You’ll soon find that when you’re quoted for a policy, most insurance companies will ask about your health history and will often ask about diabetes specifically. Why is that, and what difference does it make?
Here’s everything you need to know about your diabetes and life insurance.
What’s with the Questions?
When you take out car insurance, companies will ask about your car’s make and model, where you park it, how long you’ve had your licence and whether you’ve had previous claims. This is to determine the risk that you present to the insurer. A 21-year-old with three claims, who drives a Ferrari, would expect to pay a higher premium than a 45-year-old with a clean claims record driving a Toyota Yaris because it is far riskier to insure the young Ferrari driver. This process is called underwriting.
Life insurance is much the same, and insurance companies ask questions about your health and medical history in order to determine their risk. Once this is established, life insurers can see whether you qualify for a policy and determine the appropriate premium. Because people with diabetes are at higher risk of health complications such as stroke, it’s important to take this into account. The process is similar to other health problems; such as cancer, HIV infection or any illness or injury that has required lengthy hospitalisation or which may reduce healthy life expectancy.
Can I Still Get Cover?
Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you don’t qualify for life cover. In fact, many people with diabetes have comprehensive life cover in place, as do HIV-positive individuals and cancer survivors. Each insurance company will have its own scientifically calculated underwriting rules and these will determine how and when they will cover people with certain health conditions (diabetes included).
The reality is that many people who have diabetes will have slightly higher premiums than they would if they did not have diabetes, but this may depend on other lifestyle factors and whether your diabetes has resulted in hospitalisations or other complications. This is called a ‘loading factor’. For example, a person with diabetes who smokes or who is very overweight, would probably see a much higher loading on their premiums than a person with diabetes who has a healthy weight, who exercises regularly, is well-controlled and who doesn’t smoke.
Remember, you can always shop around for a life insurance quote that suits you, as the life insurance that is the best value for your friend might not be the best option for you and vice versa.
What If I Don’t Mention My Diabetes?
Simply put, if you lie about your diabetes during the quote, your loved ones may find that they do not receive any pay-out from your life insurance policy. And that’s just not worth the risk of paying for nothing!
By omitting information, not only do you make your premiums inaccurate, but you can also invalidate your policy. This is because insurers can argue that they would not have offered you cover had your diabetes been disclosed. This can happen even if your death is unrelated to your diabetes.
In order to make sure that your policies are fair to both you and your insurer and to prevent any complications at claims stage, it’s important to always be honest when taking life cover.