Life Insurance with Pre-existing Medical Conditions

You can find affordable life insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. If you’ve been putting off shopping for insurance because you’re concerned if you’ll get acceptance or whether you’d be able to afford it due to your health concerns, there are several steps which you can take to help you find cover that suits your requirements.

Published July 15, 2024

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Definition of a pre-existing condition

A pre-existing condition typically refers to any medical or health condition that you have been diagnosed with or received treatment for before you apply for a policy. When you apply for life insurance, you will typically be asked to disclose any pre-existing conditions you have or have had in the past. The insurance company will then consider the risk of insuring you based on your medical history, and may adjust your premium or coverage accordingly.

Examples of pre-existing conditions:

It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list and that there are many other pre-existing conditions that may affect an individual’s ability to obtain life insurance coverage or may affect the cost of their premiums. Additionally, the severity of each condition and an individual’s overall health will also impact the insurance company’s decision to provide coverage and the cost of the policy.

How to get life insurance when you have a pre-existing condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, there may be a number of steps you need to follow, including:

Step 1: Speaking to our specialists

Generally, the first step to getting insurance coverage is to fully disclose to our specialists any pre-existing medical conditions. This includes a FULL medical history from the time of your birth.

Not only is it a legal and essential requirement to disclose any pre-existing medical condition, it also allows our specialists to find the most appropriate cover for your requirements. By not disclosing, you are not giving them every opportunity to find you an insurer who will cover you.

Please note that technically they will only need to know all pre-existing medical conditions which would reasonably affect the insurer’s decision to provide cover. However, the more details you disclose the better. To be safe, if you are unsure whether a previous medical condition is relevant, ask our specialists.

Generally, you will need to provide your full and complete medical file history if available. If that is unavailable, you will need to provide answers to the following questions around your relevant previous medical conditions:

Step 2: Request a pre-assessment 

If your medical history is complicated, ask our specialists to complete an anonymous pre-assessment around your specific medical history. They will then submit the anonymous enquiry to a number of life insurance companies to establish what their view is around your particular medical history.

Benefits of Doing a Pre-assessment vs a Formal Application

A pre-assessment is an informal way to find out how an insurer might rate / view your risk, without it influencing your insurance history. It gives you the advantage of assessing your risk discreetly, so you are more prepared when applying formally. You can turn risk into value by getting that extra edge when choosing and selecting an insurer.

Such an assessment is generally done by people who:

These people don’t want to be penalised because of their unique situation. So, instead of formally applying for insurance at the start, they make use of a pre-assessment to glean what their premiums or offer from an insurer might be. The assessment is predominantly completed anonymously and generally won’t affect your insurance history.  However, the results of your pre-assessment should never be a reason to leave out pertinent information when you formally apply. It is essential that you fully disclose to the insurer your entire situation when applying formally.

The following will help you make the most of your pre-assessment:

  1. The more detailed, accurate and complete the information you provide, the more precise the pre assessment results will be. It gives you valid insight into your formal application, should you apply for one. Therefore, it’s important that you provide as much information as possible during the pre-assessment stage.
  2. A Pre assessment is not binding to an insurer. While it is a great way to get insight into their views, it doesn’t mean they have to honour it. That being said, in our experience, we have found that if you provide honest, detailed information from the start, then generally the insurers’ final assessment will be more consistent with their original pre-assessment.

General Information you can expect to provide in your pre-assessment, include:

If you’re looking for an insurance policy and you suspect you might be a higher risk than a standard adult, then add additional information to your pre-assessment. You can and should use our expertise to see if we can help you find an affordable policy that provides you with adequate coverage / terms that meet your requirements. We’ve compiled a list of information we recommend you attach, if applicable:

If you have a complex medical history:

  • Your medical condition
  • Diagnoses date
  • Treatment and medications
  • Results
  • Doctors contact details

When your occupation could be perceived as dangerous:

  • Title
  • Duties
  • Hours work per week
  • Income
  • Education
  • Location

When you partake in dangerous past times:

  • The type of activity
  • Engagement hours
  • Qualification/license
  • Locations
  • Activity specific information

Financials, if you’re self-employed and want to apply for income protection insurance:

*Note: Remember to black-out your name in the copies you send with your pre-assessment.

It’s important to know that not all insurers’ view pre-existing conditions the same. If you want the best possible premiums, you need to shop around and send them your pre-assessment.

Step 3: Outcome of Pre-assessment

Following the outcome of your pre-assessment, you can then make a decision on whether or not you wish to formally apply for a life insurance policy and who would be the first insurer to approach.

Step 4: Formal lodgment of application to a life insurance company

Once you decide to proceed with an application, our specialists will formally lodge the above information to the life insurer who provided the best available terms based on the pre-assessment. The formal application will involve providing the insurer with the above medical information as well as a number of other personal details as per a normal full application.

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Step 5: Providing further information

Once the relevant life insurance company has received your application, including details of your pre-existing medical history, they may request additional information and may require you to:

Step 6: Underwriting

When your life insurance company believes they have all the relevant information, including your pre-existing medical history, medical files and results from any other additional tests, your application will be assessed and go through a process called underwriting, where your life insurer will assess your risk to the company.

Step 7: Outcome from the insurer 

Once this process is completed, the company will generally decide one of the following:

If you are not happy with the outcome the insurer has provided, it is important to ask the life company or our specialists when the outcome is reviewable or you should possibly consider other insurers.

However it is important to know that life companies may hold very similar views on certain medical conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

  • Can I get life insurance if I have a pre-existing condition?

    Yes, you can typically still get life insurance even if you have a pre-existing medical condition. However, the terms and conditions of the policy may vary depending on the specific condition, its severity, and the insurance company’s underwriting guidelines.
  • Will I have to pay more for life insurance if I have a pre-existing condition?

    In most cases, having a pre-existing medical condition may result in higher premiums for life insurance. Insurance companies consider the risk of insuring someone with a pre-existing condition to be greater than someone without any health issues. This means that the premiums may be higher to compensate for the increased risk. However, the exact impact of a pre-existing condition on life insurance premiums may vary depending on the severity of the condition, the type of policy you are seeking, your age, and other factors. Some insurance companies may also offer policies with specific riders or exclusions related to pre-existing conditions.
  • What types of pre-existing conditions are typically covered by life insurance?

    Life insurance policies in Australia typically provide coverage for a range of pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, asthma, cancer (excluding pre-existing cancer), heart disease, stroke, and mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, depending on their severity. However, it is essential to note that the coverage for pre-existing conditions may vary depending on the insurer and the specific policy chosen.
  • How do I disclose my pre-existing condition when applying for life insurance?

    When applying for life insurance in Australia, it’s important to disclose any pre-existing conditions you may have. This can be done by carefully reviewing the application form and answering all questions truthfully. If there isn’t enough space on the form to provide all the necessary details, additional information such as medical reports, test results, or letters from your doctor can be attached. Seeking professional help from a financial advisor, insurance broker, or an insurance agent can also guide you through the process and help you find the best policy for your needs.
  • Will the insurance company request medical information or documentation related to my pre-existing condition?

    It depends on the specific policy and the nature of your pre-existing condition. In many cases, insurance companies may request medical information or documentation related to a pre-existing condition in order to determine coverage eligibility and appropriate pricing. However, the extent to which they do so may vary depending on the type of insurance and the specific condition.
  • How long does the life insurance application process take when you have a pre-existing condition?

    The life insurance application process can vary depending on the specific pre-existing condition, the severity of the condition, and the insurance company’s underwriting process. Generally speaking, the application process may take longer for individuals with pre-existing conditions because the insurance company may need additional medical information or may require a medical exam.

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