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Insurance options for pre-existing conditions

By David Drillien, Executive Manager Portfolio Management

One concern that customers often have when taking out life insurance is what will happen if they’ve already got or have previously had a medical condition.

Most people believe that pre-existing conditions are completely excluded by life and health insurance providers, but that’s not always the case.

If you think that old or current medical conditions might affect your insurance, here are some options for you to think about.

Underwritten versus non-underwritten cover

When you buy life insurance, the insurance company assesses you against their guidelines – a process known as underwriting. They’ll then decide whether to offer you cover and if so, whether any special conditions should apply. Special conditions can include things like increased premiums or excluded medical conditions.

But there are different degrees of underwriting.

Buying insurance direct online usually means fewer questions, and policies are less tailored to your personal situation.

Buying through a financial adviser means your specific situation will be assessed. In these cases, if you indicate any medical conditions, you’ll receive even more in-depth analysis from one of our underwriting specialists.

Degrees of underwriting:

Not underwritten

(e.g guaranteed acceptance funeral cover)

A 'one size fits all' approach to insurance, no questions asked.

Partly underwritten

(e.g. direct online life cover)

A partially tailored policy, where you’ll be asked some questions and be assessed against high level criteria. 

Fully underwritten

(e.g. cover purchased through a financial adviser)

A more comprehensive process which gives a fully personalised assessment.  You answer a few more questions, and, if needed, underwriters might review and assess your medical records. They could also pay for medical tests to confirm the level of risk any existing conditions present to your health.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but if you’ve had any health issues in the past that you believe might affect your cover, you’re likely to benefit from purchasing a fully underwritten product. That’s because your insurance can be properly tailored to your circumstances.

We can often still cover you if you have a medical condition

All of Asteron Life’s insurance policies are underwritten at the time of purchase, so if you have a pre-existing condition you can talk to us about what we can offer.

If you’ve got an existing condition we can usually still offer you cover, but there are a few things we might need to do:

  • Add a ‘stand-down’ period for your condition 
  • Cover your condition by increasing your premiums
  • Offer you cover, but exclude your specific condition from what you’re covered for.  These exclusions could be permanent or might have a set time frame.

If in doubt, leave it in

If you aren’t sure whether something might count in the underwriting process, the best thing to do is tell us about it. That chest infection might not affect your application, but not telling us about it could have serious consequences when you need to claim. 

Talk to an adviser for personalised assistance

If you need life cover but you’re worried about pre-existing conditions, talk to an adviser for independent advice about what your options might be.


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The information in this article has been compiled from various sources and is intended to be factual information only. It is not personal advice and any description of an insurance product or service is not a complete description of all the terms and conditions applicable to the particular insurance product or service. You should consult a qualified adviser for advice on whether the information in this article is suitable for your personal situation and needs. While we take reasonable steps to ensure that the information contained in this article is accurate and up-to-date, it is subject to change without notice. Asteron Life Limited and its related companies does/do not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with your use of or reliance on this article.