Who gets the money?
It can depend on the kind of policy you have:
For life insurance policies, the claim is paid to,
- the policy owner or,
- if the policy owner has died, to their estate.
For a mortgage policy
- the beneficiary nominated in the policy document
For an Income Protection policy
- the beneficiary nominated in the policy document
For a Funeral policy
- the beneficiary nominated in the policy document
Why do I need critical illness cover?
If you are diagnosed with a critical illness, this cover will pay you a tax-free lump sum. Some people use it to pay bills while they aren’t able to work, to help fund their treatment, or to get some extra help at home. It can help make your life easier while you are dealing with an illness.
Critical Illness covers you the first time you are diagnosed with any one of 24 different conditions. We also offer Serious Illness Cover which protects you the first time you are diagnosed with one of four serious conditions.
Why do I need income protection insurance?
If you are unable to work due to illness or injury, our income protection cover can help replace your lost income, so that the bills can still be paid, and stress on the family is reduced while you recover.
In NZ we are lucky to have ACC, however, ACC doesn’t cover you when you can’t work due to sickness. Statistics show the most likely reason that you may not be able to work for an extended period of time is an illness. ACC will pay a maximum of up to 80% of your income as weekly compensation if you’re unable to work due to an injury.
The maximum cover that Pinnacle Life can provide under our Income Protection Cover is 75% of your income.
If ACC are replacing 80% of your income, your income protection cover won’t top you up to 100% however, if you are receiving less than 75% from ACC, we may be able to top you up to 75%. Any income that you receive while you are off work, whether it is from ACC, WINZ or another insurance policy, will affect our payments to you.
Why do I need life insurance?
Life Insurance provides for those you leave behind and helps them after you are gone. Having life insurance means that those you care about can have some peace of mind around making sure the mortgage and the bills are paid at a time when everything else can seem tough. A life insurance policy helps your family maintain their lifestyle if you become terminally ill or if you die unexpectedly.
How much cover do I need?
We have a range of tools to help you work out the right amount of cover for your needs. Use our calculator to get an estimate, or find out what level of cover others of your age and gender have asked for. You can also see what other people planning for a similar future to you have looked at.
To find out more about our products, and what needs they meet, please contact us on 0800 22 22 23 or by email and we’d be happy to advise you based on your current needs and circumstances.
What are your cover limits?
For Life Insurance
- if you apply online you can get cover from $100,000 to $1,500,000.
- If you’d like to apply for cover of under $100,000 or up to $2 million contact our office (there will be some extra medical check requirements for the higher cover levels).
For funeral cover
- we offer cover between $10,000 and $25,000.
For income protection cover
- we offer cover of up to a maximum of $12k per month (before tax income).
What are your age limits?
We offer cover to people aged between 18 and 75. Specifically, the age limits are:
For Life Insurance
- you can apply online if you are aged 20-69
- or by talking to us if you are 18-75.
- You can be living in NZ, Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Hong Kong or Singapore.
For Funeral Cover
- you can apply if you are aged 50-75 and,
- you must live in NZ
For Income Protection
- you can apply if you are 20-59 and,
- living and working in NZ.
What’s the difference between mortgage cover and life cover?
Life and mortgage cover both pay out a lump sum amount in the event of death or diagnosis of terminal illness of the person insured. A terminal illness claim will be paid out if we accept medical evidence that the insured person has 12 months or less to live.
For a life cover policy we’ll pay the owner of the policy, for a mortgage cover policy we’ll pay the lending institution you nominated.
With a mortgage cover policy you will also be eligible for a 5% discount if you are taking out the policy within 3 months of getting your mortgage approved.
Does it matter if I have other life cover policies?
No. You can have as many policies as you like with as many companies as you like. If you have life insurance elsewhere, you may wish to look at switching it to Pinnacle Life and saving 20% on your premiums.
Does it matter if I have other Income Protection policies?
If you have an income protection product elsewhere already, we suggest you talk to us before taking out another policy, as you may not be able to claim on both policies. If it comes time to claim, and you receive income from other sources eg ACC or another government agency, this will be offset against your income protection payments.
Can I get cover for my parent/partner?
Yes, they simply need to apply. Note that it's the person getting insured who must provide the answers to the health questions on the application form and complete the declaration. When the policy is issued, the insured person will also be the policy owner. If they want to change that, they will need to request an update using the 'change of ownership' form included in the policy.
Can I take out life insurance on anyone I choose, for example, can I insure the old fella that lives across the road?
In theory yes you can, but not without their knowledge, as they need to be the one that applies. It's the person getting insured who must provide the answers to the health questions on the application form and complete the declaration. When the policy is issued, the insured person will also be the policy owner. If they want to change that, they will need to request an update using the 'change of ownership' form included in the policy.
How long does it take to assess or process an application?
It depends on your answers to the health and lifestyle questions we have to ask to be able to offer you cover. For many people, we will be able to assess your information online fully, and you will have Life Insurance in less than 10 minutes.
If you aren’t accepted straight away online, we’ll be in touch on the next working day and will let you know the next steps.
If that means we need more information from you, then the process may take another day or two, while if we need information from your GP, it will depend on how quickly your GP responds to our request. Some doctors respond within a week, and others can take two or three weeks or sometimes longer.
So how long it takes depends on several factors, mostly outside of the control of Pinnacle Life, but we do everything we can to make it as easy and simple as we can.
When will I be covered?
If you apply for a policy online, are approved and accept the declaration you are covered straight away.
You then need to make sure you pay your first premium within 14 days.
If we don't receive a premium payment from you, then your policy will be suspended until we do. (If you need to claim within the first 14 days, we must receive the premium first.)
We will send you a copy of your policy document for your files immediately.
I vape ( or smoke E-cigarettes) but I don't smoke cigarettes – am I still classified as a smoker?
If you’ve have vaped or used E-cigarettes within the last 12 months you are considered to be a smoker.
Once you have been smokefree and have not smoked tobacco or any other substance including e-cigarettes and vaping, you can request to change to non-smoker rates which are cheaper.
What if I have a health problem? / Why do you want to know all of my medical history?
We assess your health at the time of your application to ensure that the price we charge you reflects the risks associated with your health. Doing this assessment at the time of application means there should be no hiccups or delays if you need to make a claim.
Having a health issue shouldn’t stop you from applying.
Your health conditions might affect your application, as depending on the condition, we may:
- accept your application at standard premiums, or
- we may ask you to pay a higher premium than the standard (called a loading), or
- we may defer your application for up to 12 months.
If, after you’ve answered our questions, we need more details about your health we may ask for your permission to get notes from your doctor. We ask for these details so that we can make a fair and accurate assessment of your application for cover by having an accurate picture of your health.
Do I have to visit the doctor to apply for a life insurance policy or any other kind of policy?
Probably not – in fact less than 2% of customers who apply for cover need to visit a GP. Depending on your answers on the application form, we may require additional information from you or from your GP but this does not mean you have to visit them. We simply ask them to send us the relevant information from your medical file. Some GPs want to see or speak with you before they will release the information to us, we will let you know as soon as possible if this is the case.
Occasionally we may require you to see your GP to have a medical exam or to have a blood test done, but if this is the case we will discuss it with you first.
What if I’m not sure whether I should declare something?
It’s best to give us as much information as possible at the time you apply to ensure there are no issues or questions come claim time. If you are not sure where to put something on your application then you can answer “yes” to the question about ‘any other medical condition” and provide the details there, or you can ‘disagree’ to the policy terms and conditions at the end of the application, This will give you the ability to provide additional information and we will be in contact with you. Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 22 22 23 or send us a chat message and we can discuss where it might fit in the application.
What if I use more than one name?
Some people use a name that’s different from their legal name, while some people will have two legal names; your medical records might use one name and your driver’s licence something different. Getting things set up right at the start of your policy is going to make things easier for you or your family come claim time as there won’t be any hassles over identification.
If you use more than one name then when applying enter the name that you expect will appear on official documents like your passport (and your death certificate).
If you think that your medical records or death certificate might be in a different name then the one you’ve entered then contact us after you submit your application. Our team will talk you through the next steps, (eg we might need copies of your ID) and we’ll make sure you are using whatever name you prefer in correspondence.
How can I pay?
You can pay your Pinnacle Life premiums monthly, six-monthly or yearly. We prefer it if you pay by direct debit, however we also accept internet banking/automatic payment, cheque (for six monthly or annual premiums only), or credit card. When paying via credit card, a charge of 3.95% is added to your premiums.
We do not accept weekly or fortnightly payments.
How do you work out how much premium I pay?
Premiums are calculated based on several factors, including your age, gender, smoking status, medical history, some lifestyle factors, and how much cover you need. Actuaries work out the likelihood of you needing to make a claim based on all these factors and set the premiums accordingly. There are some things you can do to control what you pay, including not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and not undertaking risky activities, like sky diving or rock climbing. The amount of cover you choose also affects your premium, more cover will cost more.
What are my life insurance premiums likely to be in 5 years time?
Many insurance companies (including us) offer first-year discounts. And as you get older your premiums typically do increase. So it’s important that you ask what your premiums are likely to be in the future so that you can be sure you’re getting the best overall deal – not just a cheap price in the first year. Pinnacle Life’s 5-year life cover premium estimate.