When it comes to finding the best insurance, there’s no one-size-fits-all option – rather the right policy will depend on your individual circumstances.
How do you know that the insurer you are approaching for life or illness cover will offer you the best terms?
Well, unfortunately, you don’t. All UK insurers have different underwriting techniques, guidance and processes, meaning that one company could offer better or cheaper cover than another company.
In years gone by, insurers had one option: a paper application form, completed by a client and reviewed manually by medical underwriters, which could be time consuming and frustrating for the client. Thankfully, products, application processes and underwriting methods have evolved and there are now many different routes to buying insurance, including online applications and virtual medical screenings. Underwriting can be a particularly complex process, so it shouldn’t be one-size fits all.
Part of the challenge of underwriting is understanding different customers and providing the appropriate solutions. Customers have individual needs and lifestyles, so it’s important for insurers to offer various solutions to reflect this and provide insurance to more people.
I have a pre-existing medical condition, is it worth me applying for cover?
Pre-existing medical conditions are just one of many factors that insurers consider when you apply for cover. Other things, like your job and how much cover you’re asking for, also play a part.
It’s important that you answer the medical questions correctly and truthfully. Otherwise, the insurer may ask you to pay more for the cover, they may not be able you cover until a later date and in some cases, they may cancel your policy. Or, more seriously, any cover you do have in place may not be valid, and the insurer won’t be able to pay out in the event of a claim.
A pre-existing medical condition won’t necessarily prevent you from getting cover. But you should be aware that:
- The insurer might ask for more medical information. That might be a report from your GP, a call from a nurse, a mini screening, or a medical exam, where they find out more about your general health or the condition you have.
- It might cost more. When they look at your application, underwriters will consider how likely you are to make a claim, and if it’s more or less likely than the average person. So, for example, your premiums may be higher if you have a serious, chronic medical condition.
Unfortunately, sometimes a life or illness insurance application is declined based on medical reasons. If you have a serious condition, the insurer may not be able to offer you cover. Even if this happens, you may be able to get life or illness insurance elsewhere.
For expert advice on insurance matters why not book a call with a Financial Adviser from Integrity365. Email Integrity365 directly for more information.
How do I make sure I apply to the right insurer?
The best way to ensure you are applying for the right cover, with the right provider is to get independent financial advice. Every person is different, so it’s important to make sure that you have an expert on your side who can navigate the pitfalls of medical underwriting.
There are scenarios where people may not be offered one product with one insurer, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t get access to other products with different providers who use different product parameters or underwriting rules. For example, a client of mine with a complex medical history had been declined by one insurer for cover, but after coming to me, I was able to source the cover they needed with another company.
An Independent Financial Adviser with a good knowledge of the protection market will know which type of cover is best suited to a certain individual and understand how underwriting works, in conjunction with which providers tend to offer more favourable terms for different circumstances.
What if my circumstances change?
One of the most important steps to ensure you continue to have the right cover in place is to regularly review your cover with your adviser. If you set the cover up yourself and are unsure if it is still fit for purpose, get some advice. So many people set up life cover for their mortgage in their early years, and then forget all about it. Years later, their circumstances could be very different, and in the event of either death or illness they could find themselves woefully under-insured.
So not only is it important to get advice when setting up your cover for the first time, it is also important to review it on a regular basis. It could be the difference between financial comfort or financial hardship at an already stressful time for you and/or your family.
Written by Coreena Dutton FPFS, Independent Financial Adviser/Chartered Financial Planner, Integrity365
Customer service is at the heart of everything Integrity365 do, from the early days of pensions and ISAs to investments and lump sum decisions, through to retirement and later life planning, they are here to support you through the key stages of your life with a holistic approach to financial planning.