If you’re in the market for life insurance it’s normal to have many questions about your coverage options. For many people one of the most common questions when they want to secure coverage is how their family medical history will affect their ability to enroll in a plan. The simple answer is yes, your family medical history will affect your insurance, however the good news is that you’ll still have options!
Why Does Family Medical History Matter?
You might be wondering why insurers care about your family’s medical history in addition to your own health. Your family health history actually plays a very important roll in understanding what illnesses you are at an increased risk of developing during the policy term. When you fill out an application for life insurance an underwriter will look at a number of factors to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for life insurance.
Some of the other factors they will take into account include your age, gender, occupation, hobbies, driving record, the policy length, and the policy amount. They use this information to establish that you qualify for coverage and to calculate your premium costs based on the risk your policy poses. In other words they need to understand the risk that you will pass away during the policy term.
John is 50 and is looking for a 20-year life insurance policy. His father developed cancer in his early 60s and passed away prematurely. When the insurer reviews John’s application they will see this as an indicator that he has a higher probability of developing the same illness in the next few years. John receives a premium quote that is higher than people who have no family history of cancer but he is still eligible for coverage.
It’s important to remember that insurers may take into account the age when the diagnosis was made. So if you’re in your 30s and only want 20 years of coverage any illnesses that impacted your family later in life may have little to no impact on your coverage eligibility and premium price.
What Conditions Could Impact Your Life Insurance Options?
There are many illnesses that may have an impact on your life insurance eligibility and plan cost. Insurers pay particular attention to health conditions that have been shown to have a genetic link. When assessing your application they will look closely at the medical history of family members including parents, siblings, and potentially grandparents. They’ll note how many of your family have been diagnosed with specific illnesses, what age they were diagnosed, and whether the illness caused premature death. If multiple family members have developed the same condition the insurer will perceive that as an increased risk that you may develop that illness. The following illnesses can affect your insurance eligibility and coverage cost:
- Cancer (Unless they are gender specific. For example a female applicant would not have their premiums increased due to a family history of prostate cancer)
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Attacks
Key Fact: Not all insurers rate each illness with the same risk level. This means that each insurer may calculate your premium cost differently. Some of the ways that insurer health ratings may vary include:
- The cut off age for health conditions: If a family member’s illness was diagnosed after a certain age many insurers will not see them as a risk factor for your insurance policy. For example, Insurer A only counts diseases developed before age 60, whereas Insurer B only counts any diagnosis made before age 65. Why does this matter? If your family member developed an illness at 62, Insurer A may offer a lower premium quote than Insurer B.
- The number of family members affected by the same illness: Insurers often consider it a much higher risk factor when multiple family members have been diagnosed with the same illness. Again, this can vary by insurer.
- Whether the health condition caused a premature death: Some insurers will ignore illnesses that did not cause a premature death. Your insurance agent can offer guidance on which underwriter offers the most flexibility in this area.
What Happens If You Don’t Know Your Family Medical History?
If you’re adopted and do not know your family medical history don’t worry! All you need to do is inform the insurers of your situation during the application process. They’ll calculate your quote premium based on the information you provide and the results of your medical exam.
Will The Insurer Know If I Leave Out Information About My Family Medical History?
Yes! All insurers will look into your family medical history using Medical Information Bureau reports. This will provide them with data from any medical providers you currently use or have used in the past. If you fail to declare any family medical issues the insurer can decline your application.
If you do manage to misrepresent your situation to your insurer it’s important to know that this can void your coverage. If a claim is made against your policy in the future the insurer will investigate your death to determine if any information was misrepresented or omitted from your application. When the missing family medical information is discovered the policy death benefit will not be paid out, leaving your loved ones without financial protection.
Finding Coverage When You Have A Family History Of Illnesses
If you need coverage but are worried about your family’s medical history, don’t stress, you can still find affordable coverage. IntelliQuote works with many of the best rated insurance companies in the US. Simply fill in our online quote form to instantly compare quotes from multiple insurers all from the comfort of your own home. If you have any questions about finding coverage our licensed agents are here to help you get the right coverage at the best price!