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Do you know the waiting periods on your policy?

8 February 2022
3 minute read
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Don’t risk rejected claims because of a waiting period! Many insurance policies have waiting periods, so it’s important to know what waiting periods apply to your policy and how they can affect your benefits and claims. We’ve answered your waiting period questions below and included a quick guide to the waiting periods on your 1Life policy!

What is a waiting period?

The time (usually a number of months) during which you cannot claim on your policy.

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An example:
1Life Funeral Cover policies have a six-month waiting period for claims due to natural causes. This means that if you claim for death from a natural cause in the first six months of a policy, the claim won’t be paid. Natural causes include heart attacks, cancer, COVID-19, pneumonia and old age.

The waiting periods on your 1Life policy

1Life product

General waiting period

Specific waiting period (applies to your policy only)

Funeral cover

6-month and 6 paid premiums for death due to natural causes.


Life cover

Life cover: No waiting period. Pay now death benefit: 6-month waiting period for death due to accidental causes and 12-month waiting period for due to death natural causes

Check your policy schedule if any specific waiting periods apply to your policy

Disability cover



Dread disease cover

Survival period: Claims will only be paid if the life assured survives the dread disease diagnosis by at least 28 days


Expense protector

Deferment periods of between 0 and 3 months may apply, depending on your risk profile

Check your policy schedule if any specific waiting periods apply to your policy

When does the waiting period start on a new policy

On the commencement date of the policy. You can find this in your policy schedule, which you can view online on our policyholder servicing portal or download on our WhatsApp service centre.

Don’t confuse your policy commencement date with the date you received a quote, applied for the policy, or even paid your first premium. The waiting period starts on the commencement date stated on the policy.

An example:
You received your quote on 15 February, took out your policy and paid your first premium on 25 February (payday!). The policy commencement date is 1 March. The six-month waiting period will run from 1 March (commencement date) to 31 August.

Do waiting periods apply to reinstated policies?

Yes, in most cases. If you have reinstated a policy waiting periods usually apply from the date your reinstatement becomes effective. However, check with 1Life if waiting periods apply to your policy and from when.

What about adding a new member to a funeral policy or increasing the sum assured?

Waiting periods apply to new members and adjusted sums assured on 1Life policies from the effective date of the change.

An example:
You add your spouse’s mother to your 1Life funeral policy on 1 April as an extended family member. The waiting period for death due to natural causes for your spouse’s mother is six months from the date her cover commences, which is 1 April to 30 September.

If you increase your sum assured from R25 000 to R35 000, on 1 April, you can only claim for the increased amount of R10 000 for death from natural causes after a six-month waiting period starting 1 April. If you pass on due to a natural cause before the end of the six-months, the claim will be for the original sum assured of R25 000. The R10 000 increased amount will be paid in the event of accidental death as there is no waiting period on accidental death claims.

What’s the difference between a waiting period and an exclusion?

A waiting period is simply a time during which claims for certain events are not allowed or will be declined if claimed. An exclusion is when a claim for a specific event, such as a hazardous pursuit like drag racing, is excluded from the policy completely. In other words, a claim for an excluded event won’t be paid, no matter what the timeframe the claim occurs in. You can find more details in What you need to know about exclusions.

Go through your policy today!

Waiting periods can cause some confusion for some policyholders. So take a few moments to go through your policy schedule and policy book to see if any waiting periods apply to your policy. It will be one less thing to worry about when it comes time to claim!

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