Do you have an existing medical condition? Check and see if it's on the list of conditions insurers look for.
When deciding whether or not to provide you with a policy, an insurer will look at various risk factors including your occupation, age, gender, smoking status and any pre-existing conditions.
Your health is a key indicator of the risk you pose to an insurer and will directly impact not only your ability to get a policy but how much you'll pay for the policy. Below is a list of conditions that may require additional medical underwriting.
1. High blood pressure
High blood pressure is not uncommon, and as a result, most insurers will not dismiss you or label you as high risk out of hand.
High blood pressure can lead to a number of troubling diseases such as coronary artery disease, stroke, kidney damage or peripheral artery disease. Therefore, it's important you can prove to your insurer that you're able to manage your condition.
2. Type 2 diabetes
If you have been diagnosed with adult onset diabetes, you may be predisposed to other health issues such as coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, renal failure and blindness. These potentially life-threatening complications from Type 2 diabetes make you a higher risk for life insurers.
If your diabetes is under control and you can show evidence that it has been well managed, you can reduce your risk to the insurer.
3. Sleep apnoea
Sleep apnoea is a risk in two ways because of the resulting lack of sleep and the associated health problems.
Often sleep apnoea goes hand in hand with health conditions such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. It's these conditions which place you in a risk factor category with your insurer.
4. Heart disease
Heart disease is probably one of the first health problems you think of when it comes to pre-existing conditions. Heart disease encompasses a number of conditions including heart attack and coronary artery disease. To help judge the severity of your heart disease risk, your insurer may look at both your personal medical history and your family’s medical history.
Make sure you provide your insurer with as much information as possible about your heart condition and your family medical history, and submit to any medical test the insurer asks for, as this will help them determine your risk level, and make it more likely you can be covered.
Asthma is a very common health condition, and as such there is a lot of information and support available for managing the condition.
As long as you can show medical history to prove that your condition is well managed, and don’t have a history of regular hospital visits, you can generally qualify for life insurance without being penalised due to your condition.
This may seem like the ultimate uninsurable pre-existing condition, but the reality is that there are so many types of cancer, treatments and remission stages, that the effect on life insurance premiums varies from person to person.
In some cases, an applicant with a cancer diagnosis or history may be monitored by an insurance company for six months to a year before being approved for cover. Every cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery is unique, which is why insurers will treat an applicant with cancer in their medical history individually too, but don’t automatically think you can’t be covered for life insurance.
7. Weight related health conditions
Obesity is another one of those root conditions that can lead to one or more other worrying health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. Therefore, obesity is considered a health condition by insurers, and the level of risk is determined by your body mass index rating. The coverage for applicants who are obese may be more expensive, or it may be conditional, covering only claims which are not related to their weight, while applicants who are morbidly obese may not be able to secure life insurance at all.
At the same time, weight related health conditions such as malnourishment or anorexia can also affect life insurance premiums, as these applicants are exposed to a range of health risks because of their poor diet and weakened body. For example, applicants who are currently suffering with anorexia may not be able to obtain life insurance coverage, while others may need to prove they are in remission before being approved.
8. Organ transplants
An organ transplant is major surgery and can significantly affect both the cost and your ability to take out life insurance. In most cases, if you're recovering from transplant surgery and you’re not experiencing any complications from the surgery, you can qualify for life insurance.
9. Mental health conditions
Mental health issues have long been a grey area for insurance companies. Getting life insurance if you suffer from a pre-existing mental health condition such as depression will require the condition be well managed, and well documented to that effect.
It may also be difficult for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, those who have recently been rehabilitated for drug or alcohol use, or someone who is residing in a hospital or nursing home to receive life insurance coverage.
10. High cholesterol
Having high cholesterol puts you at significant risk for other health conditions such as vascular conditions, coronary artery disease and stroke. The result is that applicants with high cholesterol are assessed in a similar way to those with high blood pressure – if the condition is well managed and under control, you can often receive preferred life insurance premium rates.
Life insurance companies need to understand all about the health conditions you are, have or might suffer from, because they need to make an accurate risk assessment in order to calculate the right premium rates to protect you and them. Therefore, while these 10 health conditions are the major factors which will affect whether or not you can be approved for life insurance, and how the rates you pay will be affected, there are often health conditions which won’t be covered by any insurer, such as HIV or AIDS, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis and stage 4 cancers.
It is crucial to note that just because you suffer from one of the conditions listed above, does not mean you will not be able to take out life insurance. An insurer will review a number of different factors when deciding whether to provide cover. An insurance adviser can use their knowledge of the market to help you find affordable cover despite your condition.