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  • affects 1 in 4 women / 1 in 5 men before retirement
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  • protect yourself and your family if you get seriously ill
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  • get the cover that will pay when you need it
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Insurers: Aviva, Legal & General, Liverpool Victoria, Scottish Widows, Vitality, Zurich

Pregnant? How can this impact your critical illness cover?

Pregnancy is a joyous experience that is met with excitement and anticipation.

However, there are instances when the pregnancy can pose serious health risks for the mother. Some of these health risks include high blood pressure (mainly due to preeclampsia), gestational diabetes, autoimmune disorders, problems and complications with the heart or kidney, sexually transmitted diseases and in very rare cases, cancer. Indeed, (and let us repeat that this is very rare), cancer can occur in pregnant women, particularly cancers such as melanoma, lymphoma, breast cancer and cervical cancer.

You will notice that some of these diseases are actually covered by a critical illness insurance policy. The question is, if the disease is a direct result of the pregnancy will this be covered under the policy?

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Getting Critical Illness Cover While Pregnant

More often than not, an application for a critical illness policy made by a pregnant woman will be put on hold. The critical illness insurance provider will usually wait for your delivery before they will underwrite your policy. If a critical illness insurance provider will allow an application of a pregnant woman, they will want to check whether your pregnancy is normal and healthy.

Adjustments in underwriting. Underwriting will review your health condition. They will look into your health history, including any previous pregnancies. They will check whether you had a high-risk pregnancy that included toxaemia, eclampsia or gestational diabetes. They will also take into account indicators that may not look normal such as:

  • BMI rates. Pregnant women will naturally have higher BMI rates due to a higher weight gain.
  • Blood profile. Lower iron and increased cholesterol levels are only normal for pregnant women.
  • Presence of heart murmurs. Pregnant women may manifest heart murmurs due to an increase in the blood volume.

Prenatal care. Please note that some of the risks in pregnancy can actually be remedied by early diagnosis and treatment. With guidance from your doctor and good pre-natal care, you can actually avert some of the dangers (such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia) so that you can safely deliver the child without any adverse health effects.

The need for disclosure. Now, if you are pregnant and want to get critical illness cover, you may have to wait after your pregnancy to avail of the insurance. Also, if you have been pregnant and have been suffering from the symptoms of a critical illness (high blood pressure, gestational diabetes), you need to disclose this during your application.

This is to ensure that you are not later denied your claim just because you failed to disclose what the insurance company may consider as pertinent information.

Your Existing Critical Illness Cover and Your Pregnancy

If you already have the critical illness insurance before you became pregnant, your pregnancy will not affect any possible critical illness claims. You can still claim for any of the covered critical illnesses, as long as your claim falls within the definitions of the policy with regards to the critical illnesses.

Check Your Policy

Our advice is to check your critical illness policy’s wordings – there are policies that expressly exclude any critical illnesses resulting from pregnancy or a difficult childbirth. On the other hand, there are also policies that will still cover any of the critical illnesses, as long as they meet the definition of the policy for the critical illness.

Using the Guaranteed Insurability Option

With some policies, parenthood (through childbirth or legal adoption) can allow an increase of up to 50% of the existing Sum Insured, subject to an overall maximum increase.

  • Age. You need to be younger than a certain age to exercise the increase.
  • Child's birth certificate. You need to present it as proof of your parenthood.
  • Time limit. You need to apply for the increase within a certain time frame (usually 6 months).

Increasing Your Critical Illness Cover

Now that you are anticipating another life to be added to the family, it becomes even more important to increase your cover to protect your family from the effects of your getting seriously ill.

Some providers offer a guaranteed insurability option for parenthood. With this, you can increase your cover as a result of adding a child into your family. You don’t have to present further medical evidence for you to avail of this increase.

Last updated on: 18.1.2013

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