THE HI-TECH INVESTOR: Life cover made easy on the net

EVERY YEAR, thousands of people buy life assurance policies from their mortgage lenders. Usually, this is a rather expensive way to arrange cover. A lender's cover can easily cost pounds 10 a month more than the most competitive policy. Life assurance is a simple product, unlike a pension or private medical cover, and there are few reasons not to buy the cheapest policy on the market.

Direct Life and Pension Services and Life Search are two companies specialising in low-cost life cover; both now offer quotes over the internet.

Direct Life and Pension Services is a firm of independent financial advisers, and offers a range of policies, including standard life assurance or term assurance, endowments and critical illness cover.

The site is simple, with no elaborate graphics. Obtaining a quote means filling in two forms, one with relevant details such as age and the policy term, the other with personal information such as the applicant's name and address. The system promises "indicative" quotes in less than a minute, although these are not binding without filling in the conventional paperwork.

Direct Life and Pension Services says that it is an execution-only service, and it offers no advice. There is, however, a free phone line for people who prefer to ask a human operator for quotes, rather than use the net.

Life Search has a different approach. The company specialises in life policies and closely related products such as critical illness cover. It also gives advice, even to customers who approach it on the internet.

Life Search does this by eschewing the automatic quote engine in favour of an e-mail based system. This takes longer, but the company claims it can normally send quotes back within a day.

Applicants still fill in a form on the website, but this goes to the screen of a human expert who replies with a quote, and some advice notes. The company says that clients often ring to take out their policies rather than use the net.

Life Search promises to beat cheaper quotes, including prices from insurers that sell policies directly. It has also designed a site that is simpler and more attractive than those run by most insurance companies. The layout and graphics are reminiscent of a 1950s airline brochure, but the effect is pleasant enough and, importantly, quick to load.

Both sites are well worth a visit: shopping around for life assurance is an easy way to save money.

n Life Search: www.life-search.co.uk; Direct Life and Pension Service: www.lifequote.co.uk

Travel cover

A RATHER more upbeat form of cover is on offer on the net from Preferential Insurance. The travel cover specialist now offers online quotes for its annual insurance over the internet.

It offers online purchasing, with immediate cover for people who pay online. The company has a number of specialist policies, such as World Trekker insurance for young travellers who are away for extended periods, and cover for weddings.

n Preferential: www.preferential.co.uk

More net freebies

INTERACTIVE INVESTOR, the financial website, is the latest company to offer free internet access. The service, iii-world, comes with local-rate internet access calls, 10mb of personal webspace, an e-mail to fax gateway and member-only investor information.

The new service uses two telecoms companies, MCI WorldCom and Cable and Wireless, which Interactive Investor hopes will make the service highly reliable.

Unlike some other free internet services, iii-world's telephone support calls are charged at local rates.

n Interactive Investor: www.iii.co.uk; iii-world: http://register.iii- world.com/

n Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at: Hi-tech-investor@dial.pipex.com

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high