Frequently Asked Questions

How easy is it to nominate someone to receive the claim proceeds under a funeral insurance plan?.

21 September 2017 5:49pm

At the time you apply for a funeral insurance you will nominate a person (or company/trust) to receive the claim proceeds. There are referred to as the beneficiary and you can change this person at any time in writing to the insurance company. 

The beneficiary is typically a spouse, son or daughter or trusted friend. So, it s easy to arrange in the first place or to alter if circumstances later dictate. 

The claim is paid as a cash payout to the beneficiary so please be sure to make them aware of the existance of such funeral cover and for them to know of any specific requriements you have as they will be the ones with the money to pay for everything. 


Why would I designate a policy owner for my life insurance policy?

21 September 2017 5:43pm

With a typical life insurance policy you have two options regarding the ownership.

You can have yourself as both the insured person and the policy owner. This means when the time comes to claim the proceeds will be paid to, and distributed, as per your will / estate. This is ideal if you have specific requirements as to what you want to happen to the money. The money can be distributed in accordance with your will but be aware this could mean a delay in settlement while probate is obtained and other matters handled.

It is becoming more common that a different person is nominated as the policy owner. This means that person effectively owns the insurance, is responsible for payments, and they are also the person to whom the claim proceeds are paid to. This circumvents the will as the money bypasses it and is paid directly to the policy owner. Typically a policy owner will be a spouse, that is by far the most common, so they get the funds quicker and easier.

However, where you have a pollcy owner you also need to be aware that there can be complications in the event of separation as the owner would have to agree in writing to assiging the ownership to another person. We have had a number of instances where a policy owner is in fall out with the insured person and this cannot happen easily, effectively then the life insured loses their insurance. Also, if you had wanted your money to be used to help others, say your children, this cannot happen unless the policy owner carries out such instructions on your behalf as they are the only ones with any rights to the money.


Do Cigna Funeral Cover, AA Funeral Cover and Pinnacle Life Funeral cover have age cut off period for premiums payments.

16 September 2017 7:19pm

With Cigna Funeral Insurance you will pay premiums until claim time, so in theory you can pay until age 86, 95 or more. With AA Funeral Cover you pay premiums to age 90 after which the premiums cease and the cover continues for free. 

Of the 3 insurers the Pinnacle Life funeral plan is the most attractive in terms of this policy benefit as with them you pay premiums until age 85 only. After which cover continues for free. 


Cigna Funeral Cover, AA Life Funeral cover and Pinnacle Life funeral cover differ in what major ways?

5 September 2017 6:30pm

The premiums for three of the major funeral insurance providers, Cigna Funeral lnsurance, AA Funeral cover and Pinnacle Life funeral plan are distinctly different. There can be a significant range between top to bottom premiums depending on your age, smoker status and sex. It is best to compare premiums before you buy as one insurer may be very competitively priced in one age group but can be the complete opposite for another age group.

Cigna Funeral Insurance currently has a 10% promotional discount for the first 12 months. After which the premiums revert to standard and remain fixed thereafter. Pinnacle Life funeral plan also has a 10% promotional discount but their discount instead applies for the first 24 months. 

At Pinnacle Life their funeral plan has premiums that stop being paid at age 85, Cigna Funeral Cover has no such policy benefit. AA Funeral cover does have something simialr but their age premium cut out off point is 90 (not 85 as at Pinnacle Life)..



Do some funeral plans become free after reaching a certain age?, you only pay for a certain time?, or you never pay more premiums than the cover?

10 August 2017 7:24pm

The answer to all 3 is YES. We have access to over 10 main fumeral plans and when you complete our online enquiry form we will provide full comparative information so you can make an informed decision on the best funeral insurance for you. 

But yes, some insurers cease premiums at age 85 or 90 with cover continuing for free thereafter. One insurer limits the premiums to the cover amount and another insurer has a funeral fund where you just pay for 10 years and then the cover sits there until needed. Let us advise you on these funeral cover NZ options.  


Cigna Funeral Cover, AA Funeral Insurance, Pinnacle Life funeral plan, what are the age entry points?

29 July 2017 9:23pm

The age entry point often varies beween funeral cover NZ insurers. 

For the Cigna Funeral Insurance you must be aged between 50 and 85 at the time of purchasing the funeral plan. for the AA Funeral cover it is ages 50 to 79 and for the Pinnacle Life Funeral cover it is ages 30 to 75. 

Other interesting points of difference are that Cigna Funeral Cover and AA Funeral Cover have cover amounts that range from $5000 to $30000 and with the Pinnacle Life funeral plan it is $7500 to $25000.

Pinnacle Life has a significant point of difference in that their funeral plan premiums are paid only until age 85, after which cover contnues for free. AA Life funeral cover has a similar benefit but their age cut off is 90 before cover is free. Cigna Funeral Insurance has no similar benefit, with them you pay premiums until claim time, even if that is age 95 or more. 


Who can be a nominated beneficiary on Funeral Insurance?

28 July 2017 6:15pm

The good news is that this can be anyone you choose. And what is more the funeral insurance beneficiary can be changed at any time in the future, at no cost.  

Typically the beneficiary is the spouse or one of the sons or daughters. This is the most common although in some cases people select a family remember slightly more removed where no immediate family exists. You can also nominate a trust or someone like a lawyer, or even a funeral home. Just remember that this funeral cover money is needed promptly so leave it to someone who has the ability to access it and use it immediately as you would have required. 


Why do funeral insurance covers have maximum sum insured amounts of $30000?

27 July 2017 2:56am

Funeral cover is first and foremost designed to provide cover for your funeral expenses. So you ideally need to start with a amount sufficient to pay for the funeral. But funeral insurance providers allow the option of a little extra cash if needed to pay off some smallish incidental debt like a credit card, a loan or to help out of town family members with travel costs. Each funeral plan has a different maximum cover amount available, some have a limit of $15000, some $25000 and one or two at $30000. 


Are funeral insurance and life insurance distinctly different insurance types?

25 July 2017 5:22pm

Yes, although both funeral cover and life cover are paid out on the death of the customer the reasons for having these covers is typically different. A funeral plan is quite simple in that it is really designed to just cover the costs of a funeral (although you can take a bit more cover to clear other incidental debt) whereas life insurance is typically a more significant dollar amount cover to help your family clear debt (say a mortgage) or provide a lump sum cash benefit to the partner or children of the deceased so they are not financially disadvantaged after the passing.

You can have both covers or you may prefer one or the other. Life Insurance however is subject to your previous and current health so may not be available in all cases whereas funeral insurance is guaranteed acceptance with no health questions asked. Funeral cover premiums are fixed at the start of he cover so they do not rise as you age whereas life insurance premiums do rise each year (other than where you select a fixed premium for a certain period, typically to age 65 or 80).


Why is funeral insurance so easy to buy? quick one page applications? no health questions?

25 July 2017 5:04pm

The no health questions part is the single main reason funeral cover is so easy to buy. With life insurance or health insurance type applications they are all based around your current and previous health so much time and effort is needed to collect all information going back, right to childhood even. Funeral Insurance is guaranteed acceptance and your health is not subject to the application.

Funeral Insurance, is also by its very nature, intended to be simple as it is a cash payment paid almost immediately just to cover your funeral expenses.


Funeral Insurance plans are available for people of what age?

4 July 2017 10:23pm

As far we are aware there are funeral insurance providers out there with funeral plans for those aged 16 to 85.

But each insurer is different eg on the main funeral cover providers say Pinnacle Life you must be 30 to 75 at the time of application, at AA Life it is ages 50 to 79 and Cigna Life 50 to 85.

Typically the most common ages for people to consider funeral insurance is in their 60s.


Should I pay a fee to an Insurance Broker for their advice?

22 May 2013 12:52am

Generally, you will not be asked to pay your Insurance Broker a cent. If they do ask you to do this ask then exactly why and also ask to view their Disclosure Document which will need to set out the specific reasons what advice they are providing in return for your fee. But be very wary of such a request. 

Insurance Helpline will never, ever, ask you to pay anything for our assistance. We will guide you and provide free information in order for you to determine the best insurance option for your needs. If you decide to proceed we will also assist with all parts of the application process at absolutely no cost to you.


Do I need a medical examination when applying for New Zealand Life Insurance?

3 October 2012 3:22pm

For many applicants the insurance companies rely solely on the information you disclose on your application. So, if there is nothing to disclose or it is minor the insurer will make a decision based on that and you would not need to be tested. However, if any medical conditions that you disclose are of concern the insurer may request your medical notes from the GP (often at their own cost) or they may request you to complete some tests.

Some other people may require a medical examination. This is usually related to your age ie if you are over 60 it may be a requirement or if you are seeking a very high level of cover, regardless of your age, you may also be asked to complete some tests. These two situations are because the insurer is at a higher risk for those who are older or where the cover amount is very high. 


Do Insurance Brokers charge customers a fee?

2 October 2012 9:47am

Insurance Brokers are paid a commission by the insurance company if they introduce new business. So, for this reason few, if any, Insurance Brokers, also then charge the customer a fee. If a broker insists on charging you for their time we recommend you switch brokers, we are always happy to assist.


Trauma Insurance appears to be known by different names at various insurers?

1 October 2012 1:04pm

Yes, while effectively the general cover is the same some insurers do have differing names for this sort of insurance. 

Trauma Insurance, Critical Care Insurance and Living Insurance are the commonly known names for this  insurance. They are designed to pay out your nominated sum insured on diagnosis of a serious health condition that is included in your cover. The list of conditions varies from insurer to insurer but is usually a list of around 40 conditions.

The likes of cancers, heart attack and strokes make up the majority of claims.  You can use the proceeds of your claim for any reason but most people rely on it to assist with loss of income while being treated or recuperating or to help with various medical costs that may be incurred.


Will Insurance Helpline assist me with a claims issue if I have a problem?

25 September 2012 4:16pm

At Insurance Helpline we provide significant assistance to our clients at claim time. We can have as much, or as little, involvement with your claim as you require. In particular our strength lies in the situations where a problem may arise at claim time. We will assist you to resolve any issues or if necessary help you to understand why a negative decision may have been reached.


Who charges no premiums for children from birth for the 6 months for their lives

1 September 2012 9:35am

Accuro Health Insurance Smart Care and Smart Care+ policies both charge no premium on their health insurance policies until a baby is 6 months old. So, if you are currently pregnant this could be something to consider.


How much life insurance should I have?

10 August 2012 4:57pm

Life Insurance premiums are mainly determined by your age, sex, smoker status and amount of cover. So, an older male smoker will pay a lot more than a young female non smoker.

Premiums must be affordable going forward (as they usually they increase as you age) so firstly make sure you can afford whatever premiums are set at the time the policy is taken out. Allowing for that, usually the amount of cover would be the amount of any major debt (usually a mortgage) plus an amount over that to provide your dependants with an amount that is sufficient to provide financial support for the short to medium term. If money allows (for premiums) the financial support should be for the long term.


What age should I be when I first purchase Life Insurance?

23 July 2012 11:32am

There is really no right or wrong answer. There is no reason why a 20 year old should not have Life Insurance if they are planning for their future, remember that Life insurance may not always be possible to obtain if you already have certain health conditions at the time of application. So, the earlier the better from thot point of view.

Other than that the usual answer to when should Life Insurance be taken is when you get married, or have dependants or have some debt (like a mortgage).


I am aged 28, have a mortgage of $500,000, a lovely wife and 1 year old twins, how life insurance do I need?

16 June 2012 1:54pm

How much can you afford to pay in premiums?, that might be a good place to start. If you were to pass away with no life insurance then most likely your wife and children would struggle financially for many. many years. It is likely they may also lose the home. Realistically, anything less than $1,000,000 life insurance would be insufficient but at least it would may the mortgage and leave some money in the bank to live on. Try to get as much cover as you possible can, maybe $2,000,000?


Health Insurance for those under 25, important or not?

10 May 2012 4:53pm

Unless you have unlimited funds available to pay for immediate private medical treatment should you need it then the short answer is that health insurance is vital regardless of age. It is true that people under 25 are generally healthy and less frequent claimants however that is why they might only pay 25% of what a 60 plus person might so. So, it is cost relevant, there is less likelihood of a claim means you pay less.

The other important issue is timing. Younger people often hold the view that as they are healthy they will wait until later before insuring. However, when is the right time?, if you develop a medical condition before insuring then you will not then be able to obtain health insurance for that particular condition. So, you are actually better to obtain cover when you are young and at your healthiest so that you never have to worry about a condition later being excluded.


Do I need Trauma Insurance or Cancer Insurance as a younger person?

21 April 2012 9:47am

Recently there were some statistics provided for the number of new cancers that were registered in 2008. It indicated that 44% of all new cancers were for those aged less than 65. Cancer is a leading claim type under Trauma Insurance (along with heart attacks and strokes) so this does suggest cover is important regardless of age. Other specific statistics for those aged under 65 include:

  • In people aged 0 to 24, the most common registration was leukaemia in both males (41 registrations) and females (37 registrations).
  • Of those aged 25 to 44, melanoma was the most common registration for males, while breast cancer was the most frequently registered cancer for females. These cancers were also the most common causes of death from cancer for each sex in this age group.
  • In the 45 to 64 years age group, males were most commonly registered for prostate cancer and females for breast cancer. The most common cause of death from cancer was lung cancer for both males and females.


Mortgage Insurance versus Life Insurance?

17 March 2012 2:23pm

Mortgage Insurance is a more comprehensive cover than Life Insurance as it also includes protection for your monthly loan repayment if you are injiured or ill and cannot work. In some instances mortgage insurance also provides some cover if you are made redundant. This is in addition to life cover that can also be part of the mortgage insurance. 

While life insurance cover is typically taken to clear all debt and provide some additional money to assist surviving dependants the cover for mortgage insurance is designed specifically with the mortgage in mind. So, if your mortgage is $250,000 with repayments of $2000 per month your life cover component would be for $200,000 and you get cover for $2000 if you were injured or ill.

Often mortgage insurance is taken in addition to life cover but sometimes it could be instead of life cover if you do not require any life cover in excess of the mortgage amount.


What are the most common type of Trauma Insurance claims?

18 February 2012 12:45pm

From the statistics we see at leading New Zealand Trauma Insurance providers the 3 most common types of claims are for cancer, heart attack and strokes. They tend to make up around at least 90% of all claims.


Who owns who (and who is who) in the insurance market?

2 December 2011 10:20am

IAG: Owns State and NZI, wants to buy AMI
AMI: Locally owned, founded in Christchurch in 1926
Vero: Owned by Suncorp, previously Royal and Sun Alliance
Tower: Originally Governement Life Insurance
Lumley: Owned by ASX listed Wesfarmers
FMG: Rural, homeowner insurance mainly
Allianz: Subsidiary of global business
AA Insurance: Suncorp Metway / NZ Automobile Association
ASB: Has Sovereign, New Zealand's leading life insurer
ANZ/National: New Zealand's largest bank, One Path owner
Westpac: 1.2 million New Zealand customers, 11.8 million globally
Source: IAG's Commerce Commission application to buy AMI, competitor analysis


Health Insurance for older people, is it worth continuing?

19 November 2011 1:44pm

Absolutely, health insurance is worthwhile for people of all ages. The reason this question is usually asked is that health insurance premiums for those aged 60 plus (in particular) can be deemed very expensive especially when you are on a fixed income. And recently due to high claim costs the standard premiums have been rising each year at a rate higher than inflation, so this and the age increases become more noticeable each year.

For those in the 60 plus age bracket, where budget contraints play a major part in your health insurance decision, we recommend Hospital and Surgical cover only with a $1000 excess. This keeps the premium at the lowest possible while still providing cover against the bigger expenses.


Who is a good recommendation for house, car and contents insurance?

6 October 2011 1:37pm

We find that, generally, the insurance companies that mainly market directly provide customers with the best overall option of premium cost and cover. These companies include;

Tower Insurance
AMI Insurance
AA Insurance
State Insurance

Insurance Brokers, as a rule, cannot arrnage your cover with these companies. They can however insure you with the likes of Vero, IAG, Lumley or similar but their premiums will often be higher for you.

Those who use an Insurance Broker to arrange domestic insurance normally do so for the convenience of having the broker do all the running around and providing an ongoing customer service to you. This is usually helpful for higher worth customers. Of course, this will normally come at a cost with higer premiums but those who require full service will normally be happy to pay for this.

However, the likes of Life Insurance, Trauma Insurance and Health Insurance is best arranged via Insurance Brokers as many of the main insurers providing that type of cover only market insurance through the broker network.


Dental Insurance - to include or not include in your Health Insurance?

21 August 2011 9:20am

A significant number of people enquire about having Dental Insurance but few actually purchase it due to the relatively high premium compared with the policy coverage.  Policy limits are often capped at $500 per person per policy year so this is only going to cover day to day expenses such as a filling here and there, in the main.

Not all insurers provide this cover either and in all cases with the mainstream insurers it is an add-on to standard Hospital and Surgical (and Specialists extension) so you cannot have this cover by itself. 

Dental Insurance however does appeal to those who may be regular visitors to the Dentist and who spend around the $500 per year mark, they may find the convenience of paying a small amount monthly so they can later claim for a visit worth while.


Why the difference in premium with some online Life Insurance quotes?

19 July 2011 10:40am

All New Zealand Life Insurance companies have standard premium rates that they set. These are like 'retail' premiums. So, typically all quotes commence at this level regardless of who may be distributing the insurance.

Many Insurance Brokers quote standard rates in all cases. However some brokers / advisors who specialise in online sales may offer a discount from the standard rate as the purchaser is effectively doing much of the work themselves eg considering how much cover they want, obtaining quotes online, completing online applications and generally taking more of the responsibility of the process.

However, some just offer a discount for the first year, if you are considering enquiring / buying online always looks for the offers where the discount applies for the duration of the insurance, not just in year 1.


Is it cheaper to use the services of an Insurance Broker or buy direct from insurers?

14 May 2011 2:57pm

For the likes of Life Insurance, Trauma Insurance, Income Insurance, Mortgage Insurance and Health Insurance a significant proportion of sales are made via Insurance Brokers. In fact many major 'risk' insurers do not even sell directly to the public. Insurance Brokers generally deal with a range of insurers and can therefore promote numerous options that may be suitable. They act for the customer and can also assist at claim time in many cases. 

There is no extra cost to the purchaser, if a product is available from an insurer directly then it would cost exactly the same if it was provided by an Insurance Broker.

With most domestic insurance such as House, Contents or Car insurance sold directly by the likes of AA, State, AMI, Tower or the banks their products are generally outside those available through brokers. Brokers tend to promote domestic insurances through the likes of NZI, Lumley, Vero and the like.


Do Insurance Helpline Insurance Brokers all have disclosure documents?

8 April 2011 4:51pm

A disclosure document is available on request from all the Insurance Helpline Insurance Brokers / Advisors. Please ask at any time if you would like to see this document as it details the credentials of the advisor, who they act for, the way they are renumerated and other important information.


Are the Insurance Helpline Advisors qualified to provide advice?

24 March 2011 2:47pm

All Insurance Advisors affiliated to the Insurance Helpline meet the appropriate regulatory requirements such as being Registered or Authorised for the products they will be providing advice on. The advisors are all members of either the Insite Group Ltd or Auckland Mobile Consultants Ltd and hold the appropriate accreditation with all insurers they act for.


Are the Insurance Helpline services free?

11 February 2011 1:30pm

There is never a cost to use the Insurance Helpline services. If we assist you to arrange a new policy with any of our panel of insurers they will pay us a commission or referral fee.