(i) Pre-existing Disabilities
- If you already have an injury or an illness, it can be difficult to get disability or death insurance cover.
- If you try to take out your own insurance or super policy you will usually have to fill in a health questionnaire.
- If you know you have an injury or illness, or symptoms, or if you have had medical treatment, you might have to tell the insurer and they might refuse to cover you.
- If you knew you had an injury or an illness when you joined but didn’t tell the insurer, they might try to refuse to pay you if you make a claim.
(ii) Group Super/Insurance
- However, it might be possible to get disability and death cover by joining a “group” super or insurance scheme e.g. with your emploment super, employer income protection insurance, union or credit union.
- You might be offered automatic cover up to a certain limit without any health questions.
- With some schemes you are covered for pre-existing disabilities if you haven’t had active medical treatment for say 6 months.
- If you are thinking of leaving work, your employment super might offer to continue your total and permanent disability or total and temporary disability insurance even if you have a disability. You usually have to take up a continuation option within one or two months.
- In many funds your insurance cover will continue if you change jobs as long as you leave enough money in the super fund to cover the insurance premiums. Undeer some funds you must have a minimum amount in the account for the cover to continue, for example $1000.00 or $2,000.00
(iii) How To Find Out
- If you are starting a new job, check what insurance cover is offered by the super funds you can join.
- If you are considering leaving work, check whether your employment super offers an insurance continuation option or account-based on-going cover BEFORE you leave.
- If you want to take out private insurance, do it through an insurance broker – don’t apply direct to insurance companies. If you are rejected this might count against you with other applications.
- If you are refused insurance cover because of your injury or illness, it might be unlawful discrimination.
- Discrimination complaints can be made to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission or maybe to the industry complaints scheme, the Financial Ombudsman Service.
(v) Important Note – Get help
- It’s very important to know your rights before you leave work, before you start a new job or before you sign up for super or insurance.See ‘Free Super and Insurance Advice Service‘ fact sheet.
Next Section: Superannuation/Insurance and Centrelink