Manulife Life Insurance Singapore — MoneySmart Review 2021

manulife life insurance

So, you’ve decided that your family can’t afford to lose you right now, and the best way to protect them is to buy life insurance so that they can get a payout if (touch wood) anything happens to you.

There are a great deal of life insurance policies out there in Singapore, and it can be tempting to throw your hands up and buy the first thing your NTUC Income agent recommends to you.

However, if you take the time to compare life insurance plans, you might come across more suitable and cheaper policies from insurers like Manulife. Let’s have a look at this under-the-radar insurer’s life insurance policies.

Why consider life insurance from Manulife?

Manulife is Canada’s biggest insurance company and has a strong presence in China and the Asian region. Although not as omnipresent as, say, NTUC Income or AIA, Manulife has been operating in Singapore since 1980. Local bank DBS also distributes Manulife insurance products.

The Canadian insurer is best known for its life insurance plans, including hybrid products like endowment plans and investment-linked insurance plans (ILPs).

But here, we’re only going to focus on Manulife’s term and whole life insurance plans. These are the two main varieties of life insurance plans.

In a nutshell, term life insurance is for people who only want insurance protection without using the plan to also accumulate cash value. Why “term”? Because it covers you only for a period you specify, e.g. until your kids grow up.

Whole life insurance, on the other hand, is meant to cover you for life (although in practice many plans will cut off coverage at a certain age, like 99). One key feature is that it helps you accumulate “cash value”, which is why it costs a lot more than term. You can then unlock that cash value when the plan reaches maturity or if you surrender it.

Check out these MoneySmart articles to find out more about term and whole life insurance.

Let’s take a closer look at Manulife’s main term insurance (ManuProtect Term), mortgage insurance (ManuProtect Decreasing) and whole life insurance (Manulife LifeReady Plus) below.

ManuProtect Term II (term insurance)

Called ManuProtect Term II, Manulife’s signature term life insurance plan covers 2 scenarios: death or terminal illness. Should either of the 2 happen, it’ll pay out your sum assured.

While some other insurers begin at $500,000 for the sum assured, Manulife coverage starts from just $75,000. Since insurance premiums correspond with the coverage, it means you can get a very, very basic form of protection at a very low price with Manulife.

You will have to decide how long you need the protection. You can choose from terms of 5 years, 10 years, or anywhere from 11 to 40 years. Alternatively, you can choose to be covered until age 65, 75 or 85. If you pick a 5 or 10 year term, you can renew the policy until age 85 regardless of any health issues.

The plan is convertible, so you can swap it out for a whole life insurance policy or other hybrid life insurance product in the future.

Manulife is one of the rare smoker-friendly life insurance plans in Singapore. If you’re a smoker, life insurance premiums are typically higher than for non-smokers.

But Manulife has a Quit Smoking Incentive which lets you pay lower (non-smoker) premiums for the first 3 years. If you manage to quit smoking during that time, you continue to pay non-smoker premiums.

The following riders can be added to enhance your protection:

  • Total and Permanent Disability Plus Rider II – Extends plan’s protection if you suffer from total and permanent disability.
  • Critical Care Enhancer Rider (II) – Extends plan’s protection if you are diagnosed with one of 36 critical illnesses.
  • Critical Care Waiver Rider – Waives future premiums if you are diagnosed with a covered critical illness.
  • Early Critical Care Waiver Rider – Waives future premiums if you are diagnosed with a covered illness at any stage.

Sample premium: $26.81 per month for 30-year-old male non-smoker with $500,000 sum assured for 20 years

Manulife logo

Monthly Premium

S$26.81

Monthly Premium
Covers COVID-19
Min. Death and TI Coverage
S$75,000
Min. Critical illness Coverage
S$25,000
Max. Renewable Age
85
Monthly Premium
S$26.81
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

ManuProtect Decreasing II (mortgage insurance)

So maybe you have no kids or dependents to provide for, but your outstanding home loan is a cause for concern. That’s where mortgage insurance like ManuProtect Decreasing II comes in.

It covers any unpaid sums on your home loan if you die or are diagnosed with terminal illness. That ensures that your family does not get saddled with debt or lose their home if something happens to you before the property is fully paid for.

Read more: Mortgage Insurance in Singapore: How To Compare & Decide Which Is Best For You

The plan has a Lite version, ManuProtect Decreasing Lite (II), that is open to those aged 50 and below and does not require a health check-up.

As time goes by and you pay off more and more of your home loan, your sum assured decreases, eventually reaching zero when you have paid off your loan in full. You can match your term and interest rate to your home loan, with a choice of interest rates ranging from 1% to 5%.

The following riders can be added to the plan:

  • Total and Permanent Disability Rider Plus Rider (II) – Extends plan’s protection if you suffer from total and permanent disability.
  • Critical Care Enhancer Rider (II) – Extends plan’s protection if you are diagnosed with one of 36 critical illnesses.

Sample premium: $18.67 per month for 30-year-old male non-smoker with $500,000 sum assured for 20 years

Manulife logo

Monthly Premium

S$18.67

Monthly Premium
Covers COVID-19
Min. Death and TI Coverage
S$75,000
Min. Critical illness Coverage
S$25,000
Max. Renewable Age
N.A.
Monthly Premium
S$18.67
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

Manulife LifeReady Plus (whole life insurance)

The most basic version of Manulife’s whole life insurance policy offers coverage against death, terminal illness and total and permanent disability until the age of 99.

You can increase your potential payouts with a multiplier of up to 5X. You can also increase your coverage at certain milestones (graduation, marriage, first home and parenthood) without medical underwriting.

As is usual with whole life insurance, Manulife LifeReady Plus helps you accumulate cash value over the years. You can typically unlock this cash value by waiting until the plan matures, or surrendering the life insurance policy to get the cash payout.

Manulife offers one more option: You can receive annual payouts over 10 years with additional 5% interest. This is good if you’re hoping to use your whole life insurance plan to boost your retirement income a bit.

Another nice perk is the Health Advantage Benefits that gives you discounts on your premiums if you meet health targets. You get upfront discounts in the first 2 years, and these discounts will be extended if you continue to fulfil the requisite health goals on your medical report.

While the plan’s basic benefits are already quite good, you can boost them further with the following riders:

  • Early Critical Care Rider (II) – Protects you from intermediate, advanced and extended advanced critical illness.
  • Critical Care Rider (II) – Protects you from advanced critical illness.
  • Early Critical Care Waiver Rider (II) – Waives future premiums if you are diagnosed with a covered illness.
  • Critical Care Waiver Rider (II) – Waives future premiums if you are diagnosed with a covered illness.
  • Payor Benefit (I) Rider – If you are paying premiums for someone else’s plan, this rider waives premiums if something happens to you.
  • Payor Benefit Plus (I) Rider – Same as above.
  • Payor Benefit Plus (I) (Spouse) Rider – Same as above if it is your spouse’s plan you are paying for.

Sample premium: $180.75 per month for 30-year-old male non-smoker with $100,000 sum, X2 multiplier and 20 year premium payment term

Manulife logo

Monthly Premium

S$180.75

Monthly Premium
Covers COVID-19 & Dengue
Min. Death and TI Coverage
S$25,000
Critical Illness Coverage
Add on
TPD Payout Limit
S$5,000,000
Monthly Premium
S$180.75
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

Which Manulife insurance policy is best?

The 3 Manulife insurance policies above are very distinct in terms of who they’re for. So picking the right one is all about understanding what exactly you need.

ManuProtect Decreasing is the cheapest, but it’s only for covering your mortgage. This is okay if you have no dependents or other liabilities, and/or you have already made other provisions for those. We like that you can get insured without the hassle of a health check-up if you’re under age 50.

Manulife logo

Monthly Premium

S$18.67

Monthly Premium
Covers COVID-19
Min. Death and TI Coverage
S$75,000
Min. Critical illness Coverage
S$25,000
Max. Renewable Age
N.A.
Monthly Premium
S$18.67
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

Those with a family to support will probably want the more robust ManuProtect Term II. Premiums cost more, but they’re still very affordable.

With its Quit Smoking Incentive, ManuProtect Term II is an attractive proposition for smokers who’d have to pay higher smokers’ premiums with plans from other insurers.

Manulife logo

Monthly Premium

S$26.81

Monthly Premium
Covers COVID-19
Min. Death and TI Coverage
S$75,000
Min. Critical illness Coverage
S$25,000
Max. Renewable Age
85
Monthly Premium
S$26.81
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

We wouldn’t recommend whole life insurance policies to just about anyone, but if this is what you’re looking for, then Manulife’s LifeReady Plus offers good value for money.

The price-to-coverage ratio is good, and we like that it can pay out a stream of retirement income without requiring you to surrender the policy. What’s more, the Health Advantage Benefit rewards your efforts to stay healthy with even lower premiums.

Manulife logo

Monthly Premium

S$180.75

Monthly Premium
Covers COVID-19 & Dengue
Min. Death and TI Coverage
S$25,000
Critical Illness Coverage
Add on
TPD Payout Limit
S$5,000,000
Monthly Premium
S$180.75
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

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