimed.

      It is best to seek guidance from a specialist. Please feel free to contact us on 1300 135 205 and request the assistance of our dedicated claims team.

  • Pixie |

    My Son, 35years old, passed away with no dependants or partner. He had 3 super funds, all with death cover. 2 Policies were with the same company for approx. the same value. They have sent a letter saying they have combined them, after his passing, and are only paying out on 1 policy. The 3rd policy is with another company and they are saying they will decline the payout.

    The policies under the same insurer were both current and premiums being paid and were held with LUCRF the other that they are considering declining is with CBUS, also up to date with payments.

    Do I accept this as fact, and just accept it or decline and fight it? I don’t understand why it is all so hard. It has been 3mths of being mucked around, they just keep asking for more information.

    He was single, we paid out all his debts, he was on a pension with no children, we were the beneficiaries, how hard can they make it? It is wrong that they can make it so hard after the death of your only child.

    • SPECIALIST
      Anneke |

      I am so terribly sorry to hear about your loss and the difficulties you’ve been experiencing with the insurance companies. If your son was a customer of ours, please give us a call on 1300 135 205 so our dedicated claims team can assist you.

      Claiming life insurance through superannuation can a very tricky because you first need to meet the policy definition of a valid claim, then meet the rules on the trust deed and then the condition of release per the Superannuation Industry Supervision (SIS) legislation.

      It’s best to contact the life insurance companies who issued to policies provided by these super funds. LUCRF insurance is provided by OnePath and CBUS insurance is issued by TA Life Limited.

      Because your son’s LUCRF policies are with the same insurer, OnePath Life Limited, an offset clause might be in place that only one lump sum payment will paid out.

      I encourage you to contact the life insurance companies directly and speak with their claims department. I which you all the best.
      OnePath: 1300 133 667
      TAL: 1300 209 088

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