Most people dread filling out insurance questionnaires or participating in interviews with underwriters. Not only can these tasks be tedious and time-consuming, but exploring how risky your life is can also be quite confronting.
Don’t let your aversion to paperwork get in the way of finding a policy that could protect you and your family in your time of need, though. Instead, ease yourself into the process by taking a little time to read this article and familiarise yourself with the types of questions you’ll likely be asked when applying for life insurance or income protection insurance.
General Application Questions
As with applications for most financial products, you will be asked to provide some general information about yourself, including:
- Your name & contact details
- Your residency/citizenship status
- What expenses you would like your life insurance policy to cover
- Whether you have insurance through any other funds
- If you’ve ever had an application for insurance cover declined
Because both life insurance and income protection insurance policies are designed to cover you in the unfortunate event that your health is severely compromised, insurers need to assess what your chances of having a serious medical issue in the future are.
Insurers do this by evaluating both your personal medical history and your family medical history.
Questions your insurer might ask include:
- What are your height and weight?
- What is your date of birth?
- What is your smoker status?
- Are you currently taking any medication?
- Do members of your immediate family suffer from any medical conditions (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.)?
- Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions?
- If you do have a pre-existing medical condition, you may be asked to undergo a medical examination, or at the very least your insurer will ask several follow-up questions including:
- When were you diagnosed?
- Have you undergone specific testing for your condition (scans, blood tests, x-rays etc.)?
- When did you start receiving treatment?
- What treatment have you received/are you receiving?
- What kind of symptoms do you experience?
- How frequently do these symptoms occur?
- When was the last time you experienced symptoms?
- How much have you recovered?
- Who is your treating doctor?
- Has your condition forced you to take time off from work?
- Is your lifestyle affected by your condition?
It’s important to know that having a pre-existing medical condition will not automatically disqualify you from getting an insurance policy, and you should always answer these questions as honestly and with as much detail as possible.
This is the part of the application/interview process that many people find embarrassing because of the personal nature of the questions involved. Just remember that insurers ask everyone these questions and they do need this information to create an accurate risk profile and to make sure you get the level of coverage you need.
Your insurer will ask questions about whether you’ve ingested harmful substances, such as:
- Do you drink alcohol, how often?
- Have you ever received medical treatment or drug abuse or alcohol dependency?
- Have you ever taken a drug other than medically directed?
- Have you ever taken recreational drugs? If so, please provide details.
- Often you will also need to provide details about your sex life. These questions could include:
- Have you engaged in sexual activity with someone who may be HIV positive?
- Have you ever had any sexually transmitted diseases?
Occupation & Finance Questions
Questions about your work are necessary not only because they provide vital information about how risky your day to day life is, but because they also help insurers determine how much cover you’ll need if you become unable to work.
At the very least, you can expect an insurer to ask:
- What is your occupation?
- How long have you been working at your current job?
- Is your job sedentary, light manual work or heavy manual work?
- Do you work at heights over 10m, underground or underwater?
- What is your annual income before tax?
- How many hours a week do you work?
- What are your total assets and liabilities?
- Do you have any dependants?
Pastimes and Hobbies Questions
Insurers will ask several questions to identify if your activities outside of work could pose any risks, such as:
- Do you play any competitive sports (football, hockey, martial arts)?
- Do you participate in any risky hobbies (scuba diving, motorbike riding, aviation)?
- What are you travelling habits?
- If you do participate in activities that an insurer deems hazardous, you may have to answer follow-up questions like:
- How often do you participate in these activities?
- Where and for what duration do you participate?
- How experienced/qualified are you to participate?
- Have you experienced any injuries as a result of participating in these activities?
Duty of Disclosure
Most types of insurance policies are subject to a clause known as your “duty of disclosure”.
What this often means is that you must tell your insurer about anything you know about that would affect whether they would insure you or on what terms they would offer you insurance.
Under the Insurance Contracts Act 1984, if you don’t disclose something that would have affected an insurer’s decision to approve your application or you misrepresent facts within your application, your insurer may have the right to either invalidate your policy altogether or not pay you your full benefit.
Having a duty of disclosure is very serious, and sometimes failing to disclose vital information can be seen as fraud.
Do You Have Questions of Your Own?
If you’d like to talk to someone about getting a life insurance or income protection insurance policy, get in touch with one of Curo Financial Services’ insurance advisers. Our highly trained staff can answer any questions you have about the application process. Just call 1300 665 356817, email your query to email@example.com or fill out our convenient online contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.
General Advice Disclaimer
General advice warning: The advice provided is general advice only and in preparing it we did not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Before making an investment decision on the basis of this advice, you should consider how appropriate the advice is to your particular investment needs, and objectives. You should also consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision relating to a financial product.