As a director, you can achieve savings of up to 50% if you take out life insurance via your limited company compared to a personal policy – paid out of post-tax income.
In this guide, we present 12 key facts about relevant life policies (RLPs), the benefits and the pitfalls.
12 key facts about relevant life insurance cover
1. How do RLPs work – in simple terms?
Relevant life policies (RLPs) provide a tax-efficient death-in-service benefit specifically for directors (and other employees) operating through limited companies.
This type of policy pays out a lump sum cash payment to the director’s nominated beneficiaries if the contractor dies while the policy is still active and premiums are up to date.
The payout acts as a replacement for the standard death-in-service benefit that most employees would receive if they died while working for an employer.
In this way, directors can provide a safety let to their dependants that is similar to one available to ‘regular’ employees.
2. Your limited company owns the policy, not the director
Unlike personal life insurance plans, RLPs are not taken out by the individual directors.
Instead, the director’s limited company takes out the policy and owns it.
The company is responsible for paying the ongoing premiums to maintain coverage.
3. Premiums can be offset against the company’s Corporation Tax bill
A key tax benefit of RLPs is that the premiums paid by the limited company are usually treated as a legitimate business expense.
This means that they are tax deductible against Corporation Tax.
As a result, if you are a higher-rate taxpayer, you can save up to 50% compared to paying for a policy out of your post-tax income.
4. No benefit-in-kind issues for the director
There is no benefit-in-kind charge for a director who is the subject of a RLP policy.
The company payments do not need to be declared on the director’s P11D tax return.
This means that the company does not have to pay employers’ NICs on the value of the premiums. The director similarity has not income tax liability.
5. You can use multiples of salary + dividends
The potential payout from RLPs is often structured as a multiple of the contractor’s annual salary and dividends.
A common multiple is 15 times the combined value of salary and dividends.
This allows high policy limits for directors extracting profits as dividends.
Unsurprisingly, the multiples you can use are related to the director’s age, and other factors.
6. No income tax or IHT issues
If the policy does pay out upon the director’s death, the lump sum received by their nominated beneficiaries is not subject to income tax or inheritance tax. This tax-free status increases the net value of the payout to dependants.
7. Relevant Life only covers death-in-service
It is important to understand that RLPs only cover death-in-service scenarios. They do not pay out in case of critical illness or incapacity where the director survives but cannot work.
8. No surrender value
If the limited company stops paying premiums and cancels the RLP cover, there is no surrender value, unlike some other insurance products. The policy only pays out if the director dies during an active policy term.
9. A limited company cannot be a beneficiary
To prevent tax avoidance, RLPs have restrictions such that the limited company cannot be a beneficiary of the policy.
Only individuals like family members and charities can be beneficiaries.
To make sure you get things right, we recommend you speak to a specialist if you want to set up a policy.
You can get in touch with our IFA partner, Broadbench, via the form at the bottom of this page.
10. Policies can be standalone or part of a broader package
RLPs can be set up as standalone policies or as part of a broader employee benefits package including other insurances. This allows providers to create tailored solutions.
11. No impact on pension lifetime allowance limits
Although tax rules treat RLP payouts as business expenses, they do not reduce the lifetime allowance for pension contributions. RLPs and pensions operate independently.
12. Beware of artificially inflated policies
As with other company expenses, RLP premiums must be justifiable as wholly and exclusively for business purposes. Artificially inflated policies solely for tax avoidance may be subject to a challenge by HMRC.
Find out more – and get a relevant life cover quote
For more technical details, including a tax-saving example, read our guide to relevant life insurance.
For professional advice, and a no-obligation quote, you can get in touch with our long-term partner, Broadbench, using the form below.
Hundreds of our visitors have used Broadbench for life insurance advice over the past decade. Simply fill in this form, and the team will get right back to you.