Find and compare super funds with death insurance

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5.40%

$92

smartMonday

$622

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MyChoice Platinum
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5.65%

$68

Legalsuper

$628

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MyChoice Platinum
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6.14%

$78

MTAA Super

$443

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MySuper Platinum
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4.87%

$78

MLC

$913

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MyChoice Platinum
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New

$73

WA Super

$513

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Income protection
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MySuper Gold
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5.39%

$180

IOOF

$1.1k

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Death insurance
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MyChoice Gold
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4.67%

$50

OnePath

$325

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MySuper Gold
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4.16%

$78

Australian Catholic Superannuation & Retirement Fund

$583

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Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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New

$84

Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

$689

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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-

$60

AvSuper

$630

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Death insurance
Income protection
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Term deposits
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MyChoice Gold
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3.66%

$91

AMP Bank

$701

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
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MyChoice Gold
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5.16%

$78

Twusuper

$758

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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5.29%

$52

Victorian Independent Schools Superannuation Fund

$527

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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New

$0

Mercer

$1.3k

Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
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Term deposits
Variety of options
MyChoice Gold
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Learn more about superannuation

Superannuation death cover (also known as life cover) is a type of life insurance cover. It pays a specified amount of money (or benefit) when you die. The money goes to whoever you have nominated as beneficiaries on the policy. If you don’t nominate anyone, a trustee or your estate will decide where the money goes. 

The amount of the benefit paid is the money in your super account at the time of death, plus any life insurance cover through your super fund.

Isn’t my super covered by my will?

Generally, your will only covers the things you own, for example your house, car and other personal items. It can also include savings accounts, shares and investments.

However, your super is different because it is held in trust for you by the trustee of your super fund. Superannuation is also governed by specific laws and regulations, so you need to stay up to date with your instructions to your super fund regarding your wishes.

Who gets my death benefit?

Upon your death, your super fund trustee usually pays your death benefit to one or more of your dependants or to your estate. In this case, 'dependants' includes:

  • Your spouse (including de facto and same-sex de facto partners)
  • Your children
  • People who depend on you financially
  • People you’ve had an interdependency relationship with

An 'interdependency relationship' exists if two people:

  • Have a close personal relationship
  • Live together
  • Provide each other with financial support or domestic support and personal care

Most super funds will let you nominate the people you want your death benefit paid to, by making either a binding or a non-binding nomination.

A binding nomination means that your super fund trustee has no choice about who gets your death benefit funds because you have already made the decision. The money can go to either:

  • One or more of your dependants
  • Your personal legal representative, who must pay out the money according to your will

A non-binding nomination gives some guidance to the super fund trustee on who will get your super benefits, but they are not required to follow the instructions in your will. The trustee has the final say, especially if you nominate someone who doesn't depend on you. You might make a non-binding when you think your circumstances may change (for example having a child, or more children) or separating from your partner.

If you don't nominate anyone, the trustee will decide who your money goes to. This is not ideal, because it can result in delays and arguments among your family about who should get the money.

How is the death benefit paid?

There are two ways for superannuation death benefits to be paid: as a lump sum or as an income stream.

If your beneficiaries are dependants, the death benefit can be paid as either a lump sum or an income stream. However, if the beneficiaries are not dependants, then they must have the benefit paid as a lump sum.

What are the pros and cons of having superannuation death cover?

The pros of having superannuation death cover are:

  • Cover through your super fund can be cheaper than stand-alone life insurance.
  • It may be easier to manage your cash flow since the premiums will be deducted from your superannuation account rather than your bank balance
  • Most superannuation funds will not require a medical examination for standard cover (although one may be required if you want a higher level of cover)
  • Super policies may also include total and permanent disablement (TPD) and/or income protection insurance
  • If you arrange to salary sacrifice the cost of the premiums instead of having them deducted from you superannuation account balance, there may be tax benefits

What are the cons of having superannuation death cover?

The cons of having superannuation death cover are:

  • Super fund insurance may not give the same degree of cover, or enough cover to effectively protect you and your family
  • You need to make a binding nomination to be sure your money goes where you want it to, otherwise a trustee may decide it should go somewhere else
  • The death benefit payouts have to go through your superannuation fund before they go to your beneficiaries, meaning there can be a delay in the benefit being paid. If you have made a non-binding nomination or none at all, the process will be delayed while the trustee determines the correct beneficiary
  • If you have the premiums deducted from your super account, it means you have less money to be invested and maybe less when you retire (although you can make personal additional contributions to offset this)

Ultimately, the best idea is to explore all the options, to decide whether superannuation death benefit is the best fit for you and your circumstances, both now and in the long term.

Frequently asked questions

What is superannuation?

Superannuation is money set aside for your retirement. This money is automatically paid into your superannuation fund by your employer.

Can I take money out of my superannuation fund?

Superannuation is designed to provide Australians with money in their retirement. The government has strict rules around when people can take that money out of their fund because it wants to prevent people eroding their savings before they reach retirement.

As a general rule, you can only take money out of your superannuation fund when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

That said, you can take money out of your superannuation fund early based on one of these seven special conditions:

  • Compassionate grounds
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Temporary incapacity
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Superannuation inheritance
  • Superannuation balance under $200
  • Temporary resident departing Australia

How long after divorce can you claim superannuation?

You or your partner could be forced to surrender part of your superannuation if you divorce, just like with other assets.

You can file a claim for division of property – including superannuation – as soon as you divorce. However, the claim has to be filed within one year of the divorce.

Your superannuation could be affected even if you’re in a de facto relationship – that is, living together as a couple without being officially married.

In that case, the claim has to be filed within two years of the date of separation.

Either way, the first thing to consider is whether you’re a member of a standard, APRA-regulated superannuation fund or if you’re a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), because different rules apply.

Standard superannuation funds

If your relationship breaks down, your superannuation savings might be divided by court order or by agreement.

The rules of the superannuation fund will dictate whether this transfer happens immediately, or in the future when the person who has to make the transfer is allowed to access the rest of their superannuation (i.e. at or near retirement).

Click here for more information.

SMSFs

If your relationship breaks down, you must continue to observe the trust deed of your SMSF.

So if you and your partner are both members of the same SMSF, neither party is allowed to use the fund to inflict ‘punishment’ – such as by excluding the other party from the decision-making process or refusing their request to roll their money into another superannuation fund.

This no-punishment rule applies even if the two parties are involved in legal proceedings.

Click here for more information.

Financial consequences

Superannuation funds often charge a fee for splitting accounts after a relationship breakdown.

Splitting superannuation can also impact the size of your total super balance and how your super is taxed.

Click here for more information.

How do you open a superannuation account?

Opening a superannuation account is simple. When you start a job, your employer will give you what’s called a ‘superannuation standard choice form’. Here’s what you need to complete the form:

  • The name of your preferred superannuation fund
  • The fund’s address
  • The fund’s Australian business number (ABN)
  • The fund’s superannuation product identification number (SPIN)
  • The fund’s phone number
  • A letter from the fund trustee confirming that the fund is a complying fund; or written evidence from the fund stating it will accept contributions from your new employer; or details about how your employer can make contributions to the fund

You might want to provide your tax file number as well – while it’s not a legal obligation, it will ensure your contributions will be taxed at the (lower) superannuation rate.

Can my employer use money from my superannuation account?

No, your employer can’t touch the money that is paid into your superannuation account.

What is a superannuation fund?

A superannuation fund is an institution that is legally allowed to hold and invest your superannuation. There are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia. They come in five different types:

  • Retail funds
  • Industry funds
  • Public sector funds
  • Corporate funds
  • Self-managed super funds

Retail funds are usually run by banks or investment companies.

Industry funds were originally designed for workers from a particular industry, but are now open to anyone.

Public sector funds were originally designed for people working for federal or state government departments. Most are still reserved for government employees.

Corporate funds are arranged by employers for their employees.

Self-managed super funds are private superannuation funds that allow people to directly invest their money.

What happens to my insurance cover if I change superannuation funds?

Some superannuation funds will allow you to transfer your insurance cover, without interruption, if you switch. However, others won’t. So it’s important you check before changing funds.

What superannuation details do I give to my employer?

When you start a job, your employer will give you what’s called a ‘superannuation standard choice form’. Here’s what you need to complete the form:

  • The name of your preferred superannuation fund
  • The fund’s address
  • The fund’s Australian business number (ABN)
  • The fund’s superannuation product identification number (SPIN)
  • The fund’s phone number
  • A letter from the fund trustee confirming that the fund is a complying fund; or written evidence from the fund stating it will accept contributions from your new employer; or details about how your employer can make contributions to the fund

You should also provide your tax file number – while it’s not a legal obligation, it will ensure your contributions will be taxed at the (lower) superannuation rate.

Can I choose a superannuation fund or does my employer choose one for me?

Most people can choose their own superannuation fund. However, you might not have this option if you are a member of certain defined benefit funds or covered by certain industrial agreements. If you don’t choose a superannuation fund, your employer will choose one for you.

Can I transfer money from overseas into my superannuation account?

Yes, you can transfer money from overseas into your superannuation account – under certain conditions. First, you must provide your tax file number to your fund. Second, if you are aged between 65 and 74, you must have worked at least 40 hours within 30 consecutive days in a financial year. (Australians under 65 aren’t subject to a work test; Australians aged 75 and over cannot receive contributions to their superannuation account.)

Money transferred from overseas will generally count to both your concessional contributions limit and your non-concessional contributions limit. You will have to pay income tax on the applicable fund earnings component of any money transferred from overseas. You might also be liable for excess contributions tax.

How do you create a superannuation account?

Before you create a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

How do you set up superannuation?

Before you set up a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

How do I change my superannuation fund?

Changing superannuation funds is a common and straightforward process. You can do it through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your new fund. You’ll also have to provide proof of identity.

How can I increase my superannuation?

You can increase your superannuation through a ‘salary sacrifice’. This is where your employer takes part of your pre-tax salary and pays it directly into your superannuation account. Like regular superannuation contributions, salary sacrifices are taxed at 15 per cent when they are paid into the fund.

How do you access superannuation?

Accessing your superannuation is a simple administrative procedure – you just ask your fund to pay it. You can access your superannuation in three different ways:

  • Lump sum
  • Account-based pension
  • Part lump sum and part account-based pension

However, please note that your superannuation fund will only be able to make a payout if you meet the ‘conditions of release’. The conditions of release say you can claim your super when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

The preservation age has six different categories:

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964 59
From 1 July 1964 60

There are also seven special circumstances under which you can claim your superannuation:

  • Compassionate grounds
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Temporary incapacity
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Superannuation inheritance
  • Superannuation balance under $200
  • Temporary resident departing Australia

How do I set up an SMSF?

Setting up an SMSF takes more work than registering with an ordinary superannuation fund. 

An SMSF is a type of trust, so if you want to create an SMSF, you first have to create a trust.

To create a trust, you will need trustees, who must sign a trustee declaration. You will also need identifiable beneficiaries and assets for the fund – although these can be as little as a few dollars.

You will also need to create a trust deed, which is a document that lays out the rules of your SMSF. The trust deed must be prepared by a qualified professional and signed by all trustees.

To qualify as an Australian superannuation fund, the SMSF must meet these three criteria:

  • The fund must be established in Australia – or at least one of its assets must be located in Australia
  • The central management and control of the fund must ordinarily be in Australia
  • The fund must have active members who are Australian residents and who hold at least 50 per cent of the fund’s assets – or it must have no active members

Once your SMSF is established and all trustees have signed a trustee declaration, you have 60 days to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

When completing the ABN application, you should ask for a tax file number for your fund. You should also ask for the fund to be regulated by the Australian Taxation Office – otherwise it won’t receive tax concessions.

Your next step is to open a bank account in your fund’s name. This account must be kept separated from the accounts held by the trustees and any related employers.

Your SMSF will also need an electronic service address, so it can receive contributions.

Finally, you will need to create an investment strategy, which explains how your fund will invest its money, and an exit strategy, which explains how and why it would ever close.

Please note that you can pay an adviser to set up your SMSF. You might also want to take the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund Trustee Education Program, which is a free program that has been created by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.

How do I combine several superannuation accounts into one account?

The process used to consolidate several superannuation accounts into one is the same process used to change superannuation funds. This can be done through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your chosen fund.

What will the superannuation fund do with my money?

Your money will be invested in an investment option of your choosing.

How many superannuation funds are there?

There are more than 200 different superannuation funds.

What is an SMSF?

An SMSF is a self-managed superannuation fund. SMSFs have to follow the same rules and restrictions as ordinary superannuation funds.

SMSFs allow Australians to directly invest their superannuation, rather than let ordinary funds manage their money for them.

SMSFs are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). They can have up to four members. All members must be trustees (or directors if there is a corporate trustee).

Unlike with ordinary funds, SMSF members are responsible for meeting compliance obligations.