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How to Answer Life Insurance Health & Medical Questions

answering the health questions on life insurance

The life insurance company isn’t trying to catch you out.


Yeah, yeah, I know you’re a teeny bit sceptical but hear me out…

Currently, the insurers only refuse around 5% of all the life insurance and serious illness insurance claims that they receive. Or putting a more positive spin on it, they pay 95 in 100 claims. Not bad, eh? I bet you thought that number was much lower – you’re not alone, most people think the insurers pay only 70 in 100 claims.

Now you may roll your eyes, scoff even LOL at the idea but the long term goal of the insurance providers is to pay 100% of all claims. You see the more claims they pay, the greater the trust you will have in life insurance. And lack of trust is one of the main reasons people don’t buy it.

Right, so you know the insurers want to pay claims which sounds great and all but you’re here to find out what you can do to make sure your claim is paid, feck the rest of them right?

Don’t blame you, here goes:

What you should do when completing a life insurance application:

It’s vital you give as much information upfront when you are answering life insurance health questions. The more information you can provide the underwriters with, the greater the chance of a quick decision. If your answers to the life insurance health questions are sketchy then you give the insurer no option but to request further medical evidence. This could take the form of a medical report from your GP that will slow down your application by a number of weeks. To avoid the medical report give detailed information on whatever conditions you may have:

Life Insurance Health Questions:

  • What was the exact diagnosis?
  • What treatment did you receive?
  • How many times and how severe were the symptoms. When did you last have symptoms?
  • What tests have you had, when were they, what were the results?
  • Are there any underlying complications or was your condition brought on by another disease?
  • Have you made a complete recovery – discharged, off all meds?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you should ask your GP or specialist. Otherwise, the insurer will have to write to your GP which will delay your application. Generally, all the insurer needs to make a decision is a confirmation that your condition is being treated, is stable and that there are no outstanding medical tests. But if your condition is complex, the insurer may still revert to your GP for a medical report or ask you to undergo further medical tests.

I won’t get cover if I tell the truth

You may think that by disclosing an illness, you risk your chances of getting cover and if you can’t get cover, you can’t complete your mortgage and can’t buy a house. Look, this is a possibility, I’m not going to lie to you. But if you get a policy dishonestly and you die, the policy won’t pay out. If you’re single you’re probably thinking “meh” but if you have a partner, I’m sure you don’t want to leave them in a financial mess struggling with the full mortgage on one income.

If you can’t get insurance because of your health, rethink the whole house buying and instead rent for a while. If your heart is set on a house, and you can’t get mortgage insurance, ask the bank to grant you a waiver on the mortgage protection.

But let’s focus on the positives:

The insurers accept around 90% of all applications at the normal price even with disclosures of health conditions. They only refuse a tiny percentage of applications.

So your choices are:

  1. Lie – get a policy at the normal price – die – the claim is refused – you’ve screwed your partner/family
  2. Tell the truth – pay a higher premium – die – the mortgage is cleared – you’ve protected your partner/family.

What about the smoking question?

I’m only a social smoker

I hear this a lot.

I only smoke at weekends

And this.

Ah sure I might have the odd one when I’m out with the lads

This is the most common answer from us menfolk.

The smoking question is explicit.

If you have smoked in the last 12 months, you are a smoker.

There is no wriggle room.

Stop fannying about having the odd one, they’re doing you no good anyway, suck up the higher premium for 12 months then reapply as a non-smoker. That’s exactly what I had to do 😕

Even the Irish Ombudsman regards non-disclosure of smoking habits as deliberate non-disclosure. This is how serious the insurers regard the smoking question:

If you die of any cause, let’s say you get hit by a bus and the insurer finds out you lied on the smoking question, it will refuse your claim. It doesn’t matter that the cause of death is unrelated to smoking.

Sensitive issues can lead to non-disclosure

  • Mental health, alcohol abuse (both still taboo subjects in Ireland unfortunately)
  • Upcoming investigations (trying to get cover in place before you get bad news)
  • BMI (some people believe thy will lose weight in the future so they disclose their aspirational weight rather than their current one)
  • Smoking (see above)
  • Gynaecological issues (Some people find it difficult to discuss this personal history even with a member of the same sex. )

All of the above are personal so it’s normal that we don’t like to discuss them. It’s especially hard to disclose these issues to someone you know, like the local broker or the bank manager that you see at the kids GAA matches. Unfortunately when it comes to life insurance, not disclosing such issues can invalidate your policy

That’s where we come in, we’re the experts when it comes to arranging your cover if you have a sensitive health issue. Scroll through our reviews to see how we have helped clients who were in a similar situation.

We’re discreet, professional and most importantly anonymous. We’re an online broker so we’ll never meet – there’s no chance of a totes awky momo down the pub when we bump into each other.

Key Points to Remember:

  1. Irish insurance companies want to pay 100% of claims.
  2. Non Disclosure – Failure to disclose can invalidate a policy and lead the insurer refusing your claim.
  3. Even if you think something isn’t important, tell the insurance company. Let them decide.

Over to you

Are you concerned about how a pre-existing or even a past medical issue will affect your mortgage protection, life insurance or income protection application?

Don’t sit there worrying, tell us about it….a problem shared is a problem halved and all that malarkey.

Complete this questionnaire and I will run it by my underwriters to get a steer on whether you have anything to be concerned about.

Alternatively, give me a buzz on to discuss your case.

Remember, the insurers we trust to protect you and your family payout on every honest and fair claim.

Nick McGowan | making life insurance easier.


Life Insurance
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