Can I get life insurance with epilepsy?

13 min Read Published: 10 Jul 2020 Updated: 14 Jul 2020

Can I get life insurance if I have epilepsy?Yes, you can get life insurance if you have epilepsy, however, a life insurance company will want to know a little bit more about how it impacts your daily life, so be prepared to answer some additional medical questions.

In this article we explain everything you need to know about life insurance and epilepsy, including the questions the insurance companies are likely to ask as well as the quickest and cheapest way to buy life cover. If you simply want to know the cheapest way to buy life cover, then skip to 'Which is the best life insurance company if I have epilepsy?' below.

What questions will a life insurance company ask about my epilepsy?

The questions insurance companies are likely to ask in relation to your epilepsy are as follows:

  • When were you diagnosed with epilepsy?
  • What type of epilepsy do you have; Grand Mal or Petit Mal?
  • When was your last experience of a seizure?
  • Do you take any medication, if so what and how often?
  • Have you ever suffered more than one seizure in a week?
  • Do you have any other health conditions?

Will I have to pay more for life insurance if I have epilepsy?

Not necessarily, in fact, most people whose epilepsy is well controlled and who have not experienced a seizure within the last 5 years will be accepted at standard rates and so will not be expected to pay an increased premium. Life insurance applications are assessed by a team of underwriters whose job is to understand the risk that you pose and ensure that the policy is priced accordingly. How much you pay for life insurance is largely determined by your age, how much cover you require and whether you smoke.

Epilepsy is often split into two classifications, Grand Mal and Petit Mal. Grand Mal is where you would lose consciousness during a seizure whereas Petit Mal is a type of epilepsy where you don’t lose consciousness during a seizure. While losing consciousness during a seizure is likely to be considered more serious, an insurance underwriter takes everything into account, including the medication, how well controlled the epilepsy is and how often seizures occur. It is entirely possible, therefore, that someone with well-controlled Grand Mal epilepsy could be considered less of a risk than someone who suffers from frequent Petit Mal seizures. We explain more about the underwriting process and possible underwriting outcomes in the next section and later in this article we explain the best way to purchase life insurance if you suffer from epilepsy.

How does epilepsy impact life insurance premiums?

There are likely to be four possible outcomes when it comes to applying for life insurance with epilepsy and these are as follows:

  • Policy is accepted at standard rates with no increase to the quoted premium.
  • Policy is accepted with a rating, meaning you will be required to pay an increased premium (remember, you don’t have to accept the increased premium; you are free to shop around and apply elsewhere. We explain more about this later in this article)
  • Policy is postponed, meaning the insurer is not prepared to offer cover at the present time but may consider an application after the postponement period has passed. You are still free to apply to other insurers.
  • Policy is declined, meaning the insurer is not willing to offer you life insurance. (remember, you are still free to apply elsewhere and so you shouldn’t be discouraged from trying other insurance companies. We explain more below)

Below is a table that demonstrates how each of the possible outcomes could be reached:

When Diagnosed Epilepsy Type Ongoing investigations Seizures in the last year When was last seizure Decision
2010 Petit Mal No 0 5 years ago Accepted without any increase to premiums
2010 Grand Mal No 2 6 months ago Accepted with 100% increase to premiums
2020 Unclear Yes 2 3 days ago Postponed until more is known. Diagnosis is too recent
2010 Grand Mal Yes 40 1 week Possible Decline as medication doesn't seem to be controlling the seizures

 

Do I have to accept an increased premium for life insurance with epilepsy?

No, you do not have to accept the increased premium, in fact, you should always shop around to ensure you are getting the best deal on your life insurance. It is worth remembering that the cheapest premium at quote stage is not always going to be the cheapest premium once it has been assessed by the underwriters.

Can I get life insurance if I have previously been declined for epilepsy?

Yes, it is possible that you can still get life insurance if you have previously been declined due to your epilepsy. Every insurance company has different underwriting criteria and so just because you have been declined by one insurance company, it does not mean to say that every other insurance company will do the same. You should speak to an independent life insurance specialist such as LifeSearch, a company that specialises in obtaining life insurance for those who have epilepsy. We explain more about LifeSearch later in this article and how you can qualify for up to £100 cashback when you buy a policy from them.

Will a life insurance company speak to my doctor about my epilepsy?

It depends. If you have all of the relevant information to hand, such as your diagnosis date, the type of epilepsy you suffer from, how many seizures you have had and the type of medication you are on, then there should be no need for an insurance company to write to your doctor. If, however, you have indicated that there are further investigations, additional medical complications or the information you have given is not clear then an insurance company may want to write to your GP to clarify the situation. If an insurance company does decide to consult your GP, the cost is picked up by the insurance company, however, it will usually delay your application by a couple of weeks, so it is worth bearing that in mind.

Which is the best life insurance company if I have epilepsy?

There isn’t one ‘stand out’ insurance company that is best for every epilepsy sufferer, however, that does not mean to say that you should blindly apply to the first company that provides a quote or the cheapest insurance company on a comparison site. Choosing the right insurance company is important because every life insurance company has a team of underwriters and each team of underwriters work to a different set of guidelines. For example, AIG is an insurance company which should generally be avoided if you have epilepsy, as experience has shown that they tend to have quite strict underwriting criteria. On the other hand, I have seen examples where LV=, L&G, Aviva and Zurich have all provided excellent underwriting decisions for those who have epilepsy.

Matching your specific condition with the insurance company that will offer the best and cheapest life insurance premiums comes with experience and it is something an independent life insurance specialist can do on your behalf. Having worked in the life insurance industry for over 20 years, I have seen many examples of people being offered life insurance where they had previously been declined or being offered a premium that is three times less than they had previously been quoted.

Additionally, online comparison sites and life insurance calculators do not take your epilepsy into account and so the cheapest premiums being quoted will assume there are no medical conditions to consider. It is important that you get a quote that is accurate and relevant, one that takes your epilepsy into account and so you know the final premium you are likely to pay. Often, the cheapest premium on a comparison site will be one of the more expensive quotes once your epilepsy has been considered and it is likely that the premium will increase significantly as a result. We have personally vetted the services of LifeSearch, one of the UK's leading insurance broker's, which specialises in finding the most suitable cover for those with medical conditions such as epilepsy. An independent specialist will be able to help with the application process as well as chasing the insurer on your behalf and even help to put your policy into trust, meaning your intended beneficiaries do not have to pay inheritance tax on any of the proceeds.

To speak to an adviser, with no obligation to take things further, simply complete this form to receive a call back at a time that suits you. The firm employs strong ethics and will only ever offer a policy if it is the best policy to suit your personal needs. Additionally, if you decide to take out a policy you would qualify for up to £100 cashback.

Can I get critical illness if I have epilepsy

Yes, it is likely that you can get critical illness cover if you have epilepsy but the underwriting process is a little more strict and insurance companies will be keen to ask additional medical questions. Unlike life insurance, critical illness insurance can have exclusions applied to the policy and so you may find that once underwritten, certain conditions are excluded. As we have mentioned earlier in this article, it is always best to speak to an independent specialist as they will be able to speak to every insurance company on your behalf in order to obtain the best and cheapest critical illness insurance quotes.

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