It strikes me that finding yourself with a chronic health condition renders you pretty much almost entirely but not quite fully ‘uninsurable’. Being stamped with the label ‘M.S’ not only means that you are worth less, financially speaking, but also that you are more likely to hurt yourself, hurt someone else, be the subject of theft, drive erratically or burn your house down in the eyes of the money people (insurers).
I am one of those woeful people who didn’t have the foresight to take out life insurance prior to owning my own home and, sadly, prior to having MS. Why would I seriously need it? I was in my twenties, very fit, a non-smoker, non-adventurer, no responsibilities, no property or belongings of any true worth. And it’s not like I was going to suddenly get ill! Pah. What did I know?! If I could give any fit, young, healthy person advice it would be GET LIFE INSURANCE AND MAKE SURE IT COVERS YOU FOR CRITICAL ILLNESS. Had I had critical illness cover at the time of my diagnosis I would have had a lovely jubbly pay-out that would have seen me laughing financially instead of, well, crying financially I guess. MS is classed as a critical illness and qualifies savvy, organised and insured people with MS to a substantial pay-out amounting to the sum of their mortgage, depending on their level of cover.
If, like me, you thought you were superhuman (see my He-man post, ‘I. Have. The. Power’) and never needed to worry about your health until you had MS then you probably know that you are now uninsurable for critical illness. That’s right. You can probably get basic life cover that pays out if you die by accident, but you will not easily be covered for any other illness, including cancer. Apparently having MS makes you more susceptible to getting other serious illnesses. It doesn’t, of course.
Having recently up’d our mortgage for a bigger house I have been in the process of reviewing life insurance with the help of a financial advisor. She searched everywhere to try and get me better cover, but to no avail. Insurers wanted to load the premiums by around 150%, which means I’d be paying 150% more than a ‘healthy’ person but still only for basic life cover.
And what of travel insurance? On a trip to Australia a few years ago my husband and I spent A LOT of time trawling the web for cover. In the end I sensibly went to an insurer recommended by the MS Society who specialise in insuring ‘ill’ people. I paid around £150 while my husband found his cover for about a tenner through Compare the Market, or Go Compare or whichever one it was with the annoying adverts. This £10 covered him for all likely eventualities: loss of luggage, loss of teeth and loss of life through terrorism, poisonous spider or kangaroo.
Unfortunately I don’t have any sound advice for anyone struggling with insurance. It’s just one of those things I suppose that feels, like everything else thrown at us, jolly unfair.