This was a question recently asked by one of the visitors to our website. While for some the answer may appear obvious, it is only right that we report that this is a very common question. We get regular questions of this nature all the time.
It demonstrates that the world of insurance is a very confusing one and if you want a policy that will do certain things in certain circumstances it is important that your check before buying.
Even such a simple question as that above, can be open to layers of interpretation. It is part of our commitment to our customers that we try to explain these important concepts in simple easy to understand language, so we will attempt to do our best with this customers question. Here goes . . .
Firstly it is not possible to give a literal yes or no answer to the question, without asking further questions. However as customer is not around to give us those answers, we can best help by rephrasing the question in a number of ways.
Will my life insurance pay out if I have a heart attack and live ?
In this case the answer is no. We are talking about life insurance remember. If you suffer any illness that doesn’t kill you, even if you are no longer able to work or carry on a normal life, then life insurance will not pay out. So the next obvious question is . . .
Will my life insurance pay out if I have a heart attack and die?
A bit obvious this one, especially in the light of the answer above. If you die then, as long as the event that killed you isn’t excluded on the policy, your policy will pay out.
There is one further scenario which, although not common in the case of someone who has survived a heart attack, is worth considering.
Will my life insurance pay out if I have a heart attack and have been diagnosed with less than 12 months to live ?
Most people who survive a heart attack can be expected to recover an live a normal life with a reasonable life expectancy. However if specialist opinion is that you have less than 12 months to live, no matter what the cause, a condition called ‘Terminal Illness Benefit’ (TIB) would allow a ‘life’ insurance policy to pay out before the insured life dies. While most policies contain this benefit, if your policy doesn’t have it, then you will not be able to claim the benefit before you die. If this is an important feature for you, you should check it is included in your policy.
So this brings us on to the next logical question . . . .
Can I buy a policy that will pay out if I suffer a heart attack and survive and I am expected to love beyond 12 months ?
The answer to this one is yes. The policy you need is called Critical Illness Cover (CIC). These policies have a list of conditions that are covered. If you suffer one of these conditions and live for 30 days the policy will pay out. However even if you suffer a very serious illness that leaves you unable to work or lead a normal life, if it is not one of the conditions listed on the policy, then it will not pay out. For this reason you should always check before you buy the policy that the condition you want covered is included in the insurers list.
CIC tries to cover all the major conditions that could cause you serious lifestyle and financial difficulties. However as medical science improves some conditions become less critical. For example, it would not be sufficient to check that Cancer is a covered condition. Thankfully these days some Cancers have become treatable, such as some forms of skin cancer. For this reason many of these are no longer covered on new critical illness policies. More serious Cancers such as Bowel Cancer are still named conditions of the policy.
So this brings us to one of the more common situations we face. A customer comes to us and says “I have just suffered a heart attack and thankfully survived, I think it would be sensible to get some life and critical illness insurance in place”. Our response would be Good Luck !!!
Having a heart attack nevertheless makes you a much higher insurance risk and your chanced of having another are greatly increased. For this reason many insurers will no longer offer you critical illness cover once you have had a heart attack.
The team at life insurance help will be able to get you life insurance if you have suffered a heart attack after a waiting period; however in all cases no insurer will offer you critical illness insurance.
What is obvious is that it is important that you make sure your insurance does what you want it to do, before you buy it and not at the point of claim. The consequences of getting this wrong are too important for you and those you may leave behind.