Battle of the sexes

A date is fast approaching which will impact the premiums that people pay for protecting themselves against death, illness or injury. From the 21st of December the EU Gender Directive will be effective and this means an increase in price for most of us. Don’t leave a review of your insurance needs too late – sorting it out now could save you of money.

A consumer group Test-achats challenged the Belgian government over the pricing of products based on gender. The European Court of Justice then made a decision that gender specific pricing needed to be removed and from December this will be put into force. The upshot will be that people looking for life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection and pensions could be paying more next year than if they took out a policy now.

Currently actuaries at insurance companies formulate premiums by assessing the risk that a person poses. This will include looking at life expectancy tables and morbidity tables for illness related policies. Across the board life insurance is cheaper for women and income protection is cheaper for men. From research that has been conducted it is clear that prices will not be cut but will increase across the spectrum. This means that there is no time like the present for men to consider income protection and women to look at life insurance.

Income Protection is an underrated and key type of financial protection. If unable to work for any reason an income protection policy would pay the claimant a monthly lump sum until they can return to work. This could cover mortgage payments, bills, raising children and looking after the family through a troubled time. State benefits are not enough for most of us to live on if we were deemed unfit to work so this type of policy should be considered and for men time is running out to gain a comprehensive policy on gender specific rates.

Due to companies changing their pricing structure now is the best time to review your financial protection, even if you have had a policy in place for a while. With different companies starting gender neutral pricing at varying times and some changing prices by more or less than others a simple review could save you money.

Life insurance with no medical!

If you are thinking about applying for some life insurance but are concerned about having to undergo a medical examination, you’ll be pleased to know that in a high percentage of cases life insurance is accepted without the need for your to be medically examined.

Whether you need a medical examination will depend on a number of factors, including:-

  • Whether you have any pre-existing conditions – for example if you have a history of high blood pressure, you may be asked to attend a medical so that the underwriters have up to date Blood Pressure readings.
  • The level of cover you are applying for – each insurer will have a level of cover above which they may ask for further information such as a medical exam, ECG or other tests.  If you only need a low level of life insurance then you are more likely to be accepted without the need for a medical examination
  • If you have suffered from ill-health in the past, the insurer my first write to your GP for details but if they need any further information about the condition they may ask you to attend a medical examination
  • Your age
  • Your family medical history
  • The term of your policy – if you are looking for a policy that will pay out whenever you die (often called whole of life insurance) then the insurer may want more health information and potentially even a medical examination than they would if you opted for a policy with a fixed term (term insurance)

An important point to remember is that the more information you provide to the life insurance company, the more accurately they can rate your risk and the less likelihood there is of you being asked to attend for a medical examination.

One final point – remember if you are asked to attend a medical examination, the insurance company will be paying for this free health check!

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