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Scottish Widows Life Insurance Review 2024

Scottish Widows is one of the biggest providers of life insurance, investments, and pensions in the UK, with almost 6 million customers across the country. They are known as one of the UK’s Top 3 life insurance companies based on the number of customers, according to figures from Statista.

Scottish Widows has been providing life insurance in the UK for nearly 200 years, with a wide range of policies to suit different people’s lifestyles and budgets. They are also highly rated by their customers, with an independent rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 Stars on Trustpilot.

Some of the main benefits of Scottish Widows life insurance:

  • Free terminal illness benefit which pays out if you are diagnosed as having 12 months or less to live.
  • Access to Scottish Widows Care which will provide counselling from qualified nurses (in partnership with RedArc and Clinic in a Pocket).
  • Option to easily split joint life insurance into two policies if you separate from your spouse or partner.
  • Free accidental death and mortgage cover while your life insurance application is being processed (90 days of cover maximum).

In our latest review of Scottish Widows life insurance, our insurance experts look at how Scottish Widows policies work for both new and existing life insurance customers. This includes a full breakdown of which policies are available, real price examples, and tips to save money on your cover in 2024.

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60-Second Summary – Scottish Widows Life Insurance Review 2024

Scottish Widows is a popular choice for UK life insurance customers, having protected UK families and businesses since 1815. Their life insurance prices start from less than £20 per month to protect your family or mortgage in the event of your death.

Last year, Scottish Widows paid out over £243million in claims, approving 99.4% of life insurance claims and 92.3% of critical illness claims in 2023.

  • Your loved ones could receive a pay out of up to £25,000,000 depending on the level of cover that you choose. This applies to level and decreasing policies only, and family income benefit customers can be insured for £1,500,000 maximum.
  • You can write your Scottish Widows life insurance policy into Trust for free, which gives you more control over how your policy pays out and who benefits from it.
  • Scottish Widows provides a range of free customer benefits, as well as the option to add popular benefits like Waiver of Premium for an extra cost.
  • Scottish Widows critical illness insurance pays out on diagnosis of 1 of 40 specified medical conditions and can pay out up to £3,000,000 maximum.
  • Children’s critical illness cover is included for free with all adult critical illness policies to provide extra financial protection for your family.

Scottish Widows offers a range of life insurance policies such as family life insurance, mortgage life insurance, business life insurance, and family income benefit.

Each of these policies works slightly differently, so you should consider the type of cover that you need before applying. The policy that is right for you will depend on what you want to protect (family or mortgage) and how much you can afford to pay.

The price of life insurance will vary for each person who applies, as explained in this video posted by Scottish Widows on their YouTube page.

How much does life insurance cost?

Scottish Widows life insurance policies have been rated 5 Stars by Defaqto, indicating that their policies provide high-quality cover that offers good value for money. They were also named the UK’s Best Critical Illness Provider at the 2023 Moneyfacts Awards.

If you are concerned about receiving extra benefits alongside your cover, Scottish Widows includes various benefits for free for all of their life insurance customers. This includes free emotional well-being support and free life cover while your application is being assessed.

You can add even more benefits to your policy for an extra cost, such as:

  • Waiver of Premium – This can be added at an extra cost and will pay your premiums for you if you can’t work due to accident or sickness (for 26 weeks or longer).
  • Life Cover Buyback – You can keep your life cover at its previous price and terms after claiming on a combined life and critical illness policy.
  • Total and Permanent Disability Cover (TPD) – This benefit can be added to critical illness or combined life and critical illness policies for an additional cost.

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Scottish Widows life insurance is available for UK residents between the ages of 18 and 79 years old. You can choose the policy term that suits you best, but your cover must last for at least 1 year (level term) or 3 years (decreasing cover).

You apply as you would with any other insurer, and you will be asked a range of questions about your general health, lifestyle, and occupation. This helps Scottish Widows to work out if they can offer the level of cover that you need and how much this will cost.

Like most UK life insurance companies, Scottish Widows will write your life insurance policy into Trust for free if you request this. This process allows you to legally specify who does (or doesn’t) benefit from your life insurance policy when it pays out.

Note:  You can create a Scottish Widows life insurance login to manage your policy online once your application has been approved.

Scottish Widows life insurance acts a financial shield for your loved ones, paying out to support them with important expenses in the event of your death. This can provide much needed peace of mind that your family will not struggle financially without your support.

Below, our insurance experts have put together a table that breaks down all the main facts about Scottish Widows life insurance policies for you.

Policy typeScottish Widows Life Insurance
Which types of life insurance are available?Level Term Life Insurance (Family Life Insurance)
Decreasing Term Life Insurance (Mortgage Life Insurance)
Family Income Benefit
Scottish Widows Protect Personal Protection (combined Life and Critical Illness Cover)
Increasing Life Insurance (index linked)
Relevant Life Insurance (Business Protection)
Key Person Life Insurance (Business Protection)
Can I buy joint life insurance from Scottish Widows?YES – You can buy either single life or joint life cover from Scottish Widows.  
Their joint life insurance policies will pay out on the death of the first partner who is insured.
Is terminal illness benefit included?YES – Terminal illness cover is automatically included with Scottish Widows life insurance policies.
This benefit pays out on diagnosis of a terminal illness (life expectancy of 12 months or less).
Can I buy increasing life cover?YES – You can choose for your life insurance cover amount (sum assured) to increase over time.  
This protects your policy against the impact of inflation, but your policy premiums will also increase. The increase amount will be between 2% – 10% every year.
Does my policy include Waiver of Premium?NO – But this can be added to your policy for an additional cost.  
Known as Scottish Widows Premium Protection, this will pay your premiums for you if you cannot work for 26 weeks or more (up to age 70).
What are the options for my policy term?Minimum term (level term or increasing cover) – 1 year
Minimum term (decreasing cover) – 3 years
Maximum term – Can be covered up to age 90
Does Scottish Widows have age limits for life insurance?Minimum age at entry – 18 years
Maximum age at entry – 79 years (60 years if you want to add on Premium Protection)
Maximum age at end of policy term – 90 years
What is the maximum amount I can be insured for (sum assured)?Level term cover – £25,000,000
Decreasing term cover – £25,000,000
Increasing cover – £15,000,000 (annual increases will allow you to increase this figure to a maximum of £30,000,000 over the policy term)
Family Income Benefit – £1,500,000 per year (level term) or £1,000,000 (decreasing term)
Is there anything that my policy won’t pay out for (policy exclusions)?Scottish Widows will not pay out for deaths due to suicide within the first 12 months of the policy start date.  
They will also not pay out for terminal illness if your diagnosis doesn’t meet the terms agreed in your policy documents).

Scottish Widows Personal Protection Policy Summary – CLICK HERE

Life Insurance provider reviews

The price of your Scottish Widows policy will be based on things like your age, occupation, health, and any high-risk hobbies. Not everyone will pay the same price, but their policies can be very affordable for many people.

Easy ways to save money on your Scottish Widows policy:

  • Improve your lifestyle (e.g. lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking).
  • Buy less cover (reduce your sum assured) or reduce your policy term.
  • Review any existing policies to ensure you don’t have more cover than you need.

Our life insurance experts have put together the tables below to highlight examples of how much Scottish Widows life insurance can cost for people of different ages and backgrounds.

Case Study 1: Miss K.

Details of applicantsMiss K. was born in 1991 and is a non-smoker.
Health details and informationMiss K. has been diagnosed with asthma, depression, and anxiety.  
Height: 164.5cm / Weight: 119kg
Cover requirementsMiss K. wanted £149,000 of decreasing life insurance to protect her mortgage over the next 27 years.
Monthly premiums (£s)£19.55 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums

Case Study 2: Mr L.

Details of applicantsMr L. was born in 1986 and is a non-smoker.
Health details and informationMr L. had an enlarged prostate but no other pre-existing conditions.  
Height: 5’9” / Weight: 16st5
Cover requirementsMr L. wanted £250,000 of level term life insurance to protect his family over the next 30 years.
Monthly premiums (£s)£26.55 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums

Scottish Widows doesn’t only sell life insurance, with their range of products including other policies including critical illness insurance. They claim that this cover is ‘simple but comprehensive’ to provide peace of mind and financial security for your family.

These policies are available for UK residents aged 18 – 64 years old and your cover must last for a minimum of 5 years. You will protected until you either cancel your cover or reach your 70th birthday.

Benefits of Scottish Widows Critical Illness Cover:

  • Access to all the same benefits as life insurance customers, such as the Scottish Widows Care service.
  • Guaranteed Insurability allows you to increase your cover after major life events without needing further medical underwriting.
  • Can choose either level term, decreasing or increasing cover.
  • Can be covered for any amount between £10,000 – £3,000,000.
  • Can be combined with either standard life insurance or family income benefit policies.
  • Children’s critical illness cover comes with your policy at no extra cost. This covers all of the same conditions as your policy, as well as an extra 5 child-specific conditions.

This short video from one of Scottish Widow’s experts explains more about the importance of critical illness cover and how it works.

What is critical illness cover

How many critical illnesses do Scottish Widows cover?

Scottish Widows critical illness cover pays out for 40 medical conditions to support you financially if you become seriously unwell.

  • 30 conditions will pay out 100% of your sum assured.
  • 10 conditions will pay out either 25% of your sum assured or £25,000 (whichever is lowest).

Scottish Widows will pay out an extra 50% ‘booster payment’, if you are under 45 and diagnosed with one of the following conditions:

Five Stars

Rated "Excellent" 5 out of 5

"This company went above & beyond to get me cover even though I have MS, I am very happy I managed to get cover, Amazing staff, Dean went above & beyond, I highly rate this company."

by Elizabeth Turner-Long - 9th August 2023

There are various reasons you might need to speak to Scottish Widows about your policy, and many different numbers to choose from which can be confusing.

Our experts have listed the main Scottish Widows life insurance phone numbers below to make things simpler for you.

Scottish Widows Customer Services (Life Insurance)

Telephone – 0345 030 6240

Opening hours – Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.30pm

Note: Many of their policies also have specific contact numbers available which can be viewed on the Scottish Widows website contact page.

Scottish Widows Life Insurance address (postal enquiries)

If you would like to contact Scottish Widows by post, you can do so at this address:

Scottish Widows Limited,
PO Box 24171,
69 Morrison Street,

If you die, your loved ones can claim on your Scottish Widows life insurance policy. You have the option of starting the claim online, or over the phone. If you would prefer to claim via post, you can send details of the claim to the usual customer service post address.

Scottish Widows will need either an original copy or verified copy of the death certificate before they can start to process the claim. This video was created by Scottish Widows to explain more about the claims process and how likely your claim is to pay out.

Will my insurance claim be paid?

You can read Scottish Widows’ latest claims statistics report HERE, which revealed that they paid out on 98.4% of claims in 2023.

You are allowed to cancel your policy at any point during your policy term, without paying any fees or penalties. You will need to speak to a member of Scottish Widows customer services team to start this process, but it should be simple to cancel your cover if needed.

How to cancel Scottish Widows life insurance

  1. Contact Scottish Widows directly to discuss cancelling your cover.
  2. Cancel your Direct Debit with your bank or building society.
  3. If your policy is written into Trust, all named trustees will need to confirm their approval of your policy being cancelled either over the phone or in writing.

Scottish Widows cancellation contact details

Telephone – 0345 030 6240

Opening hours – Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.30pm

If you want to complain about your life insurance policy, you can contact Scottish Widows at one of the numbers below.

Telephone – 0345 716 6777

Telephone (overseas) – +44 131 549 9772

Opening hours – Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm

If you’d prefer to submit your complaint in writing, you can send it to the following address:

Scottish Widows Limited,
PO Box 24171,
69 Morrison Street,

Scottish Widows should acknowledge your complaint in writing within 4 days of receiving it and they aim to resolve all complaints within 8 weeks. If your complaint takes longer than this or you aren’t happy with how it was handled, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service for support.

Financial Ombudsman Service Logo

Making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an impartial and free service for financial services customers in the UK. This service can be used to settle any disputes between life insurance companies and their customers in the United Kingdom. If they feel that you have suffered any financial loss as a result of your life insurance policy, then they may rule for compensation to be awarded.

Telephone – 0800 023 4567 (or 0300 123 9123)

Telephone (outside the UK) – 0207 964 0500


Can I cash in my Scottish Widows life insurance?

Your Scottish Widows life insurance policy doesn’t have a ‘cash in’ value, so you will lose any money paid in if you cancel your cover. You also can’t access the benefit of your life insurance early, unless you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

What is the maximum age for Scottish Widows life insurance?

You must be younger than 80 years old to buy Scottish Widows life insurance. This reduces to 60 years old if you are buying family income benefit.

If you think Scottish Widows is the right choice for your cover, you have a couple of options for buying your policy. You can speak to Scottish Widows directly or you can buy a Scottish Widows policy through several high street banks which are Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, or Halifax.

Many consumers find it helpful to apply via a specialist life insurance broker, as they can compare multiple quotes from across the market. You can speak to our experts for free, friendly advice by calling 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE.

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Is it worth paying for life insurance?

Yes, if you’ve got children or financial dependents then you should have life insurance to protect them if you die. Martin Lewis and the Financial Conduct Authority recommend that you take out life insurance to protect your family and your home. Generally, life insurance premiums start from as little as £5 per month and will be cheaper for younger adults.

Common myths about life insurance:

  • Life insurance won’t pay out (pays out 98% of claims)
  • People with medical conditions can’t have life insurance
  • Life insurance is expensive
  • Savings can be just as effective as life insurance
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Is life insurance worth it? - iam|INSURED

What is the average cost of life insurance per month?

Based on recent research carried out, the average cost of life insurance is approximately £38 per month and the average level of cover is £152,000. Life insurance premiums also vary dramatically from one insurance provider to another and you can reduce your monthly premiums by shopping around.

Fundamentally, life insurance premiums vary depending on your age, health and the amount of cover that you need, starting from as little as £5 per month. You can also get life insurance to protect your family and your home against financial loss if you die.

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Average cost of life insurance - iam|INSURED

What does life insurance cover you for?

Life insurance is a monthly renewable ‘term insurance’ contract that pays out a cash lump sum or regular payments on death to your family or beneficiaries. Policies are most commonly used for family protection or mortgage protection for your loved ones if you die and your household income reduces, plus the additional issues of losing a parent or carer.

Traditional life insurance will not exclude any pre-existing medical conditions and will cover suicide after 12 or 24 months. You can also use life insurance for business protection purposes as well as tax-efficient business life insurance for directors or key people.

What are the disadvantages of life insurance?

The biggest and most common problem that consumers have with life insurance is the cost and the monthly premiums. This is the top reason for policy cancellations and why more people don’t take out life insurance to protect their family.

Another key disadvantage with life insurance is that it holds no investment value, nor can you cash it in. Life insurance works like any other traditional general insurance policy (e.g. car insurance, house insurance, pet insurance etc.), you pay a monthly premium and it will pay out in the event of a claim. Some people decide to use savings instead of taking out life insurance but you need to make sure that you have sufficient savings to cover the costs of death for your family.

Why do I need life insurance?

The fact is that nobody actually ‘needs’ life insurance, but it is strongly recommended that families and couples have cover to protect their loved ones in the event of death. Martin Lewis recommends life insurance and says “this is something that every parent, partner, or person with any other type of dependent needs to consider”.

Life insurance financially protects your loved ones if you die and pays out a cash lump sum to repay your mortgage, pay for school fees, replace lost income, and pay for regular outgoings. Mortgage life insurance is not linked to your mortgage debt so you can use it to pay off some or all of your mortgage.

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