Many factors go into determining whether or not you're approved for life insurance and how much you'll pay, and family medical history is one part of the puzzle.
When you're applying for life insurance, you may be wondering how questions about your family's medical history will affect your life insurance rates. Many factors go into determining whether or not you're approved for life insurance and how much you'll pay, and family medical history is one part of the puzzle.
Why Am I Asked About Family Medical History When Buy Life Insurance?
When a life insurer is deciding on your coverage, they're considering your probable longevity, overall health and, if you're applying for term life insurance, probability of dying during the life insurance term. In many cases, your age and current health are the most significant factors in determining life insurance policy details. But in some cases, family medical history will also affect coverage and may need to be investigated further.
For example, if you are a woman with a history of breast cancer in your family and your mother had it at a young age, that may affect your coverage and/or costs. Patterns of medical incidents, versus single medical issues, are more likely to affect coverage. If your dad broke his leg by accident when he was 25, for example, this will have no impact on your life insurance policy.
Also, if your family members developed medical issues late in life, like after the age of 60, that may affect your coverage less compared to early diagnoses. If the medical issue is gender-related, that may also be a factor. For example, if you're female and your family has a history of prostate cancer, that may not be an issue for your life insurance coverage.
Don't assume that medical history will negatively affect you. For example, if your obese parent has type II diabetes, but you are at a healthy weight and exercise regularly, their diagnosis may not be significant in your life insurance policy appraisal.
In cases where there are medical history patterns, an insurer will likely request an Attending Physician Statement (APS) to get more information on how your family's medical history may affect you.
Family Medical History Details You'll Need for Life Insurance
On a life insurance application with medical underwriting, you will be asked questions regarding your immediate family's medical history. You'll need medical information for your mother, father, and siblings. For your application, it helps to know about hereditary conditions like:
- Cancer, including skin, breast and colon cancers
- Alcoholism and drug dependency
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart disease
- Blood disorders
- Eye disorders
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Huntington disease
- Motor neuron disease
- Bowel disorders
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Neurological/psychiatric disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Cystic fibrosis
- Respiratory disorders
- Other genetic conditions
If an immediate family member has had one of these conditions, you may be asked to list the age the family member was diagnosed and provide details about the severity of the condition.
In some cases, you may not know these details. Your family members may not have shared this information with you, or you may be adopted or not have access to family medical history. Let your insurer know these details, and they'll base the life insurance policy on your health history.
If you are still in contact with your family and plan on applying for life insurance, talk to your immediate family members before you apply and ask for this information.
An additional benefit of knowing your family medical history is that you can work with your doctor to ensure you get preventative screenings and treatment. You also might be able to get a test showing that you test negative for a certain condition, which can benefit your life insurance policy application.
In any case, honesty is the best policy for your application. If you lie on your application, your coverage could be canceled, or your premium can be increased.
If it's discovered after you die that you lied on your application, your death benefits could be negatively impacted or not paid out at all.
Can I Apply for Life Insurance Without Revealing My Medical History?
Yes. And if you are denied a term or whole life insurance policy because of your medical history, you have other options.
If you are between the ages of 50 to 85, you can apply for Guaranteed Issue Whole Life insurance (GIWL), a policy with no medical exam required. When you apply, you are guaranteed coverage without having to answer health questions.
Other policies, like Whole Life Insurance, will require medical exam and family medical history questions. But again, know that your age and current health are major determinants in the coverage you receive.
Alternative Insurance Options
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance (AD&D insurance) is another insurance option with no medical exam required. You get guaranteed approval with AD&D insurance, which provides financial benefits if you die accidentally or lose a limb, are paralyzed or suffer blindness in a covered accident.
You have life insurance options, no matter what your needs are. Talk with an AIG Direct life insurance expert for advice on what policy will work best for you and your family. Call 800-294-4544 to get a life insurance quote today.