What is Life Insurance? Why is it so important?

4 min read
2 March 2021

Before we dive headfirst into the details of why insurance isn’t just a luxury item but an essential for every person, family and business, let’s get some definitions straight.

These definitions may seem complex, but trust us when we say that getting clear on these now, will make things a whole lot easier both down the line and as you continue reading!

  • Death Benefit – provides a lump sum benefit if you pass away.
  • Terminal illness – provides a lump sum benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Financial planning reimbursement – covers any financial advice costs up to $3000 to assist with managing or investing your claim payment for death or terminal illness.
  • Premium freeze – gives you the flexibility to keep your premium the same each year by reducing your sum insured.
  • Complimentary family final expenses – provides a lump sum benefit up to $20,000 should one of your dependent children be diagnosed with a terminal illness or pass away.
  • Guaranteed future insurability – when certain life events occur, you can increase your sum insured without having to provide further health evidence.
  • Final expenses – covers any immediate financial expenses up to $25000 or 10% of your sum insured if you pass away.

What is Life Insurance? 

Do I really need cover? 

Life insurance helps to ensure that your family can continue to live the lifestyle you planned for them, even when you’re no longer here. A sudden death, illness or injury can place extreme financial stress on those who depend on you, Money Smart. Anyone who has debt in theory needs life insurance. Let’s take a look why…

Let’s say you have a $900,000 mortgage on your house and a $10,000 car loan. Regardless of how high your income may be, if you were to pass away suddenly, not taking out life insurance means your family would be left to foot the $910,000 loan. What this looks like practically is that they would most likely need to sell the house and the car which would have a ripple effect on all areas of life alongside coping with grief… the last thing you want to leave your family with!

Life insurance means that your family can continue to pay the bills and other living expenses should your income suddenly stop. This is particularly important if your income is the main source of cashflow in the family.

Who gets the life insurance money? 

Please note, it is important that you nominate a beneficiary as part of your policy, so you can ensure the benefit and money goes to those who matter most to you!

Life insurance and SMSF Trusts

Did you know that SMSF Trustees have an obligation to consider taking out life insurance for members? Whilst not required by law to take insurance out, they do need to consider if it is appropriate. Often members will maintain life insurance outside the SMSF, however, there may be price and taxation benefits to holding the insurance inside the fund.

Tax deductions for contributions 

You may be able to claim a tax deduction on personal contributions paid to a superannuation fund if you meet eligibility criteria. Information about tax deductions for superannuation contributions including lodging your intention to claim a tax deduction can be obtained online at ato.gov.au

Tax payable on benefits 

Death benefit superannuation lump sum death benefits paid to a tax dependant of the deceased will be tax-free. A person who is a dependant for superannuation purposes may not be a tax dependant, and vice versa. For example, a child aged 18–25 who is a dependant for superannuation purposes and entitled to receive a death benefit will not be a tax dependant unless they are financially dependent on you or in an interdependency relationship with you. If that child is not financially dependent on you or is not in an interdependency relationship with you or the child is aged 25 or over, the death benefit paid to that child will not be tax free. More information about who is a dependant for superannuation and tax purposes can be found online at ato.gov.au.

Superannuation lump sum death benefits paid to non-tax dependants will be taxed at up to 15% plus the Medicare levy (if paid from a taxed source) and up to 30% plus the Medicare levy (if paid from an untaxed source). A non-tax dependant may include an adult child aged 18 years or older. Where a death benefit is paid to the legal personal representative of a deceased estate, tax is payable according to who is intended to benefit from the estate. It may be tax free if the lump sum death benefit is payable from the estate to tax dependants of the deceased.

Otherwise, it will be taxed as a benefit paid to non-tax dependants. Note: the Medicare levy will not apply to a lump sum death benefit that is paid to a non-tax dependant via the deceased estate.

Where required, tax payable on a death benefit may be withheld before an amount is paid from the superannuation fund.

Terminal Illness 

Lump sum benefits paid from a superannuation fund to a person with a terminal medical condition are tax-free.

Total and Permanent Disablement 

Lump sum benefits received from a superannuation fund are divided into two components – a tax-free component and a taxable component. The tax-free component is always tax-free. The taxable component is taxed depending on the person’s age and whether a taxed or an untaxed element exists.

Where to from here? Where can I take out life insurance? 

Kelly Partners Private Wealth can review your current insurance policies and try to find you cheaper premiums. With the cost of insurance increasing every year, insurance can get very expensive.

To take advantage of this, reach out to Trent Doughty on 0448 125 700 or Kim Lim at wealth@kellypartners.com.au 

This offer for Private Wealth Services is not available to clients of BMF as at 31 December 2016.


Kelly Partners Private Wealth (Wholesale) Pty Ltd is a corporate authorised representative of Kelly Partners Private Wealth Pty ltd (AFSL: 516704, ABN 14 629 559 860). Any general advice provided has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Kelly Partners Private Wealth Sydney Pty Ltd is a corporate authorised representative of Madison Financial Group Pty Ltd (AFSL: 246679, ABN: 36 002 459 001)