Accessing appropriate insurance is a significant problem for many people affected by genetic conditions. We regularly receive helpline calls and emails from people affected by genetic conditions who are finding it difficult or impossible to access appropriate or affordable insurance cover.
On this page we talk about taking out insurance when you have been diagnosed with a genetic condition.
You will normally be asked about your current health, previous health problems and any major health problems in your family.
Insurance companies need to understand your condition so they can assess your application. If your condition is not common, the insurance underwriter may want to find out more information from you or your doctors. An insurance company may also consult with their Chief Medical Officer (a qualified medical professional) or other qualified experts. Information from your GP or hospital doctor may also be requested to better understand the risk. The insurance company will always ask for your permission to contact your GP or hospital doctor.
You will need to disclose that you have a condition and may be asked about treatment, consultations and any associated issues. The insurance company may request a report from your GP or hospital doctor to find out a bit more about your condition. Insurance companies employ medical doctors to help them with unusual and difficult cases, sometimes they investigate the condition and may ask medical experts for input.
You only have to answer what is asked for by the insurance company, or requested on the application form. Answering all questions truthfully will prevent any chances of your policy becoming void.
You must be honest about your diagnosis and the likely progression of your condition.
If other members of your family have been diagnosed with a disease but you have not experienced any signs or symptoms, you must disclose any medical history about yourself and family members if asked by an insurance company.
If you have taken a predictive genetic test and the test result is ‘positive’, but you are asymptomatic and all other tests are normal, then you do not currently have the disease. You do not need to disclose the result of this predictive genetic test to the insurance company, with the exception of a predictive genetic test for Huntington’s disease for life insurance cover over £500,000.
Being a carrier of a genetic condition but showing no symptoms does not need to be disclosed to the insurance company. However you must disclose all relevant medical history.
Explaining current treatment is essential, it shows that the condition is treatable; it may alter your prognosis and maintain your health. The insurance company may ask for a letter from your GP or a hospital doctor for further information of the treatment and its effectiveness.
Unless your insurance company specifically requests that you advise them about treatment, after you have taken insurance cover, you do not have to tell the insurance company about any treatment you are taking. However, if you later start a new policy, you will have to disclose the treatment you have had to the insurance company.
Receiving treatment may affect the price of the premium in a positive way; remember if treatment is effective, insurance companies may take this into account when calculating your premium.
Insurance companies may request medical information from your GP or hospital doctor to better understand your condition in order to accurately price the additional risk from any health problems you disclose.
With your fully informed consent, insurance companies will usually send your GP or hospital doctor a ‘General Practitioners Report’ (GPR) which they will be required to complete. General questions typically involve:
There is nothing to stop you from sending information to the insurance company from your medical geneticist. This may be helpful if you have a rare disease or condition which you feel the insurance company may not be familiar with.
Yes. The interpretation will be carried out by a nominated senior insurance company staff member. They will refer to qualified medical experts for guidance whenever it is needed.