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Life Insurance FAQs

This page answers a range of questions about Life Cover.


Am I eligible to apply for life insurance?

You are eligible to apply for Sovereign TotalCareMax Life Cover if:

  • You are 16 to 70 years of age; and
  • You are a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident or you hold a current New Zealand work permit or a long term New Zealand business visa.
Are all occupations eligible?

Yes. Regardless of your occupation (or even if you have no job at all right now), you are eligible to apply for Life Cover.


How much cover should I apply for?

We are not able to say how much Life Cover you should apply for, as this website does not provide personalised advice. You need to determine that yourself, either independently or in combination with any advice which you might obtain.

However, you may find our life insurance calculator helpful when assessing your needs.

Can I apply for more than $2 million in cover?

Yes, you can. Our online quoting tool is limited to a maximum of $2 million in Life Cover, but if you would like a higher amount of cover, simply contact us. The maximum amount of Life Cover you can apply for is $100 million.

Can I increase my cover after my policy has been issued?

You can increase your cover in the following ways:

  • By utilising the Special Events Increase Facility in your policy, which allows you to increase your cover without the need to provide any additional health information if you experience one of a number of special events in your life; or
  • By applying for additional cover online in the usual way.

In each case an increase in cover attracts an additional premium.

Am I still covered if I travel or work overseas?

Yes, you are. Regardless of where you travel in the world, the reason for your travel or for how long you are away, you will be covered. This means that you remain covered even if you decide to leave New Zealand to live or work overseas.

Will I still be covered if I take up a dangerous sport?

Yes, you will. You will be covered for any dangerous sport which you decide to take up after your policy is issued, without any requirement to notify Sovereign. You would not of course be covered if you intended to take up that sport before applying for Life Cover, and you did not disclose that in your application.

Can I reduce my cover after my policy has been issued?

Yes, you can. If your circumstances or your financial responsibilities change, you can reduce your Life Cover at any time.

Will my cover expire at any particular age or date?

No it will not. Your Life Cover will not expire at any age or date. This means that provided you continue to meet the policy terms and pay your premiums, you will continue to be covered, irrespective of your age. There is no upper age limit.


For questions about our Life Cover quotes, please see our Quote FAQs.

Application Process

When should I apply?

You should apply today. If you don’t, you might find that you don’t apply at all, and then when you need the cover it would be too late. What’s more, you should apply while you can still be readily accepted, and not run the risk of developing a medical condition which could result in an exclusion being added to your policy or cause your application to be declined.

Is it easy to apply for Life Cover?

Yes, it’s very easy. Simply get a quote and apply online. It takes most people less than 20 minutes.

Is there a lot of paperwork?

There is usually no paperwork at all. You apply for cover entirely online, and your application can be processed and your policy issued without you having to complete any paper forms.

What sort of questions do I need to answer?

In addition to your name and contact details, the application form has questions about your residency, your occupation and activities, your health, any other life or health insurance you might have, and payment details.

Will I need to undergo a medical examination or tests?

No medical examinations or tests are normally required. However, if you are requested to have either, then there would be no cost to you at all. In that event Sovereign’s HealthScreen service could be offered to you. This consists of a registered nurse visiting you at your home or office at a time which is convenient to you. It’s all very low key.

What happens after I submit my application?

As soon as you submit your application a confirmation email will be sent to you. The email will outline what happens next, and it will have contact details in the event that you wish to contact us while your application is being processed. We will keep you updated at each step, right through to the acceptance and issue of your policy.

How long will it take to process my application?

All applications undergo initial processing right away, and the majority are fully processed within a matter of days. If there are any details missing from your application, or if further information is needed, then that may extend the time required to process your application.


What are my payment options?

All premiums are paid directly to Sovereign. You can pay your premiums by any of the methods below:

  • Direct Debit from a New Zealand bank account;
  • Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard); or
  • Debit Card.

You can change your payment method at any time.

You can pay your premiums weekly, fortnightly, monthly or annually. If you pay your premiums weekly or fortnightly, you can choose which day of the week your premiums are deducted. If you pay monthly, you can choose which date your premiums are deducted each month. You change your payment frequency at any time.

You will be notified before your first premium will be deducted. In any event, your first premium will not be deducted until at least 10 days after your policy is issued.

Do I get a discount if I pay my premiums annually?

Yes, you do. If you pay your premiums annually you will receive a discount of approximately 4.8% on the total benefit cost (everything except the policy fee). This discount is automatically calculated when you get a quote and select an annual payment frequency.

What happens if I miss a premium payment?

Don’t panic. Your cover will not immediately stop if you happen to miss a premium payment. Your policy provides 31 days’ grace for any premium due. If you miss a premium payment you should contact Sovereign as soon as possible and make arrangements to pay the missed premium. If you do nothing, and the premium remains outstanding beyond the 31-day grace period, then Sovereign is entitled to cancel your policy by providing notice to you in writing.

Cash Bonus

How does the 25% Cash Bonus work?

As soon as your policy has been issued, an amount equal to 25% of your first full year’s premiums will be direct-credited to your nominated bank account as a Cash Bonus. The Cash Bonus is normally paid before your first premium is due. The Cash Bonus is a one-off payment which applies only in the first year of your policy.

What happens if I cancel my policy?

If you cancel your policy before you have paid the first 12 months’ premiums, then you must repay your Cash Bonus in full. If you cancel your policy after you have paid the first 12 months’ premiums, you are not required to repay your Cash Bonus.


Can I change my mind after I receive my policy?

Yes, you can. You may cancel your policy at any time.

All of our policies come with a 15-day free-look period. If, at any time within the first 15 days of receiving your policy, you do not wish to continue your cover (for whatever reason), you may cancel your policy and get a full refund of any premiums paid.

You may still cancel your policy at any time after this free-look period, but you will not receive a refund of any premiums paid.

Can Sovereign cancel my policy for any reason?

Sovereign may cancel your policy in any of the following situations:

  • If a premium remains unpaid for more than 31 days after the premium due date.
  • If you did not disclose all material information at the time at which you applied for cover, or if you made a statement in your application which was material and substantially incorrect and was made either fraudulently or within the previous three years.
  • If you, a life assured or anyone acting on your behalf, makes a claim under the policy that is false or fraudulent in any respect. Sovereign can also decline liability in respect of any claim made under the policy.

Policy Owner

Can I change the owner of my policy?

Yes, you can. You may change the owner of your policy at any time. All existing and any new policy owners must agree to the change. For example, you could change the policy owner from just yourself to joint ownership between yourself and your partner. In order to change the policy owner, simply complete a Change of Ownership Form.


How do I make a claim?

If you need to make a Life Cover claim, please read our guide to making a claim.

If something happens to me, who receives the benefit?

All benefits under your policy are payable to the policy owner. If you, as the life insured, are the only policy owner and you die, then the benefit will be paid to your estate (and be covered by the provisions of your will, if you have one). If your policy is owned jointly by yourself as the insured and your partner, and you die, then the benefit will be paid to your partner.

Is any tax payable on any benefit received?

No. Under current New Zealand tax legislation there is no tax payable on any Life Cover benefit which is paid under this policy.

Can I get any help in dealing with a lump sum benefit I receive?

Life Cover policies have a built-in Financial Advice Benefit. This benefit allows you to claim reimbursement for up to $2,500 (including GST) for financial planning advice which you obtain following receipt of a Life Cover benefit. In order to be eligible for this benefit, you must pay for the advice yourself, the advice must be obtained from an accredited adviser approved by Sovereign, and you must claim the Financial Advice Benefit within 3 months of receipt of the Life Cover benefit.

Please refer to the Life Cover Policy wording for further details about this benefit and the full terms and conditions under which it is available.

Are there any exclusions which would prevent a claim?

Yes. If, within the first 13 months of the commencement date (or any reinstatement date) of the policy, the life insured dies or becomes terminally ill as a direct or indirect result of an intentional self-inflicted act (and whether sane or insane), then no benefit is payable under the policy. This exclusion also applies to any benefit increase made under the policy.


Can I see the policy wording before I apply?

Of course you can. You can view or download a copy of the Life Cover Policy wording at any time. If you have any questions at all about the policy wording, please contact us.

What is the Guaranteed Enhancement Benefit?

All Sovereign TotalCareMax policies contain a Guaranteed Enhancement Benefit. This means that if at any time in the future, Sovereign makes a change to the standard policy wording, and that change would be favourable to you, then the enhanced section will automatically be applied to your policy, subject to the conditions specified in your policy.


Do I have to notify anyone if I develop a serious medical condition after my policy is issued?

No you do not. You are not required to notify anyone and it will not affect your cover. However, if you develop a terminal illness or a specified terminal condition, you can apply for an early payment of up to 100% of your life cover. In that event, you would need to notify Sovereign of your condition in order to be able to apply for and receive that benefit.

Will my policy ever have a cash value?

No. The premiums for your policy provide risk cover only, and any other special benefits as set out in your policy. Your policy does not acquire any surrender or cash value at any time.

How financially strong is Sovereign?

Sovereign is the largest life insurer in New Zealand. Sovereign has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from international credit-rating agency A.M. Best. There is no life insurance company in New Zealand which has a higher financial strength rating. View the A.M. Best Company rating scale.

Important Information

  • The above provides a summary only of the benefits, terms and conditions of the policy. Please refer to the policy wording, including the policy appendix and schedule, for full details of the policy benefits and the terms and conditions under which they are provided.