Are there any areas that people should be aware of where they may not be covered at all, or adequately enough, when they come to make a claim?
I think it’s important to mention the area of non disclosure. When a person completes an application they have to answer some medical questions and I cannot stress how important it is that these questions are answered truthfully and in full. An insurance underwriter needs to know the full medical history of the applicant so they can decide terms. If someone looks for say E100, 200, 500k or more cover and intentionally does not disclose a relevant fact then they are effectively trying to defraud the company out of the insured amount. Failure to disclose information is fraud and a claim would not be paid out. So even if you are in a hurry to get cover don’t even consider it.
People taking out a mortgage can leave taking out a suitable policy to the last minute and there is always the temptation not to mention something for fear it will slow down the process of getting cover. My recommendation is apply in plenty of time and if you are letting someone else fill in your application form for you, check it for accuracy before you sign it.
Insurance companies share information which helps prevent fraud. Your broker may not know that an applicant has a previous history but once it goes to underwriting they will consult a central registry and in some cases one insurance provider may request copies of another providers records to help in the underwriting.
Many health conditions such as raised blood pressure, above average smoking and above average weight have a greater impact on the likelihood of contracting a serious illness than the likelihood of dying. So it really depends on the type of policy you wish to take out.
When you apply for a policy you have to complete a proposal form in which you have to answer some medical questions. The application is sent by your intermediary to the life office for underwriting.
When you apply what will receive attention is any condition which could reduce the expectation of life. People who may find it difficult to get insurance disclose:
- People who already have had a heart attack, stroke or bypass surgery.
- Angina sufferers.
- People who have had cancer (some skin and cervical cancers may be able to get cover).
- Kidney transplant patients.
- Persons undergoing regular dialysis.
- People who have suffered a paralysis.
- People who have confirmed diagnosis of MS
- Insulin dependant diabetics.
- Liver diseases.
- Tropical diseases.
- Glandular disorders.
- Heavy smokers.
- Heavy drinkers.
Family history can also play an important part:
e.g. where there is a family history of kidney disease or cancer before age 60.
e.g. history of circulatory diseases (such as heart attack, stroke, angina, )
Do not be tempted to hide any medical history on an insurance application form. If you do, you are simply wasting your money as your will not be covered in the event of a claim.
- Do you engage in any hazardous pursuits or occupations? e.g. aviation, working at heights, climbing, diving or motor sports etc.) Questionnaires are available from your intermediary. If the occupation is a soldier, the following questions can be answered in lieu of a questionnaire, (1) do you intend to travel abroad with the UN? (2) Do you handle explosives? and (3) exact nature of duties.
- Do you intend to journey, work or live outside the republic of Ireland (excluding holidays)? If one travels abroad, the following information should be included, the location, the duration of the visits and number of times per annum. e.g. travel to UK, France, Germany and US on business approx 6 times per annum and for 3-4 days at a time. This is a common omission.