Best Life Insurance in New Zealand 2021

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best life insurance companies in New Zealand

Life insurance is essential if you have anyone in your life who depends on your income. Unfortunately, many people are underinsured or don’t have a cover. About two-thirds of all N.Z. households would suffer financially if the main earner died according to a life insurance report from the Financial Services Council¹.

The good news is that life insurance doesn’t cost as much as you might think. But such financial protection would provide financial stability and give your family options in the event of your untimely and premature death.

Because life insurance is such an integral component of your family’s financial plan and future, doing some research before buying might mean the difference, to you and your family at claim time.

With that in mind, we’ve compared the best life insurance companies in New Zealand, taking into consideration:

The best life insurance companies in New Zealand offer policies with features and benefits that can be tailored to you and your unique family circumstances, to balance price and long-term coverage including convert increasing premiums to premiums that don’t increase without any further health checks.

The cheapest family life insurance policy and the best life insurance policy are not always the same.

And watch out for those tricky first-year discounts that often mean second-year costs increase unfairly and every year after that.

A basic policy might cost less and may not pay out or pay out less in the event of a claim.

Who can you trust to be honest and give you the best life insurance with the cheapest premiums and best policy benefits?

Does the life insurance policy and insurer meet your needs and goals, or are you just being sold any policy?

And most importantly, does your insurance company have a rock-solid financial rating and financial ability to pay the claim as promised?

Compare Best Life Insurance

Which company you want to place your faith in, makes all the difference to you at claim time.

First, the Top 5 NZ Best Life Insurance Companies right now!

The internet offers access to all sorts of life insurance quotes and policies. It can feel overwhelming.

And how can you be sure you are choosing the best life insurance company for you and your family life insurance needs?

Life Insurance policies are not all the same: some have limited features and benefits but may or may not save you a couple dollars.

Other life insurance policies are all-inclusive but may cost a tiny bit more.

You need to compare quotes from different providers and weigh up the different risk factors and premiums.

Price is what you pay, value is what you get.

Best Life Insurance Company NZ
Rating: AA Fitch
 Actual Solvency Capital: $260.2M
 Solvency Ratio: 223%
 Claims Paid 2018: $634.1 M
 Market Share Q3’19 31.7%
Best Life Insurance Company New Zealand Asteron Life
Rating:A+ Standard & Poors
 Actual Solvency Capital:$410.0M
 Solvency Ratio:112%
 Claims Paid 2018:$121.5 M
 Market Share Q3’1910.5%
Best Life Insurance Company New Zealand Fidelity Life
Rating:A- A.M. Best
 Actual Solvency Capital:$298.8M
 Solvency Ratio:120%
 Claims Paid 2018$106.9 M
 Market Share Q3’1911.5%
Best Life Insurance Company in New Zealand Cigna Corporation
Rating:A A.M. Best
 Actual Solvency Capital:$58.9M
 Solvency Ratio:175%
 Claims Paid 2018:?
 Market Share Q3’1911.7%
Best Life Insurance Company New Zealand Partners Life
Rating:A- A.M. Best
 Actual Solvency Capital:$431.8M
 Solvency Ratio:116%
 Claims Paid 2018:$85.5M
 Market Share Q3’1910.10%

The data above was acquired from each insurer’s website, FCA, Annual Statements and industry knowledge on the 16 August 2021.

How I found the best life insurance

  • Credit Rating
    Ability to Pay Claims
  • Premiums
    Increasing Premiums vs Fixed Premiums
  • Underwriting
    Who owns the policy the insurance company is selling?
  • Policy Wording
    The best life insurance companies will “pass back” advantageous policy wording in the future.
  • Tailored Features & Benefits
    Premium Holiday and Trauma Cover Buy-Back are probably the most popular optional benefits.

My team and I work with the best life insurance companies in New Zealand and we are here to help you make your decision easier.

So, here are the best life insurance companies in alphabetical order:

1. Proven Top Credit Strength

The last thing you need when life hands out some bad news is to hear that your insurance company isn’t able to pay out on your policy. 

Financial strength ratings estimate the likelihood that an insurer will be able to meet its financial obligations, such as paying claims due to pre-mature death or terminal illness.

It’s a pretty reliable measure of whether or not a company is going to live longer than you will.

If you’re choosing between two companies, one rated AA- and one rated A+, either one is likely to be there when circumstances change.

But if you’re choosing between companies that are rated A+ and B++, financial strength may become a bigger factor in your decision. And more so post COVID-19.

The leading Life Insurance Companies in New Zealand, have a minimum credit rating from one of the following:

International Credit Agencies Minimum Credit Rating
A. M. Best a-
Fitch A-
Moody's A3
Standard & Poor's A-

Comparing Credit Ratings for New Zealand’s Life Insurers 2021

By comparing New Zealand’s Life Insurance Companies Credit Rating, Pinnacle Life dropped off the list as the company’s credit ratings are below our benchmark.

Insurer Minimum Credit Rating Below Minimum Credit Rating
AMP A- (Very Strong) Standard & Poor's
AIA AA (Very Strong) Fitch
Asteron Life A+ (Very Strong) Standard & Poor's
Cigna A+ (Excellent) A. M. Best
Partners Life A- (Excellent) A. M. Best -
Fidelity Life A- (Excellent) A. M. Best
Pinnacle Life - B (Stable) A. M. Best

2. Claims and Approval process

The life insurance approval process varies between the providers. But a good rule of thumb is the more questions they ask upfront, the fewer questions they ask at claim time.

The leading insurance companies we’ve partnered with all have a thorough onboarding process. And it might feel like it’s a little harder to get cover with these companies.

However, I believe there is a direct link between a thorough upfront onboarding process and how easy it is to get claims paid.

The approval process can be as quick as 30 minutes to a couple of days or weeks.

The industry term for approval is underwriting. And an underwriter’s main role is to ensure that applicants are charged the appropriate premium (price) for the desired level of insurance coverage based on the assessed risk.

In some cases, where the value of the policy exceeds some financial thresholds or the applicant has reached a certain age, a medical examination by a nurse or GP is necessary. The exam typically consists of blood pressure readings, urine and blood samples, height and weight measurements and a medical questionnaire, which is all paid for by the insurer.

If you are willing to invest some time now in your life insurance policy and are willing to take a medical examination you will undoubtedly have the best cover in place.

Other providers embrace you now, ask fewer questions upfront, but when circumstances change and it’s time to claim start asking all the hard questions.

3. Guaranteed stepped to level conversion

Would you like to know how much your life insurance premiums will costs now and in 10 years?

Many families get a life insurance quote online and buy the cheapest life insurance policy.

Only to discover that the cheapest premiums have become too expensive after a couple of years.

So, how do I get the cheapest life insurance premiums?

Statistics tell us that most Kiwis’ are forced to cancel the ‘cheapest’ life insurance policies when they need them the most – in their 50’s and 60’s. Because the premiums have become unaffordable.

Level premiums or fixed life insurance premiums, give you real peace of mind that your life insurance won’t be costing you anymore when you’re 64 than they do when you are 30.

The best life insurance companies in New Zealand offer you a choice of stepped and level premiums or combining both.

Without further health questions.

And this could be a good thing to do when your circumstances change, and you feel the need for more certainty and financial stability.

This means you can start with lower premiums that are more affordable for you now.

And when you reach a more stable period in life you can set your premium payments at a level you know you can afford for the rest of your life.

4. Policy Wording Pass Back

The best life insurance companies have a feature called “policy wording pass back“.

Any future advantageous upgrades, the best life insurance companies make to your policy will automatically be ‘passed back’ to you.

This means the wording that would apply would be the best wording for your situation (the new wording or the existing wording on your original policy).

At LifeCovered, we believe “policy wording pass back” is almost like a policy Warrant of Fitness.

Without “policy wording pass back”, your policy will not evolve with time and you may miss out.

5. Tailored Features & Benefits

  1. Trauma Reinstatement
    Trauma insurance reinstatement is an optional benefit where you can repurchase 100% of your trauma insurance 12 months after a claim benefit is paid.
  2. Terminal Illness Benefit
    Means the insured person’s life expectancy is, due to sickness and regardless of any available treatment, not greater than 12 months. Ie. expected to die within 12 months.
  3. Special Events Increase
    You can increase the life cover amount without the hassle of providing new medical evidence.
  4. Premium Holiday
    Lets you stop paying premiums for up to six months if you experience financial hardship. You can still make claims during this time.
  5. Needlestick
    Pays you the Needlestick sum insured if the insured person contracts Hepatitis B or C or HIV while working. Available to people in the medical and emergency services industries.

How to compare best life insurance companies?

The process of purchasing a life insurance policy is not that different from purchasing a piece of property. In both instances, you are searching for something that is sure to be an integral element of your life well into the future. Not unlike the way you do your research and inspect a potential home before you buy, it is necessary to conduct a similar investigation when you are considering different life insurance policy options.

Heed the advice that follows below to make certain that any prospective life insurance company is on firm footing and likely to withstand the test of time.

After talking to industry experts and checking out the fine print I’ve narrowed the best life insurance companies in New Zealand down to five companies.

You might find it really difficult choosing between different life insurance companies thanks to all the jargon.

To make it easier for you I’ve waded through all the fine print and listed the best life insurance companies in New Zealand.

But remember New Zealand’s Best Life Insurance Policy is only as good, as the company that backs it.

I looked at five things to sort out the best life insurance in New Zealand from the ‘don’t waste your time’ types.

Best Life Insurance NZ Comparison Table

In this best life insurance comparison, I have sourced quotes directly from individual insurers.

Re-sellers like Countdown, State or AMI are not included.

Premiums are without any bundling discounts and are Yearly Renewable premiums, non-smoking male and female.

Compare life insurance rates - male

InsurerCredit Rating30 yo/male55 yo/male
AIAAA- (Very Strong)
Standard & Poor's
Asteron LifeA+ (Very Strong)
Standard & Poor's
Partners LifeA- (Excellent)
A. M. Best
Fidelity LifeA- (Excellent)
A. M. Best
CignaA+ (Very Strong)
Standard & Poor's

Compare life insurance rates - female

InsurerCredit Rating30 yo/male55 yo/male
AIAAA- (Very Strong)
Standard & Poor's
Asteron LifeA+ (Very Strong)
Standard & Poor's
Partners LifeA- (Excellent)
A. M. Best
Fidelity LifeA- (Excellent)
A. M. Best
CignaA+ (Very Strong)
Standard & Poor's

What I hope you see here is that no matter which insurer you go with, premiums double 5 to 6 times and more.

To further break down the costs and future costs of life insurance in New Zealand, I have made up three scenarios.

1. David and Liz, are both 25, don’t smoke, healthy and want Life Insurance cover for $750,000 to cover the mortgage.

  • David’s cheapest Yearly Renewable Term Quote (lump sum payout) is $54.45 per month and increases to $14,546.53 when David is 80.
  • A term life insurance (lump sum payout) until 80 for David would cost $116.16 per month.
  • Premiums and the cover stays fixed and would cost less than a third compared to above “cheap” Yearly Renewable Quote.
  • Liz’s cheapest Yearly Renewable Term Quote (lump sum payout) is $30.27 per month and increases to $11,063.47 when Liz is 80.
  • A level term life insurance (lump sum payout) until 80 for Liz would cost $76.78 per month.

Level life insurance would start higher, but comparing the total premiums paid until 80, Liz would saved almost 70% of premiums paid, if selecting Fixed Premiums vs. Yearly Renewable Term policy, which started cheaper.

Things to consider:

  • Long-term planning
  • If budget is tight now, consider going Yearly Renewable now and switch to Fixed premiums when finances allow it.
  • Option to combine yearly renewable term policy with a level term policy

2. Sandy and Rebecca, are both 25, smokers, healthy and want life insurance cover for $750.000 to cover the mortgage.

  • Sandy’s cheapest Yearly Renewable Term Quote (lump sum payout) is $92.03 per month and increases to $20,611.65 when Sandy is 80.
  • A term life insurance (lump sum payout) until 80 for Sandy would cost $207.02 per month.
  • And over the lifetime, the total cost would be less than half compared to the total Yearly Renewable Term Policy cost.
  • Liz’s cheapest Yearly Renewable Term Quote (lump sum payout) is $52.59 per month and increases to $14,546.53 when Liz is 80.
  • A level term life insurance (lump sum payout) until 80 for Liz would cost $122.06 per month.

Term life insurance would start higher, but comparing the total premiums paid until 80, Rebecca would have paid almost 3 times more money for the Yearly Renewable Term policy, which started cheaper.

Things to consider:

  • long-term planning
  • quit smoking would save heaps of money
  • use a broker to tailor short- and long-term cover to save more money

3. John 41, is healthy, non-smoker and wants to insure for $250.000 as a family protection

  • The cheapest Life Insurance (lump sum payout) starts at $30.19 per month
  • 20 years later, what started as the cheapest Life Insurance policy, at age 61 is $236.03 per month
  • If John kept the stepped policy until age 80, he would have paid almost $400.000
  • Fixed premiums until age 80 would be $78.97 per month.

Things to consider:

  • Long-term planning
  • Getting advice from a broker and tailor short- and long-term cover to reduce costs.

Statistics tell us that Yearly Renewable Term policy owners switch insurance providers every 7 to 10 years because the yearly premium increase means families can’t afford the cover anymore.

Why pay too much to an insurance company or bank?

And that is why, people like you and me, switch insurance providers enticed by first years savings.

Only to be disappointed because premiums keep increasing rapidly anyway.

Sadly, very few insurance companies and banks provide projections of premiums and show you how much you are going to pay now, next year and in 10 years.

rate for age vs fixed premiums

Life Insurance Basics

How health, lifestyle, and smoking determine premium costs –  how you can get the cheapest premiums and how life insurance can work as family protection insurance for future generations financial heritage.

Best Life Insurance Policy

Many Kiwi’s mistakenly believe that the best life insurance deal is the policy with the cheapest premiums today.

Only to discover premiums increasing year after year and becoming more and more unaffordable.

Forcing many to cancel, when they need it.

The best life insurance deal is Life Insurance Premiums that don’t increase with age, because cover and premiums stay the same and are more affordable long-term, saving you a lot of money now and helping you to stay cashflow positive as you build your financial assets for retirements.

Pre-existing Conditions

A pre-existing health condition such as heart disease, stroke, weight, cholesterol, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, pre-diabetic, kidney and liver disease in itself might not be a reason for declined life insurance.

An experienced life insurance broker knows how each insurance company defines pre-existing conditions and how pre-existing health conditions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

It might be tempting not to disclose a medical or health condition. But honesty is the best policy.

Because life insurance is a legal document and you have a legal duty of disclosure.

An independent, trustworthy insurance broker has the know-how and experience to quote you the best life insurance deal from the leading life insurance companies in New Zealand.

Be open and honest to your life insurance broker, and in return, the broker works for you to find you the best policy that suits your needs and budget.

One of the main advantages of employer-provided life insurance is automatic acceptance, which often means full cover for pre-existing health conditions and discounted premiums. 

What are the different types of life insurance policies?

Many different types of life insurance policies are offered in New Zealand.

For a claim to be accepted and paid, the insured has to die or become terminally ill. Sometimes Life Insurance is also called Death Benefit Insurance.

Before the following life insurance policies can be issued, the insurer will assess risk, simply put the insurer will assess your risk of dying earlier than the average person of your age and gender.

People with the same or similar risk pay the same or similar premium rates.

If you have health problems, you could face increased premiums, or even be declined insurance.

  • Life Insurance
  • Family Protection Insurance

There are also other life insurance policies, where no medical questions or health checks are required.

Life Insurance NZ

These policies are guaranteed acceptance life insurance.

No medical life insurance is ideal for those looking to get life insurance quickly, that might have pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, weight or cancer.  The cost is often higher for no medical life insurance vs risk assessed life insurance.

  • Accident Death Cover
  • Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance
  • Funeral Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

What is life insurance?

Life Insurance is sometimes used as a general term for all the policies that life insurers offer.

To break it down, life insurance comes in many shapes and forms. And here are the most common ones:

How much life insurance do I need?

A good rule of thumb is 10-12 times your annual income in life insurance. If invested well, that money can help your family live comfortably.

I'm diagnosed with Thalassemia - can I get life insurance?

Some insurers will not offer you any cover. While specialists insurers may offer people with thalassemia normal terms. If the thalassaemia has moderate to severe symptoms then Life Insurance may be available to you at special terms or in extreme cases declined

Cigna has deferred me because I'm overweight. Am I insurable?​

A pre-existing health condition such as heart disease, stroke, weight, cholesterol, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, pre-diabetic, kidney and liver disease in itself might not be a reason for declined life insurance. Is it a bad idea to give us a call?

How does a fixed premiums life insurance policy work?

Many New Zealanders are used to life insurance premiums increase every year.

With Fixed life insurance, premiums don’t increase with age.

Can I have more than one life insurance policies?​

It is perfectly legal to have multiple life insurance policies. You simply have to be able to justify the amount of coverage you request.

Can I have more than one life insurance policies?​

The cost of a life insurance policy depends on your age, gender, occupation, your health, your family health history, lifestyle and the dollar amount the death benefit you want. The younger and healthier you are, the lower your premium will be.

Who has the best Life Insurance Policy?

There is no one size fits all when comparing the best life insurance policy. But the best life insurance policy is the one that is tailored purposefully with extra optional coverage and benefits if needed to build a financial protection plan for you and your family.

What else should I know when buying life insurance?

Some policies have nasty exclusions.

Some life insurance policies exclude certain conditions (e.g. cancers and heart conditions) that could leave you without support if you develop those conditions.

Other policies may require you to jump through all sorts of hoops to prove your claim.

So make sure you check the fine print for exclusions.

The Best Life Insurance Companies New Zealand have you covered for all cancers. And they accept claims for heart attacks as defined by the medical profession and not under the more narrow insurance profession definition.


When I was a kid, I always thought insurance brokers were there to pick up the pieces when things got broken.

In a funny kind of a way, that’s true, but they’re also there to prevent things getting broken in the first place. By that I mean a broker can prevent you buying a dud policy that doesn’t meet your needs.

A good Insurance broker will help you select the best policies for all your requirements. And they’ll negotiate the best premium prices on your behalf. Some people think brokers get a huge commission to sell you expensive policies and add-ons you don’t need.

The truth is Insurance companies include a broker fee when they set their premiums, so even if you buy your policy directly through an insurer website, your premiums will be the same as if you worked with a broker. 

The only difference is where that commission money goes.

Ironically, you may even end up paying less by using an insurance broker.

Insurance brokers know where to get the best deals on life insurance, and will often get you a lower premium than you can get on your own.

At LifeCovered we’ve dealt with the fine print in insurance policies every day for years. It’s our business to get the best deal for you.

What is the best life insurance company in NZ?

The five best insurance companies in New Zealand listed here all came up trumps for all of my test criteria.

All of these insurance companies provide policies that stand out above the rest.

It can be tempting to buy a cheap policy and save some money in the short term.

My team and I are here to serve you. Contact us now.

We compare policies, exclusions and futureproof your family protection insurance so that you can have coverage when you need it the most.

Our work is free……well not really…..In life, there are no free sandwiches.

We all know that.

But if we end up doing business together, you should know, that the insurance company will pay LifeCovered, a registered service provider, a commission.

You get the same price if you work with LifeCovered as a broker or work directly with an insurance company.

As an advisor broker, I work with all the best life insurance companies in New Zealand because not every company can cater to everyone’s needs.

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