'Underwriting' is the process that insurers go through when they assess your application for cover.

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.

What happens once I have submitted an application? 

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.

However, if you have certain medical or lifestyle disclosures, meet a certain age/cover amount, or if you are applying for a very high level of cover; the insurer may require some additional information in order to fully underwrite your application.

Sometimes the insurer will write out to your GP for additional information or may require you to attend a medical screening, before they can make a decision on your application. They will need your consent to arrange this. 

Alternatively, they might just need to contact you directly for some additional information before the policy can start. 

This information all contributes to whether an insurer can cover you, and on what basis.

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.

Products & Services from the leading financial brands

  • Zurich
  • Legal And General
  • Aviva
  • AIG
  • Beagle Street
  • LVE
  • Royal London
  • Vitality Life
  • Virgin Money
  • Budget Insurance
  • Scottish Widows

What if my premiums increase, policy terms change or my application is declined? 

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. 

  • Call our advice team on 01392 436 193 and we can discuss your medical and lifestyle information with you. We provide bespoke advice to ensure you secure the most appropriate cover by researching the market and reviewing your situation with each insurer. The advisers work on a 'whole of market' basis, meaning their search for your cover is not limited to a select group of insurers.
  • You will not have to pay us any fee if you secure a policy if you apply through the advised team. Instead, we would receive some commission from the product insurer for the work that we do and a percentage of the commission is sacrificed to bring costs down for you.
  • If you have applied online and already paid a fee, you can apply with a different insurer for no further fee.
  • If you have applied online and decide not to go ahead with the policy due to an increase in premium, but have already paid the fee, then we will be able to refund this to you.

Interested in speaking to an adviser?

What information will insurers consider when they assess your application? 

There are several key factors that insurers will consider when they assess your application, including (but not limited to): 

Your age

The cost of buying cover increases as you get older. This is because unfortunately your risk factors increase naturally as you age.

Your health

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:

  • Diabetes (both Type 1 and Type 2)
  • Heart attacks and heart disease
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol control issues
  • Low or High Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Anxiety, depression and stress
  • Musculoskeletal issues
  • Poorly controlled asthma

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.

Your height and weight (BMI/Build)

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.

Your smoking and recreational drug use

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.

Your alcohol consumption

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.

Your family history

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.

Your job

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:

  • Working at heights of over 40 feet
  • Working with explosives
  • Working offshore
  • Working underground/underwater, mining or tunnelling
  • Machine/mechanical workers and those in construction
  • Working in the Armed Forces

Your recreational activities/hobbies

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:

  • Rock climbing, base jumping, caving/potholing
  • Scuba diving
  • Motorcar & motorbike racing
  • Flying (other than as a fare paying passenger)
  • Combat sports
  • Armed forces reserve