What recent changes to insurance through super could mean for you

Life Insurance -

When it comes to ‘life admin’, there’s often a lot to keep on top of.

While we’re focused on paying the bills, saving for the future or setting up the life we dream of, it’s easy to miss some of those other changes which can have an important impact on our lives.

Recent changes to the law that affect the way Australians are provided with life insurance through their super, which could place some members at risk of finding they’re without cover only when they go to make a claim.

Understanding what these changes are can help you identify whether you’re likely to be affected, and what your options are if you feel insurance through super is right for you.

So what’s life insurance through super?

Over the years, insurance through super has provided financial support to millions of Australians and their families in times where they’ve been unable to work due to sickness or injury, or in the event they’ve passed away.

On joining a super fund a level of death and total and permanent disablement (TPD) cover, and in some cases income protection, may have been automatically provided – with the ability to switch it off if you wanted to, or adjust the cover to meet your needs.

This feature of superannuation has provided many Australians with life insurance cover they may not otherwise have had in place.

And what are the changes?

The changes to legislation on 1 April 2020 affect when cover starts for new members and how long their cover remains in place. This follows prior changes on 1 July 2019 that means members may lose cover if their account becomes inactive.

When it comes to understanding the impact of these changes, it’s helpful to break them down by the different ways individuals may be affected.

If you’re under 25 years old when you join
If you’re under 25 and join a super fund for the first time from 1 April 2020, cover may not automatically be provided. You will need to have at least $6,000 in your account, in addition to being 25 years old, before cover may be automatically provided.

If your balance is less than $6,000 when you join
Even if you’re 25, or older, when you join a super fund for the first time from 1 April 2020, you’ll need to have at least $6,000 in your account before insurance cover may be automatically provided.

If you have an existing super account before 1 April 2020
If you’re an existing super fund member, and have an account balance that doesn’t reach $6,000 at least once at some point between 1 November 2019 and 31 March 2020, your insurance cover may be cover switched off on 1 April 2020.

If your super account hasn’t had contributions in the last 16 months
Since 1 July 2019, any super account which hasn’t received contributions for 16 months in a row is considered ‘inactive’. As a result, cover will be switched off every time this happens, unless you’ve told your fund you want to keep it in place.

Of course, you can contact your super fund if you would like cover switched on or to remain in place.

So why have things changed?

These changes are designed to help prevent insurance premiums from unnecessarily reducing retirement savings in super. However they may result in some members who want to be covered, not having insurance in place. There are some exceptions to these changes, for example, if your super fund classifies you as working in certain dangerous occupations.

It’s important that you consider your personal needs when looking at whether to retain existing insurance cover through super or opt in to life insurance cover provided through super.

  • For more on how life insurance through super works, read here
  • For more on how you can adjust your cover to suit your needs while still taking advantage of the benefits of life insurance through super, read here

Like all financial products, there are things you should think about before deciding whether this type of cover is right for you. If you have any questions about the insurance you have in place or what your options are, please get in touch with your super fund or speak to a financial adviser.

Important information: The information in this blog post is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual needs, objectives or financial situation. Before making any decision about a life insurance product you should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and seek professional advice before deciding whether it is suitable for you. This blog post has been prepared by TAL Life Limited ABN 70 050 109 450, AFSL 237848, an issuer of life insurance. Current as at 27 january 2020. © 2020 TAL Life Limited.

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