What is life insurance?

It’s not something we like to think about really, but who would look after your family, financially, if you died, or were diagnosed with a terminal illness?

Life insurance offers financial support to your loved ones, who’ll receive a cash lump sum to help them pay off any outstanding debts, such as a mortgage, credit card or loans if you die during your policy term.

Big life changes, such as getting married, having a baby, buying a house or retiring are key times to think about protecting your family’s future. With Direct Line, you can choose the level of cover that’s right for you and your loved ones, from £5 a month.

Why choose life insurance from Direct Line?

Direct Line Life insurance is provided by AIG Life Limited, a specialist with 1.2 million customers.

  • Get up to £10,000 advance payment
    Once your claim has been assessed and agreed as valid, you could receive an advance payment if the full amount is delayed due to legal requirements or checks. Advance payments can take up to five working days to receive.
  • Health checks and mental health support
    Get access to Smart Health, which currently includes a personalised health report and access to a mental health specialist at no extra cost.
    Find out more
  • Critical illness cover
    By adding ‘Critical 3’ cover when you take out your policy, you’ll get a cash payout if you’re diagnosed with a heart attack, cancer or stroke of specified severity.
  • Save 7% if you’re already a Direct Line customer
    This discount is available for the duration of your policy when you pay a minimum of £5 a month.
  • Unlimited access to a GP
    Get a range of Smart Health services for you and your family at no extra cost. This currently includes 24/7 access to GP appointments by phone or video call.
    Find out more
  • Your monthly cost stays fixed
    If you don't change your policy, the monthly cost stays the same, helping you to budget.
  • Gift card worth up to £180
    After six months of taking out a new life policy, you’ll receive a gift card worth up to £180, depending on your monthly premium. Only apply for the cover you need and the premium you can afford.

    Amazon gift card image Love2Shop gift card image M&S gift card image

    Tell me more about this offer.

Smart Health is provided to AIG customers by Teladoc Health. These services do not form part of your insurance contract and could be changed or withdrawn in the future.

What type of life insurance do you need?

Life’s complicated. Getting life insurance shouldn’t be. Here are the different types of cover we offer, and how they might work for you:

Firstly, do you need level or decreasing cover?

Here's how they work:

  • Both level and decreasing term policies cover you for terminal illness and will pay out if your life expectancy is less than 12 months.
  • Whichever policy you choose can be changed to suit your needs, subject to terms and conditions.
  • In the event of a valid claim on death, the payment will go to your estate or your spouse/partner if you have a joint policy with them.
  • No cancellation charges apply.

Level cover:

Straight-forward cover. One cash lump sum is paid to your loved ones when you pass away, to pay off debt or use towards living costs.

  • Decide how much do you need
    Work out how much money you'd like your loved ones to get when you pass away.
  • Fix your monthly payments
    Your monthly payments will stay the same for the length of your policy.
  • Make changes when you like
    If your circumstances change, you can change your policy to protect the things you love.

Decreasing cover:

Think of this cover like a repayment loan. It's slightly cheaper than level cover, as it's designed to cover any big debts you're paying off.

  • Ensure a debt is settled if you die
    An outstanding mortgage or debt can be paid off when you die, to help your family, financially.
  • Your cover decreases over time
    Just as your debt decreases over time, so does your level of cover.
  • Fix your monthly payments
    Your monthly payments will stay the same for the length of your policy.

Mortgage guarantee for decreasing policies

With our mortgage guarantee, we'll make sure your mortgage is paid off in full if a valid claim pays out less than the outstanding mortgage debt. Terms and conditions apply.

For child berevement support, we work with Winston's Wish, a national charity that is accessible to anyone regardless of your insurance policy. The service is available even if your policy ends. Find out more

Learn more about level and decreasing term life insurance

Placing a policy in a trust

Are you over 50?

Our Over 50s life insurance may suit you better:

  • Get cover for the rest of your life
  • No medical assessments
  • Guaranteed acceptance up to 85 years of age (81 if you smoke)
  • Use the payout to help towards funeral costs
Find out more

Do you need to add critical illness cover?

According to the British Heart Foundation, someone is admitted to hospital after suffering a heart attack every five minutes in the UK. Luckily, 70% will survive, but who will take care of your bills while you recover?

By adding Critical 3 cover to your policy, you’ll be paid a lump sum if you survive for 14 days after a stroke, heart attack or a cancer diagnosis of a specified severity during your policy.

If you'd like to add Critical 3 to your policy, you'll need to buy it at the same time as you take out your life insurance policy with us.

Find out more

Terms and conditions apply

Do you need a single or joint insurance policy?

If you’re in a relationship, you may be wondering whether to take out two singles or one joint policy - what are the pros and cons? Whichever decision you make, it’s worth taking a look at your options every now and then to make sure your cover still works for your situation.

Cover for one person

A single policy is for one person. You pay a set amount each month, which is fixed for the length of the policy. If you die during your policy term, it usually pays out a tax-free lump sum.

Cover for two people in a relationship

A couple can each be covered under the one joint policy. There's one payment to make each month, which is often cheaper than taking out two individual policies. Once a payout has been made for one partner, the policy will end.

How much cover do you need?

Try our calculator to find the level of cover that’s right for you. You’ll need to think about:

  • Do any children depend on you, financially?
  • Have you got any unsecured loans?
  • How long is left on your mortgage?
Calculate cover

Important information

Things you need to know

  • If you cancel your policy or miss a payment, your cover will end after 30 days.
  • If you choose to add Critical 3 as an optional extra to your policy, you must purchase both at the same time.
  • This isn’t a savings or investment product and has no cash value unless a valid claim is made. Inflation may reduce the value of your cover.
  • As premiums are calculated on risk, we consider your age, health and lifestyle, including whether you smoke.

Need more help?

If you'd rather talk to us, just give us a call. We can help you choose the right kind of cover.

0800 077 8297

  • Mon - Fri 8am - 8pm
  • Sat 9am - 5pm

Contact Us

Download life insurance policy documents

Remember, if you already have life insurance with us, the wording of your policy may differ from the one you'll find here.

Direct Line customers are introduced to AIG Life Limited (AIG) by U K Insurance Business Solutions Limited.

AIG policies taken out after 22 July 2019

L&G policies taken out between 1 January 2013 and 20 July 2019

Life insurance frequently asked questions

Critical illness cover is designed to pay out if you’re diagnosed with a specific illness which could have a severe impact on your life.

Direct Line’s critical illness cover is provided by AIG and can be added for an extra cost when you buy your policy.

We call our critical illness cover ‘Critical 3’ because it covers you for the three most common conditions people claim on (according to AIG).

Adding Critical 3 to your policy will give you an extra level of cover for specific types of cancer, heart attack and stroke. Please refer to the policy documents for more information.

Yes, you can have more than one life insurance policy, and they don’t need to all be with the same provider. When you apply for a new life insurance policy, you may be asked whether you already have life insurance, as certain restrictions may apply.

You can choose how much cover need, subject to terms and conditions. You might want your policy payout to cover the value of your outstanding mortgage or debts, or you might prefer a cash lump sum for your dependants. Of course, you could get enough to cover both. To help you get an idea of how much insurance you might need, take a look at our cover calculator.

Cover that lasts for a fixed amount of time is called a term policy. How long you want your insurance to cover you for will depend on what it is you want to cover. For example, if you have a mortgage, you may want the policy to last as long as your repayments.

If you have children, you might want the payment from your policy to provide financial support for them until they've finished school, turned 18, finished university or can support themselves financially.

Your own age will probably have an impact on your decision, too

This will depend on how you set up the policy. In the event of your death, the payment will normally go to:

  • Your spouse/partner if you have a joint policy with them.
  • Your estate, unless the policy is in a trust or is owned by someone else.
  • A trust, if that’s what you’ve specified. Trustees will distribute the money in accordance with your wishes.

In the event of a terminal illness or critical illness claim the money usually goes to the person covered.

Life assurance is a type of insurance that covers you for the whole of your life, rather than a specific period of time (known as a term). It’s suitable for older people who generally use the payout to cover funeral costs. You might not need a medical, either, so you’re more likely to be accepted. Life assurance policies tend to be more expensive, as they always pay out when you pass away.

Life insurance, on the other hand, covers you for a certain amount of time. Many people take out this kind of policy to cover big debts such as mortgage repayments, so once it’s paid off, they no longer need insurance cover.

You can get a cash lump sum with both polices, to help family members when you pass away. However, with life insurance, you will have to answer questions about your health and lifestyle. Young people or those with mortgages tend to take out term insurance.

Yes.If you’re looking for no medical life insurance, check out our Over 50s Life Insurance. You’ll be covered for the rest of your life, although you’ll only need to make monthly payments until your 90th birthday.

You won’t have to go through any medical assessments, and you’re guaranteed to be accepted if you’re under 85 years old (81 if you smoke). As long as you live for at least two years after you take out the policy, your beneficiaries receive a payout when you die, which can be put towards things like funeral costs.

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