With something as important as life insurance, you want to know you’re making the right decisions for yourself and your loved ones. But how can you be sure when there are so many variables and options?

General advice and personal advice can both be helpful for your decision-making, but there are some important differences you need to be aware of.

General advice

General advice is often available directly from insurers themselves. It goes a step beyond factual information in that the person giving you the advice can provide an opinion or recommendation on products, which can be useful for weighing up the pros and cons.

The big limitation on general advice is that opinion or recommendation doesn’t (and can’t by law) factor in your specific circumstances, so it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you.

When providing general advice, the advice provider must tell you the advice you’re about to receive is general – meaning it doesn’t take into account your own objectives, financial situation or needs.

Personal advice

Personal advice is more powerful because it provides an opinion or recommendation that’s based on your personal situation.

What’s more, personal advice providers must act in your best interests. So when you seek personal advice, you get an extra layer of comfort that the advice is right for you.

When it comes to life insurance, personal advice can only come from a qualified financial adviser. They would typically conduct a fact find to understand your personal situation and goals, then document their personal recommendation in a Statement of Advice.

What difference does it make?

Here are some sample questions to give you an idea of the difference between general and personal advice.

General advice questions
Personal advice questions

What are the different types of trauma cover?
How much trauma cover do I need?

What types of cover are available inside super?
Would I be better off owning some or all of my cover inside super?

How does the waiting period on income protection work?
What length of waiting period would be best for me?

What’s the difference between stepped and level premiums?
What combination of stepped and level premiums would be most cost-effective for me?

What are my options for reducing my premium?
How can I reduce my cover without sacrificing what’s important to me?