By now, you're probably aware of how your health can have a big impact on the cost of your life insurance cover. But did you know that your family medical history can also affect your premiums?

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Why insurers consider family medical history

Why does family medical history matter? The reason is simple - genetics play a significant role in determining a person's health.

For example, if members of your family have been diagnosed with health conditions, such as heart attacks, diabetes, or cancer, you may be at risk too.

This helps the insurer to assess your general health and alert them of any potential risks. If your family has a history of certain conditions, it could mean you’re more likely to suffer from them too. This, in turn, could increase the likelihood of a claim being made.

How does my family medical history impact my cover?

First, it may affect the cost of your premiums for life cover. If specific conditions run in the family, you may be viewed as a high risk and therefore have to pay higher premiums.

It can also impact the cover you are eligible for. Insurers may place restrictions or exclusions on your policy if you are buying income protection or critical illness cover. For example, if heart disease runs in your family, the insurer may exclude cover for any heart-related illnesses.

Life insurance, however, cannot be sold with exclusions, so you’re more likely to see an increased premium instead

The underwriting process could be affected. Insurers may require more information or medical exams to determine your risk. They may also request access to your medical records or ask for additional info about your family's medical history.

What are the chances I will inherit conditions or diseases from my family?

It depends on factors such as the condition and the number of family members affected.

Please note that insurers only ask about your biological parents and any siblings and they will need to know about any serious conditions they had before the age of 65.

If your family medical history shows the chance of developing health problems, insurers may view you as a risk. This could cause high premiums, or potential exclusions or limitations for certain conditions.

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Should I declare my family medical history?

You’ll most likely be asked to provide details about your family members. This will include any medical conditions they have or have had.

Always be honest about the information you provide. Failing to reveal key details could lead to a claim being denied in the future. Insurers may have access to databases and medical records, which can verify the accuracy of the info given.

The same applies to if you have any form of pre-existing medical condition.

What can I do to lower my premiums?

You can't change your family medical history, but there are steps you can take to potentially lower your costs:

  1. Shop around: Different insurers have different underwriting guidelines and may weigh family medical history differently. Getting quotes from multiple insurers will give you an accurate estimate as to how much cover will cost.
     
  2. Opt for guaranteed life insurance: This policy does not require a medical exam or ask about family medical history. However, these policies often have higher costs and lower cover.
     
  3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: While you can't control your family medical history, you can take steps to improve your health. This may help towards lowering your risk and premiums.
     
  4. Get regular check-ups: Regular checks with your doctor can help catch any potential health issues early on. This may signal improvements in your overall health, potentially reducing your premiums. Stay proactive and address any concerns or symptoms promptly.

Unsure about your options? We're here to help

Feeling overwhelmed about how your family's medical history could impact your options, don't worry – we can help.

Our team of expert advisers can guide you through the process and help you understand your options. Speak to an adviser today.

You can call us on 01392 436 193 (Monday-Friday 9am - 5.30pm)

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