How health conditions can increase your life insurance premiums

7 min Read Published: 11 May 2020

How health conditions can increase your life insurance premiums

first aid boxMaking sure you have adequate life insurance cover is important to protect your family's future in the event of your death. The cost of life cover can increase if you are unfortunate enough to have a pre-existing medical condition. Life insurance companies may deem that your condition could reduce your life expectancy and therefore increase the chance that they will have to pay out. Therefore a pre-existing medical condition (such as diabetes or high blood pressure) will likely increase the monthly premium you have to pay for life insurance. How much this premium increase will be is explained below.

I look at various medical conditions and analyse the likely increase in life insurance premiums.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

High blood pressure (the medical term is hypertension) increases the risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke which may result in an increase in life insurance premiums.

Blood pressure is expressed as one number over another and normal blood pressure for an adult would be between the figures 90/60 and 120/80. Anything over 140/90 is classified as hypertension or high blood pressure and will require some form of treatment.

An individual with hypertension could expect a premium 'loading' of around 100% or maybe more. This means that the monthly life insurance premium could be at least twice as expensive as a person with normal blood pressure. This figure is only an indication and would depend on the other details disclosed on the application form such as weight, smoker/non-smoker status or other lifestyle factors.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition whereby your body is unable to regulate the level of insulin in the blood. Just under 4 million people in the UK suffer from diabetes with the majority of these people able to control the condition with lifestyle changes to their diet  and exercise regime. Diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease or stroke as well as problems with eyes, kidneys and blood circulation.

It is very difficult to give specific guidance on life insurance premium loading and diabetes as each case can be very different and attract a range of premium loadings. The factors that decide the level of premium loading are age, height & weight, family history and the success of any current treatment or lifestyle regime. Once the life insurance underwriters have assessed an individual application then they could levy a monthly premium loading of between 75% and 200%, or even more. Once again that means that the cost of life insurance for those with diabetes can be twice as much as that of a non-sufferer. In more extreme cases the life insurance company may decline to offer life cover at all. However if this happens it would be worth approaching other life insurance companies as underwriting views differs from company to company.

Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease is a long term inflammatory bowel disease which is normally treated with medication. Severe bouts of Crohn's disease can result in hospitalisation and an operation to remove affected areas of the gastrointestinal tract.

If there are only minor symptoms, which are controlled by medication, or the disease is in remission then a premium loading of 50%-70% would be expected. Crohn's disease tends to follow a pattern of periods of remission, which can be a number of years, followed by periods of 'flare up' during which the patient will feel totally debilitated and may require hospitalisation. Applying for life insurance during a 'flare up' period may result in the life insurance company rejecting the application and suggesting reapplying once the condition is in remission.

Example increase in life insurance premiums due to loadings

Male Age Basic premium 50% loading 75% loading 100% loading
40 £8.85 £13.28 £15.49 £17.00
45 £14.97 £22.45 £26.20 £29.94
50 £22.98 £34.47 £40.22 £45.96

Above example based on being a non-smoker.

Life insurance advice

Different insurance companies will assess individual applications and medical conditions differently. I speak not only as someone with professional experience of how life insurance premiums are rated but from personal experience as a Crohns disease sufferer.

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Further reading

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