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Pre-existing medical conditions and life insurance

Help protect what's most important to you.

Help protect what's most important to you.

Help protect what's most important to you.

Help protect what's most important to you.

Help protect what's most important to you.

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A guide to pre-existing medical conditions

Taking out a life insurance policy can offer peace of mind that your family will be financially secure – whatever may happen in the future. Learn about the possible effects on life insurance if you’ve suffered an illness or serious medical condition. 

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.  

Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes? 

Even with diabetes, it is still possible to get life insurance cover. However, the type of diabetes you suffer from makes a difference: 

  • Type 1 diabetes – with type 1 diabetes typically diagnosed from an early age, insurance providers may be less strict, in the knowledge that you’ve had the condition under control for a number of years. 
  • Type 2 diabetes – many providers might not offer you insurance if you have type two diabetes. This is because type 2 diabetes can be harder to manage, leading to greater health complications and conditions. You could still find cover if you shop around, but your premium is likely to be considerably higher. 

Frequently asked questions

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 
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 

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

Yes, you can. However, if you have a medical issue, it can affect the premiums you pay. 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 you get life insurance after cancer diagnosis?

Being diagnosed with cancer does not immediately exclude you from getting life insurance cover, but it does make it difficult and can’t be guaranteed. If you find cover, it will likely be at a greater cost, and you may find that certain conditions are not included in your policy. Each case is unique to the individual, so the best way to find out is by searching for a quote.

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.

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. 

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