Personal Insurance - What Does It All Mean?

Personal Insurance - What Does It All Mean?

While it can be confusing, personal insurance cover is designed to make sure that you and your family are able to maintain a reasonable standard of living in the event that you are unable to work due to illness or injury, or in the event of your death.

We thought it would help to outline some of the more common insurance terms to help you when you are considering your personal insurance options.

Life Insurance/Death Benefit Cover

This refers to the amount of money payable to the policy holder in the event of the death of the insured person.

Total and Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD)

TPD insurance refers to a lump sum payment that is provided where a person becomes totally and permanently disabled. Some policies provide a payment if you can’t work in any occupation and others provide a payment if you can’t work in your usual occupation due to the disability. TPD insurance is intended to help meet the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation, debt repayments and the future cost of living incurred.  Note that the definitions of TPD vary between insurance providers and policy types. 

Income Protection/ Salary Continuance Insurance

These are forms of insurance that provide financial support where you cannot work due to illness or injury, generally via an income stream paid to you over a defined period of time. There is normally a waiting period and a benefit payment period.

Trauma/Critical Illness Insurance

Trauma and critical illness insurance provide a lump sum payment if a person is diagnosed with a condition or is required to undergo a medical procedure that is listed on the policy. This provides a safety net to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation and debts while you recover. This might include specific cancers, a heart attack or stroke.


The premium is the cost of insurance cover.  This may be paid as a lump sum or by instalments.


Indexation provides an automatic increase in your level of cover each year to keep up with inflation.

Stepped versus Level

You can have the choice of stepped versus level premiums. If they are stepped premiums, you will find your premiums will increase over time.

Loadings and Exclusions

In some cases an insurer will apply loadings or exclusions to a policy. A loading is an increase in the premium due to a pre-existing condition like a medical condition, or where there is a higher probability of a claim, for example, if you are a smoker. An exclusion is something that is excluded from cover under a policy, often due to its hazardous nature for example, a dangerous job or an extreme sport. You would not be able to make a claim for illness, injury or death resulting from an excluded activity.

Waiting Period

This refers to the number of days that need to pass before the insurer will commence payment under an income protection claim.  The waiting period may vary from one policy to the next and in some cases you can nominate for a longer waiting period in exchange for lower premiums on your policy.


The process of underwriting enables the insurer to assess the risk of a client and to determine the level and terms of any cover provided to them. Underwriting generally involves completing a detailed questionnaire, providing medical evidence and in some cases a medical examination. It is important to provide all of the relevant information. If you withhold information, this may have a negative outcome should you wish to eventually claim on your policy.


This is a document issued by an insurer when you purchase an insurance policy. It is used to verify its existence and for your record-keeping. The certificate includes the policy identification details, effective dates for the policy, type of insurance cover, and the amount of cover.

Your circumstances are likely to change and personal insurance comes in many different kinds to suit many different situations.  With the right insurances in place not only will you have peace of mind but you will be protected from major obstacles that life can present.  

To help with your personal insurance planning, consider contacting us for a complimentary planning appointment - you may be interested to read our blog - 6 Stages of the Financial Planning Process with Sound Life. 

The information contained in this blog is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial planner.

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Sound Life & Superannuation Agencies Pty Ltd trading as Sound Life Financial Services are
Corporate Authorised Representatives of Synchronised Business Services Pty Ltd
ABN: 33 007 207 650 trading as SYNCHRON
Principal address: Level 1, 65 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne Vic 3051
Australian Financial Services License Number: 243 313