Worried about applying for Life Assurance because of your health?

I was speaking with a neighbour recently about Life cover and they were concerned about whether or not they would get Life cover. There were specific health concerns in their family that convinced them that they would not be able to get life assurance. I thought it might give some people peace of mind to know a few things about the medical side of a Life Assurance application.

Genetic test

Under the provisions of Part 4 of the Disability Act 2005, an insurer cannot request, take into account or process the results of genetic tests.  This applies to both positive and negative tests. The recent public discussions about the BRCA gene would probably be the most recent example of a gene that would be covered under this act.

However this exception does not change your legal obligation to provide the insurance company with full details of any symptoms experienced, non-genetic laboratory tests or investigations, treatment, and family history when answering the questions on the application form.

Other Concerns

I have spoken to people who are reluctant to send in an application because they want to improve their current health by losing more weight or giving up smoking. This is not a very prudent strategy because of the potential implications to their family if they were to pass away before reaching their healthy goal.

The important thing to remember is that until you put in an application you will never be fully sure if your current health situation will make any difference. There is a lot of incorrect assumptions about Life assurance medical underwriting that prevent people from trying to either improve on their existing cover or taking out a new plan.

There are specialised Life companies who offer Life Assurance to people who are medically higher risk but have been declined by mainstream Life companies in Ireland. I would encourage people to not let their current health situation put them applying for the Life assurance they want.