FAQs

What does life insurance cover?

The purpose of Life Insurance is to relieve your loved ones of any financial burden when you die. When you take out your policy and are deciding how much cover you need, consider how much debt you have and what you don't want your family to have to deal with. That might include things like a mortgage, funeral expenses, rent, schools fees and more.

How much is life insurance?

There are a number of factors that affect the premiums you can expect to pay on your life insurance. These are tailored according to your age, gender and smoking status and can also be affected by your health and lifestyle.

How to choose life insurance

When choosing your Life Insurance start by choosing a provider that you trust. Then compare prices and any extra cover that you want, for example, Critical Illness or Disability cover. Life insurance premiums increase over time as you age and to keep up with inflation (you can turn this off at any time). It’s up to you to choose the lump-sum amount of your life insurance when you first take it out. If you get stuck our customer service team at Pinnacle Life are able to help you make the best decision for you or try our free advice tool.

How to get life insurance

At Pinnacle Life, our priority is to help you provide for those you leave behind. We believe Life Insurance should be accessible to everyone and that you should be able to sort it yourself if you want to. You can get Pinnacle life Insurance all online in under 10 minutes or if you get stuck our customer service team can help you work out the right life insurance cover for you.

Does life insurance pay for suicidal death?

Life insurance pays for any cause of death, including terminal illnesses and accidents and yes, life insurance policies do cover suicide, It is however typical for policies to not provide cover for suicide for at least the first 13 months. The main reason for this is to make sure that people who may be thinking about suicide aren't influenced by thinking that their family will be financially looked after immediately – when really the most important thing to the family is having that person around in the future.

What is income protection insurance?

Income protection insurance takes care of you and your family if you become temporarily unable to work due to an accident, illness, or injury. It means you receive a monthly payment to account for your loss of earnings to ensure that life’s necessities can be paid for as usual until you’ve recovered.

What does income protection cover?

Income protection insurance covers you for sickness, as well as accidents or injury that prevents you from working. ACC does not cover you for illness, so income protection insurance can be a great option to cover your bases.

Do I need income protection insurance?

Statistics show that the most common reason New Zealanders are unable to work for an extended period of time is due to illness. ACC will only cover you for an accident or injury in this instance. Make sure you’ve got the cover that you need with income protection insurance from Pinnacle Life.

What is disability insurance?

Disability insurance is an advance payment of life cover, paid out if you were to suffer an accident, illness or injury that resulted in your total and permanent disability. TPD insurance allows you to move forward with your life and account for any extra costs, including modifications to your home and care assistance.

What does disability insurance cover?

If you were to become permanently unable to work due to an illness, accident or injury, you may be eligible to receive a disability insurance lump-sum payment. It includes some conditions, such as loss of limbs, that fall outside of our Critical Illness cover. Take a look at our Total and Permanent Disability Definitions to see exactly what’s covered.

Do I need disability insurance?

It’s a good idea to consider adding disability insurance to your life cover with Pinnacle Life. In this way, you’ll be covered for sudden changes in circumstances that affect your ongoing ability to work and take care of yourself, and you'll avoid a financial burden for you and your family.

How much does disability insurance cost?

The cost of disability insurance varies depending on your individual circumstances, including things like your age, gender, your health, occupation and your chosen level of cover. It’s up to you to decide the level of disability insurance coverage you want, you can choose from anywhere between $100,000 up to $1 million.

What is trauma (or critical illness) insurance?

Trauma insurance covers you for specific medical conditions. Once diagnosed, you may be eligible to receive a tax-free, lump-sum payment that can be used in any way you like if your ailment is one of the 24 conditions covered by our policy. Help to fund your care or to look after your family members, trauma insurance is there to help you during difficult times. You can only buy it alongside life cover, you can’t buy it as a seperate policy.

What does trauma (critical illness) insurance cover?

There are 24 conditions covered by trauma insurance. You can find a list here of Pinnacle Life Critical Illness Definitions. Most common conditions are a cancer diagnosis, heart attack, or stroke.

How much trauma (critical illness) insurance do I need?

The amount of critical insurance cover you require is up to you. The maximum amount of cover you can have is up to $625,000. For help with understanding what you need, use our online tools to get a quote or more personalised advice check out ouronline advice tool.

Is trauma (critical illness) insurance worth it?

We think iIt’s good to be prepared when we don’t know what the future may hold. Trauma insurance takes care of the bigger unknowns by covering most major health conditions. By adding trauma cover alongside life insurance, know that you will be well-taken care of, no matter what.

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. Go through our no-obligation online advice process to find out what we recommend for you. Or find out what level of cover others of your age and gender have asked for.

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 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 Income Protection

  • you can apply if you are 20-59 and,
  • living and working in NZ.

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.

Is term life insurance right for leaving a legacy?

Term Life Insurance is one way to ensure you can leave a legacy. You just need to make sure that your cover includes the amount you want to gift. But, at the same time, you should also be saving for the legacy you want to leave. As you get older, your premiums will get more expensive, which means that long term you’ll probably want to reduce your cover or cancel it. So just like eventually you’ll pay your mortgage off and won’t need life insurance; eventually, you should have your legacy saved, and you won’t need to pay for life insurance to cover it either. You don’t want to live to 93 and feel trapped paying premiums so that you can leave behind a legacy.

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