Life cover with pre-existing conditions

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life insurance with medical conditions
life insurance with medical conditions

Cancer survivors, those with diabetes, people with a history of heart problems, and many others who have endured – or continue to live with – serious medical conditions form a large proportion of society.

Such people are likely to be only too aware of the value of life insurance and may be keen to find the right policy to help their loved ones when they’re gone.

Life cover with pre-existing conditions

But if you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s, unfortunately, a fact that your search for a policy will be trickier.

Depending on the severity of the condition, fewer insurers will offer you a quote, the restricted choice playing a part in driving up premiums.

Perhaps more significant, though, will be the fact that an existing health condition is likely to mean that insurers will see more of a risk of having to pay out on the policy, again increasing the cost you face in arranging cover.

While these facts are hard to avoid, there are a variety of measures you can take to try to counteract them, starting, of course, by shopping around.

Using comparison and advisory services such as can help give you an idea of the sort of pricing and policy options you have available to you through one quick and easy search.

What questions will insurers ask?

When you apply for life insurance, the provider will look at your medical history and whether you’re currently taking medication.

This may involve the insurer asking for you to attend a medical exam or to see your medical records by writing to your GP.

Undergoing a medical tends to be a more unusual request, but it may become more likely if you have a pre-existing condition.

Insurers CAN’T access your medical records without your consent, but if you refuse this consent then the insurer may well refuse to offer you a policy.

Whatever you do, make sure that the answers you give to insurers are honest and accurate. If you make a fraudulent declaration, any policy you take out is likely to be invalid and will mean that the insurer will not pay out should a claim occur.

What sort of policies may be offered?

After the necessary checks, have been made, any life insurance deal you’re offered will depend on the nature of your condition and your other individual circumstances. Any quote that you initially get online, or from an adviser always assumes standard medical health. As each person’s health is individual to them it’s impossible to give you an exact price until the chosen insurer has assessed your medical history.

Policies with premium loadings

It may simply be a matter of a policy coming with a so-called ‘loaded’ premium, meaning you pay an increased price to cover the increased risk. This may be referred to as a ‘policy without exclusions’.

This could be an option presented to you if, for example, you have high blood pressure.

The cost of a ‘loaded’ premium is likely to increase with the severity of a condition, and you should be aware that different insurers will categorize different medical conditions in their own way.

Policies with condition exclusions

With particularly serious conditions you may find that there aren’t any regular cover options available, even if you’re prepared to pay a higher, loaded premium.

Another option to consider is excluding the specific pre-existing condition from the insurance at all.

This could mean, for example, if you’ve suffered from cancer, you could then arrange life insurance that wouldn’t pay out if you died from that cancer, but would if you died from another cause.

With particularly serious conditions you may find that there aren’t any regular cover options available, even if you’re prepared to pay a higher, loaded premium.

Should you decide on a policy like this, ensure you’re fully aware of what is and isn’t covered, considering things such as when a death may be considered to have been a result of the original cancer.

Other options

Speaking to an adviser such as will give you access to the 6 leading life insurers in Ireland.

You may also want to think about contacting a charity or support group that specializes 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.

Life insurance without medical checks

If you have a serious medical condition and you’re looking for life insurance, your search may have led you to options promising ‘guaranteed acceptance with no medical checks’.

You need to be aware that such policies are a specific type of life insurance, more properly known as Over 50’s Life Insurance or Over 50’s Funeral Plan.

While such products may be suitable for some people, there are also significant negative points to consider, including the fact that you may well end up paying in more in premiums than your estate eventually receives as a pay-out.

Also, although there’s no medical check there will be an initial wait period, which is typically 12-24 months; if you die in this time your estate will only receive back the premiums you’ve paid in.

Cutting the cost of life insurance with medical conditions

You don’t want to compromise on the standard of your life insurance cover, and this may especially be the case if you have pre-existing medical conditions, but read our article to find more about the many and varied ways you can cut the cost of life insurance and still get the policy you need.

See also:

As ever, our first suggestion is to shop around and compare your options to help you find the right deal at the right price.

If you’re a cancer survivor or have recovered from another serious illness, you should think about the timing of when you arrange, or change, a policy.

Cover may be at its most difficult and expensive to arrange in the early years after your recovery because of the danger of a condition returning.

If your recovery continues, over time it may become cheaper and easier to find the right insurance, and typically after a 5-year all-clear period the cost of your life insurance should be considerably cheaper.

Everybody’s health is different, so we would like to emphasize how valuable it can be to get guidance from a qualified source, such as the expert financial advisers at, call 01 845 0049, or make an enquiry.


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