Protection: Can You Get Life or Illness Cover With a Pre-Existing Health Condition?

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If you have had any medical conditions and are looking to take out life or illness cover, this may be a daunting thought at first. Here we look at getting life and illness cover with a pre-existing health condition.


If you have had any medical conditions and are looking to take out life or illness cover, this may be a daunting thought at first. Common questions asked to a financial advisers surrounding this are often ‘Will it cost more?’, ‘Will I be fully covered?’ and ‘Can I even get life or illness cover with a pre-existing health condition?’

In short, yes, it is possible to get life or illness cover if you have a pre-existing condition. However, yes, it may also cost more. Certain existing conditions may not be covered, and you may not be instantly accepted, however this does not automatically mean that you will not find cover.

What is a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is when you have had symptoms, been prescribed medication, received advice, treatment or diagnostic tests for a disease, illness or injury before taking out a life or illness cover policy.

Pre-existing conditions are just one of many factors that insurers consider when you apply for cover. Other things, like your job and how much cover you’re asking for also play a part. 

How will an insurer know you have a pre-existing condition?

You should always come forward and tell your insurer if you have a pre-existing condition. As part of the application, you’ll be asked questions about your lifestyle and health. This includes how much alcohol you drink, your weight and height, if you smoke — and if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Make sure you answer the medical questions, and all application questions, correctly and truthfully. If you don’t, your insurer may not be able to pay out on a claim, meaning your cover could be worthless.

A pre-existing medical condition won’t necessarily prevent you from getting cover. Just be aware that:

  • The insurer might ask for more medical information. That might be a report from your GP, a call from a nurse, a mini screening, or a medical exam, where they find out more about your general health or the condition you have.
  • It might cost more. When they look at your application, underwriters will consider how likely you are to make a claim, and if it’s more or less likely than the average person. So, for example, your premiums may be higher if you have a serious, chronic medical condition. 
  • Certain exclusions may be applied to illness cover. If you have a pre-existing condition, the insurer may apply an ‘exclusion’, meaning that if you needed to claim on the policy, but it relates to a condition that you already had when you applied, it would not pay out. However, this would be made clear before the policy is activated.

Unfortunately, sometimes a life or illness cover application is declined based on medical reasons. If you have a serious condition, the insurer may not be able to offer you cover. Even if this does happen, you may be able to get cover elsewhere. It is important to get the right advice from an Independent Financial Adviser so you have the best chance of finding the right cover for you, if it is available.

The benefits of seeking pre-underwriting help for life or illness cover

If you work with an Independent Financial Adviser to find cover and explain that you have a pre-existing condition prior to applying, they will be able to contact several insurers to find out whether you are likely to be able to apply for the cover you require, or if you will need to consider an alternative solution.

Not only that, but you can also gain an understanding of what exclusions may apply and whether there is likely to be a ‘rating’, where you will need to pay more for your cover due to the increased risk of claiming. The benefit of this, is that you will not waste your time applying for cover that may not be possible to acquire, and you have a rough idea of what to expect before going through medical underwriting.

For expert advice on insurance matters why not book a call with a Financial Adviser from Integrity365. Email Integrity365 directly for more information.

It pays to seek the right advice

A client of mine was declined for Income Protection and was told by another adviser that he would not be able to get cover elsewhere as a result. Upon further investigation by myself, it appeared that the client had been declined due to a suspected case of Angina two years ago. After visiting a Cardiologist, this was then amended to Musculo-skeletal pain and he has never had it again. This confirmation was sent to the insurer, and after ensuring the full medical underwriting process was complete, the client was able to get the cover he wanted (with an exclusion for the pre-existing condition), which meant he and his family had the peace-of-mind they needed.

For your cover to not only remain valid, but also to get the right policy to suit your needs, you should always be up front and truthful with the questions you are asked upon application. If you make a claim and your cover is found to be void, then you will not have the protection in place when you need it most. An Independent Financial Adviser can help you search a variety of providers to find the best fit for you, considering your own personal circumstances. Always get the right advice for your protection needs, it could mean the difference of getting the cover you want and being under-insured.

Written by Coreena Dutton FPFS, Independent Financial Adviser/Chartered Financial Planner, Integrity365

Customer service is at the heart of everything Integrity365 do, from the early days of pensions and ISAs to investments and lump sum decisions, through to retirement and later life planning, they are here to support you through the key stages of your life with a holistic approach to financial planning.

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