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Is it time to review your (super) insurances?

According to actuarial consultant Rice Warner1, default insurance through super provides less than half the basic life cover for households—even less for families with children. In this article, we look at how insurance works inside superannuation, the benefits of insurance through super, how to ensure that your insurance cover can best suit your needs, and important changes in legislation in relation to automatic coverage.

Insurance through your super

You may know that life insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself and those you care most about. But what you may not know is that you may already have some form of life insurance through super.

Insurance through super can provide death cover, total and permanent disablement (TPD) cover, and income protection in the event of injury or illness. VicSuper provides death, TPD and income insurance, and this can often be the most affordable and easiest way to get the cover you need.

The snapshot below can make it easy to compare life, TPD, and income protection cover side-by-side:

Life insurance Total and permanent disability Income protection
  • Provides a lump sum benefit in the event the insured passes away.
  • In the event of a diagnosed terminal illness, this benefit can be paid early.
  • You can choose between fixed cover (cover amount remains, premiums vary over time) or unitised cover (cover amount varies over time), and premiums remain steady.
  • Paid as a lump sum in the event you become totally and permanently disabled and are unlikely to ever return to work again.
  • Payment can be for whatever you determine (e.g. renovations needed due to disability, additional care and medical treatment).
  • Choose between fixed cover (cover remains, premiums vary) or unitised cover (cover varies, premiums remain steady).
  • Monthly income replacement benefit if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.
  • Use the payments to support your lifestyle in times of need.
  • Reduce financial stress while you recover and return back to work.
  • Waiting periods can be customised to suit your needs. Select from either 30, 60 or 90 days.

Benefits of insurance in your super

We believe that insurance through super can provide a range of important benefits for members:

  • Cost-effective – super funds purchase life insurance in bulk; generally your premiums are lower than if you buy direct from an insurer or through an adviser.
  • Tax-advantageous – premiums are paid from your superannuation account which could offer tax advantages.
  • Good for cash flow – premiums don’t come out of your regular income which can improve your cash flow.
  • Automatic cover – many super funds automatically2 accept you for cover without requiring a health check.
  • Fund support – your super fund manages your claim and supports you through the process.

When should you review your insurance through super?

Today, given concerns about insurance cover adequacy and events like COVID-19, it’s more important than ever for super fund members to review their insurance to make sure they’re adequately protected. Relevant questions might be: are you and your family properly covered in the event of death, TPD, or loss of income? and: are your fund's insurance costs competitive?

To make it easier, members may want to follow a number of steps to review, and if required, adjust their insurance through super:

  • Check – check your current insurance by looking at your superannuation statement, logging on to MembersOnline, or by calling 1300 366 216.
  • Choose – think about what type of insurance you may need—whether it’s death, TPD, or income protection cover. You can get more information by reading our insurance handbook (PDF).
  • Calculate – you can use the insurance calculator on our website to get guidance on how much insurance cover you need. This will also give you the cost of insurance which will come from your super account rather than having to pay separately.
  • Apply – login to MembersOnline and apply for insurance. If this isn’t available, you can download a form or contact us directly. You’ll need to answer questions relating to your health so we can assess your application.
  • Confirm – once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll get confirmation of your cover or an indication of what other steps might be required.

How much cover do you need?

Did you know that up to 95%3 of Australians are underinsured? This is a concerning statistic. So working out how much life, TPD and income protection cover you may need is important – but it does not need to be difficult. It just means working out what you already have and what you would want or need if something happened to you. The difference between the two is likely to be the amount of cover you need. To help you assess how much how much life, TPD and income protection cover you need, a three-step process can be useful:

  1. Consider a checklist of things – to help you assess your insurance needs, you can access our insurance handbook (PDF).
  2. Ensure you’re always covered – reassess your insurance needs from time to time to ensure your cover is adequate as your life changes.
  3. Get expert advice – VicSuper offers an advice service to members who’d like some help working out their insurance needs, superannuation strategies or retirement planning. Our advice is provided by qualified financial planners and is offered without obligation, and in most cases, at no additional cost. Find out more about our advice services.

Eligibility for default cover with VicSuper

From 1 April 2020, if you are a new member who joined VicSuper via a participating employer, you will automatically receive cover for death, TPD and income protection, known as ‘default cover’, if you:

  • have had an account balance of at least $6,000 and are at least 25 years old, or
  • make a written election to receive cover if these requirements are not met. If at the time of joining you are under age 25 or don’t have an account balance of $6,000 or over, you can elect to activate your default insurance cover. Otherwise, we will automatically provide default insurance when you turn 25 and have had an account balance of at least $6,000.

 

 

As a profit to member fund, our priority is the welfare of our members, not profits. We’re here to make sure our members get high quality products and services at lowest possible cost – including insurance cover that protects them and their family.

  • As a profit to member fund, we keep fees as low as possible and don’t pay commissions to financial planners.
  • Solid long-term investment returns – we aim to deliver competitive investment returns for our members.
  • Award-winning value – we’ve been awarded Constar’s 5-Star Rating* for Outstanding Value Superannuation in 2020, one of only six super funds across Australia to receive this rating. We’ve also received SuperRatings’ Platinum** rating – their highest rating – seven years in a row (2013-2020), confirming that VicSuper continues to be one of the “best value for money funds” in Australia.
  • High quality services – we were awarded Best Fund: Integrity by Chant West (2019)* for offering lower fees and premiums, while continuing to provide the benefits and services members really need, like quality investment and insurance, and member services and advice.

 

1 Ricewarner.com/life-insurance-adequacy
2 Subject to meeting legislative requirements and the terms of their insurance policy
3 Kelly, S. & Vu, Q.N., 2010, The Lifewise/ NATSEM Underinsurance Report: Understanding the social and economic cost of underinsurance (PDF)

Important information

This is general information only and does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend you seek professional advice for your own circumstances. Contact us to make an appointment to see one of our representatives. When members receive advice, they receive it under our financial planning business’ AFS licence. Our financial planning business is wholly owned by FSS Trustee Corporation as trustee of the fund. You should read the Financial Services Guide before making a decision. For more information call the Member Centre on 1300 366 216 .Issued by FSS Trustee Corporation ABN 11 118 202 672, AFSL 293340, the trustee of the First State Superannuation Scheme ABN 53 226 460 365.

* The Canstar 5-Star Rating for Outstanding Value Superannuation was awarded in March, 2020.
** SuperRatings is an independent superannuation ratings and research company. Platinum is SuperRating’s highest rating. For details on their ratings, criteria and methodologies see superratings.com.au.
SuperRatings and Chant West are independent organisations. See superratings.com.au and chantwest.com.au for ratings, criteria and methodologies.

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