Pre-existing medical conditions and life insurance

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Frequently asked questions

  • What is a pre-existing medical condition?
  • Can I get life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition?
  • Can I still get cover if I’ve had a heart attack?
  • How could a stroke affect my life insurance premium?
  • What can I do to lower the cost of a policy?
  • Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?
  • How are premiums for life insurance calculated?

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition can be any illness, injury or disease that existed before or at the time of taking out an insurance policy. An insurance provider will have a list of ailments that they consider to be pre-existing conditions. The list could include:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease, including heart attacks or strokes
  • Obesity

Can I get life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition?

Yes, you can. However if you do have a medical issue, you might not be able to get our cheapest life insurance quotes. That’s because the number of insurance providers who are willing to cover you could be limited. But that’s not to say you won’t be able to find protection.  

Also, it’s important to be aware that a provider could refuse to pay out for a claim if it turns out that you had withheld information about any prior illnesses or conditions when applying for a policy. It’s important to read all the terms and conditions (and make sure you understand them) so that there are no unpleasant surprises for your loved ones if they need to make a claim.

Can I still get cover if I’ve had a heart attack?

If you’ve had a heart attack or you have a heart condition, you could still get cover. You might find it’s harder to secure a policy and it may be more expensive. That’s because, in the eyes of an insurance provider, you’re a higher risk compared to someone who’s never had a heart attack.

A provider may ask you for more details, such as:

  • How severe the heart attack was
  • When the attack happened  
  • Whether or not you had surgery, and if there are any long-term implications or recurrent problems
  • What type of medication you’re on, if any

You’ll also be asked some questions about your health and lifestyle, such as whether you smoke, your drinking habits and how much you weigh. 

How could a stroke affect my life insurance premium?

If you’ve had a stroke, the cost of a premium could go up but this will depend on many factors (including the type of stroke you’ve had). In the eyes of a provider, the probability that you’ll make a claim increases and your policy will reflect that added risk. So, if you’ve had a serious illness or incident like a heart attack or stroke then it’s likely your premium will be higher.

If you do fall into a high-risk category, a provider could insist on adding a stroke exclusion into your policy. This means that if you were to die as a result of a stroke (or anything relating to a stroke) then they won’t have to make a pay-out to your beneficiaries. 

What can I do to lower the cost of a policy?

Proving that you’ve taken steps towards a healthier lifestyle could be a way to reduce the cost of a life insurance policy. If your heart attack or stroke happened several years ago and you continue to take good care of yourself – exercising regularly, not smoking or drinking too much and maintaining a balanced diet – then you might be able reduce the cost of your premium. While it can be hard to determine the exact cause of a stroke, there are several risk factors which increase the chance of them happening. High blood pressure is one factor; as is diabetes.  

Before you’re offered a life insurance policy, you may be asked to have a medical. If having a medical is a concern for you, you can learn more about life insurance with no medical.

Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?

Yes, it is possible. However many providers may not offer insurance if you have type 2 diabetes, but you could still find cover if you shop around. Type 1 diabetes is something that typically you’d have dealt with for a long period of time, so providers could feel a little more relaxed that the problem is well-managed and under control. Whereas type 2 diabetes can be harder to manage, and can lead to more complicated health conditions. This could be reflected in a higher premium being offered to you.

How are premiums for life insurance calculated?

Each insurance provider will respond differently to potential risks on a life insurance plan, which is why you need to consider all of your options before selecting a policy.  A quote will be affected by your age, the amount of cover and the policy length you choose. Find out more about how your age might affect your life insurance policy.