Learn the types of cover available and what's right for you
If your looking to get life insurance cover in place quickly and are in good shape with no pre-existing medical conditions, you may be eligible for cover that requires very little if any medical underwriting. Many direct online insurers will now have a short questionnaire for applicants and if the entry level requirements are met, cover can generally be put in place without the need for further documentation.
Before you apply: These types of policies will assume that you have good health based on a simple questionnaire.
It is worth noting that most direct insurers will carry out medical underwriting at the time of claim. This means there's usually no opportunity for you to declare any pre-existing medical conditions in detail when you apply. It's crucial that you answer all questions accurately to avoid your claim being rejected.
Apply for life insurance with these direct brands - No medical required
Some providers will have an option where you can take a medical test for a more tailored policy in addition to a more basic policy without a medical test. Make sure you look for both at the application page.
Learn More About No Medical Life Insurance
Is the application really without any medical questions?
With no medical life insurance, there is usually a basic questionnaire when you apply. Generally, you are required to disclose the basic details relevant to your health, such as whether or not you smoke and how much you drink per week.
Make sure you disclose carefully
It's important that the information you provide is accurate, so that the insurer is able to determine the most appropriate level of cover for you. In most cases, direct insurance companies approve a direct life insurance application without the need for a medical check-up, assuming you are in good health. Note: Direct life insurance is cover that's bought without the help of an adviser.
What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
Opt for a policy with a detail medical questionnaire. This will give you a greater certainty if you need to make a claim in the future.
Why consider a non-medical life insurance policy?
- A short approvals process: By the time a standard life insurance policy is assessed, your medical tests are taken and examined and the underwriting process is completed, an application can take four to six weeks. However, if you want cover right away, a no medical life insurance policy can be approved in just days.
- No medical: No medical assessment can be good news for a number of people, and not just those with medical conditions which would impact on their eligibility. For example, you may be uncomfortable around doctors or needles, you may not have a family doctor you trust, or you may simply not have the time to undergo a medical.
The convenience of a no-medical policy
Underwriting of life insurance has changed quite significantly over the years in that many retail insurance providers offer cover without the need for medical underwriting if no significant risk is present in an application. A no medical life insurance policy can be convenient for you if:
- You don't smoke
- You aren't a heavy drinker
- You have no pre-existing medical conditions.
- You understand what their life insurance needs are
Note: Buy a policyholder with an adviser may be a more suitable option depending on how much assistance you need with making your decision.
If an applicant satisfies these conditions an underwriter is generally be happy to continue with the cover process without medical underwriting.
What other cover types require no medical?
There are other types of insurance where no medical underwriting is required regardless of the person's condition.
- Accidental death insurance: As benefit is paid for accident only and not medical complications, medical underwriting is not required.
- Personal accident insurance: Similar to accidental death, benefit is only payable for injury caused by accident and is not related to medical condition, hence, no medical underwriting is required.
- Funeral insurance: While some funeral policies will require medical underwriting for some conditions, generally no medical underwriting will be required.
What's considered a pre-existing medical condition?
A pre-existing medical condition is generally defined as:
- A health condition that was diagnosed, investigated or treated
- Any symptoms that have lead to a diagnosis
- An event causing the claim to occur.
Source: AIA, 2013
As previously mentioned, medical examination is often required by insurance providers to enable them to uncover any underlying health issues that you may not be aware of and determine the level of risk you carry. For these reasons, they want to know in more detail whether or not the following conditions are relevant to you:
- Family history: Your insurer will take into consideration your family history and if there are certain hereditary traits or medical conditions that they should be aware of. For example, the insurer may decide to include an additional loading on your premiums if there are two or more deaths in your family under the age of 65 as a result of heart disease and you are showing symptoms of high blood pressure.
- Smoking habits: If you are a heavy smoker, the insurer will want to know if you are showing signs of any respiratory disease or any other related condition. Even if you have stopped smoking, the insurer may inquire into the reason for quitting, which might be due to medical reasons, such as a recent heart attack or chronic bronchitis.
Alcohol consumption: In your application, you will be asked the amount of alcohol that you consume on a weekly basis. Often moderate to heavy drinkers may not provide an accurate or true indication on their level of consumption. Therefore, insurers will generally require a physical medical examination to uncover symptoms that may indicate alcohol abuse, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Finger clubbing
- Enlarged liver
- Pitted nose
- Digestive disorders
Specific medical conditions, such as:
- Heart trouble and high blood pressure: Your insurer will want to know if you are experiencing hypertension and if the condition is being treated at time of application.
- Chest pains: If you have chest pains, they could be symptoms that are indicating other more serious health issues such as ischaemic heart disease, pericarditis or other conditions.
- Lung disorders: If you are an asthma sufferer, your life insurance underwriter will require a medical attendant’s report to understand the severity of your condition.
- Bronchitis: If you have chronic bronchitis, you will be required to go through a medical examination and provide a medical attendant’s report.
- Chronic indigestion: The underwriter will usually require a medical attendant’s report and sometimes a full medical depending on the severity of your indigestion. This is to ensure that your condition is not caused by an ulcer, which you might have, and how serious it is.
- Diabetes type 1 or 2: A urine sample is usually taken to be tested for any evidence of sugar. If sugar is manifested on the sample, it will then be used to determine whether or not you have diabetes. There are two types of diabetes - type 1 and type 2. Both types will require the applicant to provide a medical attendant’s report and undertake a medical exam. You will also be required to complete a diabetes questionnaire.
- Malignant tumours or cancer: The underwriter will ask for any relevant and reliable information on the type of tumour you have, its staging, treatments you undertake, and results of follow-up checks. A medical exam, medical attendant’s report and a questionnaire are to be provided.
- Kidney, bladder, liver disorders or stones: If you declare any loss of kidney functions, inflammation of gall bladder (including stones), colon and liver issues, you will be required to undertake a medical examination and any other tests if necessary.
- Hepatitis: Any declaration of hepatitis will prompt the underwriter to request more information. So, a medical attendant’s report, full medical exam, and any other test may be required.
- Mental illness: Mental diseases are often quite difficult to assess by life insurance underwriters. Therefore, they will require additional information on the treatment, the response to treatment and if there are any attempts of suicide.
- Epilepsy: Underwriters will require information on the type of epilepsy that you have, the lifestyle and any treatments that you are taking. Epilepsy will generally attract a higher extra loading.
Why is a medical examination required if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
Medical examination is often required when you apply for life insurance, especially if you are looking to obtain a high level of cover or if you have a pre-existing health condition. Medical exams are often necessary to enable the insurance provider to obtain the most accurate information on your health. Once they have this information at hand, they can decide whether or not to provide cover and if a premium loading is necessary.
What type of details will need to be provided if I have to take a medical test?
Life insurance providers will generally require a blood and urine test. These samples are then used to discover any traces of illnesses that you may be unaware of, which might influence their decision on whether or not to provide you with cover. You may also need to go through a medical test, which can be done at your own GP’s practice or by a medical nurse. The check-up will usually record your height and weight, blood pressure and cholesterol reading.
Additional tests may be required depending on your age and the amount of cover you are applying for. If you are 50 years old and over, you may be required to complete a treadmill test.
A medical exam for life insurance is generally quite straightforward. Your insurer is only looking for signs that may indicate underlying health conditions that could reduce your life expectancy and increase the likelihood of a payout, before enough premiums have been collected from you.
Your samples will be used to test for:
- The presence of antigens which can indicate HIV.
- Cholesterol and related lipids.
- A liver or kidney disorder.
- Antibodies which indicate hepatitis.
- Prostate specific antigens which can indicate prostate cancer.
- Immune disorders.
Your urine sample may also be tested in a routine analysis, as well as being screened for medications, cocaine and other drugs to indicate your lifestyle. Providing blood for the tests can be as simple as a finger prick, or could be done with a needle.
Tips to follow before you go for a medical examination
The better the results of your medical exam, the lower your premiums and the higher the coverage you can apply for when looking for life insurance. Therefore, look after yourself before the exam to ensure a good result by:
- Getting a solid full night’s sleep the night before.
- Not drinking any alcohol at least eight hours before the exam.
- Avoiding caffeine, including coffee, soda and chocolate at least one hour before the exam.
- Limiting your salt intake and reducing high cholesterol foods for 24 hours before your exam.
- Not doing any strenuous activity for 24 hours before the exam.
How will be premiums be affected?
Based on the results of your medical exam and the information that you have provided on your life insurance application, a life insurance underwriter will then determine whether or not the insurer is able to offer you cover. Insurance underwriters in Australia use a Numerical Rating System, which determines any factors that may influence the applicant’s mortality rates.
Each applicant is given a standard mortality and for every favourable factor, a debit is given, or credit for an unfavourable factor. For example, if the trace of nicotine shows up in your system, regardless of how little you smoke, you will still be considered a smoker and be given a debit as it is recognised as an unfavourable factor.
The total mortality rates as calculated based on the final assessment by the underwriter will determine the premiums you pay and any policy conditions that may be applicable.
No Medical Life Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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