Scottish Widows’ origins date back to 1815, in Edinburgh. The business’s original intent was to leave provisions for female relatives of those killed in the Napoleonic Wars.
Today, Scottish Widows has nearly 6 million customers across the UK. It provides a range of pension and protection products, including Life Insurance. Scottish Widows has earned a 5-star Defaqto rating and in 2021 paid out 99% of all life claims.
True to its origins, Scottish Widows encourages its customers to protect their families if the worst happens. They offer Life Insurance and Critical Illness Cover to help families through unexpected and difficult times.
Scottish Widows Life Insurance Coverage
Type of Cover Available
Minimum Entry Age
Maximum Entry Age
Terminal Illness Cover?
Joint life first death only
Waiver of Premium
Optional; provided as Premium Protection
Optional Critical Illness Cover
Maximum Entry Age
Scottish Widows Life Insurance policy comes with several key policy factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Scottish Widows offers a menu plan where you choose the policies that sit under it. You can take out separate policies for Life Cover, Critical Illness Cover, and Life with Critical Illness Cover. As you’d expect:
All the above policies will also pay out for Terminal Illness. Once a claim is paid on a policy, that cover will end.
While most insurers have a maximum benefit limit, Scottish Widows also sets a minimum amount of cover. The minimum for your first policy is £10,000.
The maximum is £25 million for Level or Decreasing Life Cover, and £15 million for Increasing Life Cover. For Critical Illness, or Life with Critical Illness, the maximum benefit for all cover levels is £3 million.
Life Cover that decreases over the policy term is normally taken out to cover a repayment mortgage. Scottish Widows allows you to choose the fixed rate of interest for your policy to decrease.
The decrease rate must be set between 0% and 18%. Having the freedom to make this choice allows you to tailor the policy to your specific mortgage loan.
With Scottish Widows, you can also take out your Life and/or Critical Illness Cover on an increasing basis. This helps to protect inflation from eroding the purchasing power of your benefit over time.
You need to take out this option when you start your policy. Your benefit will increase each year in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rate of inflation, up to 10% per year.
To cover this increase, your premiums will also go up each year. You need to be aware that the premium increase will be higher than the benefit increase. Details of this are stated in the policy provisions.
Scottish Widows will notify you of each annual increase before it takes effect. If you don’t want to accept it, you’re free to opt out.
However, if you turn down the increase for two years in a row, the policy increases will stop altogether. You won’t be able to add this on again later.
Independent Protection Expert
When a Critical Illness claim is paid on a Life and Critical Illness product, the policy will usually end. With Scottish Widows, you can choose to add on the Life Cover Buyback option. This costs an extra premium and must be taken out at the start of the policy.
The Buyback option allows you to ‘buy back’ your Life Cover after making a claim for Critical Illness. You need to use this feature within 3 months of your Critical Illness claim. Then, your Life Cover will start 12 months after your Critical Illness claim was paid.
This appears to be a fairly unique feature, which isn’t offered by many other insurers in the market.
Scottish Widows’ term for Waiver of Premium is Premium Protection, but it does the same thing. If you’re unable to work due to a sickness or accident, Scottish Widows will pay your premiums for you. This doesn’t come free with Scottish Widows’ cover, but can be added on for an extra cost.
The protection will start after 26 weeks of being unable to work, and will continue until either:
If one person claims on a joint policy, the cover ends for both people. The surviving partner can use this option to take out a new policy for themselves.
The new policy will keep the same terms and conditions as the original policy. The premium will change though, as it will be based on the rates at the time the replacement policy is taken out.
Like most other providers, Scottish Widows offers Guaranteed Insurability. This allows you to increase your benefit without further underwriting as a result of certain life events.
Providing you’re aged 55 or under, you can use Guaranteed Insurability as a result of the following significant events:
The maximum increase is the lower of 50% of your original benefit, or £150,000. Or, if the mortgage or salary increase is lower than these limits, your benefit increase will be capped at that amount.
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Guaranteed Insurability options give policyholders peace of mind that their cover can be adapted to meet life-changing circumstances.
There’s no limit to the number of times you can use a Guaranteed Insurability option, but the increase must meet the limits stated in the policy provisions.
The service that provides free additional benefits is known as Scottish Widows Care. This comes included with all Scottish Widows protection policies. The benefits come under two different services; Red Arc, and Clinic in a Pocket™.
Scottish Widows provides access to a free nurse advice service provided by RedArc. This can be used by policyholders and their family members. The can provide support with issues such as:
In addition, you can receive face-to-face second medical opinions from UK-based specialists. Red Arc also provides courses of therapy, such as counselling, complementary, or occupational therapy.
Through Clinic in a Pocket™, you gain access to 24/7 remote GP appointments and prescription delivery services. The service is provided by Square Health and is available via an app.
Policyholders and their family members can request an appointment to discuss any health concerns. Remote GPs can provide several different services:
Private prescriptions can be delivered for free to your front door, but you may have to pay for your medication.
We’ve highlighted some of the key features of Scottish Widows Life Insurance cove below to help you compare it against other UK providers.
Premium Protection is Scottish Widows’ term for Waiver of Premium. Rather than being included in your cover as standard, it costs extra to add on. There are other providers that offer this as standard.
When you take out decreasing cover to pay off your mortgage, many insurers decrease your benefit at a fixed rate. Scottish Widows give you the flexibility to choose your own decrease rate, between 0% and 18%.
Scottish Widows only pays out in full for 38 critical illnesses. While they do pay additional claims for 10 further conditions, these only entitle you to a portion of your benefit. Some other insurers cover upwards of 70 critical conditions.
While other insurers charge extra for you to add Children’s Cover to your Critical Illness policy, Scottish Widows includes it as standard.
This may not be a selling point for people who don’t have children, or plan to have any. But, it’s worth considering if you’re a parent, or if you plan to grow your family soon.
While Scottish Widows may not provide children’s cover for free, they do offer some competitive features. For instance, some insurers won’t cover children until age 22 unless they’re in full-time education. They also pay out a generous child death benefit of £10,000, which is more than many other providers.
Independent Protection Expert
Scottish Widows will pay out a Critical Illness claim providing you survive for 10 days afterwards. This is more competitive than some other providers, who only pay out if you survive for 14 days.
Scottish Widows provides some useful extra benefits for free. This includes 24/7 remote GP services, and several forms of support from Red Arc nurses. However, there are other insurers who offer more comprehensive additional features. For instance, some providers give you access to health checks, nutrition plans, or physiotherapy.
As with all forms of insurance, the amount you’ll pay will depend on many factors. For Life Protection policies, your age, occupation and medical history will all be taken into account.
To give you an idea of how much a policy with Scottish Widows might cost you, we’ve provided some examples below. The quotes show varying ages, and costs with and without Critical Illness Cover.
To calculate these quotes, we’ve assumed that the individual in question wants £250,000 of cover, and:
30 Years Old
40 Years Old
50 Years Old
30 Years Old
40 Years Old
50 Years Old
As you can see, there are a lot of points to consider when comparing insurers. With so many factors in play, it can be time-consuming to find the best life insurance for you.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to different life insurance policies and providers. This can help you compare and contrast the options to narrow down the most suitable cover for your circumstances.
Alternatively, if you know what you’re looking for, you can use our handy online quote tool to compare costs and apply online.
If you have some questions or feel you’d benefit from free expert advice, feel free to get in touch with us. You can pop our regulated advisors a call on 02084327333, or email email@example.com
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