HIV/Aids is treated like any chronic desease nowadays. But does this mean you’re no longer required to test before purchasing life insurance? Moneyshop finds out.

Previously insurers have been reluctant to insure individuals living with HIV/Aids since it was considered life threatening, and insurance is a risk-based industry. However, with medical advances people with HIV are now living longer than before.

This does not mean you don’t have to do an HIV/Aids test when you purchase life insurance, but testing positive for HIV will not necessarily disqualify you for life insurance.

When doing medical underwriting, your insurer will ask if you had any blood tests or treatments in connection with HIV/Aids.

According to Eugene Kruger, head of legacy management at Metropolitan, if you do require any testing, you may need to go to pathologists or, alternatively and more conveniently, your life insurer may send a travelling nurse to you to collect the blood sample.

What if you test positive?

Testing positive for HIV does not mean you don’t qualify for life insurance.  However, if your CD 4 count is low, that may jeopardise your chances of getting cover.

Many life insurance companies treat HIV the same way they treat diabetes or any other chronic disease. In fact, some companies specialise in insuring HIV-positive consumers, according to Jonathan Elcock, founder and CEO of CompariSure.

He says some insurers will have adherence programmes aimed at helping HIV-positive policyholders stick to their treatment plan.

“Some will also require the policyholder to go for regular check-ups to ensure that the prescribed ARVs are being administered and are still effective,” says Elcock.

Will you pay more?

Insurance premiums depend on the risk you pose to the insurer, and people who are living with chronic illnesses pose a greater risk than those who are not.  However, Elcock says as the treatment for HIV improves, life insurance for those infected may become cheaper.

What happens when you refuse to do the test?

According to Kruger, you will not qualify for life insurance if you refuse to take a test.  Sometimes life insurance companies give you three months to take the HIV test. If you haven’t done so within that period, they will convert your life insurance to an accidental death cover. That means that if you die from natural causes, your loved ones will not be able to claim.

It is important to be as open and honest as you can with your insurer. Failure to do so may lead to the rejection of your claims.

This article has been prepared for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal, financial, or medical advice. The publication, journalist, and companies or individuals providing commentary cannot be held liable in any way. Readers are advised to seek legal, financial, or medical advice where appropriate.