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What is Life Insurance Guaranteed Insurability?

guaranteed insurability option

A question clients often ask  is

“Can I get more life insurance in the future if I need it?”

My answer is

“Yes, but you’ll have to answer medical questions….unless you can use the guaranteed insurability option”

The response is invariably

“What the hell is the guaranteed insurability option???

Don’t worry; it’s less confusing than it seems.

Let’s break it down in plain English.

What is Guaranteed Insurability?

Guaranteed insurability (also known as the life events options) lets you increase your cover without the need to undergo medical underwriting again in the future.

You can get it on life insurance, mortgage protection and income protection policies.

But you can only use the option in certain circumstances, like

  • Getting a new mortgage or re-mortgaging
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Marriage
  • Change in job or promotion

Do all insurers offer this life events option?

Some insurers offer it on mortgage protection and life insurance policies.

But be careful because other insurers only offer it on either life insurance or mortgage protection.

I’m looking at you Aviva

aviva guaranteed insurability

As always, read the fine print.

How much does it cost to add guaranteed insurability?

Unlike a conversion option, you don’t have to pay an extra premium to add Guaranteed Insurability.

Can you increase your mortgage protection without a medical?

Last week Sarah rang me looking for advice.

She had a baby last year, so her current apartment was no longer suitable for her needs.

As all new parents know, your baby is born with a magical ability to shrink your house in a matter of days.

Sarah required a mortgage of €65,000 to buy her new home (after selling her old one). She had mortgage approval, but her bank wouldn’t let her increase mortgage protection without doing a full medical.

Unfortunately, Sarah had been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

I ran her case by my underwriters at the other insurance companies but didn’t have any joy. Nobody was willing to offer her insurance as the MS diagnosis was so recent.

Believing I had exhausted all options, I was about to give up but then thought

Maybe she has a Guaranteed Insurability Option?

Feeling confident I had found a solution, I called Sarah and asked her to check with her bank whether she could exercise her life events option to increase mortgage protection without doing a medical.

“Computer says no”, was their fairly predictable response.

Never being one to trust banks, I asked Sarah to find her policy documents and email them to me.

In large letters on her policy cert were the words:

“you have the option to increase your benefits without medical evidence.”

Armed with this, Sarah went back to her bank… …she has been approved for the extra €65,000 without the need for medical evidence and can now buy her new home for her new baby to wreck!

Lessons to be learned:

1) Don’t trust your bank – always question them.

2) If you’re getting nowhere with your bank, get some independent advice from your financial broker. A fresh pair of eyes may help.

My Guaranteed Insurability Option has been Declined – Why?

Does this look familiar?

GIO declined

I’m sorry about that.

Strange as this may seem, the GIO isn’t guaranteed for everybody, the insurers can refuse to offer it based on your health.

Generally, if the insurer has increased/loaded your premium by more than a certain percentage, they will remove the Guaranteed Insurability Option from your policy.

What can you do?

Another insurer may take a different approach so you could try another provider. If you’d like some help, let me know.

Anything else I need to know?

The Guaranteed insurability Option varies between lenders:

  • Limitations of cover – some insurers allow you to increase by €100,000 (others by just €40,000)
  • Age restrictions
  • Types of products with the GIO
  • Utilising the option within certain time-frames, e.g. six months of the event
  • Special terms may apply to increases.

Maybe you’ll experience ill-health in the future, and because of that, you’ll presume you can’t get more cover.

But if you have guaranteed insurability baked into your cover, this is not the case.

It’s something to seriously consider when choosing your insurer.

Over to you…

If you’d like to know which insurer I recommend for the guaranteed insurability option, please complete this questionnaire and I’ll be back with a recommendation.

Thanks for reading


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