By Carley Ellis

I was seven, maybe eight years old and I was playing with my cousins at my Nana’s house.  I’m pretty sure were playing something wholesome like Hide and Seek, and being the youngest, I was still stuck on “Finder” duty.  I heard some giggling coming from the inside of the bathroom – it seemed like my cousins had moved on from Hide and Seek (without telling me) and had set up a new clubroom fort in the bath.  There, on the bathroom door was a crudely scrawled sign letting me know that there were “nO GiRLs Aloud” (my cousin wasn’t the greatest speller).

Man – did that hurt.  My first taste of exclusion was closely followed by my first taste of orange chocolate chip ice-cream, which my Nana used to help me get over this debut disappointment.

Being excluded never feels great, but over time and as part of growing up, we [hopefully] get better at understanding hey, life isn’t fair sometimes.

In my line of work when providing insurance advice, exclusions can drastically alter the value of the insurance product that I’ve recommended for you.

Sometimes, there are exclusions which are specific to you – however, it’s important to be aware of the wider exclusions that relate to anyone taking out a new insurance policy.

  1. Cosmetic Enhancements: Health insurance takes care of any medically necessary surgeries that you may require. This means the face lift, BBL surgery (look it up) or hair transplants aren’t going to be paid for by the insurer.  However – we are finding that more insurers are covering procedures that are outside of this provision.  If you require breast removal as part of your cancer treatment, some providers contribute towards achieving symmetry on the un-affected breast (no need to change your name to Eileen); others are paying for weight loss surgeries, as this minimizes the risk of bigger health issues that they would need to cover later down the line.  As a rule, however, cosmetic procedures (including cosmetic dentistry) are often excluded.
  2. Suicide or Self-Harm: Life insurance is typically taken out to protect yourself or your family from an unforeseen, unexpected death.  Insurance companies want to prevent people from having a financial incentive to end their own lives; therefore, life insurance policies have a suicide exclusion built in. For most insurers there is no coverage for any suicidal death in the first 13 months of a policy being taken out. If you change your insurance policy, assume this clock will be reset.
  3. Criminal Conduct: As the old saying goes, crime doesn’t pay. If you need any further incentive to stay on the right side of the law – insurance only pays out on the right side of it.  If you’re engaged in criminal activity when you injure yourself, it’s highly unlikely that your illness or income protection insurance will pay out.  This includes intoxicated driving, entering private property, and putting tomato sauce on your eye fillet (ok the last one’s a lie).

When putting an insurance strategy together we often talk about what is covered, to provide you with peace of mind into the future.  However, it’s as important to understand when your insurer won’t pay out too, as this can have a life-changing, inter-generational financial impact to yourself or your family.

In order to be ‘fair’ on the majority, sometimes, exclusions can be useful. It may not feel fair at times, but it’s important to understand insurance companies are business that can’t afford to be taken advantage of.