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Last Updated on 16 August 2018

Life Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions

Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of death or incapacity. Life insurance companies assess a person’s risk level when deciding whether to offer cover and what amount of coverage to provide. Those with pre-existing conditions may be a riskier bet for the insurance company because there is a greater chance the insurer will have to pay out on the policy. As a result, a person with a diagnosed medical problem may have a hard time finding coverage or may face higher premiums.

One of the best ways to avoid having problems getting life insurance cover is to buy a policy when you are young and healthy. If you already have coverage in place, an insurer is not going to be able to drop you or substantially raise premiums because of the fact that you develop a medical issue. If you have been diagnosed with a medical problem already and you don’t have coverage, you can typically still find a policy to protect your financial interests and the future financial security for your dependants and loved ones. However, you may need to shop around a little more to find life insurance cover at a comfortable cost with the benefits you need.

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition that you already have at the time when you apply for insurance. Pre-existing conditions can include things like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and asthma. If you have been diagnosed with any health issues that are chronic, incurable, or likely to be fatal, you have a pre-existing condition.

Do You Have to Disclose Pre-Existing Conditions?

When you apply for life insurance coverage, you will need to answer questions about your health status. This includes disclosing whether you have a pre-existing medical condition. If you do not disclose that you have a health issue, the insurer may discover the dishonesty when a claim is made on the policy. Your lapse in disclosing the health concern could result in the policy being retroactively cancelled and/or in the benefits not paying out. This would mean you and your loved ones would not have the coverage and financial protection the policy was supposed to provide.

What Happens When You Shop for Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition?

When you shop for life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition, the insurer is going to apply its risk-assessment policies to determine what risk level you present. The insurer may decline to offer you cover if your condition means it is very likely the insurer will soon need to pay out benefits.

The insurer may also offer you cover at a higher cost; may request you undergo a medical test so they can get more information; or may ask that you provide more details about your health conditions. In some cases, insurers will also offer you a policy with more restrictions, such as exclusions for coverage if you become incapacitated or die as a result of the pre-existing condition.

Is It Possible to Buy Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition should not entirely preclude you from getting cover. You can shop around to find an insurer who is willing to offer benefits despite your health issues, although you may have to pay higher premium costs or may find that the insurer excludes coverage for incapacity or death resulting from the condition that you have already been diagnosed with.

There are guaranteed issue life insurance companies that will provide a policy regardless of your medical history or what conditions you have. The coverage is usually much more limited for these guaranteed issue policies. For example, your policy may limit you to a small amount of benefits intended to cover funeral costs. The policy may also have a waiting period before beneficiaries become eligible for benefits. For example, the policy may specify that there is no coverage for losses during the first six months after it is purchased. These limitations are intended to ensure people who are diagnosed with a terminal illness do not immediately buy a policy and expect it to pay out to family members when they pass away within a few weeks or months.

Is Your Condition a Pre-Existing Condition?

The specifics of what is considered a pre-existing condition vary from one insurance provider to the next. Be sure to disclose any health problems that you have been diagnosed with so you can find an insurance carrier that will cover you despite your medical issues and so there will be no unpleasant surprises if a claim must be made.

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