Archive for July, 2009
The ability to actually obtain life insurance is unlikely to be affected by diving however there are a few things to consider which could affect the price.
Scuba diving as an occupation and scuba diving for recreation can both be assessed by insurance companies in similar ways but they also have certain key differences.
Recreational scuba divers are not required to be highly qualified in order to participate whereas people who dive for a living must possess certain credentials and keep their expertise current.
Recreational scuba diving is assessed by life insurance companies based on:
1/ The qualifications held by the diver
2/ Number of dives per year
3/ Maximum depth of dives
4/ Type of apparatus used (air or mixed gas)
5/ Location of dives
6/ Type of diving (open water, caves, wrecks etc.)
The depth and frequency of recreational dives can result in a ‘loading’ being applied to a policy.
Wreck and cave diving is also considered higher risk than open water diving.
Diving as a hazardous occupation could be assessed on the following:
1/ Qualifications held by the diver
2/ Training and experience
3/ Number of dives
4/ Depth of dives
5/ Type of work involved (cable laying, maintenance, construction etc.)
6/ Use of explosives
7/ Location of dives (offshore, UK, overseas etc.)
Life insurance companies assess diving as an occupation differently from one another and while some may consider all of the above, some are quite satisfied to just know the qualifications and type of work involved.
Deeper dives may require specialist equipment and qualifications due to greater risks and these can be reflected in the price of life cover.
Using heavy machinery or guiding heavy cables can also pose a greater risk and result in a higher price being paid for insurance.
Someone who is very well qualified and very well trained could potentially avoid a higher premium compared to someone with less experience however this information may not be asked in an application but it can be volunteered and could save a great deal of money over the life of a policy (£5/month = £1500 over 25 years). A broker would be best placed to help in this instance and using a broker will not increase the cost. Most brokers do not charge anything for their services.
Insurance companies assess cases differently so it makes sense to research the market or speak with a specialist adviser with experience and access to a wide variety of insurers.
Life insurance for inheritance tax can help to ensure your next of kin receive the full value of your estate when you die.
Nobody likes paying Tax but it is a fact of life and unfortunately it can also be a fact of death – in the form of Inheritance Tax (IHT) which, is why estate planning makes good financial sense.
There are certain allowances which currently stand at £325,000 per person (which can be passed to a spouse giving a total of £650,000) but for estates valued above the allowance the difference is taxed at 40%.
The beneficiaries of the estate are responsible for paying the tax. This is why estate planning is essential to find the most cost effective solution to the problem.
A life insurance policy can be a way of ensuring there is sufficient money available to pay the inheritance tax bill and therefore leave the entire value of the estate to the chosen beneficiaries.
A single person with an allowance of £325,000 and an estate worth £500,000 will leave £175,000 that is subject to inheritance tax at 40%. The beneficiaries will be charged £70,000.
A couple with a total allowance of £650,000 and an estate worth £1,000,000 will leave £350,000 that is subject to IHT. The beneficiaries will be charged £140,000.
If in the above two situations the departed had taken out a life insurance policy for £70,000 and £140,000 respectively, the tax could be paid from the proceeds of the policy and the entire value of the estate would then pass to the chosen beneficiaries.
This combined with wills and trusts makes for sensible estate planning.
Term Assurance would provide cover for a set amount of time (typically 40 years or to age 85)
Whole of Life insurance would provide cover until the death of the policy holder (provided all the monthly premiums are paid).
Couples may wish to take out joint policies which pay out on the death of the second person and so leave the proceeds to the children instead of the surviving spouse.
In order to prevent the policy from adding to the total value of the estate and increasing the tax liability the policy should be written into ‘trust’ which would remove it from the estate but ensure the proceeds are distributed in accordance with the terms of the ‘trust’.
This also means the proceeds of the life insurance policy do not get tied up in ‘probate’ and are paid very quickly to the chosen beneficiaries which means important financial matters such as a funeral or a mortgage can be taken care of.
Most life insurance companies offer help and assistance and the necessary forms to place a policy in trust at no cost but for more complex cases a specialist solicitor may be required.
When it comes to matters of Tax & Estate planning it is always advisable to speak with a qualified specialist with access to a broad range of products and solutions.
A large number of people in the UK are living with HIV and many are leading very normal lives.
Many people with HIV have existing mortgages and family and so a need for life insurance exists.
Until recently it has not been possible for people with HIV to obtain life insurance but that is no longer the case.
It may now be possible for people with HIV to find life insurance but certain conditions do apply.
Currently insurance is restricted to a maximum of £250,000 for a maximum term of 10 years and any applications will need to be thoroughly assessed.
Applicants will also need to meet certain qualifying criteria.
Applicants must be aged between 25–50.
Applicants should not have transmitted HIV through intravenous drug use.
Applicants must be receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART):
– in the UK.
– commenced treatment in the last five years.
– receiving treatment for at least six months.
Treatment should result with increased CD4 cell count and viral load should be suppressed to a near undetectable level.
Applicants must be Hepatitis B and C negative.
If the qualifying criteria is met, applicants will be asked to complete a confidential questionnaire to support an application.
A doctors report, medical exam and Hepatitis B and C tests will also be required.
A stroke can radically affect someone’s life but it may still be possible to obtain life insurance after a stroke depending on the severity of the stroke and the after effects.
Being the victim of a stroke is something that will immediately bring home just how vulnerable we all are and remind us of our own mortality.
When that happens the thought of leaving loved ones behind becomes much more of a real concern.
Life insurance can provide a lump sum or monthly income to the people we leave behind and being a stroke victim does not necessarily mean life cover is unavailable.
Depending on the severity of a stroke and any underlying health issues it may, in some circumstances, not have any affect on the price or availability of life insurance at all. The complexity of a stroke means some thorough research may be needed to find a competitive policy but a specialist broker can help.
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) are considered ‘mini’ strokes and less severe than a full blown stroke and although they are sometimes seen as a precursor to a full blown stroke this is not always the case and a full recovery can be made after the event.
Life insurance companies will consider stroke victims for cover but they will require detailed information about the circumstances which means obtaining a GP report or possibly conducting a medical examination.
They will need to find out how severe the stroke was, how long ago it occurred, what the underlying cause was and how well the person has recovered.
People who have suffered 2 or more strokes will unfortunaely have difficulty obtaining life insurance.
People over the age of 50 will still be able to consider an ‘over 50 plan’ which requires no medical underwriting but people below the age of 50 who have suffered 2 or more strokes may not be able to find cover.
Just because someone has life insurance declined it does not necessarily mean they will be turned down by every insurer.
It is even possible to have a negative decision overturned by providing additional information. An insurance adviser can help with this by being the ‘middle-man’ and speaking to the insurer on your behalf.
Have you been turned down?
If you have, there are a few things you can do.
1/ Find out why.
If you don’t know why cover has been declined you can request a letter from the insurance company to explain the reason. This letter will be sent to your GP. Insurance companies do this in case the information is sensitive or is about a medical condition that might need treating.
You will need to make an appointment with your GP to go over the letter.
People can be turned down for many reasons such as:
Existing medical conditions
Family medical history
Drug / Alcohol Abuse
High Risk Occupations
In some cases it might just be vague or incomplete information that leads to an application being declined.
Medical conditions can be complex and insurers like to know the full picture before making a decision. If they receive information that is incomplete they will sometimes just say ‘no’ and not many people know they can contest the decision.
Even if an insurer receives a report from an applicants GP the information can be vague.
Applications can be submitted online these days which makes it possible for people to ‘click’ the wrong response to an important question.
If you’ve been turned down it may help to check the answers you gave to make sure there have not been any mistakes.
2/ Contact the insurer.
If you’ve made a mistake on the application you can call the insurance company and tell them. You may need to submit the application again with the correct information.
If you’ve been turned down for medical reasons you can contact the insurance company and ask them if cover could be reconsidered if your circumstances change or if they had more information to go on.
One example could be a recent diagnosis of high blood pressure. If a persons blood pressure is erratic their cover could be declined until medication has brought the condition under control. Once it is controlled the GP can send up-to-date readings to the the insurer.
Insurers will not always ask for more information but it can be supplied to them and it can make a difference. They will accept information that is sent directly from a medical professional.
3/ Get a copy of your GP Report
When an application is submitted the insurer will decide if they need a report from the GP.
If an application has been turned down and a GP report has been supplied it is possible for the applicant to ask their surgery for a copy. This detailed information can then be used by a specialist adviser to discuss the possibility of cover with other insurers.
Speaking with a specialist adviser who has access to the whole of the market and the ability to discuss a specific case with insurance underwriters, to establish how the case will be viewed, can increase the chances of being accepted for life insurance.
If another application is submitted to another insurer and a report is requested the applicant will be given the option to see it before the GP releases it to the insurer and this gives them the opportunity to encourage the GP to provide as much information as possible which, can increase the chances of being accepted.
If an application has been declined it does not mean it will be turned down by every insurer and it is perfectly OK to apply to other insurance companies.
High net worth individuals or couples wishing to obtain greater than average sums of life insurance can do so but life insurance companies may require more in depth medical information before agreeing to offer cover.
High value life insurance of say £500,000 to £1,000,000 or above is seen as more of a risk to a life insurance company than a typical £150,000 policy.
Life insurance policies are available up to as much as £10,000,000 from select insurers while others limit the maximum amount of life insurance to £5,000,000 or £7,500,000.
As you might expect, very high value life insurance will require detailed analysis of the applicant’s circumstances and health before cover is offered.
Typically the amount of information a life insurance company will require for high net worth clients wishing to insure large sums ranges from a simple GP report all the way up to genetic screening for potential health threats.
The test or examinations that may be required consist of:
Nurse Screening (Basic medical)
Full Medical Examination
Liver Function Test
Resting & Exercising ECG
Renal Function Test
Full Blood Count
Fasting Blood Sugar
Cotinine Testing (presence of smoking related chemicals)
Naturally the actual amount of information required will depend on the individual case and the presence of any underlying health issues may result in a lesser amount of cover being offered than is requested.
Different insurers have different limits and asses cases in different ways.
Speaking with an adviser can help make the process of finding and obtaining cover much quicker and easier.
Welcome to the page of our site dedicated to helping people, who may be considered overweight, find important life cover.
You will find information that aims to help you understand how insurance companies view weight and how it can affect the price and availability of cover.
Being overweight doesn’t mean you can’t have life insurance but it does mean that it might cost more. How much more will depend on the insurer.
People who are overweight can sometimes struggle to find cover but with the right help it may still be possible get cover and for a competitive price.
Submit an enquiry or call the number above and get in touch with a helpful, experienced, qualified adviser (not a call centre) with knowledge of the market.
Being overweight could potentially lead to health problems in later life and for this reason life insurance companies may charge more to provide cover because there is a greater chance of a claim during the term of a policy compared to someone who is not overweight.
Life insurance companies mostly use Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of height and weight, as a guide for determining if someone is overweight but not all insurers use the same guidelines.
Some insurers may increase the price of cover for someone with a high BMI, some may not and some might decline cover altogether!
If you have been turned down it doesn’t necessarily mean you wont be able to get cover. A different insurer may still be able to offer cover but shopping around could take time so it’s a good idea to speak to an adviser.
Mainstream Insurance companies can insure overweight people up to certain BMI levels and currently FriendsLife will consider people with a BMI up to 48 for life cover and up to 40 for critical illness cover and Ageas will allow up to a BMI of 50 for life insurance only.
Some specialist insurers may be able to offer life cover with a BMI of up to 60 provided there are no other health issues but the cost will be considerably higher.
Because BMI is a ratio of height and weight it may not always seem a fair way to assess possible future health problems because some people are very muscular. Some insurers will ask for a persons waist measurement or dress size to determine if they are overweight or just well built and this can result in a more favourable decision.
Having a low BMI may sometimes cause a problem for life insurance companies because being underweight can also lead to potential health problems in later life.
Anyone with an average BMI who is not overweight and has no other medical conditions is likely to be offered life insurance at ‘standard’ rates and a lot of insurers can offer the same ‘standard’ rates to people with a slightly above average BMI who are only slightly overweight.
However, if there are other medical conditions combined with an above average BMI it could make finding competitive cover even harder.
We work closely with a firm of financial advisers who have direct access to the underwriters of life insurance providers and can discuss specific conditions to find a company that can offer the most competitive cover.
The advisers we put you in touch with will research the market, speak to underwriters and do what they can to find you cover without charging any fees.
Using the services of an experienced adviser to research the market can save a great deal of time and make finding cover a much less stressful exercise.
Once you have cover in place it’s worth knowing that some life insurance companies will review the price of cover if a previously overweight policy holder loses weight and reduces their BMI.
Alcoholics and alcoholism is regarded my life insurance companies in a similar way to many ailments and illnesses.
The severity of the alcoholism and how long a person has been an alcoholic will play a part in determining the cost and availability of cover.
Confirmed alcoholics who are still drinking are unlikely to be offered cover.
If a person drinks regularly but has not been diagnosed as an alcoholic the insurance companies decision will depend on the quantity of alcohol consumed on average per week.
Although the Government recommended alcohol intake is 21 units per week for men and 14 units per week for women, many life insurance companies will accept individuals who consume 30 – 40 units per week without the need for additional medical information.
If a person has been diagnosed as an alcoholic, insurance companies will require more information.
Different insurance companies view alcoholism differently but recovering alcoholics who have abstained for a reasonable length of time (6 – 12 months) may be able to obtain life insurance at standard rates. This will however depend on whether or not there are any other associated health problems as a result of the alcoholism.
Confirmed alcoholics who are still drinking are unlikely to be offered cover.
Excessive alcohol consumption affects every system of the body leading to significantly higher mortality and morbidity.
Because insurers view alcoholics and alcoholism differently it is important to research the options before making a decision or discussing your case with an adviser who can research the market for you.