5 Life Insurance Mistakes To Avoid

 

We are all guilty of making mistakes in life from time to time – hey, we’re only human, right? When it comes to life insurance policies, mistakes are a lot more frequent than you would think. After all, all it takes is a slight miscommunication or misunderstanding when completing a form. Those applying for life insurance for the first time should always have an insurance advisor read over their policy before they sign, to ensure that all details are correct and that they have correctly understood each area of the form.

Mistakes can be made both directly and indirectly, and these mistakes can end up making your life insurance policy null and void, with your family left without a pretty penny. For this very reason, it is important to ensure that you do not commit any critical mistakes.

The following are the top 5 life insurance mistakes to avoid:

Choosing the Wrong Type of Policy

Choosing the right life insurance policy to begin with is ever so important. If you are set to retire in the next few years and will be living on a depleted income, you’ll need to ensure that your life insurance policy rates aren’t reviewable. The last thing you want is for your income to deplete and your life insurance premium to increase. Unless you compare your goals to the terms of the life insurance, it is likely that you will end up picking the wrong policy. For example, you may only really want to be covered for the 15 years remaining on your mortgage, but not do your research correctly and up with whole life insurance!

Not Shopping Around

One of the key mistakes that people make when purchasing a life insurance policy is that they do not shop around. They are merely impressed by the salesman who calls them or knocks on the front door and before they know it, the document is signed on the dotted line! Like any form of insurance, life insurance is a very competitive market so it can really pay both in the short and long term to shop around, not only for the best price, but the best conditions too.

Allowing Price to be the Primary Deciding Factor

While it pays to shop around, the price of the insurance policy should not be the primary deciding factor. Why could this lead to a huge mistake? Well, while you may be swayed by a low premium, you may commit to that same policy to realise that some key conditions that you require are not included and your life insurance policy could very well end up being a huge waste of money.

Not Enlisting a Financial Advisor

Unless you have an insurance background, it is very difficult to wholly compare your life insurance options and decipher the best policy for you. Enlisting the help of a financial advisor can ensure that you don’t sign a policy based on false assumptions, as they will explain every single step for you in layman’s terms. After all, it is their job to find the best policy for you!

Not Reviewing a Policy

Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, the biggest mistake to avoid is to not regularly review your life insurance. Premiums can go up and down and personal circumstances can change so while a policy or premium may have best suited you 12 months ago, it may not be the case today. Review your premium and policy at least every 12 months to ensure you are getting the best deal around.

We hope this guide serves you well in ensuring you get the best life insurance premium and conditions for both you and your family!

 

Getting Life Insurance If You Have Asthma

 

Did you know that approximately 470,000 people in Ireland suffer from asthma? To put it into context, that’s more than 10% of the entire population! There are varying levels of asthma and depending on how it is managed, it is possible to live a normal life, despite suffering from the condition. However, when it comes down to calculating life insurance premiums, asthma is one of the biggest health problems that can impact a premium.

Some life insurance companies may refuse to offer a premium to someone who suffers from asthma but this is very rare, as most insurance companies will quote for life insurance for asthma sufferers. However, the difference in quotes from provider to provider can be phenomenal. The premium quoted by an insurance company will likely depend on the severity of your asthma – best case (childhood asthma), mild, moderate or severe.

Categories of Asthma

Life insurance companies tend to categorise asthma sufferers for insurance purposes as follows:

  • Best case: Only a past history of childhood asthma or only suffers asthma symptoms after exercising.
  • Mild asthma: Suffers only very minimal symptoms that are easily controlled on regular prescription medication. Does not require hospitalisation or need to take oral steroids.
  • Moderate: Experiences asthma symptoms quite regularly where oral steroids and/or hospital admission are needed.
  • Severe: Frequently suffering from asthma attacks requiring hospital admissions and almost on-going use of oral steroids.

Will I pay a bigger premium?

If between yourself and your doctor, you have your asthma well managed, it is unlikely that the potential price of your life insurance cover will be higher than a non-asthmatic sufferer. However, if you’re not keeping your asthma under control and regularly find yourself in the hospital with respiratory issues and requiring heavy prescription medication, life insurance companies will see you as “high risk” and your premium will likely be higher.

Those considered as “best case” or “mild” asthma sufferers should really pay no more for life insurance than those without asthma, so they shouldn’t accept a higher premium too lightly. However, know that premiums can increase by up to 100% depending on the severity of your asthma. If you have any level of asthma and you smoke, premiums can also increase considerably as smoking has been proven to aggravate the condition.

How do I find the best insurer?

You need to find an insurer that is sympathetic towards asthma sufferers, who thoroughly understands the condition and one who isn’t going to hike premiums up by 150% because of your condition. One you’ve put in the time that’s required to find such a company, you should be able to get a reasonable life insurance quote without any hassle or risk of being hit with an outrageously high premium.

For your information, an asthma sufferer should only have to answer a questionnaire before being offered a life insurance quote, unless they have been hospitalised several times, in which case the insurer will request to write to their GP for more info.

Getting Life Insurance as an Ex-Smoker

 

When applying for life insurance, there are several areas of your lifestyle that you have to clarify, some of which include several areas of your past habits and conditions. If you have given up smoking (well done!), you will still need to declare to a life insurance provider that you used to smoke, how many years you smoked for and how many cigarettes a day/to what level e.g. social, daily, that you used to smoke. One thing is for sure, once you quit smoking the only way is up in terms of your health and down in terms of your life insurance premium.

Many life insurance companies will require that you complete a medical exam prior to assuming a policy so there really is no point in hiding a previous smoking habit. In fact, even if you don’t complete a medical exam and later die, even on an unrelated disease to smoking, your policy could be declared null and void if the company can prove that you did not disclose your smoking habit.

Who do life insurance companies classify as a smoker?

The people that life insurance companies classify as smokers can vary from company to company. In general, if you have smoked in the last 12 months, you will still be classified as a “smoker” in the eyes of a life insurance company. If you smoke e-cigarettes, chew tobacco, smoke cigars or use nicotine replacement gum or patches, or have done in the last 12 months, you will usually still be considered a smoker in the eyes of most life insurance companies too.

After 12 months of being smoke free, a life insurance company will consider you an ex-smoker and the longer you remain an ex-smoker, the lower your premium, especially if you quit at a young age. Why? The average life expectancy of a smoker is usually at least 10 years shorter than someone who does not smoke. Smoking can virtually triple a person’s chance of dying from heart disease or cancers. However, if you quit before the age of 40, you could reduce the risk of dying from smoking related diseases by 90%.

Risk classes for non-smokers

For non-smokers, their former habit is not the only thing that gets taken into consideration when calculating a life insurance premium. Why? Because life insurance companies tend to divide non-smokers into various “risk classes” when devising premiums.

 

  • Preferred best: This refers to a non-smoker who is in excellent health with no family history of health issues and who does not participate in activities or occupations that are considered high-risk.
  • Preferred: A non-smoker in very good health with only a few minor health issues or concerns.
  • Standard: A non-smoker in good health but who may be overweight or have a family history of health issues, hence increasing their risk of dying.
  • Sub-standard: A non-smoker in poor health with one or more chronic illnesses/diseases or who participates in dangerous activities.

We hope this guide helps you to understand what is involved in getting life insurance as a non-smoker. As always, it pays to shop around and if you’re currently insured, be sure to inform your life insurance policy provider that you’ve quit smoking as doing so could do your pocket some favours!