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Can I get Life Insurance?

Hi Good People!

I am 45, I work full-time, and I drive. Don’t smoke, and rarely drink. I use no walking aids, or wheelchair. In 2002, I suffered a carotid dissection (stroke), and last year I was diagnosed with RRMS. I currently pay a mortgage, but one very big insurance company won’t give me life insurance for love nor money. And yet, I am completely mobile and to most people, I look fit & well.

This doesn’t seem at all right, can anyone point me in the right direction? Or am I just wasting my time?? I thought that insurance companies were no longer able to penalise people with pre-existing conditions. Have I got it wrong?

Thank you

Alison x

I’ve just turned 44, earlier in the year a guy on the phone was trying to sell me life insurance, once he knew I had MS he told that I’m not eligible for it until I turn 50, and it’s illegal for me to be sold it until that point…

Apparently a lot of companies were selling life insurance to people with MS, and neglecting to mention that in the policy. People were only finding out that they weren’t entitled to insurance when they claimed and found their policy was invalid.

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If you shop around you will find somewhere that will do it - premiums will be more though

I’m 35. Had to cancel the life insurance I had since my 20s due to bankruptcy and was waiting for my 3 months non smoking when ms hit. I am fine, medicated and healthier than most people I know, excluding my attacks that usually effect my vision( yes ironic I know)! I was rejected due to my binge drinking all 3 glasses of wine once a week! And that was after getting all my medical history, I’m not much for doctors so that wasn’t much! Its ridiculous, I would have been happy with one that excluded the ms and was over sharing as I wanted them to check my medical file as my fear was a non payment. It wouldn’t hurt to try and get to grips with all the small print if they accept you.

I work for one of the big lfe insurance companies (in the IT department, so I don’t make the decisions) but will ask on our work forum as there’s usually some knowledgeable people who might be able to point you in the right direction. Saying it’s illegal to sell you if you were over 50 sounds like they were trying to sell you an over 50s plan, not traditional life insurance.

The over 50s plan is one that has no checks on your medical background - the downside is that it’s usually more expensive than traditional life insurance. That’s a general description by the way, there are a few more rules around it.

Traditional life insurance can be taken out by the under 50s as well but they will ask about your medical history. The cost of life insurance is all based on statistical assumptions about how likely you are to die during the policy (sorry to be blunt). If it looks like there are medical reasons for you to die earlier than someone without those medical reasons that they’ll either charge you more or say they won’t cover you (if they charged everyone the same or covered everyone then there would be loads of people taking out cheap cover when they find they’re poorly, paying a couple of premiums and getting a huge payout).

It sounds like you’ve gone for the traditional life insurance, but they should be able to tell you why you were declined. I’d be suprised if it was the MS, as it isn’t life threatening, though the statistics show it may reduce your life expectancy a little bit. The stroke might have been a reason though not necessarily.

It’s worth shopping around because different life insurance companies make different statistical assumptions, but you should expect them to get a full medical report before they make their decision. Also different companies have different approaches to illness and how they sell their policies.

One thing you could do is talk to an independent financial adviser who should be able to help. www.unbiased.co.uk lets you find one near you. They should have a better idea who you might be able to get a policy with. They will get paid commission on your policy, so you shouldn’t have to pay a fee. The fact that they get paid commission doesn’t always mean they are more expensive than finding your own policy on line, though it can do.

Good luck, and I’ll post back if anyone from work has any other suggestions.

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http://www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-support/practical-and-financial-help/insurance-and-financial-services/life-assurance

Sonia x

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Hi again,

I’ve asked around at work and the consensus is that RRMS alone is unlikely to cause a life insurance company to decline you outright for traditional life cover. It is more likely that they’ve declined because of the stroke, or that RRMS has tipped their decision about the stroke towards declining you for cover. Obviously that’s a general view without knowing all your details.

That doesn’t help you much though does it? One suggestion was that if you’re employed then it’s worth checking whether your employer runs a group life insurance scheme - because they’re run for a group of employees they don’t take your medical history into account.

Again, if you aren’t working, or your employer doesn’t offer such a scheme then that doesn’t help either. So the best bet then would be to contact a specialist adviser like the one mentioned above from the MS site - or see if a stroke charity also has someone they recommend.

One thought I had might be to see if you can get life cover up to age 50, then take out cover under an over 50s plan at age 50. The over 50s plan might not let you get as much cover as you want though. Going to a specialist adviser is your best bet, this is just a bit of lateral thinking on my part.

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I managed to get it. Cost me a bit more than initially quoted but then I smoke.

Thank you all for your replies. It’s given me a few options to work with.

Alison x