Life insurance explained

Life insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides a lump sum payout in the event of the policyholder’s death, or upon the diagnosis of a terminal illness (with less than 12 months to live). Usually, one or more beneficiaries are nominated to receive the benefit amount in the event of your death, or the benefit will be paid directly to you in the event you suffer a terminal illness.

Seniors Term Life insurance is designed specifically for people aged 45 – 79, with no medical assessments, blood tests or complicated paperwork required to apply. Just answer eight questions about your health over the phone, and – once approved – you can rest assured knowing that your family will be financially protected for a policy term of up to 20 years.

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Everything you need to know about life insurance

How does life insurance work?

  1. Application

    • The insurance process starts by you choosing the type and amount of cover you will need.
    • Your insurer will ask a number of questions to assess whether they can offer you cover, and how much that cover will cost.
    • When you first set up your policy, you can nominate beneficiaries, who are the people that will receive your benefit payment if you pass away and a claim is made.
    • Your insurer will then give you a quote based on your answers to these questions.
  2. Approval

    • Your insurer will assess your application.
    • Once cover is approved, your life insurance policy will be issued.
    • Once activated, you are covered under the terms of the policy.
  3. Making a claim

    • In the instance of your diagnosis of terminal illness or passing, you or your nominated beneficiaries can submit a claim.
    • The claim will then be assessed by your insurer.
    • An advance payment can be made to cover funeral costs if more time is needed to complete the assessment.
    • Once the claim is approved, the cover amount will be paid to you or your nominated beneficiaries.

Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s important to speak with your insurer to make sure you understand your cover. Call New Zealand Seniors now to speak with one of our friendly team members, and get a personalised quote that’s tailored to your specific needs.

What is the main purpose of life insurance?

The main purpose of life insurance is to provide a lump-sum payment for your chosen beneficiaries in the event of your passing. This can be used to pay funeral costs, outstanding debts, mortgage payments, or even to give your children a deposit for a house.

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness (usually defined as being given 12 months or less to live), your life insurance payout can help pay for the cost of medical treatment and give you the freedom to spend time with your loved ones instead of having to focus on finding the money to pay bills.

Learn more about Seniors Term Life Insurance and discover how it can help protect you and your loved ones.

The different types of life insurance

There are two main types of life insurance policies, including:

All of life insurance 

All-of-life insurance is a life insurance policy that covers you for death or a terminal illness in which the term of cover is for as long as you live, until you make a claim or decide to cancel.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance covers you for death or a terminal illness for a set period of time. The cover period is usually a defined number of years or until you reach a certain age, or make a claim or cancel the policy.

As retirement approaches, many Kiwis find that their needs and financial plans can change quite dramatically. If you’re worried about what life’s later stages may bring, it’s not too late to set plans in place for your financial future and consider life insurance.

Act now to protect your whānau’s financial future

What does life insurance cover?

Life insurance covers you for death, or diagnosis of a terminal illness where your doctor advises that you have 12 or 24 months or less to live (depending on the policy). With an active policy, when you pass away your beneficiaries can receive a payout if death occurs by any cause (with suicide excluded for the first 13 months).

Your beneficiaries can spend the benefit however they want, including:

  • everyday expenses such as regular bills, groceries and other household essentials;
  • outstanding debt such as a mortgage, credit card or personal/car loan;
  • childcare, or the cost of education for your children or grandchildren;
  • end-of-life expenses such as medical care or funeral costs.

If you receive a terminal illness diagnosis and need to claim, your payout is paid to you and can be used to cover ongoing medical treatment or to supplement or replace your income so you can focus on spending time with your loved ones instead of worrying about bills.

Seniors Term Life Insurance is designed for people aged 45 – 79, protecting you and your family for the next 20 years or until you turn 85, whichever comes first. When your family makes a claim, New Zealand Seniors may pay 20% of the benefit amount in advance, so your loved ones don’t have to worry about paying for your funeral or other final expenses. And if you pass away because of an accident, your benefit amount will be tripled – up to $300,000.

Learn more about Seniors Term Life Insurance

What isn’t covered by life insurance?

In some cases, your insurer may provide general cover but let you know that won’t be valid if you die while doing something risky like skydiving. To see exactly what’s excluded from your policy, always read the Policy Document for all terms and conditions, exclusions and any waiting periods. With Seniors Term Life Insurance, the only exclusion is self-inflicted injury that results in your death or terminal illness1 within 13 months of the policy commencement date.

What is the difference between life insurance and health insurance?

Life insurance insures the policyholder against the eventuality of their own passing, with the agreed benefit amount going to nominated beneficiaries. Health insurance typically only covers medical expenses, providing emergency cover when required.

Life insurance is particularly important when you have something valuable or important to protect, such as a mortgage or securing the financial security of your family after you’re gone. Health insurance is a short-term plan that offers cover for yourself and your family, so you aren’t out of pocket for hospital bills, medicines or medical treatment.

What is the difference between life insurance and funeral insurance?

While life insurance is designed to soften the blow to your family’s finances when you are no longer able to provide for them, funeral insurance has a much smaller benefit that is designed to cover the cost of a funeral or other final expenses.

Life insurance typically comes with a large benefit amount to cover longer term costs and things like the mortgage, outstanding bills, and to maintain your family’s lifestyle. Funeral insurance on the other hand usually has a limited amount of cover, however it can be a great way to help your family with any immediate final expenses associated with your passing.

How much life insurance do I need?

Our needs constantly change as we get older. In fact, one of the upsides of our age is that we’ve had more time to build wealth and learn from those expensive choices we may have made in our 20s. The great thing about life insurance is that you can factor in these changed circumstances into your policy, to make sure you’re adequately covered or not paying for cover you don’t need. 

Here are some things worth considering, depending on where you are in your life’s journey:


  • Will your partner need to make alternative living arrangements?
  • How long before your partner will be financially stable?
  • How long before your children are financially independent?


  • Will your partner need to downsize after you’re gone?
  • Can your partner afford the mortgage repayments on their own?
  • Are you planning to pay for your children’s wedding or help them buy their first home?


  • Does your partner have enough for a comfortable retirement?
  • Can your partner cover costs for any unexpected health concerns?
  • Will your partner be able to afford travel, renovations, etc.?


  • Does your partner have enough to cover cost of living increases?
  • Does your partner have enough to cover the cost of reduced health?
  • Is there a safety net to cover any nasty surprises?

Considering life insurance?

Who needs term life insurance?

As we get older, our insurance needs change. That’s why it’s important to know about the different types of life insurance products that are available and which one is best for your specific situation. At New Zealand Seniors, we believe insurance should meet your needs, not someone else’s. That’s why we focus on providing beneficial cover for Kiwis over 50.

With Seniors Term Life Insurance, anyone aged 45 to 79 can apply for up to $100,000 cover, which means you can protect your family financially for the next 20 years – or until you turn 85, whichever comes first. You don’t need to take a blood test or fill out any complicated paperwork to apply. Just answer eight questions about your health, then decide on the amount of cover that works for you and your loved ones – it’s that simple!

How can New Zealand Seniors help?

With New Zealand Seniors, you can tailor your policy to suit your individual needs and budget. Choose the level of cover you need, and rest assured knowing you’re backed by a respected and award-winning insurer.

Benefits of choosing Seniors Term Life Insurance

Flexible cover amount that suits you

Choose how much you or your family will receive if you pass away or become terminally ill. You can set a benefit amount from $10,000 up to $100,000.

Easy to apply with no medicals

Simply answer eight questions about your medical history over the phone. Once approved, you can get covered in minutes.

Immediate cover

Once your policy is set up, you’ll be covered straight away for death by any cause, and for terminal illness1 (excluding suicide for the first 13 months).

20% advance payout to cover funeral costs

When your family makes a claim, we’ll give them 20% of the benefit amount in advance, so they won’t have to worry about the cost of your funeral or other immediate expenses.

Triple payout for accidental death

Your family’s benefit amount will be tripled if you pass away from an accident, helping with any last-minute expenses they might face.

Your own personal claims specialist

If you or your family need to make a claim, we’ll assign you a dedicated claims specialist to look after everything. No need to explain things to multiple people.

We’ll keep your premiums manageable

Unlike some life insurance policies, your annual premium increase won’t be based on your age which will help with budgeting later in life. Plus, we offer lower starting premiums for non-smokers.

Cover for when you need it most

We know that the older you get, the more you have to protect. That’s why our cover is designed for people aged 45 to 79, protecting you and your family for the next 20 years or until you turn 85 – whichever comes first.

How to get life insurance

If you’re a New Zealand resident aged 45 to 79, the process is quite simple:

  1. 1 Request a quote

    Answer eight questions about your health and we’ll get you a quote in minutes.

  2. 2 Choose your cover

    Tailor your policy and choose the level of cover you need.

  3. 3 Get covered

    Rest easy knowing the people you care about most are in safe hands.

Need more help deciding?

Request a FREE information pack

Everything you need to know about life insurance

        1. Terminal illness with diagnosis of 12 months or less to live.

How can we help?

To find out more about New Zealand Seniors,
speak to one of our friendly insurance specialists now