Did you know that if you pick up your cellphone and take life cover out with a direct insurer, they aren’t going to ask you to go for a full medical exam? That’s great news if you don’t feel like having to answer health questionnaires and have a full check-up with your GP during one lunch break. In most cases, all the insurer will ask for is a simple negative HIV test, to be completed in your own time, at no additional cost to you.

But what happens if you never go for the HIV test? Will your policy still pay out at claim stage?


There are a couple of reasons why the direct life insurance companies have cornered a healthy section of the market:

  1. It’s more convenient to pick up the phone than it is to see a broker or financial planner face-to-face.
  2. Direct life insurers don’t require medical exams and that’s appealing to most people.
  3. The premiums offered by direct life insurers should be cheaper because the insurer isn’t paying broker commissions.


Now let’s assume for a second that for all the reasons mentioned above, you decided to pick up the phone and take out a R1 000 000 life cover policy with company XYZ today.

You were super-impressed with how easy the entire process was (maybe 30-minutes tops) and your policy documents are already lying in your email inbox.

The sales agent did mention something about an HIV test, but said you had 6-months to get it done and a nurse would be in touch to facilitate the bloodwork.

No sweat. You’ve got loads of time to get that done.


One of two scenarios are going to play out next:

  • The nurse is going to get in touch with you and you are going to make the time to get the HIV test completed.
  • The nurse is going to try and set up a meeting with you, but she’ll eventually give up because you won’t commit to an appointment and as a result your test is never done.

What happens if you don’t get the HIV test done and you pass away?

If you don’t complete the HIV test in the mandatory time, specified by your insurer, your life insurance policy is going to turn into an “Accidental Death” policy and it will only pay out if you pass away as a result of an accident.

The life insurer, you’ve taken the policy out with, must protect itself against “anti-selection” (people taking out cover with the intention of claiming immediately). They can give you a few months to get the HIV test completed and they will accept that level of risk.

In order to protect themselves against this “anti-selection” the insurer will need to downgrade your policy to “accidental death” if you don’t get the HIV test completed.

This has major repercussions for your beneficiaries because if you pass away from natural causes (like a heart attack) they will not receive a pay-out.

What makes matters like this even more troubling is that most people who take out life insurance with a direct company aren’t even aware of the implications of not having the HIV test done.

While the insurer must notify you of the change in the status of your life insurance policy, what happens if you miss the notification in the post or it lands up in your junk email folder?

Don’t take any chances. If your life insurer has asked you for an HIV test, they need you to complete it.

If you’re looking for a life insurance quote, we match your profile with the best insurance provider for you! It’s quick and hassle free, chat to Monty to get a quote today. 

Until next time.

The MoneyShop Team