April 16, 2020

Family medical history

Will my family’s medical history affect a life insurance application?

Risk factors

When submitting a protection application whether for lifecritical illness or income protection, your application will be passed to the insurance company’s underwriters. They assess and evaluate risk, and it is therefore their role to investigate how much of a risk you pose to them should they choose to offer you cover.  They will assess how likely you are to make a claim on your cover for death, or serious illness based on your medical history, lifestyle and many other factors, and, if you are deemed ‘high risk’, then at what price are they prepared to offer you cover, if at all?

They will not only look at your health past and present, but also take into account your family’s medical history, as sometimes medical conditions run in families.

The main issue with this is that the appearance of certain conditions within the immediate family, (parents and siblings), can indicate a higher likelihood of you suffering from the same condition.

An insurance underwriter’s main concern is about the likelihood or probability of inherited conditions, such as Heart Disease, Stroke or Diabetes and Cancers. Huntington’s Chorea or Motor Neurone Disease.  Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease would also be taken into account.

Insurers will also ask you at what age the relative was diagnosed with the condition(s). Most insurers are only concerned about a diagnosis if it was made before the relative turned 65 years old, although some insurers ask if the diagnosis was made before the age of 60.

How do these disclosures affect a life or critical illness insurance application?

In short, the more disclosures made, the more likely it is that the insurer will ‘load’ or increase their standard premium to reflect the additional risk to them. The age that the relative was diagnosed with the condition will also affect the underwriting decision and the type of insurance being applied for will also be taken into account.

‘Loadings’ will vary between different insurance companies, and therefore it is always worth discussing your situation with a specialist adviser who can offer you expert advice. A lot of research needs to be carried out before making a recommendation, saving you time and potentially hundreds if not thousands of pounds in premiums over the term of the policy.

The ‘cheapest’ deal is not necessarily going to end up actually being the cheapest or best deal for you, once the underwriting has been completed.

If, once you’ve read this case study, you’d like to talk through your situation, please call 0800 644 4468 – Monday to Thursday from 09.00 to 19.00 and on Friday between 09.00 and 17.00.

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Case study:

We had an enquiry from a 45 year old male, non-smoker who was looking for life and critical illness insurance to protect his outstanding mortgage of £150,000, as well as his family over a term of 19 years. He was diagnosed with hyper-tension (high blood pressure) 10 years ago however, it is well controlled by medication and diet.

Our client’s brother had a heart attack at the age of 36 and his mother was diagnosed with diabetes at 55 who subsequently suffered a heart attack soon afterwards.

There was a vast range in the feedback from insurers. Some insurers would decline an offer of critical illness cover. Some would increase or ‘load’  premiums from 50 to 150 per cent. We found two companies which were willing to offer cover on ‘standard terms’ ( ie no increase in the quoted premium).

Finding the right provider could save thousands of pounds.

Our client could have ended up paying a ‘loaded’ premium of over £165 per month, or he could (and did) end up paying ‘standard rates’ of £63.18 per month.

The difference in the total cost of premiums between the company which offered a 150 per cent ‘loading’ and the company which offered ‘standard terms’ is in excess of a staggering £23,000 over the next 19 years. (2020)

Please note that any premiums mentioned are indicative only and based on this specific case study/ example, which is shown for information purposes only. Your own circumstances will determine whether the amount payable is more or less than the figure quoted.

Next steps

Whilst you are welcome to get a quote on-line but we would recommend you talk to one of our advisers.

Any quote that your adviser provides you with will take into account to your circumstances, your medical history, as well as your budget!

An online quote is just that – a quote – it isn’t a definite offer of cover. What really matters is the premium you are offered, after your application has been assessed.

Call Freephone 0800 644 4468 – Monday to Thursday from 09.00 to 19.00 and on Friday between 09.00 and 17.00.

Please feel free to read our Independent client reviews, or read about the team at Future Proof

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Interested in related stories?

Jon’s moving story – being diagnosed with cancer.

The protection industry pays out over £5.7bn in claims in 2019

What questions will I be asked by an adviser?

Why you can trust Future Proof.

The benefits of an index-linked insurance policy

Take a look at our handy guides ‘What Cover is Right for me?’

Do you suffer from a medical condition and concerned you can’t secure Life Insurance?  Please view our ‘Medical Guides’ for further information.

Whilst we will make every endeavour to help someone to arrange insurance, there is no guarantee of success.  All applications are subject to underwriting.

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