Is illness a barrier to obtaining life insurance?

22.03.2024 | News, SAVALnews


One in three unsure of which factors are an obstacle to life insurance coverage

Let’s dispel the myth that mental health diagnoses prevent people from taking out life insurance.  Many people are still unclear about what illnesses may limit their access to life insurance, with one in three people in Finland being unaware of the illnesses that may limit insurance coverage.

The results of a survey commissioned by Kaleva Mutual Insurance Company show that many people are unclear about the criteria for obtaining life insurance. One in five mistakenly believe that life insurance is only granted to perfectly healthy people. These results many people believe that the conditions attached to granting life insurance are much stricter than they really are. For example, 20 per cent of respondents say they either believe or know that they would not be eligible for life insurance. These results come from a survey commissioned by Kaleva Mutual Insurance Company in October 2022 and conducted by YouGov Finland. The number of respondents was 2,011.     

– The fact that so many people in effect deny themselves life insurance in this way is surprising. However, the results of the survey provide an explanation to this phenomenon. Almost half of respondents believe a person is ineligible for life insurance if they have ever had cancer. This is not the case. If you have not had cancer or another malignant tumour in the last three years, there is no obstacle to taking out life insurance with Kaleva, says Minna Mikkanen, Kaleva’s director of Head of Marketing, Communication, Sales, Business development and Digital channels.

– Of the respondents, 25 per cent cited cardiovascular disease as an absolute barrier to obtaining life insurance. This view is also incorrect. If you have not suffered from coronary heart disease, heart failure or cerebrovascular disease in the last five years, we can provide you with a life insurance, Mikkanen continues.

The survey also found that many people think that multiple sclerosis, mental health problems, memory problems, alcohol consumption, diabetes, smoking and epilepsy are barriers to obtaining life insurance. However, none of these prevent you from taking out life insurance from Kaleva. Normal alcohol consumption is not an obstacle, but drug use is a barrier to obtaining life insurance coverage.

One in three unsure of which factors are an obstacle to life insurance coverage

Many people in Finland are poorly informed about matters related to life insurance. Around one in three do not know whether a medical check-up is a compulsory part of the application process, or how demanding the health declaration actually is.

Even many people who consider themselves knowledgeable on these matters may be misinformed. For example, one in five mistakenly believe that in Finland, life insurance is granted only to people who are in perfect health.

– Fortunately, this is not the case. Kaleva can even provide life insurance for people with serious illnesses. Of course, everything you tell the insurance company about your health condition must be true, Mikkanen says.

– Almost 40 per cent of survey respondents believe that a medical check-up is needed to obtain life insurance. A doctor’s visit or medical certificate is not required for life insurance provided by Kaleva. In addition, one in three say that it is a hassle to complete the health declaration required for life insurance. How people experience this always varies from one person to the next, of course, but our health declaration only has five questions that only require simple yes-or-no answers. All in all, taking out a life insurance policy takes just a few minutes, and the policy takes effect immediately.

Kaleva has the easiest health questionnaire of any insurance company, with just five questions:

  • Are you on sick leave?
  • Are you currently or have you ever received rehabilitation benefit or a disability pension?
  • Do you use or have you used drugs or other intoxicants other than alcohol, and have you been treated or examined for use of alcohol or other intoxicants?
  • Have you had cancer or another malignant tumour in the last three years?
  • Have you had coronary heart disease, heart failure or cerebrovascular disease within the last five years?

YouGov Finland carried out the survey in October 2022 on behalf of Kaleva Mutual Insurance Company. There were 2,011 respondents to the survey, all above the age of 18. Just over half (51%) of respondents were female. The cohort was a representative sample of the Finnish adult population by age, gender and area of residence.

You can get considerably cheaper life insurance as a Kaleva member, at a 61.6% ongoing discount. As long as one of you is a member, you can also insure your spouse with an even more affordable joint couples’ policy. Already 1,956 people are insured with the member benefit, saving an average of €649 per year. Find out more about your membership at (in Finnish)

More information:

Insurance benefits for ASIA members

The text has been published on ASIA membership magazine 1/2024. Text: Kaleva and photo: Adobe Stock

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