When applying for Life Insurance you will be asked a series of questions in order for the insurer to decide the terms of cover that they can offer. The application will include questions regarding the health of your immediate family members.
In many circumstances answers to these questions will not affect the terms that you are offered for Life Insurance as the insurance provider is unlikely to class it as a high risk. Examples are having a single family member with diabetes or skin cancer. There are however areas where the insurers can identify an increased risk and thus charge a higher price for cover; usually where multiple family members have the same condition or a family member has had a condition at a young age which has been proven to indicate a higher risk to direct family members (e.g. Breast Cancer).
In general the questions will be focused upon whether your family member(s) were diagnosed with a notifiable medical condition before a certain age; this is usually 65 years of age. A list of conditions that you may be asked to disclose are included at the bottom of this page.
Insurance companies are primarily looking for risk factors that could affect you in later life. If they see an increased risk, for example, a family history of breast cancer for young females.
You need to be honest with these questions and if needs be check with your family before answering them, as failure to provide information can mean that your cover does not pay out. If you do not know your family, e.g. you are adopted, then tell the insurance provider and they should give allowance for this.
Critical Illness Cover with a family medical history disclosure is treat in very much the same way as a Life Insurance application. The insurer will consider the type of medical condition that your family member had and determine if they feel that there is an increased risk of you being diagnosed with the same condition.
In some circumstances you may find that your Critical Illness Cover policy comes with an increased premium and/or exclusion for conditions related to your family members health. For example if your mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age then you will probably find that your policy comes with a breast cancer exclusion. You are more likely to have a condition excluded from your set of claimable illnesses than you are a premium increase, but it will depend on the condition in question.
Income Protection with family medical history will typically follow the same format as a Critical Illness policy in regards to underwriting terms. Some conditions may lead to an exclusion on cover and some to a price increase.
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When applying for an insurance policy such as Life Cover, Critical Illness Insurance or Income Protection you are likely to be asked about your family history. Generally these questions are aimed at your siblings and parents only. They should not need to know about your grandparents, children or other family members.
Insurers cannot ask you about the results of any genetic testing that you have undergone to determine if you have a predisposition to certain medical conditions e.g. SH gene, BRCA, etc. However it is important that if you are taking preventative medication or treatment, have been diagnosed with a medical condition or have shown symptoms that these are disclosed on your application, at which point the insurer may ask for further details.
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