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Can I get cover with a pre-existing medical condition

LifeSearch author Katie Crook-Davies
4 min read

by Katie Crook-Davies, Protection Writer

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Katie works with insurers and distributors to make protection propositions more accessible, pricing more transparent and marketing messages more simple.See author bio

Guide last reviewed 10 Oct 2023

We all like to think that we’ll never fall ill, but the fact is that many of us have faced illness in the past, or may be dealing with an ongoing illness currently. If this is you, then you might be wondering whether your current condition or medical history might prevent you from being able to buy life insuranceThe good news is that many people with pre-existing medical conditions are able to get life insurance, and here we explain how.


What is a pre-existing medical condition?

Insurers call them pre-existing medical conditions, but basically, they’re talking about medical conditions or illnesses that you’ve either had in the past or are currently facing. Not common colds, but more serious illnesses like diabetes, asthma or cancer.

Insurers need to know about these pre-existing medical conditions so that they can properly understand your risk, your chances of claiming, and therefore how much you should pay for your insurance.

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

It’s hard to give an exact ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this, unfortunately, because it really does depend on your specific circumstances, but the good news is that many people with pre-existing medical conditions can get life insurance, although usually at a higher price.

Insurers want to protect people, and that includes those with pre-existing medical conditions. But sometimes they will need to increase the premiums they charge to reflect the increased risk that these people represent. For those who have faced, or are facing illness, insurers may increase the monthly premiums they charge, and you could find yourself paying anywhere from 25% to 150% more, compared to someone with a clean bill of health.

Although this could make life insurance quite expensive for you, it’s important to remember that once activated, your policy will usually work in the same way for you as it does for everyone else, and will protect you and your family against the same causes of death. This is different to critical illness insurance, which may exclude your pre-existing condition from the policy, so the insurer would not pay any claims linked to your condition.

In certain situations, people with pre-existing medical conditions will, unfortunately, not be able to get traditional life insurance. But the good news is that there are policies out there that don’t ask any medical questions and are what we call ‘guaranteed acceptance’. A good example is over 50s insurance, a life insurance product specifically designed for people aged over 50, which doesn’t ask any medical questions and is guaranteed to cover you, regardless of your health. These are great policies if you’re struggling to get life insurance, but they can wind up quite expensive.

If you’re seriously thinking about life insurance, it’s important to do your research. Different insurers take different views when it comes to pre-existing medical conditions and will charge different premiums. At LifeSearch, we speak to people who have pre-existing medical conditions every day and are passionate about finding them the best cover at the most affordable price. Because we’re the biggest UK specialist protection broker, we have access to the best insurance prices, so why not request a callback from one of our friendly advisers to chat through your options today?

What information will I need to give to the insurer?

When you apply for a life insurance policy, the insurer will ask you a number of medical and health-related questions and, based on your answers, will be able to work out whether they can insure you and how much that insurance will cost.

If you tell the insurer about a pre-existing medical condition during the application process, the insurer will very likely need to gather more information to get a full picture of the condition and your health. They may ask how long you have had the condition, when, or if, you recovered, and what medication you take. They may also request medical records from your GP. In some situations, the insurer might require you to undergo a number of medical tests, again to assess the condition and your overall health.

You may feel slightly uncomfortable with an insurer accessing your personal medical records, but please rest assured that they can’t access this information without your permission. It’s also worth bearing in mind that your medical information will only be used for the purposes of your life insurance application and will be kept safely and securely.

As with all insurance, it’s really important to be open and honest when you apply for a life insurance policy. The temptation for those with pre-existing medical conditions can be to lie on their application, maybe because they are concerned that they won’t be able to get cover, or because they think that their premiums will be unaffordable. While this approach can help you save money in the short-term, the insurer can actually refuse to pay your claim if they find out you lied, leaving your family unprotected when you’re no longer around. To quote the old saying – ‘honesty is the best policy’.

Get to know the options with your medical condition(s) with an adviser

An expert adviser can talk to you about your specific condition(s), and your options. We work with a wide range of leading insurers, and can often help with special circumstances.

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LifeSearch author Katie Crook-Davies
Katie Crook-Davies Protection Writer
Katie is an independent insurance consultant who is passionate about protection and wants to share that passion with others through engaging marketing content. She hopes that one day people will get as excited about protecting themselves and their loved ones, as she does!
See all articles by Katie Crook-Davies
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