Life Insurance and HIV

Find out whether you can purchase life insurance if you’ve tested positive for HIV with Savvy.

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, updated on July 19th, 2023       

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According to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), there were an estimated 29,460 people in Australia who had HIV. However, for people living with HIV, the process of obtaining life insurance can be more complicated. Many people in this boat may be concerned about their ability to get coverage, the cost of premiums and the exclusions that may apply.

You can learn about life insurance and HIV and the options which may be available for those who test positive for the condition in Australia with Savvy. Find out more about the potential costs and exclusions which may occur on your policy here.

Can I buy life insurance if I have HIV?

Whether you can be approved for life insurance coverage as an HIV-positive person will depend on whether you meet your insurer’s eligibility criteria. In many cases, insurers will deem those with HIV too great a risk to insure. However, in some cases, your application may be accepted with either the requirement to pay an extra loading, a shorter policy term or your condition excluded from your coverage.

Your life insurance company will require you to provide detailed information about your medical history, current health status and any treatments you’re receiving for HIV. They may also require you to undergo medical examinations and tests to assess your overall health and the progression of your HIV. Based on this information, the insurance company may offer you a policy with higher premiums, exclusions, or restrictions on coverage.

It's important to shop around and compare different life insurance policies to help you find out whether there are any insurers which can offer the coverage you need and determine which may be the best option for your situation.

Am I able to buy life insurance cover for HIV if I’m a medical professional?

If you’re a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist or health worker in another area, you may be able to purchase specialised life insurance cover to help protect against HIV.

Bloodborne disease cover, also known as needlestick cover, is a type of insurance designed to protect medical professionals in Australia from the risk of contracting bloodborne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C which occur as a result of accidental needlestick injuries or other exposures to blood or body fluids.

This cover can provide a lump sum payment of up to $1 million in some cases to help cover costs associated with medical treatment, testing and counselling, loss of income and even rehabilitation or retraining if necessary. It’s important to note that bloodborne disease cover is typically offered as an optional add-on to a life insurance or income protection policy, rather than as a standalone policy.

As doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals are at a higher risk of exposure to bloodborne diseases, bloodborne disease cover can be a valuable addition to their insurance policies. It can provide greater peace of mind knowing that they can be covered in the event of exposure to such diseases at work, allowing them to focus on their work without worrying about the financial impact of such an incident.

How much will life insurance cost if I’m HIV-positive?

The cost of life insurance for someone who is HIV-positive in Australia can vary based on several factors. Some of the factors that can affect the cost of life insurance for someone with HIV include:

  • Health status: the current status of your HIV, its progression and the treatments you’ve received and are receiving can all impact the cost of your life insurance (and whether your application is accepted), as these will help inform your overall risk profile. Other health conditions besides HIV can also impact the cost of life insurance.
  • Age: generally, the younger a person is, the lower the cost of life insurance. Older people tend to pay more for coverage.
  • Smoking status: smokers usually pay twice as much for life insurance compared to non-smokers.
  • Amount of coverage: the more coverage you purchase, the higher your premiums will be.
  • Occupation: if you’re working in a job deemed high-risk by your insurer, you may have to pay more for coverage or have your application denied.

Due to the complexity of underwriting for HIV-positive individuals, it may be worth speaking with your insurer to find out more about the coverage which may be available to you before you apply.

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More questions about life insurance and HIV

Is my HIV disclosure to my life insurer confidential?

Your HIV disclosure to a life insurer is kept confidential and only used for underwriting purposes, which is enforced by Australian legislation. No one else will be notified about this disclosure by your life insurer.

How is buying life insurance with HIV different from private health insurance?

The main difference between buying life and health insurance in Australia is that health insurance is available to everyone at the same cost, regardless of their medical history. Insurers aren’t allowed to discriminate based on your health status when it comes to health insurance, which means you’ll pay the same as someone without HIV for equivalent coverage with the same insurer.

What information will I need to provide my life insurer about my HIV?

First and foremost, you’ll need to disclose your HIV diagnosis, as not doing so can void your policy. Once you’ve done this, your insurer may conduct a medical examination (although some may not require one) and/or request a report from your doctor to find out more about any blood test results, treatment plans and more.

Can I buy life insurance if I’m a non-permanent Australian resident with HIV?

Life insurance is available for non-permanent Australian residents, but whether you can purchase it with HIV will again depend on whether you can satisfy your insurer’s terms and conditions. This relates both to your HIV and your visa and residency status.

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