Can you get life insurance with a pre-existing condition?

From the application process to premiums, here’s what you need to know

It’s possible to get life insurance if you have a pre-existing condition. It may cost more, and your application might not be instantly accepted, but it doesn’t automatically mean you won’t get cover.

What is a pre-existing condition?

It’s when you had symptoms, medication, advice, treatment or diagnostic tests for a disease, illness or injury before taking out a life insurance policy. 

Insurers have their own definitions, but they usually include conditions like heart disease, asthma, diabetes and cancer. They’ll also consider the severity of the condition.

Pre-existing conditions are just one of many factors that insurers consider when you apply for cover. Other things, like your job and how much cover you’re asking for, also play a part. 

How will an insurer know you have a pre-existing condition?

You should tell them. As part of the application, you’ll be asked questions about your lifestyle and health. This includes how much alcohol you drink, your weight and height, if you smoke — and if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Make sure you answer the medical questions, and all application questions, correctly and truthfully. If you don’t your insurer may ask you to pay more for the cover, they may not be able you cover until a later date and in some cases, they may cancel your policy. Or, more seriously, any cover you do have in place may not be valid, and the insurer won’t be able to pay out on a claim 

Can you get life insurance with a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing medical condition won’t necessarily prevent you from getting cover. Just be aware that:

  • The insurer might ask for more medical information. That might be a report from your GP, a call from a nurse, a mini screening, or a medical exam, where they find out more about your general health or the condition you have. If we ask you to have a medical exam, we’ll cover the cost, and it’ll be at a time and place that’s convenient for you.
  • It might cost more. When they look at your application, underwriters will consider how likely you are to make a claim, and if it’s more or less likely than the average person 1. So, for example, your premiums may be higher if you have a serious, chronic medical condition. 

Unfortunately, sometimes a life insurance application is declined based on medical reasons. If you have a serious condition, the insurer may not be able to offer you cover. Even if this happens, you may be able to get life insurance elsewhere. Just make sure you check the policy wording, so you know the cover’s right for you.

Which life insurance doesn’t ask about pre-existing conditions?

If you’re eligible for our over 50 life insurance, you won’t have to answer health questions or have a medical exam when you apply. It’s a whole of life policy, so it lasts a lifetime, instead of a specific number of years. The payout is guaranteed whenever you pass away. That’s why premiums for whole of life policies tend to be higher than for term policies. Although acceptance is guaranteed, we’ll only pay out the full assured lump sum if you pass away after the first year of your cover, or if you pass away as the result of an accident during the first full year. If you pass away in the first year and it isn’t because of an accident, we’ll pay back premiums already paid, but not a lump sum. There’s no cash in value at any time. 

The most important thing is to get cover that’s right for your circumstances, that’s affordable for you.

Having a medical condition doesn’t need to put you off applying for life insurance. There are other ways to help reduce your premiums and, even if it takes a little longer to get your application accepted, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get cover.

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