If you’ve ever taken out a life insurance policy you may or may not recall the medical questions that you were supposed to be asked when completing the application. It’s doubtful you remember much about the process. However the single biggest factor in the rejection of life/specified illness insurance claims in that of non-disclosure, be it deliberate or not. It is absolutely critical that your broker/adviser carries out this part of the application process in detail. They can, however, only put down what they’re being told, so if a client willingly answers no to a question that really should be a yes, the policy will still go through in most cases. This is not where your problems lie. The real problem is at claims stage.

At claims stage, the first point of call will be to pull up your original application. If it is discovered that a medical question was answered untruthfully, this gives rise to non-disclosure, i.e. the policyholder failed to provide accurate and truthful material facts in relation to their health. The policy can be deemed void by the insurer and the claim can be subsequently thrown out. It isn’t good PR for an insurance company to go down this road, they are hugely profitable businesses and in my experience handle all genuine claims in a timely and efficient manner. But they have a zero tolerance for non-disclosure.

My advice? If in doubt, put it down. Paper never refused ink but answering the medical questions untruthfully is throwing your money away. If you are unsure as to what to answer, say you are. Ask the adviser’s advice, they can check with the relevant underwriting department. Better to have too much information on the application than too little, in the end the company will find out anyway through your GP records.