Helping answer your questions

We’re here to support you by answering some of the most commonly asked questions in relation to coronavirus (Covid-19) and the impact on your Pension, Life Insurance  and Investments.

Covid-19 update

Due to the challenging times we’re all experiencing, some of our offices are temporarily closed. This is putting pressure on our phone service and we may not be able to answer your telephone queries. We ask that you use our online services wherever possible to help us keep our telephone service free for our most vulnerable customers. Thank you for your understanding.

Please note we can’t give you financial advice. If you’re unsure what to do please speak to a professional financial adviser. You can find a financial adviser or use Unbiased. Advisers will normally charge for advice.

Q. Why has my pension pot fallen in value?

The coronavirus has created uncertainty in the stock markets and as a result your pension may have fallen in value. Our investment specialists have put together an update to explain in more detail how the coronavirus can affect your pensions.

Market update

For more general information on why your pension value could rise and fall watch our Pension Basics film.

Watch now

Q. What is Stock Market Volatility?

Stock Market volatility is a phrase used to explain that investment markets can go up and down significantly over a short period of time. The ups and downs can be caused by things like interest rate changes, political events, economic news at home and abroad or something like the current pandemic. What this means is that the value of your investment or your pension could go up or down quite quickly. Stock market volatility is normal though, and is part of being invested in the stock market; values will always rise and fall.

Our short video helps explain stock market volatility.

Watch now

Q. I am worried about my investment falling what should I do?

During economic downturn and stock market turmoil it’s natural to be worried and uncertain about what to do with your investment, especially if its value is falling. Short term ups and downs are to be expected and are a reminder to keep a long-term view on your investments where possible. We think of long-term investing as being ten years or more.

Our video “what should I do if I’m worried about my investment falling” provides some useful tips about what to think about at time like this.

Watch now

If you are considering making any changes to your pension, it is important to consider the implications of this carefully, bearing in mind your long term objectives. With a long term investment such as a pension that is meant to help support you when you retire any decision you make now can have considerable impact years down the line. We strongly recommend you speak to a financial adviser before making changes to your pension.

Q. Should I stop contributing to a pension during this time?

We understand that this is a financially difficult time for many people and you might be feeling uncertain about continuing to pay into your pension. You can stop paying at any time but you need to consider any long term implications to your pension savings if you do this. Alternatively you could consider lowering your premiums or taking a premium holiday for up to 6 months.

If you’re still able to afford to pay in, but are concerned about how the markets are behaving it’s worth remembering the good things about investing in a pension at this time in particular:

  • Pension contributions are treated in an advantageous way for tax purposes with personal contributions receiving tax relief at your highest marginal rate of tax
  • If you’re in a workplace pension scheme your employer pays in too. You should check with your employer if they’d stop paying in or not if you decided to stop
  • One of the benefits of regularly investing smaller amounts is that this helps average out the costs over time. If you are investing long term, such as in a pension, buying units when they are cheaper can work out to be good value in the long run.

Watch our short film for some more information.

Watch now

If you are considering making any changes to your pension, it is important to consider the implications of this carefully, bearing in mind your long term objectives. With a long term investment such as a pension that is meant to help support you when you retire any decision you make now can have considerable impact years down the line. We strongly recommend you speak to a financial adviser before making changes to your pension.

Q. If I stop paying regular monthly premiums, how will this affect additional benefits I may have such as Life Cover or Waiver of Premium?

When you took out your pension plan, you may have included one or more of the following additional features in your plan:

  • Life Cover which can provide a lump sum payment if you die before you retire;
  • Waiver of Premium (sometimes known as Waiver of Contribution) means if you cannot work because you are ill or have an injury and you meet the terms of the cover, after a waiting period (usually 6 months), we may pay your premiums for you.

In most cases, when you stop paying regular monthly premiums, the Life Cover and Waiver of Premium cover will stop at the same time. However, we are here to help you and if you contact us, we can discuss how we can support you through the crisis.

Q. Can I move my money into a lower risk fund?

We understand this is an anxious time, especially if you’ve seen your investments drop in value. You might feel the best thing to do right now is to switch your pension investments into lower risk funds but it’s worth noting that these funds generally have a lower potential for growth long term. Selling an investment when the markets are low can also potentially result in you locking in your loss. Think about selling a house as an example - if you sell when the prices are low, not only might you get less, but you might also pay more for a new one if the prices go up. While the investment markets have been turbulent, and will continue to be in the short-term, history tells us that staying invested provides the best opportunity for long-term outcomes.

If you are considering making any changes to your pension, it is important to consider the implications of this carefully, bearing in mind your long term objectives. With a long term investment such as a pension that is meant to help support you when you retire any decision you make now can have considerable impact years down the line. We strongly recommend you speak to a financial adviser before making changes to your investment.

Q. Should I postpone my retirement to give my pension investments a potential chance to recover?

When it comes to thinking about when to take your pension there are a few questions to ask. What will you need to live on in retirement? How much will you get from your state pension and when? Do you have enough private pension savings to make up the difference between the state and what you need to live off?

Deciding when to take your pension benefits is a complex decision and you will need to consider your personal circumstances. For example, you might be able and willing to continue working or reduce your hours to part-time instead of fully retiring. As there are significant tax benefits to investing in a pension, if you have other savings using these to supplement your income might be an alternative.

It’s important to consider that taking large amounts from your pension pot when the markets are low can have a disproportionately large effect on your pension pot down the line. In order to take money out you will need to sell units in your investments and if the prices are low, you will need to sell a higher number to get the desired amount. This means that there will be fewer units later that you can use to take more income or buy a guaranteed income for life. If you can’t afford to wait you should therefore consider only taking as much as you need short-term.

These kind of decisions can be complicated and we strongly recommend you speak to a financial adviser before making a decision about your retirement. If you are over 50 you are also entitled to a free Pension Guidance session with Pension Wise – a Government service – they will be able to help you make sense of your options.

Q. Where can I get more general information on pensions?

We have a series of short films covering all sorts of pension questions you can watch them and access a host of helpful information on our Taking on Your Future Together hub.

If you need any advice on the next steps to take with your pension, you’re best to speak to your Financial Adviser, if you don’t have one you can find a financial adviser or use Unbiased. There will usually be a charge for financial adviser so you can also access help and guidance through Pension Wise, Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service.

Q. Am I able to reduce my monthly premiums?

If you have a workplace pension scheme and your earnings are reducing it is likely that your pension contributions will reduce automatically. If you want more detail about how your scheme works or information about how to reduce your contributions you should contact your employer in the first instance.

If you’re an existing Scottish Widows Retirement Account policy holder the minimum you can reduce your premiums to without stopping them completely is £50 per month (£600 per year). To make changes to your premiums please write to us.

If you are considering making any changes to your pension, it is important to consider the implications of this carefully, bearing in mind your long term objectives. With a long term investment such as a pension that is meant to help support you when you retire any decision you make now can have considerable impact years down the line. We strongly recommend you speak to a financial adviser before making changes to your pension.

Q. Can I get up to date policy information online?

Yes, if you have a workplace pension scheme you’ll have a choice of two routes. If your employer has an info-site you can find information about your scheme there and log into your pension policy. For those schemes that do not have their own Info-site you can view and manage your pension via the Scottish Widows Employee portal. It’s easy to register via the register page or via the log in page.

If you have a Retirement Account it is supported by a range of online services, which means that you can keep track of your retirement savings whenever you want. By registering online you’ll be able to see:

  • All transactions going through your Retirement Account
  • Real-time valuations
  • Your Retirement Account investment history.

You can do this by clicking log in or register. Once you’ve registered your details you can access your retirement account online.

Q. Is my pension safe with you?

It’s natural to feel uncertain about what to do during times like these. But when it comes to your pension with Scottish Widows it’s worth remembering:

  • Scottish Widows has been around for over 200 years, we have the experience and expertise to help weather this storm. Our pensions and investment experts will continue to monitor the situation and provide up-to-date guidance on this page.
  • We are part of Lloyds Banking Group one of the UK’s largest financial institutions and your pension plan will also be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if we were to go out of business.

    Watch our short film “How safe is my pension”

    Watch now

Q: What’s the impact on my pension if I’m invested in a lifestyling strategy?

Lifestyling strategies are common in most workplace pensions. If you haven’t made changes to your investment since you joined the scheme, you’re probably invested in a type of lifestyling strategy.

Lifestyling is the process where the funds your pension is invested in moves towards lower risk funds the closer you get to retirement age. The aim is to protect the value of your pension from drastic market falls as you reach retirement age.

To find out if your pension is invested in a lifestyling strategy check your annual pension statement, log onto your pension portal or speak to your financial adviser or employer where applicable.

Watch our short film to find out more about lifestyling.

Watch now

The years when you are actively contributing to your pension is called the ‘growth phase.’ During the growth phase, we invest the money in your pension in higher risk funds, such as shares. Our experience has shown by doing this it provides higher potential for growth. At this stage of your journey, your investments have more time – decades, in most cases – to recover from short-term market downturns. If you are in this phase you might have seen the value of your pension drop but as you have a long time before you retire, your pension has longer to potentially recover.

Q: What’s the impact on my pension if I am not invested in a lifestyling strategy?

The impact of the recent market fluctuation will depend on the investments you have chosen. However, it is likely that the value of your pension has dropped and we understand this can be worrying.

If you have selected your own investments you should review these regularly to make sure they still suit your individual circumstances. It’s important to remember that pensions are long term investments and even if you’re getting closer to retirement your investment might still have years to potentially recover.

If you are thinking of making changes to your pension at this time, please read our section at the top of this page - ‘Thinking of making changes to your pension due to coronavirus’ for guidance and support on the key things to consider.

I’m years from retirement – watch our Pension Basics films for more information.

The value of your investment and any income from it is not guaranteed, it can go down as well as up. You may not get back the original amount you invested.

Q: What’s the impact on my pension if I’m invested in a lifestyling strategy?

Lifestyling strategies are common in most workplace pensions. If you haven’t made changes to your investment since you joined the scheme, you’re probably invested in a type of lifestyling strategy.

Lifestyling is the process where the funds your pension is invested in moves towards lower risk funds the closer you get to retirement age. The aim is to protect the value of your pension from drastic market falls as you reach retirement age.

To find out if your pension is invested in a lifestyling strategy check your annual pension statement, log onto your pension portal or speak to your financial adviser or employer where applicable.

Watch our short film to find out more about lifestyling.

Watch now

As you begin to get closer to retirement, usually around 15 years before your retirement age, we begin what’s called the de-risking stage. This means we start to gradually move your pension investments into lower risk funds. We do this because, with less time until your selected retirement age, your pension wouldn’t have as much time to recover from any stock market drops. Although de-risking reduces the growth potential of your pension, it also aims to help protect its value as you near your selected retirement date. If you’re in this phase, you will have seen a drop in the value of your pension, but this will likely be smaller than for those in the growth phase, due to gradual movement away from higher risk funds the closer you get to retirement age.

Q: What’s the impact on my pension if I am not invested in a lifestyling strategy?

The impact of the recent market fluctuation will depend on the investments you have chosen. However, it is likely that the value of your pension has dropped and we understand this can be worrying.

If you have selected your own investments you should review these regularly to make sure they still suit your individual circumstances. It’s important to remember that pensions are long term investments and even if you’re getting closer to retirement your investment might still have years to potentially recover.

If you are thinking of making changes to your pension at this time, please read our section at the top of this page - ‘Thinking of making changes to your pension due to coronavirus’ for guidance and support on the key things to consider.

I’m nearing retirement – Watch our Pension Basic films for more information.

The value of your investment and any income from it is not guaranteed, it can go down as well as up. You may not get back the original amount you invested.

Q: What’s the impact on my pension if I’m invested in a lifestyling strategy?

Lifestyling strategies are common in most workplace pensions. If you haven’t made changes to your investment since you joined the scheme, you’re probably invested in a type of lifestyling strategy.

Lifestyling is the process where the funds your pension is invested in moves towards lower risk funds the closer you get to retirement age. The aim is to protect the value of your pension from drastic market falls as you reach retirement age.

To find out if your pension is invested in a lifestyling strategy check your annual pension statement, log onto your pension portal or speak to your financial adviser or employer where applicable.

Watch our short film to find out more about lifestyling.

Watch now

As you approach retirement, the gradual move towards lower risk investments continues. By the time you reach this point, a large proportion of your pension will likely be invested in lower risk funds so there may have been a reduced impact on the value of your pension compared to someone many years from retirement.

If you are thinking of making changes to your pension at this time, please read our section at the top of this page - ‘Thinking of making changes to your pension due to coronavirus’ for guidance and support on the key things to consider. You can learn more about your options at retirement here.

Q: What’s the impact on my pension if I am not invested in a lifestyling strategy?

The impact of the recent market fluctuation will depend on the investments you have chosen. If you have selected your own investments you should review these regularly to make sure they still suit your individual circumstances. Knowing you were retiring soon, you may have selected lower risk investments and there may have been a reduced impact on your pension value as a result. However, if the value of your pension has dropped, we know this can be worrying.

If you are thinking of making changes to your pension at this time, please read our section at the top of this page - ‘Thinking of making changes to your pension due to coronavirus’ for guidance and support on the key things to consider. You can learn more about your options at retirement here.

I’m retiring soon – Watch our Pension Basic films for more information.

The value of your investment and any income from it is not guaranteed, it can go down as well as up. You may not get back the original amount you invested.

Q. I’m a member of my workplace pension scheme what should I do?

All pension investment strategies incorporate risk if you are in a workplace scheme you may be invested in a default fund. Typically these funds are set up in such a way that when you are younger and far from retirement you take advantage of the long term nature by investing a larger amount into shares but as you get closer to retirement the provider automatically starts to move you into funds which carry less risk – the theory is that this allows you to gain from the higher performance and volatility of shares when you are a long term from retirement but you don’t have that same level of pension value fluctuations as you get closer to retirement. The goal is to offer the best of both worlds and by remaining in your scheme default strategy you will get this automatic re-balancing. We recommend talking to your employer if you have any questions about their workplace scheme.

Q. How long is long term?

When we talk about long term investing we usually mean anything over ten years, medium term investing is normally for five to ten years and short term investing is less than five years.

Q. I am receiving the 80% Government pay how does this affect my pension?

You’ll still be required to make pension payments but the amount will be based on the level of pay you receive from the Job Retention Scheme. The monthly pay you’ll receive from the scheme will be 80% of your normal pay, up to a maximum of £2500 per month.

If you’re participating in the Job Retention Scheme, your employer will also receive a payment in respect of the minimum Employer pension payment due under Auto Enrolment. This means that they should continue to make payments to your pension. It should be noted that these payments will be based on the amount of pay you receive (which is likely to be at the reduced amount) and the % payable may also be lower than you normally receive, as the scheme caps the payment to your employer at 3%. Your employer can pay above that level, but any amounts above 3% won’t be covered by the scheme.

It’s possible for you to consider reducing, or temporarily stopping, payments to your pension, although you should consider this option very carefully. To do this, you will need to discuss this with your employer. If you do reduce, or stop, payments we would encourage you to reinstate these to their previous level as soon as possible after your pay returns to normal.

Any shortfall in payments through the period of the furlough can be made up by speaking to your employer and making arrangements to pay a single premium. You can also make additional payments by logging on (or registering) for access to your pension online at www.scottishwidows.co.uk and clicking on the ‘log in’ link at the top of the page.

Q. If I’m off ill or on reduced pay, how will this affect the automatic contributions into my workplace pension?

If you are a member of a workplace pension scheme your employer will still be assessing your pay under automatic enrolment rules and contributing on your behalf. Contributions will be based on your actual pay and your schemes definition of pensionable earnings. Contributions might stop if you’re receiving statutory sick pay.

This will largely depend on the terms of your employment contract and we recommend you speak to your employer about this if you are unsure.

Q. Can I claim my pension early to help with bills and payments?

If you are thinking about accessing your pension plan early its worth remembering that the earliest age at which you can normally access your pension is age 55. If someone contacts you claiming you can access your pension earlier, this is likely to be a scam that would result in you losing a significant part of your pension to tax.

If you are over 55, you will be able to access your pension benefits, but you should consider such decision carefully. There are a number of ways of accessing your retirement savings, each with different tax implications. Some of these will also limit the amount you can pay into your pension plan in the future. Most importantly, you should bear in mind that taking your pension early means that your pension pot will need to work much harder to last you throughout your retirement.

These kind of decisions can be complicated and we strongly recommend you speak to a financial adviser before making a decision about your retirement. If you are over 50 you are also entitled to a free Pension Guidance session with Pension Wise – a Government service – they will be able to help you make sense of your options.

A pension plan carries significant tax benefits both in terms of pension relief on contributions and growth and also significant tax benefits on death – so if you have other savings plans that you can access it may be more prudent to use these first and save your pension to enjoy in later life.

Q. I’m self-employed and worried about my finances, what should I do?

The Government has announced support package for self-employed people. To find out more please visit www.gov.uk.

Q. What should I do if someone calls me about my pensions, could it be a pension scam?

Unfortunately scammers use situations like the market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus to take advantage of people and undertake fraudulent activity. It important not to give out your personal information if you are contacted unexpectedly or let anyone into your home if you suspect they are not genuine. If you need advice we recommend contacted a professional financial adviser.

For more information our Pension Basics film and guide can help.

Q. Where can I find out more about the current coronavirus situation and the impact on investments?

Scottish Widows have a dedicated investment team who have put together more detailed information to help during this time. You can access the latest information on our Market update or a blog by our Investments Director Iain McGowan

Q. I have a Scottish Widows Bank Mortgage/Savings Account, where can I get more information about the support available?

We want to offer our customers all the help we can, the latest coronavirus information for Scottish Widows Bank customers can be found on the Scottish Widows Bank website.

If your income has been affected by the disruption from the coronavirus, there are options to help you. These include:

  • No fees for missed payments on mortgages
  • Payment holidays on mortgages with additional support provided when you need it
  • Emergency access to savings in fixed term and notice accounts without charge.

Due to the challenging times we’re all experiencing, Scottish Widows Bank is dealing with a much higher number of calls from customers than normal. So that we can support those in the most vulnerable situations we ask that you only call if your enquiry is urgent. We are doing our best to help customers as quickly as possible and we appreciate your understanding.

Q. Can I take a payment holiday on my Scottish Widows Bank mortgage?

If the coronavirus has affected your income, you may wish to take a mortgage payment holiday.

You can ask to take a break of up to a maximum of three months.

Scottish Widows Bank is currently dealing with a much higher number of phone calls than usual, so the quickest way to ask for a payment holiday is online.

You can apply online if:

  • You have a joint mortgage, everyone agrees to the payment holiday
  • Your mortgage payments are up to date.

If your mortgage account is in arrears, Scottish Widows Bank have other ways of helping you. Please call 0800 001 5145. Call waiting times are much longer than usual.

Coronavirus has created a lot of uncertainty for everyone, and as a result we’re receiving more calls than normal, putting pressure on our ability to support our most vulnerable customers.  If you want to find out more about the type of life insurance product you have with us, please check your Policy Schedule and Policy Provisions/Terms & Conditions in the first instance. These documents are really useful and tell you everything you need to know about your product and what you are and aren’t covered for.

If you want to notify us of a new claim please use the online Health (Illness) Claim Form or Bereaved Claim Form. If it is an existing claim it will continue to be dealt with and we will continue to contact you throughout the claim process.

Following a bereavement you can find more support and information here.

If you’re arranging the funeral, you’ll need to pay for this upfront. We may be able to help with this if no other arrangements have been made and you don’t have the money available. We have signed up to the Funeral Pledge, which means that we can advance up to £10,000 to a funeral director if there are delays in closing accounts while waiting for probate. Bereavement support (pdf).

Q. Can a claim be made on my existing life insurance due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

If you already have life insurance with us and were to die as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) before the policy expiry or end date, a claim can be made.  Our dedicated claims team would be there to help and support your family through the process as they would in normal circumstances.

Q. Does Income Protection (IP), Essential Earnings Cover (EEC) or Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium cover loss of jobs, loss of income (self-employed) or being made redundant?

IP and EEC policies are designed to help financially support you should you be off work for a long time due to sickness or accident so they don’t include redundancy, unemployment or loss of income cover. It’s always worth looking over your policy documents to check what you’re covered for and the deferred period (number of weeks before a claim can be paid) that you have with your policy – usually 13, 26 or 52 weeks. Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium is an optional feature, so if you’ve included it in your policy it’ll pay your monthly premiums after a waiting period of 3-6 months should you be off work due to sickness or accident. This is the case regardless of the cause of your illness, COVID-19 related or otherwise.

Q. Will Premium Protection (Waiver of Premium) cover any absence from work due to COVID 19 (Coronavirus)?

Premium Protection is an optional feature, so if you’ve included it in your policy it’ll pay your monthly premiums after a waiting period of 3-6 months should you fall ill and are unable to work. This is the case regardless of the cause of your illness, COVID-19 related or otherwise.

Q. Why is Covid-19 (Coronavirus) not a critical illness condition?

The first incidences of COVID-19 were only documented in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, so it’s a very recent development. As a result it’s not included in our list of critical illnesses. However, if you suffer complications as a result of this condition you might be able to claim under another critical illness definition where you may meet the criteria for a claim.

Q. I have been advised to carry out shielding and totally isolate for at least 12 weeks because I have an underlying health condition which places me at very high risk of severe illness from Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Can I make a claim under my Income Protection policy (IP), Essential Earnings Cover (EEC) or Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium?

We appreciate this must be a very anxious time for you and your family, but these types of policies don’t cover this particular scenario. IP and EEC policies are designed to help financially support you should you be off work for a long time due to sickness or accident. It’s always worth looking over your policy documents to check what you’re covered for and the deferred period (number of weeks before a claim can be paid) that you have with your policy – usually 13, 26 or 52 weeks. Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium is an optional feature, so if you’ve included it in your policy it’ll pay your monthly premiums after a waiting period of 3-6 months should you be off work due to sickness or accident. This is the case regardless of the cause of your illness, COVID-19 related or otherwise. You might want to discuss this with your employer in the first instance.

Q. I am self-isolating because I might be infected with Covid-19 (Coronavirus), or a member of my household may be infected with it. Can I make a claim under my Income Protection policy (IP), Essential Earnings Cover (EEC) or Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium?

We appreciate this must be a very anxious time for you and your family, but these types of policies don’t cover this particular scenario. IP and EEC policies are designed to help financially support you should you be off work for a long time due to sickness or accident. It’s always worth looking over your policy documents to check what you’re covered for and the deferred period (number of weeks before a claim can be paid) that you have with your policy – usually 13, 26 or 52 weeks. Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium is an optional feature, so if you’ve included it in your policy it’ll pay your monthly premiums after a waiting period of 3-6 months should you be off work due to sickness or accident. This is the case regardless of the cause of your illness, COVID-19 related or otherwise. You might want to discuss this with your employer in the first instance.

Q. I have been strongly advised to strictly follow social distancing measures because I have an underlying health condition and I am not able to continue to go to work safely. Can I make a claim under my Income Protection policy (IP), Essential Earnings Cover (EEC) or Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium?

IP and EEC policies are designed to help financially support you should you be off work for a long time due to sickness or accident so policies don’t cover this particular scenario. It’s always worth looking over your policy documents to check what you’re covered for and the deferred period (number of weeks before a claim can be paid) that you have with your policy – usually 13, 26 or 52 weeks. Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium is an optional feature, so if you’ve included it in your policy it’ll pay your monthly premiums after a waiting period of 3-6 months should you be off work due to sickness or accident. This is the case regardless of the cause of your illness, COVID-19 related or otherwise. You should discuss this with your employer to see what support they can offer if you are being asked to continue to travel to work.

Q. Can I claim on my Income Protection policy (IP), Essential Earnings Cover (EEC) or Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium if government guidance requires ‘lockdown’?

We are in unprecedented times and must all follow Government guidance but a lockdown situation is not covered with these policies. IP and EEC policies are designed to help financially support you should you be off work for a long time due to sickness or accident. It’s always worth looking over your policy documents to check what you’re covered for and the deferred period (number of weeks before a claim can be paid) that you have with your policy – usually 13, 26 or 52 weeks. Premium Protection/Waiver of Premium is an optional feature, so if you’ve included it in your policy it’ll pay your monthly premiums after a waiting period of 3-6 months should you be off work due to sickness or accident. This is the case regardless of the cause of your illness, COVID-19 related or otherwise. You might want to talk to your employer about this in the first instance.

Q. With the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak will there be any changes to my ongoing claim?

Making a claim can be a very upsetting and distressing time but our specialist claims team will continue to be here to help and support you and your family. There will be no changes to our claims process but we’re all aware of challenges the NHS and the broader medical profession is facing just now.  A lot of claims rely on these services and we are hugely mindful of not adding to the burden just now.  What that means in practice is only requesting medical evidence as a last resort, stopping any home visits or medical screenings and allowing customers and health workers to focus on the significant challenge in front of us all.

Q. How can I make changes to my policy, for example update my personal details or change my direct debit?

If you want to make changes to your policy, such as changing your direct debit details or address, please email your request to P4LServicing@scottishwidows.co.uk.  Give us a note of your policy number and telephone number and we’ll get back in touch with you.

Q. How can I see full details of my policy?

Each year we send you an Annual Plan Summary and this shows you all the information you need about your policy.  If you’ve any questions you can email us at P4LServicing@scottishwidows.co.uk.  Give us a note of your policy number and telephone number and we’ll get back in touch with you.

Q. How can I reinstate my direct debit instruction?

All we need you to do is complete a new direct debit and you can email it to us at:
P4LServicing@scottishwidows.co.uk

Here’s the link for your new direct debit:
https://adviser.scottishwidows.co.uk/assets/literature/docs/47251.pdf

Q. Can you help me access a trust form?

We have lots of different trust forms depending on your circumstances, here’s a list of them and all you have to do is click on the one most relevant for you:

Flexible Trust Form (to be used to nominate a beneficiary where there is no current beneficiary).

Deed of Appointment of Additional Trustees (to be used when looking to additional trustees to your policy).

Deed of Variation of Default Beneficiaries (to be used when looking to change your existing beneficiaries).

If these forms are not relevant then please follow this link where further forms can be found.

Q. How do I cancel my policy?

If you want to cancel your policy you can do this in writing and send your request to us at - Scottish Widows Limited, 15 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5BU.

When you write to us remember to include your policy number and contact your bank to cancel your direct debit.  Please ignore any correspondence we send out regarding your direct debit. 

If there are any other owners / trustees on the policy, we will also need to their authority in writing.

If you’ve decided to cancel your policy due to financial reasons we have put in place a variety of measures to help you and to enable you to keep your policy in place.  We’ve covered these in the section below titled I’m having difficulty paying my life insurance premiums, what can I do?.

Remember, your policy has no cash-in value at any time.  If your policy is cancelled, all cover will end and any claim made later will not be paid.  You may be unable to take out another policy with similar cover on the same terms.

 

Q. How can I make changes to my policy, for example update my personal details or change my direct debit?

If you want to make changes to your policy, such as changing your direct debit details or address, please call us on 0345 300 4455 or write to us at:

Scottish Widows Limited,
15 Dalkeith Road,
Edinburgh
EH16 5BU.

Q. How can I see full details of my policy?

You can find full details of your policy in your policy schedule, we’d have sent this to you when your policy started.

Q. How can I reinstate my direct debit instruction?

Just give us a call on 0345 300 4455 and we’ll arrange to issue a new direct debit instruction for completion and return.

Q. How do I cancel my policy?

If you want to cancel your policy you can do this in writing and send your request to us at:

Scottish Widows Limited,
15 Dalkeith Road,
Edinburgh
EH16 5BU.

When you write to us remember to include your policy number and contact your bank to cancel your direct debit. Please ignore any correspondence we send out regarding your direct debit.

If there are any other owners / trustees on the policy, we will also need to their authority in writing.

If you’ve decided to cancel your policy due to financial reasons we have put in place a variety of measures to help you and to enable you to keep your policy in place. We’ve covered these in the section titled I’m having difficulty paying my life insurance premiums, what can I do?

Remember, your policy has no cash-in value at any time. If your policy is cancelled, all cover will end and any claim made later will not be paid. You may be unable to take out another policy with similar cover on the same terms.

Q. Can you offer me any help so I can continue to pay my insurance premiums and/or my mortgage?

If you have a current account with Lloyds Bank, Halifax or Bank of Scotland you may be eligible for some support. You can find more details of the assistance that is available to you in the Help Centre section of their website under the heading Coronavirus Support. The links are:

Lloyds Bank Customers
https://www.lloydsbank.com/help-guidance/coronavirus.html

Halifax Customers
https://www.halifax.co.uk/helpcentre/coronavirus/Default.asp

Bank of Scotland Customers
https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/helpcentre/coronavirus.html

Mortgage Customers
The Bank are supporting mortgage customers by offering a 3 months payment holiday. To apply for a payment holiday please visit the Halifax, Lloyds Bank or Bank of Scotland Mortgages homepage on their website. The links are:
https://www.halifax.co.uk/mortgages/existing-customers/payment-holidays/
https://secure.lloydsbank.com/retail/mortgages/managing-your-mortgage/request-a-holiday.asp
https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/helpcentre/internet-banking/mortgages.html

Other providers may be offering similar help so please check their websites for further information if you bank or have a mortgage elsewhere.

Q. Can you help me if I can't afford to pay my insurance policy premiums?

We know it’s a difficult time financially for many people at the moment so if you are having difficulty paying your premiums, or miss a payment, we have processes in place to help you keep your life insurance cover in place for up to 90 days.

This means if you’re not able to afford your monthly payments you can delay them for a 90 day period before your cover is cancelled. This allows you to keep your important life insurance policy in place for a set time, even if you can’t afford it at the moment.

During this 90 day period your payments will continue to build up and we’ll send you reminder letters. You’ll need to call us to arrange how to pay the outstanding amount before the end of the 90 days or your policy will come to an end. This means you will keep your policy in place and you and your family will stay protected.

If you’re considering cancelling your policy its worth remembering that if you were to apply for a new policy in the future you may have to pay more, or may not be able to get cover at all due to a change in your circumstances such as your age or your health. So it’s worth remembering that stopping your payments completely may not always be the best thing for you to do in the long run especially if it means you have no cover in place.

We will inform anyone to whom the policy is assigned if premiums are not paid.

Q. If I don’t pay my premiums will my cover continue?

See the answer above for more information.

FURTHER SUPPORT

Cancer support when you need it

We are living in very challenging times at the moment and a cancer diagnosis can make you feel like your world has been turned upside down. You may find there is also an impact on your finances.

Macmillan Cancer Support can help you put things in place to manage your finances. Contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, open Monday – Friday between 9am-5pm. They also have a Coronavirus page on their website, which they are updating regularly with all the latest information from the NHS and the government, you can visit it here.

Turn2Us – help with finances

Our charity partner Turn2us is a national charity that helps and supports people and families to access welfare benefits and grants that they may be entitled to, this is especially important in these difficult times. The charity’s free to access benefits calculator has been fully updated to reflect the recent welfare support changes announced by the Government in response to the current crisis. In addition, new pages have been added to provide key information to people concerned about how Coronavirus may affect their job and/or welfare income. To help you find out which welfare benefits and grants that you and your family may be entitled too, please go to www.turn2us.org.uk

Q. Can you offer me any help so I can continue to pay my endowment premiums and/or my mortgage?

If you have a current account with Lloyds Bank, Halifax or Bank of Scotland you may be eligible for some support. You can find more details of the assistance that is available to you in the Help Centre section of their website under the heading Coronavirus Support. The links are:

Lloyds Bank Customers
https://www.lloydsbank.com/help-guidance/coronavirus.html

Halifax Customers
https://www.halifax.co.uk/helpcentre/coronavirus/Default.asp

Bank of Scotland Customers
https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/helpcentre/coronavirus.html

Mortgage Customers
The Bank are supporting mortgage customers by offering a 3 months payment holiday. To apply for a payment holiday please visit the Halifax, Lloyds Bank or Bank of Scotland Mortgages homepage on their website. The links are:
https://www.halifax.co.uk/mortgages/existing-customers/payment-holidays/
https://secure.lloydsbank.com/retail/mortgages/managing-your-mortgage/request-a-holiday.asp
https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/helpcentre/internet-banking/mortgages.html

Other providers may be offering similar help so please check their websites for further information if you bank or have a mortgage elsewhere.

If you are having difficulty paying your endowment premiums, we have processes in place to allow you to delay paying premiums but keep your policy in place.

Q. Can you help me if I can't afford to pay my endowment policy premiums?

We know it’s a difficult time financially for many people at the moment so if you are having difficulty paying your premiums, or miss a payment, we have processes in place to help you keep your life insurance cover in place for up to 90 days.

This means if you’re not able to afford your monthly payments you can delay them for a 90 day period before your cover is cancelled. This allows you to keep your important life insurance cover in place for a set time, even if you can’t afford it at the moment.

During this 90 day period your payments will continue to build up and we’ll send you reminder letters. You’ll need to call us to arrange how to pay the outstanding amount before the end of the 90 days. If you don’t restart your premiums, your plan benefits will stop along with your premiums and only the units already allocated to your plan will continue.

If you’re considering cancelling your policy its worth remembering that if you were to apply for a new policy in the future you may have to pay more, or may not be able to get cover at all due to a change in your circumstances such as your age or your health. So it’s worth remembering that stopping your payments completely may not always be the best thing for you to do in the long run especially if it means you have no cover in place.

If our endowment plan was meant to pay your mortgage or another debt, you should contact your lender. You may also have to make alternative repayment arrangements, and replace any life cover you’ve lost.

Q. If I stop paying regular monthly premiums, how will this affect additional benefits I may have such as Critical Illness Cover or Waiver of Premium?

When you took out your endowment policy, you may have included one or more of the following additional features in your plan:

  • Critical Illness Cover which can provide a lump sum payment if you suffer from a serious illness;
  • Waiver of Premium Cover means if you cannot work because you are ill or have an injury and you meet the terms of the cover, after a waiting period (usually 6 months), we may pay your premiums for you.

If you want to find out more about the type of additional benefits you have with us, please check your Policy Schedule and Policy Provisions/Terms & Conditions in the first instance. These documents are really useful and tell you everything you need to know about your product and what you are and aren’t covered for.

In most cases, when you stop paying regular monthly premiums, the additional benefits you have selected will stop after 90 days. However, we are here to help you and if you contact us, we can discuss how we can support you through the crisis.

Q. If I don’t pay my premiums will my cover continue?

See the answers above for more information.

Q. My endowment policy is about to mature but I don’t want to receive the money now?

If this policy is your only means of paying off your mortgage, we would recommend that as a first step you contact your mortgage lender as soon as possible to let them know that your endowment policy may mature with a lower value than expected.

If you have already extended the term of your mortgage, but haven’t advised us of that change, we may be able to extend the term of your endowment policy. We recommend you speak to us on 0345 716 6777 well in advance of the maturity date to examine the options available.

FURTHER SUPPORT

Cancer support when you need it

We are living in very challenging times at the moment and a cancer diagnosis can make you feel like your world has been turned upside down. You may find there is also an impact on your finances.

Macmillan Cancer Support can help you put things in place to manage your finances. Contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, open Monday – Friday between 9am-5pm. They also have a Coronavirus page on their website, which they are updating regularly with all the latest information from the NHS and the government, you can visit it here.

Turn2Us – help with finances

Our charity partner Turn2us is a national charity that helps and supports people and families to access welfare benefits and grants that they may be entitled to, this is especially important in these difficult times. The charity’s free to access benefits calculator has been fully updated to reflect the recent welfare support changes announced by the Government in response to the current crisis. In addition, new pages have been added to provide key information to people concerned about how Coronavirus may affect their job and/or welfare income. To help you find out which welfare benefits and grants that you and your family may be entitled too, please go to www.turn2us.org.uk

UK Government ‘COVID-19: guidance for employees’ page

For more information about sick pay, claiming benefits and furloughed workers you can find out more information on the Governments website.

If you’ve been unable to find the answers to your questions or if you need more information on your policy, you can contact us directly using our General Enquiry Form. Please note, if you are trying to initiate a claim on a policy, for instance due to ill health or a bereavement, please refer to the section further up the page titled “I have a life policy, can I make a claim?”