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HomeLife InsuranceCompare Life Insurance Quotes in Ireland & Top Questions to Ask

Compare Life Insurance Quotes in Ireland & Top Questions to Ask

Buying the first Life Insurance policy you see is like agreeing to marry someone a half-hour into your first date.

You’ll have horsed half a glass of wine into you and established that they’re probably not a serial killer, but you’ll still have no idea who they are as a person.

And maybeeee it’ll be grand, and you’ll live in relative contentment.

Or maybe you’ll soon discover that your beloved considers showering optional or thinks Trump is a genius.

In life insurance, as in life, the more you know, the better.

It’s why this blog exists!

Well, not for the relationship stuff.

I’m not here to counsel you on that.

For all I know, maybe you like the musky smell of the unwashed, or you also think that Trump is tremendous, really, really great, the best ever.


I will judge you, however, if you don’t do the right research into Life Insurance.


Well, you could potentially be wasting money on a policy that isn’t worth it.

For example, if you bought a reviewable policy, you could be facing price hikes and end up paying out the wazoo.

Likewise, if you didn’t get a conversion option with your term policy.

You could be missing out on some nifty benefits, too.

If you’ve read these last two paragraphs and all this information seems new, chances are you need some help – keep reading.

How to Compare Life Insurance

As consumers, we’re fascinated by comparisons.

We love knowing the best, the worst, and everything in between.

Having all the information in the world at our fingertips has made us even hungrier to find out all we can before we make a purchase.

But there’s a downside to this – analysis paralysis – the state of overthinking a decision to the point that you never make a choice.

It’s an easy trap to fall into and a dangerous one when it comes to life insurance. The longer you leave it, the older you’ll be and the more likely you’ll suffer a health issue.

Older age plus bad health = mucho expensive premiums.

If I had a euro for every person who wished they had put cover in place before their birthday or check-up, I’d have about €37.

So today, to save you from spending hours on the interweb trying to compare insurers,  I’ll do it for you in a quick table and bullet form.

Aviva v Irish Life v New Ireland v Royal London v Zurich Benefits Comparison Table 2023

The Big 5 Irish Life Insurance Providers Compared

Irish Life Insurance Provider Royal London Zurich Aviva New Ireland Irish Life
Guaranteed insurability Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Medical 2nd Opinion Yes No Yes No Yes
Conversion Option Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Accidental Death Benefit Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Waiver of Premium No Yes No No No
Child Cover €5,000 €7,000 €5,000 €4,000 €7,000


We’ll now go through each of the main providers, in no particular order, though I think points 14 and 18 are must-reads:

1 Which insurer is best for inflation protection?

If you add inflation protection to your policy, the insurer will increase your life insurance amount and premium by a certain percentage each year.

Over time, these seemingly small differences can have a huge impact on the price of your cover.

I’m not a fan of inflation protection, but if you see the benefit, here’s how it works at each insurer:

  1. New Ireland: increases cover and premiums by 3%
  2. Royal London and Aviva: cover +3%, premiums +4%
  3. Irish Life and Zurich Life: cover +3%, premium +4.5%?

2. Which insurer gives you the most free children’s cover?

  1. Irish Life and Zurich Life: €7,000
  2. Royal London and Aviva: €5,000
  3. New Ireland: €4,000

Here’s our in-depth article on children’s life cover

3. Where can you convert your term life insurance into a whole-of-life plan?

  • Yes – Irish Life
  • No – The Rest

What’s whole of life anyway?

4. Who offers you free the first month?

Royal London and Aviva will give you the first month free, but with Zurich, you can get up to six weeks free if you structure your policy correctly.

5. Who will make an immediate payment for funeral expenses before the grant of probate?

Royal London and Zurich will pay €10,000 upfront once a claim has been accepted.

6. Which insurers allow you to increase your cover without answering medical questions?

This is known as guaranteed insurability and is available at all insurers.

7. What’s the maximum age you can apply for life insurance?

  1. Irish Life: 82
  2. The Rest: 74

8. What’s the maximum age you can insure yourself to with term life cover?

  • Royal London: 90
  • Aviva, Zurich: 89
  • Irish Life, New Ireland, : 84




Let’s continue with our Life Insurance Comparison.

9. Who offers fixed price whole of life cover?

Zurich, Royal London and Irish Life.

You can use these policies to pay an inheritance tax liability for your children.

10. For how long can you insure yourself?

  1. Royal London: 51 years
  2. Irish Life and Aviva: 50 years
  3. New Ireland and Zurich: 40 years

*Assuming you’re within the maximum age limits outlined in 8 above 

11. Who offers a free medical second opinion service?

We looked at this in detail in our value-added life insurance article.

Aviva is the market leader here, but Irish Life and Royal London offer a medical second opinion also.

12. Does the policy payout on the first or both deaths?

You can choose either joint life that will payout out on the first death or dual life that will pay out on the first and the second death.

Should you choose joint or dual life cover?

13. Is there a minimum premium you must pay?

This is really important important, especially if you have a health issue and you get a loading on your policy.

The loading is a percentage increase on your base premium, so if you choose an insurer with a high base premium, your final premium will be a lot more than if you had gone with an insurer with a lower base premium.

confused by maths

An example will clear things up.

Let’s say you have a high BMI, and the insurer adds 100% to your premium.

Royal London is quoting €15 as their base premium, but Zurich’s is €10.

Adding 100% means you’ll pay €30 at Royal London compared to €20 at Zurich Life for the same amount of cover.

So, over a 25-year term, you will pay € 3,000 more for the Royal London policy.

Zurich Life, Aviva and New Ireland have a base premium of €10.

Royal London and Irish Life start at €15 per month.

14. Can you receive the payout as a regular monthly income instead of one lump sum?

Yes, you can with New Ireland and Zurich Life.

A monthly income benefit is a useful way of guaranteeing that maintenance will be paid on death in separation or divorce cases.

Many people will use term cover because it gives a lump sum to the family.

But there are some difficulties using term cover

  • how do you calculate the right amount
  • the maintenance payer may not want to leave more than the monthly maintenance payment
  • the person receiving the maintenance may not be comfortable receiving a large lump sum to invest.

So, the monthly income option has the following benefits:

  1. A specific amount can be covered (e.g. on death, the insurer will pay €1500 per month for the remainder of the policy term)
  2. No investment risk, the income is paid in monthly just like a pay cheque.
  3. It’s easy to understand, costs less than term life cover, is convenient and guarantees a specific monthly payment.

You can also add a Lump sum to a policy with a monthly income benefit.

In fact, I recommend doing so to obtain the conversion option.

15. Are you covered for accidental death as soon as you apply?

Yes, all of the insurers offer this benefit.

16 Can you add a whole-of-life benefit?

Only New Ireland offers this benefit. Click here to read all about life insurance that can pay for itself.

17. Is there a payment for broken bones if you have an accident, need surgery, or have a long stay in hospital?

Yes, yes, there is – here’s more on these little-known benefits of life insurance

18. Who covers the largest amount of serious illnesses?

Honestly, I don’t know, and I’m not even going to check because many of the illnesses covered are simply window-dressing that you’ve little chance of ever claiming on.

Adding rare illnesses allows the insurer to boast that “we cover the most illnesses” in the market.

But in reality, how many people do you know have succumbed to Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease, in case you were wondering)?

Here’s the truth:

Eleven illnesses make up around 98% of all claims, and these eleven are:

  1. Cancer
  2. Stroke
  3. Heart Attack
  4. Angioplasty
  5. Bacterial Meningitis
  6. Brain Tumour
  7. Cardiomyopathy
  8. Coronary Bypass
  9. Heart Valve Repair
  10. Parkinson’s Disease
  11. Multiple Sclerosis

All insurers cover these illnesses, but some have better definitions, and when I say better, I mean it’s easier to claim for them.

Aviva’s definitions for heart attack, cancer and stroke are quite strict, so I would avoid them.

That leaves just 2% of claims that are caused by the other 80 or so illnesses that some insurers cover – as I said, window dressing, no real substance, all fur cost and no knickers.

Compare all Life Insurance Providers in Ireland

Meet Steve.

Steve, come talk to the lovely people.



Sorry, Steve is a bit shy.

shy steve

Steve is 40 and in reasonably good health.

He doesn’t smoke and is looking for €250,000 cover over 30 years.

Steve also wants a conversion option so that when he hits 70, he can get more coverage without having to answer a lot of pesky medical questions.

We can see Steve’s future and it’s not pretty. (Fast women, slow horses, and lots of booze = lousy health).

Without the conversion option, no insurer will offer him cover when he reaches his 70th birthday.

Steve can navigate to our life insurance calculator and fill in his details, and our magic quote machine will spit out his numbers.

His quote looks like this:

life insurance quote

Now, you and Steve would be forgiven for looking at that and seeing that New Ireland is the cheapest and just picking them.

I get the impulse.

Cheapest = less cost for you in the long run.

But cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean best.

So, Steve will next find out what each policy includes.

Here’s the thing: each plan gives you life coverage for the next 30 years and a conversion option, but every policy differs slightly in what it offers.

Now, because only about two of you will actually read the policy documents, I will summarise each one briefly for you.

What’s on Offer at  the Life Insurance Providers in Ireland

With all the insurers, the basic product is the same.

You can also bundle Serious Illness Cover as an additional extra, but that’s not what this blog is about, so let’s focus on the extra bits.

As with all the below, terms and conditions apply.

⚠ DRY WARNING: the following is drier than a spoonful of cinnamon. Unfortunately, there’s no real spicing it up, though I’ve explained it all as simply and clearly as possible. 

All the benefits below may not be included in a basic policy; there may be optional extras that you will pay more for.

Aviva Life Insurance

  • Surgery cash: If you have serious illness cover and need surgery, you can get a payment of 50 percent of your coverage (up to €30,000). (additional extra)
  • Terminal illness benefit: Payment if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Child cover: Up to €5,000 on the death of your child, plus Serious Illness Cover for them too.
  • Best Doctors 2nd Medical Opinion: As part of your cover, you can get medical advice/opinions from excellent doctors for free.
  • Aviva Family Care: A counselling and support service.
  • Reinstatement Policy: If you stop paying your policies, you can continue your cover (within a specific timeframe) if you start paying again.
  • Accidental death benefit: To cover you in the time between your application being submitted and accepted.

This cover is great if you have a pre-existing condition and aren’t sure about your treatment options.

Aviva offers free access to a second medical opinion from the world’s leading practitioners through its Best Doctors and its family care is class, too.

In Ireland, an average GP consultation costs €60, and the wait time is two weeks.

With Aviva, you have unlimited, immediate digital GP consultations included in your policy.

If you don’t have access to a digital GP on your private health insurance, then Aviva is a very attractive proposition.

New Ireland Assurance Life Insurance

  • Hospital payment: add this to your policy, and if you’re in the hospital for more than three days, you can receive up to €300 per day
  • Accident payment: If you cannot work for more than two weeks because of an accident, you will receive up to 50 per cent of your gross weekly earnings (additional extra)
  • Broken bones payment: A payment of €1000-3,000 if you suffer from one of the injuries covered in your policy (additional extra)
  • Surgery payment: Up to 12.5 per cent of the Serious Illness Cover (if you have it) benefit is payable to you if you have major surgery (additional extra)
  • Increasing cover: You can get 3% more cover per year at 3% more cost. This could be useful if you intend to get a little extra something in your paycheck every year as your career progresses (additional extra)
  • Child cover of up to €4,000.

Zurich Life Insurance

  • Cancer cover is an option so that you can get a payout if you get diagnosed with cancer (additional extra)
  • Surgical cash: If you require major surgery, you can receive a payment of up to 10 per cent (capped at €25,000) of your Serious Illness Cover (additional extra)
  • Hospital cash: Spending money for a hospital stay (additional extra)
  • Personal Accident Benefit: Payment if you’re out of work because of an accident (additional extra)
  • Permanent Total Disablement: A payment if you cannot return to work permanently (additional extra)
  • Inflation protection option: The option to increase your premiums and the coverage amount (additional extra)
  • Waiver of premium benefit: If you can’t work for more than 26 weeks, Zurich will pay your premiums for you
  • Guaranteed insurability: The ability to increase your cover due to a significant life thing (birth of a child, marriage, etc.) without having to answer medical questions.
  • Reinstatement clause: If you stop paying your premiums, you can pick it up within a specific time frame, and the coverage will continue instead of being cancelled.
  • Children’s cover: Life cover up to €7,000 for your child, plus many other payments and benefits such as serious illness cover, hospital cash, surgery, etc.
  • Terminal illness benefit: Zurich will payout before you die if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Accidental death benefit: Cover for the period between submitting your application and being accepted for cover

Royal London Life Insurance

  • Hospital cash benefit. Moolah, if you’re in the hospital for over a certain amount of time (additional extra)
  • Special events increase benefit: The option to increase your cover without medical questions because of a particular event (marriage, child birth, etc.).
  • Terminal illness benefit: A payment if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Indexation option to pay 4 per cent more for a 3 per cent increase in cover (additional extra)
  • Advance funeral payment of up to €10,000 that your loved ones can put towards your funeral.
  • Your first month is free.
  • Helping hand: Access to a range of services for free, such as bereavement counsellors, second medical opinions (if you want to check treatment or diagnosis), massage, and physiotherapy.
  • Life Change Option: If you get 15 years into your policy and decide you don’t want to keep paying for cover (maybe your kids have grown up, or your family win the Lotto, idk), you can stop paying your policy and still get a pay-out, albeit lower when you die, OR you can cancel your policy and get an instant cashback.

Irish Life Life Insurance

  • Protection flexibility: within the first 6 months of your policy, you have the option to change the amount of cover or the length of your term without answering medical questions (terms apply)
  • Children’s cover: Life cover of up to €6,000 and Serious Illness cover as an option.
  • Accidental death benefit: A pay-out if you die as the result of an accident between submitting your application and it being accepted.
  • Guaranteed insurability: The option to get more coverage (before age 55) without having to answer medical questions.
  • Terminal illness: A payment if you get a terminal illness.
  • Hospital cash cover: A daily amount between €70 and €260 if you’re in the hospital for more than a certain number of days (additional cost)
  • Accident cash cover: If you’re out of work for more than two weeks because of an accident, Irish Life will payout cash weekly (additional cost)
  • Inflation protection: Increase your amount by 5 per cent in exchange for 3 per cent more cover.
  • Guaranteed cover again: The option to change your plan to another secured term plan at any point.

Irish Life is the most expensive insurer, and while the benefits are excellent, they’re pretty much in line with everyone else, so I wouldn’t be in a rush to recommend them to you.

Over to you…

As you can see above, there’s much more to choosing a life insurance provider  than meets the eye.

And that’s before we look at how each insurer can take a differing view of your health.

If your head is spinning and you want me to help you find the best provider for you, I’d be delighted to help.

Simply complete our questionnaire, and I’ll be back in a jiffy with a personalised recommendation.

Thanks for reading


Editor’s note : We first published this blog in 2020 and have regularly updated it