BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
For many it is unfair that having had cancer and survived you still can’t access life cover, even Mortgage Protection cover even though you have had the ‘all clear’ for years. This adds extra stress on the whole process of trying to get a mortgage to buy a home. Well, the good news is that in a groundbreaking move insurance industry leaders, through Insurance Ireland, have adopted a Code of Practice aimed at giving cancer survivors access to Mortgage Protection policies.
The primary objective of the code is to eliminate obstacles for cancer survivors seeking Mortgage Protection. Under the new code, insurers commit to disregarding any cancer history during the underwriting process. No additional premium will be charged, and cover will not be refused based on previous cancer diagnoses. This represents a significant step towards ensuring that individuals who have triumphed over cancer can easily secure the life cover they need.
Under this new Code of Practice specific conditions apply. For decreasing Mortgage Term Protection, the following criteria must be met: Your treatment must have ended more than seven years prior to the application for Mortgage Protection (or more than five years if you were under 18 at the time of diagnosis).
The term ‘treatment has ended’ is crucial to understanding how the code is applied to your application. It means complete remission, as determined by your treating oncologist – meaning the absence of signs and symptoms related to a cancer diagnosis. Active treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other evidence-based medical approaches must have finished seven or more years prior to the application.
The amount of cover required is limited and cannot exceed €500,000 and the policy must be for a mortgage on a principal private residence, ie. you are going to live in the property. The application needs to be for a new individual mortgage protection term policy with no serious illness cover attached. But let’s say you require cover for €600,000. Then the €500,000 is set up under the code and the balance €100,000 has to be accessed and, if there is a loading (an extra premium applied), the loading will apply only to the amount over the €500,000.
However, it is essential to note that other medical conditions may still impact the underwriting decision; for example, you are clear of cancer for more than seven but you have diabetes; the diabetes will have to be reviewed with your GP details of treatment being requested.
It’s important to note that, if you have been cancer clear for seven years you are still legally obliged to honestly answer questions in the application form. However, if you meet the criteria, the insurers will underwrite the policy as if the cancer never happened. (You can if you wish choose full underwriting if you prefer, but the code ensures that you won’t be charged additional loadings for a qualifying cancer history.)
This commitment under the Insurance Ireland Code of Practice for Underwriting Mortgage Protection Insurance for Cancer Survivors is a significant stride toward financial security for those who have battled cancer. It not only streamlines the underwriting process but also demonstrates the industry’s dedication to support you in your journey to secure a home and financial stability, irrespective of your past health challenges.
As Ireland embraces this new era in insurance, other providers are likely to follow suit in the near future.
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