May 22

How to get insurance with pre existing condition in Singapore


This sucks.

You have a pre-existing condition, and instead of being willing to understand you, and to cover you, your insurer has rejected you.

Over and over again.

No matter how many times you appeal, or show that you’ve recovered.

How do you get insurance in this case, without it costing a bomb?

I will share how I went through my own experience, and how you can get insured.

This is not going to be easy

Before we continue, I will first say.

This isn’t going to be an easy journey.

You might be worried about what would happen if something happens to you again. And you’re desperate, because you’ve heard from your insurance agent that if one insurer rejects you, you are probably going to be rejected by other insurers.

pre existing condition insurance singapore
I know, finding an insurer can feel crazy

My story

In October 2019, I got diagnosed with mild depression with binge eating by a private psychiatrist.

I was eating anti-depressants at this time.

By February 2020, I was discharged and made a full recovery.

In June 2020, I began shopping for life insurance and also a health rider, in case something went wrong with me.

NTUC Income, the insurer I chose at that time, chose to insure me for life insurance (with an exclusion that if I would not be compensated for Total Permanent Disability). I guess they were afraid that I would be suicidal and jump.

Looking back, it was funny. But it definitely wasn’t when I was rejected. I felt misunderstood. And invalidated despite having gone through hell and high water to make a recovery.

They also chose not to insure me for the health rider.

On both occasions, my insurance agent offered to write in to ask.

They did not change their mind.

She told me to wait for 1 year.

I waited for a year before applying again

In March 2022, I wrote into the Straits Times Forum after the insurer refused to remove my exclusions for the life insurance I had bought.

After the letter got published, I finally got approved, after showing that I had made a full recovery, with no relapse.

If you have a previous mental illness

Here’s what I advise.

First, be honest.

Don’t hide your previous mental health condition on the medical questionaire.

pre existing condition insurance singapore
Don’t lie on the questionaire, it’s not going to be worth it

If they discover it, NTUC Income has a clause stating that they would refund you any paid premiums if there was an undeclared medical condition, that later resulted in a claim.

There’s no point hiding.

It will simply lead onto future complications.

Focus on your recovery

If you’ve just recovered, don’t focus too much on whether you’re covered by insurance or not. Just focus on your recovery.

It can be unnecessary stress.

pre existing condition insurance singapore
Focus on your recovery, rather than your fears on insurance.

Whilst there were times when I was definitely afraid and scared, I realised there was no point worrying. After all, there was no way I could force the insurer to load me onto their plans, if they were not keen in accepting me.

Focusing on what’s within your locus of control, rather than what’s outside will definitely leave you feeling much better.

Show your recovery through a doctor’s memo

I had to go to my doctor and ask him to write a letter sharing about my recovery, and how well I was before I could apply again.

Insurers do take this into account in considering whether to load you or not.

Talk to your agent and ask them to appeal

Your agent wants to earn some money. If you have an agent that genuinely cares about you, they will take the effort to write into their bosses to convince the underwriter that you will not pose any risk to them.

Reduce the risk that you pose to them

You have to show two things.

  1. You will not pose any outsized, unaccounted risk.
    1. A big reason why insurers do not insure for pre-existing conditions is that they fear that these pre-existing conditions will recur, over and over again, making insurers pay out claims that reduce their profits.
    2. Thus, showing that you have fully recovered, over a long period of time, with no relapse, may help them to feel more assured insuring you.
  2. You are willing to cooperate.
    1. They may ask you to show doctor’s memos. Rather than being upset, and complaining ‘why so unfair?!’, just go get it.

Try NTUC Income

The insurer that eventually covered me was NTUC Income, though I have to say that I didn’t necessarily shop for others.

I didn’t go through the painful process of finding others.

But I suspect that because NTUC is also linked to the government, they might be more willing to consider your case.

First focus on yourself

This is not going to be an easy journey, but this can be worthwhile. Going through the process was a great lesson in learning to be calm in the face of uncertainty.

It will be for you too, if you’re willing to try.



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