Non-Disclosure: The importance of answering medical questions truthfully

In our previous article about Momentum making provision for victims of violent crimes (click here to read the article), we mentioned the term “non-disclosure”. In this article we’d like to do three things:

  1. Define non-disclosure
  2. Address the consequences of non-disclosure
  3. What you can do if you are concerned about your policy

 

What is non-disclosure?

1. Definition, according to Merriam-Webster

  • failure or refusal to make something knownlack of disclosure
    • nondisclosure of a known problem with the property
  • often used before another noun:
    • declined to name the victim companies, citing nondisclosure agreements it signed

2. What does this have to do with my insurance policies?

When you apply for insurance with any company, you are required to sign an application form. Every company’s application form contain paragraphs relating to disclosure that read something like this:

  1. I declare that the statements and responses provided by me and all documentation that I have signed or will sign in relation to each application/s are true and complete.
  2. I agree that this application and declaration, together with all relevant documents that have been or will be signed by me or any additional parties in terms of this application, shall form part of the contract between Example Insurance Company and myself. If any information is withheld or incorrect, I understand that the benefits will be cancelled from the inception date of the policy and all premiums that have been paid to Example Insurance Company will be forfeited. Where I am married in community of property, I declare that I have the written consent of my spouse to make this application.
  3. I agree that should Example Insurance Company accept this application, the acceptance will be conditional upon there having been no change to the facts on which the acceptance was based. I agree that any changes to the health or risk status of the life insured will be communicated to Example Insurance Company in writing before it accepts this policy, and failure to do so may result in the rejection of any future claims.

 

Yes, it’s a mouthful! But in layman’s terms, what this means is that:

  1. You declare that you are being completely truthful on your application
  2. The signed application is a legal contract, and if any information is incorrect or not truthfully disclosed, the company may cancel your policy from inception date and may refuse to refund paid premiums
  3. You are liable to disclose any change in your health or lifestyle to the company to avoid future non-disclosure

 

This is why it is of utmost importance to ensure that you have a broker who puts their client’s needs first – a good broker will always explain the consequences of non-disclosure with you and will work through all medical questions with you in detail.

 

3. Concerned about your policies? Here’s what you can do

If you are concerned that you may have forgotten to disclose information on your application or would like to disclose new information to your insurance company the first step to make is to get in touch with a reputable broker. The broker will be able to request the original application forms from the relevant companies and work through them with you; and will be able to guide you in terms of disclosing information which may not have been disclosed before.

 

We hope that this helps you understand non-disclosure a little better. If you’re at all concerned that you may have disclosed wrong information or forgotten to mention something, please contact us – we are always here to make sure that your insurance policies work for you, not against you!