A pre-existing medical condition is a diagnosed illness or health concern you had before or at the time you took out a life insurance policy.
Insurers define pre-existing medical conditions differently, so if you’re unsure how your health affects your policy, or even whether you qualify, ask your insurer.
You can, but it’s likely to make your search for a quote a little more tricky.
Depending on the severity of the condition, you’ll probably find that fewer insurers will offer you a quote and that they’re more expensively priced.
There are three main types of life insurance you can apply for, although that’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted – choose the one that’s appropriate for you and your dependents.
A pre-existing medical condition can impact your premiums and some insurers won’t include them in your cover depending on the severity of the condition.
Make sure you declare any pre-existing conditions, or your policy may be invalid.
Level term life insurance is the most basic type as you choose the payout value and duration of the policy when you buy the cover.
If you die during the term of the policy, the dependants you listed will receive the pay out as a fixed sum. The amount paid out stays the same, no matter when a claim is made during the term.
Sometimes called mortgage life insurance, it’ll cover debts that decrease with time, like your mortgage.
The amount the policy pays reduces over time. If you die near the start of the policy, your dependents will receive a larger sum to pay off the large remaining mortgage balance.
If you die later in life, you'll have a smaller outstanding balance on the mortgage and a smaller sum from your life insurance to cover it.
It can be cheaper than level term life insurance, but you might find the pay out isn’t enough to cover the debt if you increase your mortgage.
Critical illness cover will pay out a fixed amount if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness.
You can take out critical illness cover as part of your life insurance, or as a separate policy with life insurance. If you buy it as part of your life insurance it’ll pay out once - either when you die or if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness.
Critical illness cover bought with life insurance can pay out twice. If you’re diagnosed with a critical illness and later die, both parts of your policy pay out. The same goes if you die without getting a critical illness. You’d get a payout from both parts of your cover.
Use our calculator to get an idea of how much life insurance might be right for you
When you apply for life insurance, the provider will ask you about how much cover you’d like, your general info (like your date of birth and address), and whether you smoke.
But, they will ask you a few questions about your medical condition:
Will I be over charged because I’m ill?
If you have a condition that's considered curable or manageable it’s against the law to charge you more for life insurance because of it.Equality Act 2010
If you qualify for cover, any life insurance deal you’re offered will depend on the nature of your condition and your individual circumstances. Policies can be offered with or without exclusions.
Policies without exclusions
This is sometimes called a ‘loaded’ premium, as you end up paying a bit more for your life insurance to include your pre-existing medical condition - you're asked to pay an increased price to cover the increased risk.
It could be offered to you if, for example, you have high blood pressure. The cost of the premium is likely to increase with the severity of a condition, but each insurer can categorise medical conditions differently.
Policies with exclusions
Insurers might not be willing to cover more serious conditions, so you might be offered policies that exclude your pre-existing medical condition from the cover.
For example, if you’ve suffered from cancer, you could arrange life insurance that wouldn’t pay out if you died from that cancer but would if you died from another cause.
Make yourself aware of what is and isn’t covered, like when a death might be considered to have been a result of a pre-existing condition.
You could contact a charity or support group that specialises in the medical condition you have; for example, a cancer charity might be able to offer more specific help about arranging life insurance if you're a cancer survivor.
If you’re young and healthy, you’re unlikely to need a medical check. However, if you’re a bit older and a smoker, for example, your insurer might request one.
Policies specifically offering ‘guaranteed acceptance with no medical check’ are a certain type of life insurance, known as over 50s lifelong protection.
While this might be a suitable option for some, there are downsides, such as you could end up paying in more than your estate gets as a payout.
Also, there will be an initial wait period, typically 12-24 months; if you die in this time, your estate will only get back the premiums you’ve paid in.
Comparing life insurance gives you an idea of the sort of pricing and policy options you have available to you.
You can also speak to our specialist team when you’re getting quotes. They could help you find providers specialising in life insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
You can request a call back when you’re getting quotes with us.
If you’re not sure about any aspect of a life insurance policy, call the insurer and ask. Otherwise, you risk wasting money on insurance that doesn’t cover what you need.
Here are a few things you can do to get a good price on your life insurance for those with medical conditions:
As ever, weighing up different policies will help you find the right cover for a good price
Life insurance premiums increase with age, so if a new policy is the same as your current one, consider whether switching policies is really worth the potential cost
If you tell your insurer about the change, quitting smoking, for instance, could see your premiums lowered
For comparing quotes online, Gocompare.com introduces customers to Neilson. Which is a trading name of Neilson Financial Services Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority no. 594926. Gocompare.com's relationship with Neilson Financial Services Limited is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control exist between us.