I have posted in another area on the forum as I have recently been diagnosed following just one week of symptoms. I have had an MRI and a lumber puncture, now waiting for an appointment with a neurologist for confirmation of the level I have.
Top of my mind at the moment is I took out a mortgage about 6 months ago, but with having to do a lot of work on the house I have not yet taken out life insurance. Absolutely kicking myself and having disturbed sleep at night thinking about it.
Hi Laura, the first thing is try not to worry. Sorry to hear of your situation.
I have a flat with a mortgage and didn’t have life insurance when diagnosed. Depending on your situation you may get ‘help with mortgage interest’ on your home from the DWP if you are unable to work due to illness. There are other benefits too available.
Thank you Lenney. Aside from a slight vision wobble and feeling of nausea I am feeling almost ‘me’ again. I am returning to work this week, so having to give up work isn’t a concern just yet.
I am more disappointed with myself that I didn’t take out life insurance when I signed the mortgage. I want to take out life insurance now, but not sure who to go to and/or if/what I will actually be covered for now. It’s very worrying.
It’s a shame you didn’t get life insurance (do you mean critical illness cover?) when you bought your house, but at this point (I presume) you’ve only had a short time of symptoms, so probably aren’t at the point where you’d be claiming on any insurance due to an inability to work.
Something like 85% of people diagnosed with MS have the relapsing remitting (RRMS) variety at least at the beginning of their disease. Assuming this is what you have, there’s disease modifying drugs (DMDs) which can, if you’re lucky, stop relapses from occurring, thus halt disease progression and disability. So you may not have been in a position where you need to claim on your insurance for a long time, if ever. Chances are that you’ll be able to work for many years to come.
When I first had symptoms of MS, 20 years ago, DMDs weren’t available, and when they became available, I’ve been unlucky with side effects so have been without DMDs for almost the whole time I’ve had RRMS; I’m only now at the progressive phase. I was still able to work until 10 years ago when recurrent relapses made work impossible. I only became a wheelchair user 5 years ago due to a terrible relapse which left enormous damage. If you have less relapses, it seems clear to me that you’ll have less disability.
So, I wouldn’t worry too much about paying your mortgage right now. Wait and see what your neurologist has to say about your variety of MS. See what drug therapies are available to you. Even if your symptoms are mild, start a DMD if you are offered one.
Meanwhile, get as fit as you can. It can’t be stressed enough that the stronger your muscles are, in particular your ‘core’, the better able you’ll be to recover from relapses. Even if you have progressive MS, the stronger your body is, the less likely you are to develop disability. If possible, get a referral to physiotherapy so you can start working on fitness asap.
It’s a hell of a shock to to be diagnosed with MS. And I think the immediate thought is that you’re destined to become disabled by it. That is not necessarily true these days.
In case you have not already read the good-quality information on insurance and MS on the main part of this site, here is a link.
I do not think that life assurance should be a real problem - MS does not tend to affect life expectancy drastically - so you haven’t missed the boat on that one, so don’t worry. Critical illness cover (or similar) is a different story, I’m afraid.
By the way, I forgot to take out critical illness cover until it was too late as well, so you are not the only one to be kicking him/herself on that score.
pps - do check your employment contract and your Pension Scheme benefits. You might well find that Scheme death-in-service benefits mean you have some life cover (or other useful cover) through that route already - as did I and many of us.
Thank you Alison. I do have a death in service benefit at work. But I’m thinking more of income support should I need to take any significant time off work. I’m also wondering, if I’m not covered for ms now, is there any point taking out life insurance now? Particularly as I am unlikely to get critical illness cover too?
That is really good news that you have life cover already. I think it would be a good idea for you to have a chat with a qualified insurance advisor to discuss your needs and options - what is feasible, what is necessary, what is affordable, what offers reasonable value.
I would guess that you might get some providers to quote for critical illness cover for the other ills that can afflict a person - cancer, heart attacks or whatever - and from which having MS does not render us immune, alas! - , even if you have to pay a bit of an extra premium, but I shouldn’t think you would find cover for anything MS-related illness on reasonable terms. But I am not an expert, and it is an expert you need.
Probably not much consolation but we had Critical Illness Cover before I was diagnosed. To claim it we had to allow them access to my medical records. I hadn’t declared the fact that I had had optic neuritis in the past, because I had no idea it was relevant and MS was never mentioned at the time. Because of that they wouldn’t pay out, although after some argument they did repay our premiums.
Hi Patrick. Good to know you may be able to get help with your mortgage interest. I also get some help with my six monthly property maintenence bill as I live in a flat. It’s worked out by the team that work out the support for mortgage interest.