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Life insurance for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s

How to get life insurance if you are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's in Australia.

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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a form of dementia like Alzheimer's, you might have wondered if it is possible to get life insurance. Fortunately, having dementia should not hold you back from getting a life insurance policy.

To make the process simple and stress-free, we’ve broken down your options as clearly as possible.

Can dementia or Alzheimer’s patients get life insurance?

Yes, but because dementia is considered a pre-existing medical condition, it may be difficult to get a traditional direct life insurance policy where you simply do the research yourself and speak to the insurer directly. These are the options you can take when getting life insurance if you have dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

  • Direct life insurance. These types of policies are available to customers without needing to go through a broker. Some still require medical underwriting, while other's may not. While these types of polices can have simpler application processes, they may be more likely to add a premium loading or exclusion for existing conditions, or refuse cover altogether.
  • Retail life insurance. This is when you get advice from a broker and they find a suitable life insurance policy for you. It’s most likely that they will go to an insurer that specialises in high-risk individuals. You might end up paying a bit more for a policy due to the risks linked to your condition, but the process is far less stressful than looking yourself. Brokers can also advocate for you to get better premiums or conditions attached to your existing condition. These types of policies are usually very comprehensive and come with a lot of benefits that direct or super policies might not have as well.
  • Life insurance through super. When you open a super account, sometimes you might automatically have a life insurance policy included. If you’re not sure if you have a policy, reach out to your super fund directly and they’ll let you know. While the payout isn’t usually as much as a life insurance policy outside of super – it’s usually in the region of $100,000 to $200,000 – it can be a viable option if you’re struggling to find cover but might have exclusions related to pre-existing conditions.

How to get life insurance if you have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's

A far less frustrating and time-consuming option to getting life insurance, is to speak to a broker. They’ll assess your needs and do the searching for you, plus their chances of finding a policy for you are much higher than if you were to look for yourself.

Keep in mind that once you’ve been accepted for cover, you will have to serve a waiting period. This is the time you need to wait before you’re covered for issues related to your dementia and will be outlined in the product disclosure statement (PDS).

Speak to a broker to help you find cover

Does having dementia make insurance more expensive?

It can. Depending on whether you go through a broker or a direct insurance brand, the insurer can add loadings to your premiums to cover the risk of your condition. However, some brands may offer you insurance with an exclusion for that condition instead of increasing your premium. This means that while your insurance premium is cheaper, you won't be covered if your claim is related to your dementia. Other factors that can affect your premiums include your age, occupation, smoking status, gender and where you live.

One of the main reasons life insurance can be expensive is that when you buy a life insurance policy outside of super, the insurer needs to ascertain the degree of risk you present. In insurance terms, this is called underwriting and generally involves you undergoing a medical and answering questions about yourself. Every insurer’s underwriting process is different but you’ll most likely be asked questions about the following:

  • Age
  • Height and weight to determine your BMI
  • When you were diagnosed and your current condition
  • Any other conditions you may have
  • Family’s medical history
  • Current medications

What’s the best way to get life insurance if you have dementia or Alzheimer's?

If you have a pre-existing condition like Alzhiemer's, it's usually best to find an insurance brand that will conduct medical underwriting. It is always best to be upfront about your condition and work with insurers to get the best and most comprehensive cover, even if this means your premiums may be a bit higher.

The other option is to take out no medical life insurance. While these types of policies are very easy to take out, they are generally not as comprehensive, and generally have a clause that any conditions that existed before the cover was taken out will be excluded. This can also be true for life insurance through superannuation.

Compare life insurance options with our partners

Name Product Maximum Cover Maximum Entry Age Terminal Illness Benefit Claims Acceptance Rate Average Claim Time Sum Insured
NobleOak Life Insurance
Finder AwardBonus
NobleOak Life Insurance
$25,000,000
74
$25,000,000
96.90%
1.1 months
$24,483 million
Our verdict: Finder Life Insurance Award winner for the last 5 years in a row. Good value for money, simple application process and a high claims acceptance rate.

⭐ Current offer: Get two months free on all cover types apply by 14 June 2024. T&Cs apply.
Medibank Life Insurance
$2,500,000
70
$2,500,000
Data not available
Data not available
Data not available
Our verdict: Medibank offers a higher payout limit ($2.5 million) than 15 other providers. Get a 10% discount if you're already a Medibank Health Insurance member.

⭐ Current offer: Save 10% on your first year of Medibank Life Insurance when you apply by 1 July 2024. T&Cs apply.
TAL Accelerated Protection Life Insurance
No set limit
73
Not stated
Data not available
1 months
$249,285 million
Our verdict: One of Australia's leading life insurers. Automatically includes child critical illness cover. Plus, it comes with a level premium option (e.g. costs remain similar as you get older).

⭐ Current offer: Get up to 15% off your TAL Life, Trauma or TPD insurance policy for life - if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 19 and 28 at the time of your application. Offer T&Cs on insurer website apply.
RACWA Life Insurance
$25,000,000
74
$25,000,000
96.90%
1.1 months
$24,483 million
Our verdict: RAC’s maximum death cover limit of $25 million is one of the highest limits you’ll find, including $5 million in TPD insurance. You can get an online quote, but you’ll need to call RAC to get trauma cover. Benefit from added peace of mind with fully underwritten insurance. RAC is also WA-based but services all of Australia.
ahm Life Insurance
$1,500,000
55
$1,500,000
Data not available
Data not available
Data not available
Our verdict: ahm offers a simple application process. You can be approved online or over the phone. There are no medical or blood tests needed.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year of ahm Life Insurance when you apply by 1 July 2024. T&Cs apply.
AAMI Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$1,500,000
Data not available
3.1 months
$37,768 million
Our verdict: There’s flexibility with AAMI as you can add another adult to your cover, with a competitive limit of $1.5 million. Easy application process with no medical exams.

⭐ Current offer: Take out a new AAMI Life Insurance policy and get $100 eGift card after your first 4 months of cover. T&Cs apply. Ends June 30, 2024.
Suncorp Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$1,500,000
Data not available
3.1 months
$37,768 million
Our verdict: Competitive maximum cover limit of $1.5 million. Suncorp lets you change your cover amount by up to $100,000 after a big life event, such as having a baby.

⭐ Current offer: Take out a new Suncorp Life Insurance policy and get $100 eGift card after your first 4 months of cover. T&Cs apply. Ends June 30, 2024.
Real Family Life Cover
$1,000,000
64
$1,000,000
88.90%
2.4 months
$53,238 million
Our verdict: The application is simple; it can be done with 1 phone call and there are no medical exams. But households with larger debts may need more than a $1 million payout.

⭐ Current offer: Get back 10% of the premiums you’ve paid after 1 year.
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Does a family history of dementia impact life insurance?

Insurers may want to know about your family's medical history to decide if you will have any increased risks in the future. Dementia and Alzheimer's are conditions mostly related to age rather than genetics and so if you have a history of the condition in your family, this shouldn't impact your ability to take out life insurance. If you're concerned, speak to a professional insurance adviser or one that has expertise in special risk insurance. They will be able to give you a good idea of what you can and can't get when it comes to life insurance.

Do I have to disclose a family history of dementia or Alzheimer's?

You should let your insurer know if you have a family history of dementia that is considered hereditary. If you’re not sure, it’s best to inform them to be on the safe side. They’ll be able to look into the matter further for you. It’s also recommended that you let them know if a close family member has developed dementia earlier in life.

Bottom line

A dementia diagnosis is a daunting and life-changing experience. While life insurance can’t stop it, it can help pay off all your debts, hospital bills and expenses, making things a little easier for you and your family to cope. Compare your life insurance options here or fill out the form above to speak directly to a broker.

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