MONEY MATTERS: Women’s cover at a premium soon

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What women want – the age old question that Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt tried to shed some light on in year 2000 and one that a recent IPSOS survey of American women attempted to answer.

They concluded that three consistent top wishes were; to achieve a balance in life, to be fulfilled and to strive for financial independence.

There is a source of equality on the horizon, however, that may not be quite so desirable. Changes to the EU Gender Directive, which take effect on December 21, 2012, mean that women are likely to have to pay higher premiums when taking out new life cover and critical illness policies.

When these changes come into force no insurance provider will be able to use gender to calculate their protection premiums. Up to December 21, gender may be used and historically women have paid less for life cover products. The likely impact of these new rules is that women will have to pay more for this valuable cover and according to the HM Treasury Consultation Document (Dec 2011), it could cost around 15 per cent more for life cover after that date.

There are tough questions for everybody to consider:

What financial support do you have in place if you had to stop working due to a critical illness? How would you cope if a partner or someone you depended on financially were to die or get a critical illness? How would they cope financially if it happened to you? Could your family continue the lifestyle they’re accustomed to without you and your income? Who would pay the household bills and daily living expenses?

The figures released by the critical illness claims department of Legal & General make remarkable reading: In one year alone they paid over 2140 claims, that’s nearly six a day; the average pay out was over £70,000; the top five claims were for cancer, terminal illness, heart attack, stroke and multiple sclerosis; the average age of a claimant was only 44.

So there has never been a more important time to review your protection requirements, so get in touch with your financial adviser soon.