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 medical information you will need in order to answer 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.
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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 with epilepsy 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 whether there is a greater risk that a claim will arise for your policy 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.
There are different types of epilepsy and it is often split into two classifications, Grand Mal and Petit Mal. Grand Mal is where you would suffer a loss of 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, the type of seizure as well as the medication you take; 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:
- Standard rates - this means that your life insurance will not cost more due to your epilepsy diagnosis and there are no special conditions for a payout.
- Rated or Loaded - this means that a rating or loading has been applied to the normal cost of your life insurance due to your epilepsy diagnosis but there are no special conditions for a payout.
- Postponed - this means that you may become eligible for life insurance cover but at present your application cannot be accepted (a time period is usual given which must lapse before you reapply with the same insurer but does not stop you from applying for life cover with other insurers).
- Declined - the insurer has decided that it cannot accept you for life insurance cover and this is usually because the guidelines do not stipulate a cost that could be attributed to the extra risk of a claim (you can appeal this type of decision but it is usually best to apply to a different insurance company after taking guidance from a life insurance expert).
Possible life insurance application outcomes if you have epilepsy
|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 the cost of your life cover|
|2010||Grand Mal||No||2||6 months ago||Accepted with 100% increase to the cost of your life cover|
|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|
It is worth remembering that your life insurance premium can be adjusted by changing the terms of your life insurance after you receive a decision. If the cost of the life insurance falls outside of your affordability, you can reduce the lump sum that would be paid from your life insurance to bring the cost down or you can reduce the number of years of your life cover. But before doing so, check with a specialist life insurance broker whether you can't get a better offer for life insurance with another life insurance company.
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 the 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 arranging life insurance for people with 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, there may be an insurance company that 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 insurers such as LV=, Legal & General, Aviva and Zurich have been known to provide good underwriting decisions for those who have epilepsy.
Matching your specific medical 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 in the UK 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. At worst, if your life insurance offer cannot be bettered with a different life insurance company, you will have peace of mind that your life cover offer is, indeed, the best in the market.
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 brokers, 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 chase 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.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article - LifeSearch