Many people do not consider life insurance until they have a family to take care of.
This is why many women leave a life insurance policy until they are pregnant or have their first child. Often the father is covered so in the event of his death or serious illness, the mortgage will be paid and a certain level of income maintained.
However, it also vital to consider the mother and the difficulties to the rest of the family should the unthinkable happen to her. If a mother falls seriously ill, or dies, the father will usually need to carry on working to bring in enough money to support his family. He will then need to pay for childcare for his children.
If he chooses the option of caring for the children himself, then there is the added stress of how to pay the mortgage and bills.
When planning a family, it is wise to consider taking out a life insurance policy before the mother is actually pregnant. Many insurance companies are reticent about allowing life cover for a woman who is already pregnant due to all the possible complications that could occur.
High blood pressure is a common complaint of pregnancy and can lead to hypertension and even toxaemia (pre-eclampsia). Thankfully not that common, but this condition can bring on fits, strokes and even death.
Already existing medical conditions can advance rapidly during pregnancy and conditions not already picked up will become more dominant and detectable.
Once a woman is pregnant, it is very difficult to get life insurance cover. Most often, companies will advise the mother to wait until her baby is three to six months old before trying to get cover. If a pregnant woman has managed to get life insurance cover she can expect to pay up to 50% more on her premiums.
Any complications recorded during pregnancy will increase the premiums when cover is available. It is always essential to be completely honest on application forms regarding medical history even though many medical conditions are only apparent during the pregnancy itself.
Gestational diabetes is one such condition and it has been known for a company not to pay out on a critical illness claim when gestational diabetes was not declared – even though it was not connected to the critical illness.
If a first pregnancy has shown signs of complications, then insurance cover whilst pregnant for a second time is unlikely.
Another reason why insurance companies are reluctant to cover expectant mothers is the risk of post natal depression immediately after the birth. Although there are no statistics concerning the suicide rate amongst post natal depression sufferers, insurers feel they are a higher risk. Insurance will not pay out in the event of a suicide anyway, so increased premiums to cover this seem a little unfair.
An added problem to trying to secure life insurance for women is that we are now seeing a new generation of higher risk pregnancies being made available by the advancements in medical technology – not always a good thing.
Pregnancy is increasingly possible in older women with IVF treatment. They are also more at risk from the complications of higher blood pressure. This treatment itself carries a high risk of multiple births, again putting a strain on the woman’s health.
The advice from insurance companies and financial advisers is to take out a life insurance policy before getting pregnant wherever possible. After the event, always be upfront in declaring medical history.