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Do I need to go through medical underwriting?

When applying for any type of financial protection, Life insurance, Critical Illness, or income protection. There may be a requirement to go through a process of medical underwriting.

What does medical underwriting involve?

Medical Underwriting often involves three main stages:

Why Is Medical Underwriting Used?

Medical underwriting is the process through which insurance companies assess your health status and risk factors before issuing a Critical Illness Insurance policy. If you have a certain tendency to certain conditions or have a chequered health history insurers need to be aware of this.

How Does Medical Underwriting Work?

When an individual applies for Life or Critical Illness Insurance, they are required to provide detailed information about their medical history, lifestyle, and any pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies may also request further more detailed information in the form of:

• General Practitioner Report (GPR) or Specific Medical Report (SMR): This is an overview of your current and past health so that insurers can quickly see if you’ve had previous treatment or symptoms that may make you a higher risk.

• Nurse Screening: This is a simple process of screening taking about half an hour. This is to determine your current health in more detail. Typically, a nurse will visit you at work, or home and take your blood pressure, height, weight and test to confirm your smoker status.

• Medical Examination: This is a more in-depth version of the nurse screening. Further tests may be taken for example an ECG, and further questioning about your and your family’s health history. This can take between 30 minutes and an hour.

How Do I know if I’m going to have to do further tests?

Insurances have a sliding scale and depending on your age, at certain levels of cover, there are different degrees of examinations. Smaller policies of less than £100k for critical; illness or £400,000 for life insurance may not even require a standard GP report, although insures have discretion here.

Larger policies of £300-500k for critical illness or £1m for life insurance tend to require a full medical examination. The younger you are the higher these limits.

What Happens After This?

Once all the examinations have been undertaken the results are submitted to the insurance company’s underwriting team. They are responsible for taking your health and medical information and deciding whether you offer you insurance and if so whether it is subject to any exclusions or a ‘rating’ where the internet increases the monthly premium to reflect a higher risk.

The key factors that underwriters will look at are:

• Age: Older applicants may face higher premiums due to increased health risks.

• Medical History: Pre-existing conditions and family medical history play a significant role.

• Lifestyle: Factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, and occupation can affect underwriting.

• Medical Tests: Blood tests, imaging, and other medical tests may be required.

• Personal Habits: Health habits such as exercise and diet can impact underwriting decisions.

Importance of Full Disclosure

When applying for Critical Illness Insurance, it’s crucial to provide complete and accurate information during the underwriting process. Failing to disclose relevant medical history or lifestyle habits can result in policy cancellation or claim denial in the future. Honesty really is the best policy!