Life insurance covers loss of hearing and deafness. Here's what you need to know.
Many life insurance policies give you the option of adding what's known as trauma cover. If added, you're usually covered for critical health issues including deafness and loss of hearing. A diagnosis will trigger a payout after a waiting period - usually two weeks.
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What life insurance cover can I receive for loss of hearing?
Trauma insurance for deafness
Trauma Insurance is a form of life insurance that provides a lump sum benefit if the policy owner suffers a crisis event that is listed in their policy and satisfies the criteria for benefit payment. Each trauma insurance policy will have a list of specified illnesses and conditions that the policy owner will be covered for. Most insurers will recognise up to 50 different conditions to receive a full benefit if suffered by the policy owner. Some policies will also provide a reduced benefit if the policy owner suffers other conditions that are not quite as severe. Below is an example of how this is applied to AMP Trauma Cover policy for loss of hearing.
Full benefit for loss of hearing
In the event that the policyholder suffers loss of hearing, a lump sum equal to the insured amount will be paid. This amount will only be paid once in respect of an insured person, regardless of whether they satisfy the criteria for other specified conditions. Cover for loss of hearing will start immediately.
Criteria for benefit to be paid:
- Insured must suffer total and permanent loss of hearing
- Loss of hearing must be in both ears and natural or assisted
- A cochlear implant must be deemed necessary by an approved and appropriate medical specialist
- Loss of hearing must be certified at least 3 months after the insured first lost their ability to hear
Partial benefit for loss of hearing
AMP offers a partial package option that can be purchased as additional option during application. It provides a partial benefit for an additional set of conditions provided the insured does not pass away within 14 days of the diagnosis of the condition
The partials option will provide 25% of the total sum-insured provided the policy owner satisfies the criteria for payment.
Criteria for this benefit to be paid:
- Policyholder suffers total and permanent loss of hearing, both natural and assisted in both ears
- Total and permanent loss must be satisfied at least 3 months after hearing was first lost
- The examples above are quite typical of what most insurers will generally provide in the event someone loses their hearing. Cover for crisis events can usually be purchased as an additional option on Life, TPD and Income Protection policies
Does Total and Permanent Disablement Insurance cover Loss of Hearing?
This is a little more tricky. In order to trigger a payout, total and permanent disability policies require the policy owner meets the criteria of total and permanent disablement as a result of their illness or injury.
Meeting the criteria
Depending on what's decided on when you apply:
- You will need to be unable to work for a consecutive number of months in your own occupation (easier to prove)
- Or unable to work for a consecutive number of months in any occupation (harder to prove)
Ongoing care is also required
The person claiming will need to seek the ongoing care of a medical professional. The insurer must also deem that the severity of the sickness or illness means that the insured is unable to ever work in regular remunerative work for which they are fitted either by education, training or experience. For an increased premium applicants can elect to take out cover that will provide a benefit if they are unable to return to their own occupation.
So does TPD insurance cover loss of hearing
Most insurers will recognise loss of hearing as a medical crisis that could render someone totally and permanently disabled and unable to perform the duties of their own occupation.
It is fair to say that many insurers would argue that loss of hearing falls outside of the Any Occupation category as they would most likely be able to carry out the duties of other types of work without their hearing.
In any case, it is worth checking with your insurer of how loss of hearing will be treated prior to application.
Should I get TPD or Trauma cover?
This will depend on preference. While TPD is cheaper than trauma insurance, there is a more uncertainty as you'll need to prove your inability to work because of a condition like loss of hearing.
Are there different stages of loss of hearing?
Just as there are many different ways that you can become deaf, there are many different types of deafness. The different types of deafness are:
- Conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is one of the ways that you can become deaf. If you are experiencing conductive hearing loss then the sound is not getting properly transmitted from the outer ear to the eardrum and middle ear. This type of hearing loss is the most treatable form of hearing loss.
- Sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is when the inner ear or the nerves are damaged in some way and you will be unable to hear. The sensorineural hearing loss will usually be permanent.
- Mixed hearing loss. If you have mixed hearing loss then you will have both of the previously mentioned forms of damage to the ear.
Can I still take out life insurance if I am deaf?
Anybody applying for life insurance will be asked about any pre-existing medical conditions they have prior to the policy being accepted. It would be extremely rare for an insurer to reject ones application, or even apply a premium loading based on them being deaf.
Treatment of pre-existing conditions
Applicants that have suffered loss of hearing in the past but have since recovered must state this as a pre-existing medical condition during their application to avoid their policy being rejected in the event of a claim. Depending on the nature of the condition and the current treatment prescribed, the insurer will either exclude the condition from cover, apply a premium loading or refuse cover. This would be the case for anyone looking to apply for trauma cover that has experienced loss of hearing in the past.
Interested in applying for life insurance with cover for loss of hearing?
Each insurer will have their own conditions for how they will different medical conditions that are covered. Eligibility criteria can vary great so it is important to get a clear understanding on when a benefit will and will not be paid. The same applies for pre-existing medical conditions, it is always safer to speak with your insurer and provide as much evidence on your condition prior to applying for cover. While it may be tedious, taking these actions may see you find a policy that provides the right cover for your situation at a reasonable price.