Every care is taken to ensure that the information in this document is clear and accurate. However, no responsibility is taken for errors or omissions. If any conflict arises between this document and the Policy Conditions as per the Policy Document, the Policy Conditions will apply.
This FAQ document is meant as a guide and individuals should consult relevant insurance company literature or contact a representative of SmartQuotes where clarification is required.
For information relating to other products such as Pensions, Investments etc please go to the relevant page on our website.

1. Home Insurance

Details on Home Insurance can be found at our dedicated webpage

2. Income Protection

What exactly does Income Protection Cover?

An Income Protection Policy will provide you with an alternative income if you are unable to work due to illness, disability, injury or sickness. Minimum social welfare benefit is paid for employees (currently €188 per week for a single person) would this be enough to pay your mortgage, household bills and maintain your lifestyle? ?In the event of you being unable to work, the relevant insurance company will pay you the agreed benefit monthly.

How much Income Protection do I need?

An Income Protection contract will provide you with an income if you are unable to work due to illness, disability, injury or sickness. The maximum income that can be provided is 75% of your salary less State Illness benefit of €9,776 per annum for employees.

For an example an employee on €50,000 per annum can insure a maximum level of income of €27,724. For the same individual being self employed this increases to €37,500. In both cases the total income on payment will be the same as the employee will get the state benefit of €9,776 per annum. The self employed individual will not get the state benefit. Income Protection cover is a very important cover although one that is often overlooked. The level of cover you choose should fit your budget as some cover is better than none at all. It is probably a good idea to see what income you need to pay the essentials in life such as Mortgage, Personal Loans, Food Costs, School Cost, Insurance Cost and Utility Bills. Remember there is tax relief available at your marginal rate.

How do I know what sick pay I get from my employer?

Like all insurances it is important that you are not over-insured. Ask your employer what the company’s sick pay arrangements are and use that as a starting point to deciding on the most suitable level of cover. Income Protection can seem complex but doesn’t have to be. Call one of our experienced team on 01 498 0005 and we will be happy to assist you.

What tax relief is available on premiums

Tax Relief is available on premiums paid at your marginal rate (subject to conditions)?It is possible to claim tax relief on premiums paid in three ways:
When submitting your tax return via the self-assessment system.
The relief can be claimed directly from Revenue. In this situation the relief is given by means of an adjustment to your Tax Credit Certificate.
Through net pay with the agreement of your employer

Income protection benefit payments are taxable as income.

For further information please see www.revenue.ie or contact SmartQuotes.ie

My partner works in the home. Can I cover them?

Currently only one provider in the market offers this type of cover, Aviva. Keeping a home is still work, Aviva recognise this, and if you are unable to perform your household duties they will pay you a benefit of €15,000 per annum. Aviva also provide cover for the same amount with the same conditions to full time carers i.e. looking after an ill, disabled or elderly relative without pay.?For homemakers, and unpaid carers, the ‘work tasks’ definition of disability will automatically apply. Please ask one of the SmartQuotes team for further details

How is this different to a Specified Illness Policy?

Specified Illness only covers a specified number of illnesses where as Income Protection covers any illness, injury, accident or disability that prevents you from working (except in the case of work tasks cover). Specified Illness pays a once off lump sum and your Income Protection Policy pays a regular income until you are able to return to work or until the end of the policy term. ?There is no tax relief available on Specified Illness cover, however you can claim tax relief at your marginal rate on Income Protection premiums. The benefit payment from a Specified Illness policy is payable tax free where as the benefit payable from and Income Protection policy is taxable. You can only claim once on a Specified Illness policy, with Income Protection there is a multiple claim facility so you can claim as many times as is necessary.

How soon can I get access to this Income if I am out of work?

The income will be paid after your chosen period of 4,8,13, 26 or 52 weeks. This is also known as the deferred period.

How long will you pay the benefit if I am out of work?

The Income Protection Policy pays a regular income until you are able to return to work or until the end of the policy term.

How many times can I claim on this policy?

You can submit claims on your Income Protection policy as many times as you require benefit, right up until the end of the policy term.

What is indexation?

This option allows you to increase your cover in line with inflation. The indexation rates vary between providers and clients should always ask what indexation rate applies to their premium and their benefits. In general individuals should look for an indexation option where the benefit and premiums increase at the same rate, which although more expensive in the early years will usually work out cheaper during the life of the policy. Please contact us if you would like an illustration of this for any particular indexing quote.

If I am out of work, will I have to pay my premium/will the premium still be deducted from my account?

You do not have to continue paying premiums while you are receiving an Income from your policy. This is called waiver of premium benefit.

What is the difference between Guaranteed and Reviewable Rates?

Your premiums can be either guaranteed (will not change during the term of your plan) or reviewable (will stay constant for the first 5 years of the plan and then be subject to review and will be reviewed every 5 years thereafter).

What occupation class am I?

We have provided a New Ireland occupation guide for illustrative purposes. The occupation classes can vary between insurer. Please call SmartQuotes.ie on 01 498 0005 for clarification.

3. Life Insurance FAQ’s (including Specified Illness Cover and Mortgage Protection)

What is Life Insurance and why do I need it?

A Life Insurance policy provides a fixed amount of cover for a fixed term of years. If you die during the term of the policy, the amount you are covered for will be paid to your estate as a lump sum. This type of cover provides you with the peace of mind that if you die, your family will not have to struggle financially. You choose the level of cover you need and the period that you want the cover to last.
SmartQuotes.ie offer two types of life Insurance policy:

  • Term Life Insurance
  • Mortgage Life Insurance

We also offer Specified Illness Cover, which can be combined with both Life Insurance and Mortgage Life Insurance for an additional cost. Further details on Specified Illness Cover are included in this guide below.?With Term Life Insurance, the amount of cover you choose at the start of the plan will remain fixed over the term of the plan. The premium you pay is also guaranteed to remain fixed throughout the term. Options for indexation are available and are described in more detail below. Term Life Insurance is suitable for interest only mortgages.
Mortgage Life Insurance (also known as Mortgage Protection) ensures that if you die during your mortgage term the remaining balance on your Mortgage will be repaid (this assumes a maximum interest rate of 6%). Mortgage Life Insurance is suitable for capital and interest mortgages.
Life Insurance policies are not designed to be a savings fund. At the end of the term you stop making payments and your cover ends. It is also worth noting that if you stop making the monthly payments, the cover will cease and again there is no cash value.
There are also whole of life policies. This type of life Insurance policy covers you for your whole life. It pays out a benefit when you die whenever that happens as long as the policy is still in force. The benefit is not usually fixed and can vary over the life of the policy depending on the performance of the investment fund used by the policy. Also, your premiums are not fixed and may increase from time to time, for example every 5-10 years or so. SmartQuotes.ie do not currently offer whole of life policies except for New Ireland Life Choice option. Please ask your SmartQuotes representative for further details.

How much Life Insurance do I need?

This is very much a personal choice depending on your circumstances:
Generally, if you have a young family, you will need to provide a larger lump sum than if your children are older. That is because the benefit has to last longer.
You will need to consider buying cover to:

  • cover your family’s income needs, for as long as they need the income;
  • pay off your mortgage and any other loans; and
  • cover costs that might arise when your children are older, for example school or college fees.

How much cover you take out is dependant on what you wish the cover to be for. The same is true for the length of time the cover should be for. If you have taken out a life Insurance policy to run along side your mortgage, it will dictate how long the cover is needed. However if you have taken out a life policy to financially provide for your family in the event of your premature death, you may want the term to run until your youngest child finishes full time education.
What is the difference between Life Insurance or Life Assurance?
In practical terms, none. Both terms may be used and in practice there is no real difference between the two.

What is the difference between single, joint and dual life cover?

Single Life Policy
Covers one person only
Joint Life Policy
It pays out the benefit only once, if either you or your partner dies while the policy is in force. A Mortgage Life Insurance policy is an example of a Joint Life Policy

Dual life policy

This is a life Insurance policy that provides cover for two people and continues after the first person dies within the term of the policy. It pays out the benefit on each death within the term of the policy.?More companies currently quote for Dual Life Cover so in certain cases this type of cover may be only slightly more expensive or even cheaper than Joint Life Cover, even though Dual Cover is a superior level of cover than Joint Life Cover.

What is Mortgage Life Insurance (also known as Mortgage Protection)

This is a form of life Insurance product, which lenders must make sure you have in place when you take out a mortgage on your family home and if you are under 50 years of age. Your mortgage protection policy pays off the outstanding amount due on your mortgage if you die.
Mortgage Life Insurance is also known as Mortgage Protection. It is a decreasing cover so for example if your mortgage is initially €200,000 and after 5 years of repayments has circa €150,000 outstanding, in the event of a claim the Mortgage Life Insurance policy will repay circa €150,000 (provided the interest rate on your mortgage does not exceed 6%). For this reason it is usually cheaper than standard Life Cover (where the benefit does not reduce).
Specified Illness options can be included as an additional option at an additional cost. A more detailed description is available below.
It should be not be confused with Mortgage Repayment Protection which pays mortgage payments for a set period in the event of unemployment or illness. Mortgage Repayment Protection is not offered by SmartQuotes.ie.
If you have an interest only mortgage which by nature is not decreasing a term life Insurance policy will be required

What are the various different types of Life Insurance?

Convertible Term Policy

This is also known as a continuation option. This allows you the option to continue your life cover without the need for further medical information either during the policy or at the end of the policy depending on the insurer (see table below). The cost of the cover at this time will be dependent upon the cost of cover for a similar individual with no health issues. In certain cases it may be possible to convert the policy prior to the end of the term. See below for further details

Convertible Term/ Continuation Options by Insurer

Conversion Options

Anytime

AT END

MAX AGE (TO CONVERT)

COVER ENDS

ROYAL LONDON

YES

YES

70

90

ZURICH

YES

YES

N/A

85

FRIENDS FIRST

YES

YES

65

80

AVIVA

YES

YES

65

90

IRISH LIFE

YES

YES

60

80

NEW IRELAND

YES

YES

65

85

Correct as of June 2016 in respect of Life Insurance. For further information please contact SmartQuotes.ie
The above table illustrate the conversion options for Life Insurance. The conversion options for Specified Illness cover may vary. Please contact SmartQuotes.ie for further info.

Level Term

The policy is for a set period of time (e.g. 20 years). At the end of period the policy will lapse. The premium remains constant throughout the policy (except for the first twelve months if a discount is applicable)

Indexation

This option allows you to increase your life cover in line with inflation. The indexation rates vary between providers and clients should always ask what indexation rate applies to their premium and their benefits. In general individuals should look for an indexation option where the benefit and premiums increase at the same rate, which although more expensive in the early years will usually work out cheaper during the life of the policy. Please contact us if you would like an illustration of this for any particular indexing quote.

What is Specified Illness Cover?

Specified Illness cover is a long-term Insurance policy designed to pay a lump sum on the diagnosis of certain life-threatening or debilitating (but not necessarily fatal) conditions such as a heart attack, stroke, cancer, multiple sclerosis and loss of limbs. The specified illnesses covered vary between providers and can change from time to time. Where you have requested a quote and a specified illness option has been included we will provide you with a breakdown of the illnesses covered by that insurer.

Serious illness Insurance does not usually cover you for common conditions such as diabetes or certain treatable cancers. Also, if you develop an illness that is listed on the policy it does not guarantee you will be covered. Your condition must match your policy’s exact definition of the illness.

There are a number of different types of specified illness cover. A comparison of illnesses is provided at Policy Docs.

Accelerated Specified Illness Cover

Life cover with attaching Specified Illness Cover under the one policy. A Specified Illness claim payment reduces your remaining life cover by that amount i.e. advance payment of Life Cover. This can be an option with both Mortgage Life Insurance and standard Life Insurance policies. For example if the Life Cover was for €200,000 and the Accelerated Specified Illness benefit was for example €50,000. On the diagnosis of a Specified Illness €50,000 is paid to out with €150,000 of Life Cover remaining.

Life Cover with Standalone Specified Illness Cover

This is Life Cover with independent specified illness cover where a specified illness cover claim does not reduce the level of life cover.

Standalone Specified Illness Cover

This is specified illness cover with no life cover benefit

What is the difference between specified illness and terminal illness cover?

With specified illness the policy will pay out on diagnosis of a specified medical condition listed by the insurer. With terminal illness cover the policy will pay out if you are diagnosed as having 12 months or less to live, although some providers will not pay out if the policy has less than 18 months to run.
Terminal illness is included automatically on certain policies. Please consult your policy terms and conditions for details on this.

Specified illness cover can be combined with Term Life Insurance or Mortgage Life Insurance and a premium will be charged for the extra cover.

Will the insurer cover me if I already suffer with a specific medical condition?

It depends. You must disclose this on the application form in the required field. The insurer may then write to your doctor or request that you attend a medical examination before a final underwriting decision is made.
It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that all information submitted is complete and accurate.
It should be noted that clients have a duty to disclose any material facts, which come to light between the dates, the proposal form is signed and the date the policy is issued. Failure to do so may result in any subsequent claim being refused.

When you are applying for Life Insurance, Mortgage Life Insurance, Income Protection or Specified Illness Cover you are under a legal obligation to disclose all relevant details about your health or any other relevant item as requested on the application form. If it subsequently transpires that you did not disclose on your application something which was relevant and which you knew about, then the insurance company may cancel the cover under the policy and no claim will be paid. The insurance company will rely on what you have told them in your application. When in doubt about a specific item it should be disclosed and the relevant Insurance Company will decide on its relevance. Where you do not wish to disclose this information to the intermediary the Insurer can be contacted directly.

Are there any exclusions?

The details of any exclusions are included with the policy documents which will be sent out at policy issue. In general suicide is not covered until a period of 13 months have elapsed since the policy was issued and the first premium has been paid. Where in doubt the policy documents received at policy issue should be reviewed. If you have any specific queries please contact us on info@smartquotes.ie and we will get confirmation from the relevant insurance company on your behalf. If you are not happy with the policy once it has issued you are entitled to cancel it within 30 days and receive a refund of any premiums paid. Please see Cooling-Off Period below.

What is a Cooling-Off Period?

With most policies you have a “cooling off” period during which you can cancel a policy and get a refund of any premiums you have paid. These will be clearly advised in the policy information received from SmartQuotes (a trading name of PFP Financial Services Limited) or the relevant insurer.

What companies do SmartQuotes.ie offer Life Insurance for?

We work with some of the largest names of the market such as

Aviva
Royal London
Friends First
Irish Life
New Ireland
Zurich Life

We don’t handle client premiums for Life Insurance and all direct debits go directly to the insurance company. See further details on insurance companies at Appendix A.

Can I switch my provider of Life Insurance or Mortgage Life Insurance during the term?

In recent years term rates have reduced and it may be possible to obtain a lower monthly premium by switching provider.

Like with all products it is a good idea to review your Life Insurance to ensure it is value for money and fit for purpose. On an ongoing basis your life situation changes as do your insurance needs, so it’s important to review your life insurance cover every so often. Changes like birth, quitting smoking, divorce, re-marriage or even a new mortgage or job, are indicators that you might need to make changes to your life insurance policy. If you do plan to switch to a new Life or Mortgage Life Insurance policy, you’ll need to cancel your old policy in writing. However, you should not cancel it until the new policy is in place. ?In relation to Mortgage Life Insurance, any mortgage holder is permitted to organise their own mortgage life Insurance.
SmartQuotes use technology to compare the market to find you the lowest cost provider based on the information you have provided. We offer clients a discount on their first year’s premium. SmartQuotes allows monthly payers to benefit from this discount.

If you propose to take out this policy in complete or partial replacement of an existing policy, please take special care to satisfy yourself that this policy meets your needs. In particular, please make sure that you are aware of the financial consequences of replacing your existing policy.

It should be noted that it is not prudent to switch provider unless the premium before the discount is lower than your current monthly premium as after month 13 the premium will revert to the higher amount.

How to Switch Provider in relation to Mortgage Life Insurance

Obtain a quote from SmartQuotes.ie
If you obtain a lower monthly premium and are happy to proceed send in the completed application
SmartQuotes.ie will submit your application and contact you once the policy has been underwritten
Once you are happy with the underwriting terms select a start date to give you sufficient time to cancel your existing cover
Write to your lender notifying them of your new cover with a copy of the policy documents (which will be sent to you by SmartQuotes.ie). Write to your existing life Insurance provider to ask them to cancel your policy. A letter of assignment from the lender may be required.
Your new policy commences at the specified date. For the first twelve months you benefit from our discount of up to 50% off (subject to Terms of Business)

How does the discount during the first twelve months work

We are paid a commission for acting as intermediary and our first year’s discount is a rebate of part of that commission with you. For Life Insurance (including Mortgage Life Insurance) and Specified Illness Cover where policies are paid monthly we will refund 50% of the first twelve months premiums. The first of these rebates will be sent 30 days after the policy starts and monthly thereafter for 12 months in total. This rebate will cease after 12 payments have been made. This results in a net cost to you of 50% of the normal monthly premium for the first twelve months.
Where the term of the policy is less than 10 years no rebate will apply. Where policies are paid yearly no rebate will apply. It should be noted that if the policy is terminated within the first twelve months (by way of cancellation or non payment of premium) the commission rebate is refundable SmartQuotes.ie (a trading name of PFP Financial Services Limited) in full. Where a client changes their bank details during the rebate period an administrative charge of €20 will apply. This will be deducted from the 12th monthly refund. From month 13 onwards the normal monthly premium applies. NB: If you miss a payment during the rebate period (first twelve months), the monthly rebate will cease until payments with the insurance company are brought up to date.

What is meant by execution only

In certain cases we can arrange for you to purchase certain products but cannot provide specific advice on your circumstances, product type or provider. This is known as Execution Only. For Execution Only transactions no advice is provided and the product and provider is selected by the client. By signing the execution only letter the client is acknowledging they have neither requested nor been given any advice in relation to this product/ provider.
Furthermore by undertaking the transaction on an Execution Only basis that the client acknowledges that they are aware of the financial consequences of replacing an existing policy with a new policy and that if a new policy is taken out in complete or partial replacement of an existing policy that the client is satisfied that this new policy meets their needs.
Where a transaction is being undertaken on an Execution Only basis this will be advised to you at the time of receiving the quotation.

Can I cancel the policy at any time?

Yes, but of course your life Insurance cover will then stop also. There is no cash in value for any policy. It should be noted that if the policy is terminated within the first twelve months (by way of cancellation or non payment of premium) the commission rebate is refundable to SmartQuotes.ie (a trading name of PFP Financial Services Limited) in full.

How do I make a complaint?

If you have a complaint, we really want to hear from you. We welcome your comments, as they give us the opportunity to put things right and improve our service. Please email: info@smartquotes.ie

Insurance Company Details

Aviva
Aviva is one of the world’s largest insurance groups, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. In Ireland 1.3 million customers trust us to look after their financial and personal assets.
Aviva are very proud of their established and trusted heritage in Ireland spanning over 100 years. Aviva are committed to understanding our customers, recognising their individual needs and providing world class service.
Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No. 252737
For further information go to www.aviva.ie
Royal London
Royal London (formerly Caledonian Life in Ireland) are the largest financial Life, Pensions and Investments mutual in the UK and Ireland. Royal London specialise in Protection Products in the Irish market. They are committed to delivering innovative products backed by the highest standards of customer service. All Royal London policies provided are also covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme

For further information go to www.royallondon.ie
Friends First
With total assets exceeding €3.8billion, Friends First employ over 400 people and have their corporate headquarters in Dublin and regional offices in Cork and Galway.
Friends First is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Achmea, a pan-European insurance group with total assets exceeding €95 billion.
Friends First Life Insurance Company Limited. Registered in Ireland No. 165970.
For further information go to www.friendsfirst.ie

Irish Life
Established in 1939, Irish Life is Ireland’s leading life, investment and pension company. Irish Life is now part of the Great-West Lifeco group of companies, one of the world’s leading life Insurance organisations.
Founded more than a century ago in Winnipeg, Canada, Great-West Lifeco and its subsidiaries, including The Great-West Life Insurance Company, have a record for financial strength, earnings stability and consistently high ratings from the independent rating agencies. The Great-West Life Insurance Company has an AA rating for insurer financial strength from Standard & Poor’s. (correct as at July 2013)
Irish Life is committed to delivering innovative products backed by the highest standards of customer service.
For further information go to www.irishlife.ie
New Ireland
New Ireland Assurance Company was the first wholly Irish owned life Insurance company to transact business in Ireland. New Ireland provide life Insurance, pensions and investment solutions to individual and corporate customers. New Ireland had a market share of over 24% in 2012.
For further information go to www.newireland.ie
Zurich
Zurich Life Insurance plc is a member of Zurich Financial Services group a leading multi-line insurance provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East as well as other markets. Founded in 1872, Zurich Financial Services group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It employs approximately 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries.
As one of Ireland’s most successful life insurance companies, Zurich offer a full range of Zurich Life Pension, Investment and Protection products. Their investment team, based in Blackrock, Co. Dublin, is responsible for funds under management of approximately €11 billion, of which pension assets amount to €6.3 billion (as at 30th June 2011).
For further information go to www.zurichlife.ie