What are common life insurance exclusions?

Life insurance exclusions occur when your policy is denied or the insurer is not willing to pay-out on death. A life insurance provider does not necessarily need to approve every policy, especially when the potential risks are too great or any deaths could have been avoided. Whilst life insurance exclusions may vary, the typical exclusions are: • Genetic illnesses • Alcohol, drug or smoking related • Health and lifestyle related e.g obesity • Suicide • High risk sports • High risk jobs • Mil

Yugi the Giraffe - 1 June 2019

Life insurance exclusions occur when your policy is denied or the insurer is not willing to pay-out on death.

A life insurance provider does not necessarily need to approve every policy, especially when the potential risks are too great or any deaths could have been avoided.

Whilst life insurance exclusions may vary, the typical exclusions are:

• Genetic illnesses

• Alcohol, drug or smoking related
• Health and lifestyle related e.g obesity
• Suicide
• High risk sports
• High risk jobs
• Military or war-related
• Reckless activity e.g drink driving

Genetic illnesses and pre-existing medical conditions

There are a number of genetic illness that life insurance may count as exclusions and not willing to pay on this basis. This could include mental illness, heart problems, cancer related illness or other diseases.

You are required to let your life insurer know of any pre-existing medical conditions including diabetes, chronic illnesses and conditions because this could affect the overall outcome of your policy.

Life insurance companies may have exclusions for people that are heavy drinks or smokers – since this will greatly increase the risk of heart, lung and liver diseases and will shorten life expectancy.

Similarly, those who are considered to be obese or with eating disorders may run greater risks of various illnesses and conditions and therefore a life insurer could decide not to pay out on any related claims.

If you have a job that runs a high risk of death such as working in construction, an oil rig or armed forces – this is something that an insurer could see as an exclusion.

Anyone partaking in extreme sports like parachuting and hand gliding may be eligible for cover, but a claim will not be paid out if they die taking part in this activity.

Self-inflicted causes

Those who die by taking their own life or die as a result of taking drugs or drink driving may be granted life insurance, but the insurer may not pay out upon making a claim.

Can I avoid life insurance exclusions?

Some exclusions are common across all insurers, however, if you are turned down by one insurer, you may have other options.

Compare different insurers – Yes, there are a number of life insurance companies who are willing to take a view on different health conditions and circumstances. For instance, there may be some insurers who are more reliant with smokers or can assist the armed forces – this may simply be reflected in the price of the policy.

Make lifestyle changes – Your insurance premium is always subject to change and you are always able to compare prices from other insurers and save money if you make important lifestyle changes. This could involve quitting smoking, losing weight or choosing a job with a low risk of death.

Always read to the small print to check exclusions

The exclusions for a life insurance policy will always be documented in the small print and this is available before you agree to a policy and once you have a policy in place.

The small print will confirm all the inclusions and exclusions so that you have a full understanding, according to that specific insurer and their policy.

Make sure you disclose this information to your insurer

It is vital that you submit all necessary information to your insurer when you apply including any information about genetic or pre-existing conditions, smoking, your work or hobbies that you partake. This will ensure that in the event of your death, there are no surprises and your loved ones and beneficiaries will be able to make a successful claim.

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