Scottish Widows life insurance review

Scottish Widows has a pretty decent selection of term life, whole life and critical illness policies to choose from. We look at whether they're any good.

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Scottish Widows

Scottish Widows was set up over 200 years ago to help keep families from being plunged into poverty. And in essence, that’s what it’s still doing. The brand came top for life insurance in our Finder Customer Satisfaction Awards 2023, with 82% of customers saying they’d recommend it, and a satisfaction score of 4.5 stars out of 5.

Life insurance is still a vital form of protection today and is designed to give your loved ones financial help should you pass away. It means they can focus on grieving rather than stressing about mortgage payments or living expenses.

In this review we analyse the different life insurance policies Scottish Widows offers – so you can work out if it’s the right provider for you and your family.

Who is Scottish Widows?

Scottish Widows was founded in the early 1800s by a group of Scotsmen to financially protect their wives, sisters and other female relatives.

These days it is part of the Lloyds Banking Group and has nearly 6 million customers, which it sells a wide range of pension and insurance products to.

What types of life insurance does Scottish Widows offer?

Scottish Widows’ life insurance products pay out a lump sum if you die or are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Should you die, this injection of cash could really help your family out financially in their time of distress.

Scottish Widows offers 3 broad types of policies to protect your family in the event you die or develop a serious illness. We explore them below.

Scottish Widows’ Life Cover policy is a form of term life insurance. This means that Scottish Widows will cover you for a set amount of time. If you die during this term or you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, it will pay out to your loved ones.

Depending on your situation you will have to decide whether you want level, increasing or decreasing cover.

  • Level cover, where both your monthly payments and the cover amount stays the same over time.
  • Increasing cover, where the benefit amount increases each year in line with inflation (RPI), up to a maximum of 10% per year. Unfortunately your premium will also rise – and actually at a faster rate than the benefit/payout amount.
  • Decreasing cover, where your payments stay the same but the level of cover decreases over time.
While the difference in name is confusingly subtle, Lifetime Cover is a completely different type of life insurance deal to Scottish Widows’ Life Cover.

Lifetime Cover is a type of whole life insurance, which means it will protect you until the day you die. So as long as you keep paying your premiums, it is guaranteed to pay out to your nearest and dearest.

And if you live beyond 90, your coverage will continue but you won’t have to pay any more in premiums. It’s worth bearing in mind that should you decide to take out a joint policy then Scottish Widows will pay out when the last person dies.

Scottish Widows also offers Critical Illness protection, which you can buy as an add-on to its standard Life Cover policy.

This means you’ll be covered not only in the event of your death, but also for critical illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke. Meanwhile your children will be covered for critical illness at no extra cost too.

So if you are left unable to work due to a serious condition or because you need to look after your sick child, this lump of cash could really help out financially.

Compare Scottish Widows policies?

Name Product Age range at application Cover range Term Pays out Joint cover Link
Scottish Widows Life Cover (term insurance)
Scottish Widows Life Cover (term insurance)
£2,000 to £5m
Minimum 1 year
If you die or get a terminal illness and aren’t expected to live longer than 12 months
Yes – only pays out for the first member of a couple to become terminally ill or die
Scottish Widows Lifetime Cover (whole life insurance)
Level term and increasing/decreasing options available
If a policyholder dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illness, sum will be paid
Scottish Widows Critical Illness with Life Cover
£2,000 to £2m
Minimum 5 years
If you become critically ill, terminally ill or die
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  • Automatic critical illness cover for children. With other insurers you often have to pay extra for this
  • 5-star Defaqto ratings for its critical illness and term life policies in 2019


  • Other insurers’ critical illness policies will cover you for more conditions than Scottish Widows
  • As with most life insurance policies, if you stop paying your premiums, you won’t get any money back and your cover is likely to stop
  • Lifetime Cover policy was only rated 3-stars by Defaqto in 2019

Scottish Widows life insurance exclusions

Like all insurers, Scottish Widows will have a set of reasons it won’t pay out for. Check your policy document to confirm your potential exclusions, but here are some key ones:

  • Failing to answer questions honestly and accurately when signing up could invalidate your cover
  • Terminal illnesses where you’re expected to live longer than 12 months
  • If you stop paying your premiums

Scottish Widows life insurance customer reviews

Scottish Widows fared quite well in the 2024 Finder customer satisfaction survey, with 85% of its customers in the survey saying they’d recommend the brand to a friend.

Several said the service was friendly and prices were “fair”, although some customers had more mixed views.

One said: “They are reliable but sometimes take a while to respond to queries.”

Another commented: “A name change proved very difficult.”

On the reviews platform Trustpilot, Scottish Widows overall has an “average” rating of 3.5 out of 5, based on more than 1,900 reviews (last updated: March 2024).

What’s the claims process for Scottish Widows’ life insurance?

You can claim by calling 0800 849 6089. You will need relevant information such as the policy number, the name of the person who died and the cause of death.

Frequently asked questions

Life insurance ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

To find out more, read our full methodology.

The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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