Huntington's Disease & Life Insurance

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Huntington's Disease & Life InsuranceWe understand that being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, is not an easy situation. Your life is suddenly set out before you and this can be quite a scary time. Our job is to listen to your needs and find insurance that can support you in the times ahead.

Things we need to know:

  • Things we need to know
  • Have you been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease?
  • What medication do you take?
  • Do you use mobility aids?
  • Are you able to work?
  • How many family members have had Huntington’s disease?

People that have been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, will need to apply for Life Insurance with a specialist insurer. It is important that you are prepared that the policy will increase in price due to Huntington’s disease.

When you apply for Life Insurance, insurers ask if there is anyone in your family before the age of 60 or 65, that have been diagnosed with specific conditions. Family history of Huntington’s disease is on this list. When asked about your family, insurers mean your immediate blood relatives: mother, father, brothers and sisters. Insurers however are not allowed to take the results of genetic testing into account if the value of the Life Insurance you are applying for is below £500,000. So if you have had a positive genetic test, but have not exhibited any symptoms, and are not applying for insurance over £500,000, then you should be fine obtaining life cover.

If you have decided not to have a genetic test to see if you have Huntington’s disease, you are not under monitor for the condition and are not displaying symptoms, then you should be able to access life insurance at standard rates.

If you have family members who have had Huntington’s disease the insurer may choose to offer you Life Insurance at non-standard terms, in the form of a premium increase. Some insurers may decline your application for Life Insurance. If you have had a genetic test for Huntington’s disease and have a negative genotype, you may find that sharing this with the insurer could lead to you having Life Insurance at normal terms (basic premium).

Critical Illness Cover will not be available on the standard insurance market, for anyone who is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. You will need to speak with a specialist insurer, who is able to offer this type of policy to people with active Huntington’s disease but if this is available it would likely exclude anything linked to Huntington’s disease.

For people who have a family medical history of Huntington’s disease, Critical Illness Cover may be available with some insurers. For those who have not taken a genetic test for Huntington’s disease, are not under routine checks for the condition and are displaying no symptoms, Critical Illness Cover should be available at normal terms. In all other circumstances, you will need to speak with a specialist insurer to get this policy type.

Income Protection for people with a family history of Huntington’s disease may be available at standard terms in some circumstances. For most people with family members that have had Huntington’s disease however, Income Protection insurance will be available at non-standard rates in the form of a premium increase. If you have had a genetic test for Huntington’s disease and it has confirmed a negative genotype, the insurer can take this into consideration and potentially offer normal terms for Income Protection.

Income Protection is not available to people who already have Huntington’s disease, or who are under 50 years of age with family that have had Huntington’s disease. If this is the case, it may be worthwhile considering an Accident, Sickness and Unemployment policy. An Accident, Sickness and Unemployment policy can give you a monthly income replacement if you are unable to work due to ill health or involuntary redundancy, for a period of 12 to 24 months. This policy is not medically underwritten, so you have Huntington’s disease will not affect your eligibility for the policy. But, it is essential that you are fully aware that any claim related to inability to work due to Huntington’s disease, will be excluded from the policy.

Are you planning a trip abroad? Speaking with a specialist travel insurance broker can be a good idea, so that you know exactly where you stand when it comes to your health and the policy terms and conditions. To find out more, please visit our dedicated travel insurance page here.

You can view a transcript for this CuraVision Huntington’s Disease video here.

What is Huntington's Disease

Huntington’s disease is a progressive illness, that over time causes degradation to brain cells in the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex. The hereditary condition tends to onset between the ages of age 30-50 with symptoms worsening over a 10 to 20 year period, until it causes death. Huntington’s disease is diagnosed with genetic testing and is available to at risk adults (familial history or the condition) and can be performed during prenatal screening as well.

Also: HD, Huntington’s chorea (HC)

Linked with: Depression, pneumonia, juvenile Huntington’s disease

Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have Huntington’s disease include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Communication problems
  • Difficulties eating
  • Difficulty sitting
  • Involuntary movements
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Medication side effects
  • Mobility issues
  • Mood swings
  • Short term memory loss
  • Weight loss
  • Amitriptyline
  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Carbamazepine
  • Citalopram
  • Clonazepam
  • Counselling
  • Diazepam
  • Dieticians
  • Duloxetine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Mirtazapine
  • Occupational therapy
  • Olanzapine
  • Paroxetine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Quetiapine
  • Risperidone
  • Sodium valproate
  • Speech and language therapy
  • SSRI antidepressants
  • Sulpiride
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Venlafaxine

Common Questions

There a couple of things that you can do. Many insurers are going to decline you Life Insurance, now that you have been told that you have Huntington’s disease. There are specialist insurers that you can go to for Life Insurance. It is likely that you will pay a higher premium for Life Insurance than someone who doesn’t have Huntington’s disease, because there is a much higher risk of there being a claim on your policy. Some Life Insurance policies will also exclude any claims relating to death caused by the Huntington’s disease. There are pros and cons to the Life Insurances that are available to you now, and it really is best for you to speak with someone who can fully explain these options to you.

No you don’t. Being tested to check for Huntington’s disease is a personal decision and one that shouldn’t be made lightly. When you apply for Life Insurance, insurers want to know if you have family members with Huntington’s disease, so they will take note of your father’s diagnosis and that he was 48 at the time. It is possible that some insurers may offer you Life Insurance at non-standard rates (premium increase) and others may decline your insurance. If you have had a genetic test and it shows that you are negative for the Huntington’s disease genotype, then you may get these decisions overturned and arrange Life Insurance at normal terms. The important thing is, that it doesn’t matter if you have been tested or not, you will be able to get Life Insurance if you go to the right insurer for you.

Tricky one! When you apply for Life Insurance you have to tell the insurers if you are currently undergoing any tests or investigations however you do not need to tell the insurer about genetic testing (unless you are applying for Life Insurance over £500,000). Assuming that you are applying for Life Insurance lower than that value, you can probably arrange the cover with most insurers as they should disregard the genetic testing but you should check this with the provider first.

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Huntington's Disease & Life Insurance

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

Author
This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

Huntington's Disease & Life Insurance

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