Pre-existing medical conditions and life insurance

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. 

What types of life insurance are best for people with pre-existing conditions?

Having a pre-existing condition won’t necessarily stop you getting any type of life insurance. 

But if you do already have a medical condition, certain types of cover might be cheaper or more accessible for you. One is Over 50 life insurance. This usually covers you for life, regardless of your health— as long as you go on making payments, otherwise known as premiums. 

And if Over 50 Life insurance isn’t right for you, other options could include paying more to cover a pre-existing condition or taking out a policy which excludes the condition— or in other words, won’t pay out of if you die from that condition.

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. So, for example, your premiums may be higher if you have a serious, chronic medical condition. 

Unfortunately, sometimes an insurer will be unable to offer cover due to 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.

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

As part of the life insurance application, you’ll be asked questions about your health and lifestyle, including whether you have any pre-existing conditions.

Make sure you answer any medical questions, and all application questions, truthfully and correctly. Insurers regularly check this information and may contact your doctor to confirm it’s right. 

If your insurer discovers any inaccuracies in your application, they may have to raise your cover price, delay your cover start date, or cancel your policy altogether. More seriously, incorrect information could invalidate your policy, meaning your insurer won’t pay out for a claim.

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

If you’re eligible for our over 50 life insurance, you won’t need to answer any health questions or have a medical exam when you apply. 

Ours is a whole life policy, so it lasts a lifetime, instead of a specific number of years. And the payout is guaranteed whenever you pass away. That’s why monthly payments for whole life policies tend to be higher than for term policies.

Although acceptance is guaranteed, you won’t be able to cash in your cover at any time. And we’ll only pay out the full amount if.

  • you pass away after the first year of cover 
  • you pass away as a result of an accident during the first full year
  • you make all monthly payments.

What affects the cost of life insurance premiums?

Aside from pre-existing medical conditions, a few things can nudge the cost of life insurance premiums up or down. 

First is your age – it’s no secret that the younger you are, the lower the cost tends to be. Next is your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a smoker, your premiums are likely to be higher, even if you don’t have any specific illness. And then there’s the type of policy you opt for, including whether you choose any extras such as critical illness cover.  

What matters is getting the life insurance that’s right for you at a price you can afford. Having a medical condition need not put you off applying. Even if it takes a little longer to get your application accepted, that doesn’t mean you won’t get cover. And there are other ways of lowering your premiums, or monthly payments, to help offset higher costs.

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