What is 'underwriting'?
Underwriting is the process that insurers go through when they assess your application for cover. All applications go through this risk assessment process so the insurer can determine whether you are eligible for cover and how much your premium will cost.
When you go through any application for cover, it's really important to be 100% open and honest with your answers to the insurer’s questions or any supplementary requests for information. If you do not disclose something on your application, it could have an impact on you or your loved one’s ability to make a claim on the policy.
Once you've submitted an application there are several outcomes.
Some of the fantastic advances in underwriting systems have led to many applications being accepted ‘straight from application’, without the need for any further information in order to underwrite the policy. In this instance, you will have received an immediate underwriting decision and should be able to start your policy straight away should you want to.
Once your application has been fully underwritten (i.e. once they have assessed all of the information needed), the insurer will write to you with the acceptance terms. They will let you know if your premium has increased or if there are any exclusions to be placed on your policy.
If you are happy with the terms that have been issued by the insurer, you can start the policy if you wish to do so.
If you have applied for a policy and your premium has increased, terms of cover changed, or you have had your application postponed or declined; Cavendish Online may still be able to help.
There are several key factors that insurers will consider when they assess your application, including (but not limited to):
The cost of buying cover increases as you get older. This is because unfortunately your risk factors increase naturally as you age.
Certain medical conditions potentially carry a greater risk to your health, lead to complications or even aggravate other conditions.
In our experience, some of the most common medical conditions that can cause premiums to increase, or terms to change are:
It’s important to understand that having a pre-existing medical condition, or conditions, does not necessarily mean you will be unable to secure life insurance.
Cavendish Online have a have a team of friendly, professional insurance advisers who specialise in finding the right cover for individuals with health and lifestyle disclosures. Find out more here.
Most insurers will want to know your height and weight as part of your life insurance application. This is because they use BMI (body mass index) in conjunction with recommended guidelines around high/low BMI when assessing risk.
Some insurers may also ask for your waist measurement or UK dress size too.
Using tobacco products and non-prescription drugs are well recognised risks in the eyes of insurers.
Insurers will typically ask if you have used any tobacco or nicotine replacement products in the last 12 months, and if you have ever smoked. They also typically ask about the use of recreational drugs, stimulants, sedatives, anabolic steroids or methadone in the past 10 years.
Whilst many people enjoy a tipple on occasion and the consumption of alcohol plays a social role in many cultures; there are health risks associated with drinking above government recommended safe limits.
Insurers typically ask how much someone drinks on average during the week, and whether they have been asked to stop or reduce their drinking.
Family medical history is asked about by insurers as it is recognised as a significant factor in identifying someone’s susceptibility to certain medical conditions. While the types of conditions that are asked about aren’t always hereditary, their presence in the family may increase the chance of someone developing the same condition.
Some jobs are more dangerous than others or carry a greater risk of accident and injury. As such insurers will want to know about your occupation (or occupations if you have more than one job!).
Insurers treat how they assess occupational risk differently, so if you think you this may be a concern consider speaking to an adviser who can help secure you the best cover for your situation.
Common examples of higher risk occupations include:
Insurers will typically want to know if you have any hazardous hobbies or dangerous pastimes, which may carry an increased risk of accidental death or disease.
Some common examples of recreational activities insurers may ask about include: