family history

Does family histroy affect life insurance?

It is an unfortunate and very often frustrating fact that your family’s health history can be a factor in your pursuit of life insurance and critical illness cover, and at times even result in you having to pay more in premiums than you otherwise would. In most circumstances, life insurers will have a section of their health and lifestyle questionnaire where they will ask questions about your close family, specifically, if they have been diagnosed with or died from a list of conditions before a given age. The age up to which the insurer will ask about depends on the provider but is typically either 60 or 65, beyond which there is not a need to disclose any information.

The reason insurance providers do this is to determine if there are hereditary conditions or diseases that run in an applicants family for which they are more susceptible to suffer with themselves, or is there a trend of a specific type or related condition that has occurred to multiple family members and again could make the applicant a higher risk of developing themselves in the future, such as heart attack or stroke.

Which medical conditions affect life insurance?

The conditions insurers will ask you about will differ from provider to provider but will include a core that most insurers will ask about. These include;

  • Heart related – Heart Attack, Angina, Stoke or Cardiomyopathy
  • Types of cancers – Breast, Ovarian, Bowel or Colon Cancer
  • Other diseases – Parkinsons Disease, Alzheimers Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease & Polycystic Kidney Disease

As well as these conditions, there are a number of others that could come up during the family section of a health and lifestyle questionnaire which only particular insurers will ask about. These can include;

  • Diabetes
  • Polyposis Coli or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Other types of cancer such as – Leukaemia, Lung Cancer or Skin Cancer
  • Any other potentially hereditary conditions which have been screened or tested for

So, that’s quite an extensive list of conditions. However, if you have a family member who has suffered with any of the above, it does not mean that it will affect your eligibility or indeed the price of your premium for a life insurance policy. For example, if on an application, a person disclosed that their father had a heart attack when he was 56, but there was no other history of the condition or related conditions such as stroke or angina in the family, and the applicant themselves had no history of heart disease, then there would not automatically be any rating of the premium.

This may not be the case if there are multiple members of the family who have suffered with a similar condition. Using the example above, but let’s add an additional family member, for example a brother who suffered with a heart attack at 50 into the equation, then this may pose more of a consideration for an insurer as it would appear there could be a trend.

What else do I need to think about?

With conditions that are particularly prone to being hereditary and which have been disclosed in an application, the insurer will often ask if the applicant has undergone any screening or tests for the condition themselves and if so, what the results are. If it is the case that a life insurance applicant has undergone a testing process for a condition that has affected another close family member and has found to be clear, this will often mean that the insurer will not adjust the premium.

It’s worth mentioning that with family medical history in the context of a life insurance application, there are scenarios where the applicant simply does not know or that they may not be aware of a medical condition that either their parents and/or siblings have been diagnosed with. This can be due to a person perhaps being adopted or that they have lost contact with family members. Or, that it has not been openly discussed within the family group. For this reason, there is the assumption that family history is always to ‘the best of your knowledge’ in the context of a life insurance and/or critical illness application. With all insurers there is an option to respond to this section of the questionnaire with a ‘don’t know’ if appropriate. If this is the case, it will have no negative impact on the application as that section of the questions will be treated as if all the answers were given as a ‘no’.

As with all types of disclosures within an application for life insurance or critical illness cover, if you are uncertain as to any potential implications on the successful outcome on an application, it is best to firstly discuss them with an experienced professional broker. As we have seen from the types of conditions listed above, not all insurers ask about the same conditions. It would therefore be unwise to apply to an insurer who will ask about a condition that may run in your family and have them increase the premium because of this when there was an option to approach an insurer who would simply not ask about that particular condition and therefore avoid the need to disclose the condition and suffer the subsequent premium rating.


Get in touch with Trustsured today to find out how we can help you

It is vitally important to speak to an experiences broker such as Trustsured about your personal circumstances prior to committing to one particular insurance provider or indeed approaching any and all at random. By coming to us a Trustsured, you will be allocated a personal point of contact that will listen to your requirements as well as what considerations you have with regard to family history or indeed any other disclosures. They will then explain what, if any, implications there may be to a life insurance application and explain what options are available to you. This will put you in a best position to choose which insurance option and provider is the right option for you and will ensure you are fully aware of the cost before committing to the application stage of the process.

So, if you have a family medical history which you are unsure will have any implications for a life insurance or critical illness cover application, or, if you think you have a policy which you are paying more for because of a family history disclosure, let us take a look at what options are available for you. There is simply no need to pay more that you need to for personal protection and we have a full panel of insurers from which to give you a full range of options. Let us do the work for you, allowing you to fully consider all your options in your own time and make the choice for your insurance that’s best for you!