How Much Does Shareholder Protection Cost In 2024?

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If you’re a shareholder in a company with multiple other shareholders, it probably makes sense to consider Shareholder Protection Insurance.

This is because Shareholder Protection covers both the company and you, the shareholders. It pays out if a shareholder dies, giving your business the cash it needs to buy back the deceased shareholder’s shares from their estate.

This is a win-win for both the business / its shareholders and the family of the shareholder who has died.

The company keeps control of the shares and therefore the business. Meanwhile, the family gets cash compensation for the shares they have inherited, helping them financially after a shareholder’s death.

Adding Serious Illness Cover

You can also add Critical Illness Insurance. This pays out if a shareholder leaves the business due to critical illness (such as cancer, heart attack or stroke) as well as death.

Adding Critical Illness Cover increases the cost of Shareholder Protection. However, this is only because you’re far more likely to develop a critical illness than you are to pass away. Premiums therefore reflect the greater risk to the insurer.

Given this higher risk, many of our Shareholder Protection Insurance clients extend their policy with Critical Illness Insurance to cover more eventualities.

Read why Interface NRM needed Shareholder Protection. The thriving environmental accreditation firm, run by Dr Gavin Jordan and his business partner Michael Greenland, is now secure in the knowledge that it has cover should the worst happen.

What Will Shareholder Protection Insurance Cost My Company?

The cost of Shareholder Protection depends on various personal and policy factors.

Personal Factors


The older you are, the more Shareholder Protection Insurance costs. This reflects the increased risk of death / critical illness during the policy term.

Smoker Status

Smokers pay more than non-smokers for most protection policies. This is because they’re more likely to become ill — and seriously ill — than non-smokers. Smokers are also more likely to die early.

General State of Health

Insurers use your health and any pre-existing conditions to price cover. You might therefore pay higher Life Insurance premiums if you have high blood pressure, for example.

With Critical Illness Cover, if you’ve previously had a condition such as cancer, the insurer might exclude that type of cancer if it returns instead of increasing premiums.

Hazardous Hobbies / Activities

Most insurers charge more if you regularly participate in hazardous activities.

These could include skydiving, outdoor rock climbing, motocross, deep sea diving / caving / wreck exploration and other dangerous hobbies.

Policy Factors

As for policy factors, the biggest influence on the price of Shareholder Protection Insurance is firstly the amount of cover you need. The higher the benefit, the higher your premiums.

Other important policy factors include:

Policy Length

The longer you anticipate being a shareholder and needing the cover, the higher your premiums.

This is because you’ll hold the protection to an older age and therefore face a higher chance of death / critical illness during this period.

Adding Critical Illness Insurance

Adding Critical Illness Cover increases your coverage considerably, paying out for common conditions such as cancer, heart attacks and strokes as well as if a shareholder dies.

However, as becoming critically ill is more likely than dying, it costs more to add it on.

Average Monthly Premiums for Shareholding Directors

Given insurers look at many factors when pricing premiums, it can be hard to pin down the exact cost of cover.

However, the table below has a rough guide to premiums which were taken from our instant online Shareholder Protection quote engine. To get these quotes, we’ve made a number of assumptions about each shareholder. For example, we’ve assumed they are:

  • A healthy non-smoker
  • A company director with office-based duties
  • Seeking £150,000 of Life Insurance or £150,000 of combined Life Insurance and Critical Illness Cover
  • Wanting level cover that won’t reduce in value over the policy term
  • Looking for protection over the next 10 years.


Monthly Premiums

Life Insurance Only

35 Years Old


45 Years Old


55 Years Old


Life Insurance & Critical Illness Cover

35 Years Old


45 Years Old


55 Years Old


As you can see, the cost of £150,000 of level Life Insurance over 10 years at 55 year old is more than three times the cost for a 35 year old.

However, as mentioned, the price goes up when you add Critical Illness Insurance. While fairly manageable for younger individuals, reflecting the lower chances of a younger people getting critical illnesses compared to someone older, premiums rise notably as you age.

The cost of combined Life and Critical Illness Shareholder Protection for a 55 year old is therefore almost five times that of a 35 year old.

The Importance of Premium Equalisation

These unequal premiums are an issue if you arrange cover using the own life under business trust route.

You must equalise Shareholder Protection Insurance premiums to prevent tax complications.

This is because HMRC generally considers unequal premiums as a transfer of value or gift from the shareholder(s) paying the most to those paying the least. Surviving shareholders could therefore end up with an inheritance tax bill on this ‘gift’ if one of them passes away.

Check out how to equalise Shareholder Protection premiums here ⟶

How Do You Calculate The Level Of Shareholder Protection You Need?

We get that valuing your company isn’t simple.

Ultimately, different industries / sectors command different values, even if underlying business metrics are similar. That can make valuing a business a bit of a headache!

However, you need to know how much your company is worth to calculate the value of each individual shareholder’s stake. It’s impossible to get insurance without this because you buy cover based on how much each shareholder’s stake in the business is worth.

Samantha Haffenden-Angear, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Don’t worry too much though. When we help clients set-up their Shareholder Protection there are usually a few parties involved.

It will often include your accountants or other business consultants who will help with the valuation.

Samantha Haffenden-Angear
Business Protection Expert at Drewberry

As advisers, there are a few rules of thumb we use to help value your business. For example, we take a look at:

  • Your company’s cashflow
  • Your company’s profits, i.e. whether they’re static or increasing
  • Multiples of net profit plus cash in bank and assets (better for companies with a solid, longstanding financial history)
  • Intangible factors, for instance the company’s reputation and relationship with clients.

Common Shareholder Protection Questions...

  • Do I Pay Tax on Shareholder Protection Insurance?

    HMRC’s tax treatment of Shareholder Protection is complicated. It depends largely on how you set it up and how you pay for it.

    Depending on the whether you need to include cover for taxation will impact the cost of your insurance as you will may need a larger sum assured to take account of the potential tax liability.

  • Is Shareholder Protection a P11D Benefit in Kind?

    Whether or not Shareholder Protection Insurance premiums are a P11D benefit in kind — meaning shareholders must pay additional tax due to having cover — depends on how you arrange it.

    The most common route is for the company to pay. In this case, it’s normally a P11D benefit. Each shareholder therefore must pay tax on the premiums the company pays for them.

    Naturally this is another cost to bear in mind when setting up cover.

Get Expert Shareholder Protection Advice

Advisers aren’t just here to fill in paperwork, such as application forms or arranging trust documents and cross option agreements. As independent insurance experts we are here to help you get the best cover for the best price.

We compare Shareholder Protection Insurance quotes from across the entire UK market so you get just that.

As advisers, this is our bread and butter. It’s even more important if you add Critical Illness Insurance as coverage varies considerably between insurers.

Why Speak to Us?

We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.

We know that our clients give so much to their businesses. They therefore deserve first class service when it comes protecting that business and their interest in it. Here are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us:

For fee-free business protection advice from regulated advisers, we’re here to help. We are a safe pair of hands, we spend all day every day arranging this form of cover for our clients.

Pop us a call on 02084327333 or email

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