Medical conditions not covered by life insurance in Australia

Can you take out life insurance with a pre-existing condition?

Taking out a life insurance policy can be quite a straightforward process if you're generally in good health. However, you may find it a little harder to get cover if you have a pre-existing condition.

Having a pre-existing medical condition won't necessarily preclude you from taking out life insurance but you need to keep in mind that insurers will take this condition into consideration when assessing your level of risk. Depending on the severity of your condition, an insurer may accept you for cover but you'll need to pay an a premium loading, accept you for cover but exclude you from cover for your condition or, in some cases, refuse to provide you with cover.

What conditions may not be covered?

There are conditions that pose such a high risk to insurers that they won't offer cover for. While every insurer will have its own list of conditions it won't cover, conditions that may not covered by Australian life insurers include:

  • Specific types of skin cancers or melanomas
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Other types of prostatic cancers
  • Hepatitis B or C that have been acquired through other means including, but not limited to, sexual activities, recreational drug use or deliberate self-infection
  • Degenerative osteoarthritis

It is important to note that all life insurance policies will have terms and conditions that should be reviewed before you take out the plan.

Why life insurance is important to have if you have a medical condition

If you have a family, life insurance is a very important consideration. A life insurance policy can ensure the financial security of your loved ones should you be no longer around to provide for them.

Applying for life cover with an existing condition

When you apply for life insurance, Australian providers take into account a number of different factors to determine whether or not you carry a significant risk. These risk factors also determine whether they are able to offer you life insurance cover. These include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Current health status and any pre-existing medical condition
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Pastimes

Life insurance medical assessments with a pre-existing condition

When conducting a medical screening, a standard medical exam may involve:

  • Physical measurements. Insurers normally require your physical measurements (your height and weight) so they can calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).
  • Blood pressure. Insurers will take your blood pressure to try and uncover any underlying cardiovascular problems.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests are done to check your cholesterol levels, whether you are positive for HIV/AIDS, if you are a smoker and if there are any presence of drugs (both of the legal and illegal kinds) in your system.
  • Urine tests. You may be asked to provide a urine sample, which is used to determine the quality of your liver performance, uncover smoking habits and drug use.

Health conditions that can increase the cost of your life insurance cover

There are a number of conditions that don't pose a risk as the above conditions but still pose a higher than average risk for the insurer. In general, this means that if you do suffer from one of these conditions, you will be able to get life cover but may pay more for your premiums. You may also find that the choice of providers willing to provide coverage is not as great as it would be for someone who is relatively healthy.

There are some common medical conditions that are considered by insurers to be high risk. However, applicants with these conditions can find cover, although it means that they will be paying significantly higher premiums. Some of these conditions include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart conditions
  • Obesity or high BMI
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Cancer

Richard Laycock

Richard is the Insurance Editor at Finder, wrangling insurance product disclosure statements for the better part of five years. His musings on insurance can be found the web including on Yahoo Finance, Travel Weekly and Dynamic Business. When he’s not helping Aussies make sense of insurance fine print, he is testing the quality of cocktails in his new found home of New York. Richard studied Media at Macquarie University and The Missouri School of Journalism and has a Tier 1 certification in General Advice for Life Insurance.

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