Whilst being a contortionist may sound like fun to some people, for many with hypermobility syndrome it can cause far more trouble that it's worth. I was diagnosed with HMS (Beighton score 9/9) as a child and can only describe my teenage years as hell; luckily I'm much better now.
Things we need to know:
Some insurers are a bit cautious when it comes to assessing Life Insurance applications for people with hypermobility syndrome. There are some insurers that will automatically link the hypermobility to Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, with it being known as EDS Type III, and class it as a more serious condition that what it is. This is unfortunate and it is important that you place your application for Life Insurance with an insurer, that can assess hypermobility correctly.
When you apply for Life Insurance, the insurer is going to want to know how long you been diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome and if you manage your symptoms with medication, treatments or adapting your lifestyle. You will be asked if you are working and this is a good indicator to the insurer, of the severity of your hypermobility.
Provided that you speak with the correct insurer for you, your hypermobility syndrome is not likely to affect your Life Insurance application, unless you have had a significant injury or have significant musculoskeletal problems. If the symptoms of your hypermobility syndrome are mild, you could find that Life Insurance is offered at normal rates. If you have had a recent flare up of symptoms, or the hypermobility impacts upon your daily living and ability to work, then the insurer may offer Life Insurance at non-standard rates in the form a premium increase.
Hypermobility Syndromes Association (HMSA)
Members of the Hypermobility Syndromes Association (HMSA) often contact us to ask us whether we know where they can get affordable insurance cover for travel abroad. It is always shocking to hear of the high costs being quoted to members who have Marfan syndrome or Osteogenesis Imperfecta or the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome subtypes. Cura offers a comprehensive cover without penalising members of the HMSA for having genetic conditions. This is why the HMSA confidently directs members to Cura Insurance.
Donna Wicks, CEO HMSA
You should have no problems applying for Critical Illness Cover when you have hypermobility syndrome, provided that the condition does not significantly affect your daily living and is not linked to a secondary illness like Marfan's syndrome. The main thing that the insurer is going to want to know, is how does the hypermobility syndrome affect you: does it stop you working, do you need assistance with your mobility, do you take painkillers, how is your mood.
Critical Illness policies come with a claims definition called Total Permanent Disability, it is sometimes automatically included or you can opt to add it on to your cover; it is extremely difficult to make a claim. If you opt to include Total Permanent Disability in your policy (TPD) then you may have an exclusion placed on it for musculoskeletal disorders, because of the increased risk of breaking and spraining caused by the hypermobility. This may not seem ideal, but it should not put you off having access to all of the other claimable conditions on the policy, that include but are not limited to heart attack, cancer and stroke.
Income Protection for individuals with hypermobility syndrome will need to be arranged with specific insurers, that can consider your application. Whilst there are some insurers that will not offer Income Protection to people with hypermobility syndrome, there are some that can, and its our job to find one that is right for you. The insurance provider will want to establish the severity of your hypermobility, before they offer you Income Protection cover. You will be asked if you have been unable to work in the past or had time off work due to ill health, and this will be for reasons due to the hypermobility or any other medical condition. You are likely to have an exclusion placed upon your Income Protection policy for any claims related to musculoskeletal conditions.
It is essential that you are truthful about how much the hypermobility syndrome affects you. If there are any notable injuries or related illnesses in your medical history, you must tell the insurer, so that they can fully assess your health. A successful Income Protection claim will involve the insurance provider speaking with your GP who will be asked to give a thorough account of your medical history.
If you find that Income Protection is not available to you, it might be worth looking at Accident, Sickness and Unemployment cover. This type of policy offers a monthly income replacement if you are unable to work due to ill health or redundancy. Accident, Sickness and Unemployment policies are not medically underwritten, so you will be accepted for the cover without having to detail your hypermobility or how it affects you. But, you need to be fully aware that any claim that you place on the policy will exclude being unable to work due to your hypermobility.
Do you have a holiday planned? It's a good idea to speak with a specialist travel broker who can make sure you get the right travel insurance for you. Especially if you are planning a skiing trip! Visit our dedicated travel page for more details here.
What is Hypermobility Syndrome
Hypermobility syndrome is a condition that affects the collagen within an individuals body. Those diagnosed with the condition are rated on a Beighton scale of 1 to 9 based upon the severity of their joint elasticity. Those affected by the condition have a degree of contortionism within their joints with the primary areas of flexibility being seen within the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, hips and ankles. The condition typically presents itself during puberty and is most prevalent in females.
Due to the increased flexibility of the joint muscles individuals with this condition are more likely to experience breaks and sprains than others. The affect of this condition on daily living is unique to each individual. As this condition manifests itself within puberty most individuals learn to adapt their lives and daily activities at a young age. Some individuals can have the highest severity of the condition (a score of 9) and experience little to no discomfort, whilst others with a lower scale may have excessive pain in the joints that are affected.
Also: Hyperextensibility Syndrome, HMS, joint hypermobility syndrome
Possible Effects on Lifestyle
Common problems experienced by individuals with hypermobility syndrome include:
Medications and Treatments
Further Reading and Research
1. I've been declined life insurance with my bank, they say its because I have hypermobility. What can I do?
Speak to us. It is likely that your bank is tied to one insurer and that they have strict guidelines about hypermobility and insurance. It is very common for people with existing medical conditions to be refused life insurance through their banks. There are plenty of options for life insurance on the standard insurance market, its just a matter of knowing which one is going to work out best for you.
2. Last year I broke my leg and couldn't work for 2 months. It's made me realise that I want income protection insurance. Can you help me?
Yes we can. There are a couple of options available to you. You could apply for a full income protection policy on the standard market, the terms that you are offered will depend on the severity of your hypermobility syndrome and how your leg has healed (we hope it's ok!). You may need to look at more specialist income protection policies if you have regular flare ups, but there will be something that we can arrange for you.
3. I have hypermobility syndrome, but the insurer I've spoken to says I have Ehlers-Danlos and have declined me life insurance. Is that right?
No. Unfortunately, some insurers do not understand that difference between hypermobility syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos. The daft thing is that you can get life insurance when you have Ehlers-Danlos! But, it sounds like you have spoken to an insurer who does not fully understand your condition. There are many insurers who will be able to look at giving you life insurance and will assess your hypermobility correctly.
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