Understanding Life Insurance in Nigeria: A Beginner’s Guide

Here’s a beginner’s guide on understanding life insurance in Nigeria.

Life insurance provides financial protection and security for your loved ones in the event of your passing. It’s never too early to start thinking about how life insurance can fit into your financial plans.

life insurance in Nigeria

This beginner’s guide will explain the basics of life insurance in Nigeria – the types of policies available, how much coverage you might need, what to look for when choosing a provider, and more.

With a better understanding of this important financial product, you can make informed decisions to protect your family’s future.


Let’s first know what life insurance is before going further.

Life insurance is an agreement between you (the policyholder) and an insurance company. It states that if you pass away while the policy is active, the insurance company will pay a death benefit to the beneficiaries you name in the policy. This lump-sum payment can be used by your family to help cover important living expenses like housing, education, debt repayment, and more.

Essentially, life insurance transforms the burden of premature death into a tangible asset for your loved ones.


There are several types of life insurance policies available in the Nigerian market. Some key ones include:

  • Term life insurance – This covers you for a specific time period, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. It pays out only if you die within the term. It’s usually the most affordable policy.
  • Whole life insurance – Designed to cover you for your entire life, provided you keep up with premium payments. It accumulates cash value and typically also pays out upon death. More expensive but guarantees coverage.
  • Endowment policy – Pays out on a set date after expiration of the coverage term, either to you if alive or your beneficiary if you pass. More savings-oriented.
  • Annuities – Provide guaranteed income for life to help supplement pensions. Useful in retirement planning.

That’s the types of life insurance in the country! When choosing a policy type, consider budget, family needs, and timeframe for coverage.


As you shop for life insurance in Nigeria, a key question is how much coverage you need. Some guidelines include:

  • 10-15 times your gross annual income if you have dependents – This provides income replacement
  • Enough to pay off all debts like mortgages, car loans, etc.
  • Funding for major expenses like university education for kids

Also factor in finances and assets between you and your spouse, length of need, and inflation. Online calculators can provide estimates as well. We recommend periodically reviewing policies to adjust death benefits to changing life circumstances.


With many insurance providers in Nigeria, it helps to know what to look for when choosing one:

  • Established history and strong financial ratings
  • Competitive pricing with ability to lock in rates
  • Good customer service and efficient claims processing
  • Flexibility to convert, renew, or extend your policy
  • Range of policy types to meet different needs

Leading national players like AIICO, ARM Life, Leadway, and Old Mutual are good options for life insurance. Some banks also offer policies. Compare several providers before you commit.


Understanding what happens in the event your beneficiaries need to file a claim can give peace of mind today:

Beneficiaries notify the insurance company, submit death certificate & policy documents

Claim is verified, processed and paid out in line with policy terms

Death benefit disbursed as a lump-sum, or structured payments or annuity

Be sure to name primary and contingent beneficiaries like your spouse, children, or parents. Also inform them about the policy and claims process.


Here are some of the key pros and cons of getting life insurance in Nigeria:


  • Financial Security for Loved Ones – The main benefit is that life insurance provides a lump sum payment to support your family after you pass away. This can help them maintain their standard of living.
  • Customizable Coverage – You can find a policy with customized premiums and coverage amounts to suit your budget and needs. This includes options like term life, whole life, annuities, etc.
  • Tax Advantages – Some insurance plans allow you to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis. The death benefit payout may also be tax-free.
  • Peace of Mind – Knowing your family will be financially secure after your death can give you peace of mind and ability to focus more while alive.
  • Investment Option – Some policies allow you to earn returns which boost your savings.


  • Costs Money – You have to consistently pay premiums to keep life insurance coverage active. It lapses if you miss payments.
  • Complexity – With many policy options, riders, conditions etc, life insurance can quickly get complicated for the average person.
  • Exclusions – Most policies may not pay out claims if death is caused by undisclosed pre-existing conditions, suicide within first two years etc.
  • No Guaranteed Returns – Returns from non-traditional life insurance plans are not guaranteed and vulnerable to market conditions.
  • Disputes Over Payouts – At times, beneficiaries may have to battle with insurers to get rightful claims paid out fully and on time.

As you can see, life insurance has several positives but also comes with complexities. Do your homework to find a suitable policy that protects your dependents.


Life insurance is about more than money. It’s about securing your family’s financial future in case you’re not around to provide for them.

As you navigate the range of policy and provider options, stay focused on how insurance can help replace income and pay major expenses if faced with tragedy.

The right life insurance coverage means your loved ones can grieve your loss without the additional hardship of financial uncertainty.

Mfonobong Daniel

I am Daniel, a professional financial blogger, an insurance agent and financial adviser. Join me as I unravel and breakdown the mysteries behind insurance policies in Nigeria.

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