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Being ill can put life into sharp focus, making you realise you want to take care of your loved ones when you’re gone. While it will be harder and potentially more pricey, it is still possible to buy a policy if you are sick or have a pre-existing medical condition.
If you do your homework, you should be able to find insurance that will give you and those you care about peace of mind. However, the size of the financial safety-net you leave behind will depend on a whole host of factors.
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Being ill doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be disqualified from taking out a standard life insurance policy. Before applying, work out your budget and your needs. Do you want financial help for your partner when you’re gone, for example? Or simply a policy to cover funeral costs?
Here are some other essential tips for the search process:
If your illness is terminal, finding a life insurance provider to cover you will be more difficult. You could look at an over-50s policy, which you won’t have to do any sort of medical screening for. Here are the main features of this type of deal:
If your main concern is helping your loved ones pay for any funeral costs, you could take out pre-paid funeral cover. With this type of policy you pay in advance for your funeral, either in a one-off cash sum or in monthly instalments.
This money is then invested into a trust fund or an insurance plan, which then takes care of certain funeral costs – whenever it happens to be.
Be wary though; funeral cover often doesn’t pay for everything involved with the event. The cost of a burial plot is rarely included, likewise funeral director fees, and fees for services such as flowers or catering, are usually left out too.
When you apply for any type of insurance, a provider will look at your personal, financial and medical details to work out your level of risk. If you’ve had a serious illness it can really push your rates up. Here are a few ways it could go:
Reduced rates for months or years after. If you can prove that you’re on the road to recovery or you can keep your condition under control, the insurer may bring your rates down.
Expensive premium costs. An insurer may agree to offer you life insurance but only at sky-high prices, on the basis that your illness makes you a high-risk customer.
Refuse coverage. People with certain illnesses or conditions, or ones that can’t be cured, won’t be able to get a standard life insurance policy.
Exclude your condition. In very rare cases you can get life insurance that will cover you but will exclude your past illness or pre-existing health condition. A policy like this will hardly offer any peace of mind though.
Insurance companies won’t classify every health condition as high risk, meanwhile insurance companies won’t all have the exact same risk assessment process.
This means while one provider might refuse to cover you due to your illness, another might decide your medical history isn’t an issue. If you’re able to keep your condition under control, you have a much better chance of lowering your rates.
Unfortunately, having a terminal illness will mean you probably won’t get a standard life insurance policy anywhere. As a guide, here are some common conditions and illnesses that can affect life insurance costs:
Even if you think you’re unlikely to succeed, it’s worth applying with a few insurers anyway. In fact, if you can demonstrate that you’re doing all you can to manage your condition, and your treatment is going well, an insurer may offer you a reasonable deal.
Whatever your condition, the first step you need to take is working out why you want life insurance. What do you need coverage for? Is it to look after your partner when you’re gone, to pay off a mortgage or take care of funeral costs?
Then you need to budget, working out what you are willing to pay on premiums. If you won’t be able to keep up the payments there’s not much point in starting a policy.
After this, you should at the very least apply for a standard life insurance policy. You might be rejected, but you can increase your chances by speaking to insurance brokers, charities and people you know from support groups.
They might be able to offer advice about keeping your insurance costs down, while also being totally honest about your condition. Ultimately, you could turn to an over-50s policy or a funeral plan if you’re really struggling to get accepted anywhere.
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