Life Insurance and Hepatitis: All you need to know

24 min Read Published: 06 Oct 2020

Life Insurance with HepatitisHepatitis is a viral infection that affects many people and although some types are less commonly seen in the UK, others are widespread and sometimes even go undetected. If you've been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E or Alcoholic or Autoimmune Hepatitis and want to arrange life insurance then this article will help you understand whether you can get life insurance and how to ensure you get the best life insurance rates.

If you've already tried to arrange life insurance and have struggled due to your Hepatitis diagnosis, you'll be pleased to know that not all insurance companies treat Hepatitis in the same way. Using a specialist life insurance adviser can give you a better chance of success and later in this article we explain how best to do this (including how to get £50 cashback). You can jump straight to the section here, however, we would recommend that you read the article in full, including the information you should gather in preparation for a life insurance application.

Understanding Hepatitis for Life Insurance

Hepatitis is a viral infection that comes in many different types, A, B, C, D, E, Alcoholic or Autoimmune Hepatitis. It can sometimes go undetected because the symptoms are similar to those of Flu and include fever, muscle pain, weakness and a loss of appetite. In fact, it may have only been a yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice) and/or change of colour in urine or stools that led to you being tested for Hepatitis. For the most part, people who are diagnosed with certain types of Hepatitis will go through a period of acute symptoms, lasting anything from a few weeks up to 6 months after which the virus may be cured or could become chronic.

If your Hepatitis was contracted at birth because your mother had the virus then you may be deemed a carrier of the virus and in some cases, you could go from being a carrier to suffering chronic Hepatitis.  Understanding what phase of the Hepatitis virus you are in will help you to work out the likely outcome for your life insurance application. We will come back to that in a bit more detail later in this article where we look at each different type of Hepatitis, including how the results of any recent Liver Function tests will be assessed by the insurance underwriters (the people at the insurance company who assess your medical information to work out if you can be insured and what price to charge you).

Information you'll need to apply for life insurance if you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis?

Below is a list of details that will help you when arranging your life insurance:

  • Any medical letters that show the results of your liver function tests
  • Details of the treatment that you have received or are receiving
  • The date of your diagnosis
  • Confirmation of whether the infection is acute, chronic or cured
  • Details of any lasting effects to your liver
  • The results of a liver biopsy if one was carried out
  • Details of any other complications caused by the Hepatitis infection.

You may not have access to all of the above information but make sure you collect as much information as you can as it will help you to avoid applying to insurance companies that are likely to be less favourable for you.

Understanding life insurance for your type of Hepatitis

Whatever the type of your Hepatitis, there will be similarities to the way in which a life insurance company will assess your application. There are however some subtle differences and in some cases, extra considerations, so looking at each type of the virus is useful. You can use the links below to access the part of the article that deals with your type of Hepatitis diagnosis.

Can you arrange Life Insurance if you have Hepatitis A?

Largely, the answer to whether you'll be able to arrange life insurance if you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A is, yes! For the majority of sufferers, the symptoms of Hepatitis A are short-lived and after a period of illness, they will recover. If you're in the acute phase of the condition and are being treated for your symptoms then don't be surprised if the insurance company postpone your application, pending your recovery.

It is quite common practice for insurance companies to wait until you have recovered and are in remission (had no symptoms or need for further investigations for a period of time). It is likely that you will have had a liver function test and the results of this are important as they will show the underwriter if the virus has affected your liver. Those who return an abnormal liver function result may be required to pay an increased premium for what the underwriters deem as an additional risk of a life insurance claim.

It's vital to understand that not all insurance companies make decisions in the same way, so speaking to an independent life insurance specialist is sensible as they will be able to help you find the best life insurance provider for your circumstances. If you'd like to jump straight to the part of this article that shows you how to do this, then click here.

Can you arrange Life Insurance if you have Hepatitis B?

If you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis B then you should be able to arrange life insurance, however, it can be a little more tricky than some other types. Hepatitis B is passed through blood or sexual contact and is rare in the UK but if you've travelled to South East Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa then you may have been exposed to it. It can also be passed from mother to child as well as if you're a healthcare worker, have had unprotected sex or have injected drugs. Most adults who have Hepatitis B will go through an acute period of symptoms such as fever, aches, diarrhoea and/or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) after which they will recover. As with most other types of the Hepatitis virus, your application for life insurance is likely to be postponed if you are in the acute period.

If you've made a recovery and are in no need of any further treatment for Hepatitis B then life insurance should be fairly simple to arrange as long as you follow the guidance I provide at the end of this article.  However, if you continue to receive treatment in order to control the effects of the virus on your liver, it will be categorised as chronic. Life insurance can still be arranged, however, it will be dependent on how well the treatment is working which will be indicated in your liver function test results.

If you've had to have a liver biopsy then the results of the biopsy will be needed by the insurance company too. If you are receiving ongoing treatment to control the effects of Hepatitis B then you'll probably pay an increased price for your life insurance unless your medical notes show a good period of control. Again, not all insurance companies will take the same view so it is important to speak to an independent life insurance specialist  to understand which life insurance provider is best for you.

Can you arrange Life Insurance if you have Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is often associated with sharing needles whilst using recreational drugs but can also be contracted in many of the ways that other Hepatitis viruses are contracted, like unprotected sex, sharing of razors and toothbrushes etc. If you have been treated for Hepatitis C and your liver function tests show good results then arranging life cover should be fairly straightforward and you shouldn't have to pay an increased cost for it, compared with someone who hasn't had the virus.

If you are receiving treatment, it may still be possible to arrange your life insurance but you may pay an increased cost for it or your application may be postponed until your treatment is complete. As with most other Hepatitis types, being diagnosed with Hepatitis C will not stop you from getting life insurance, however, you should seek guidance from an independent specialist to ensure you go with the insurance company that is best for your unique circumstances. Click here to learn how to do this.

Can you arrange Life Insurance if you have Hepatitis D?

Hepatitis D relies on the existence of Hepatitis B to survive in your body but it is extremely rare in the UK. If you look at the facts for Hepatitis B then the guidance is very similar for Hepatitis D.

Can you arrange Life Insurance if you have Hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E is the most common form of Acute Hepatitis in the UK and is caused by eating certain types of raw or undercooked meat and shellfish. The symptoms are similar to those of other Hepatitis viruses but can be much milder. As with all types of the Hepatitis virus, life insurance companies will focus their attention on any ongoing symptoms and may apply an increase to the cost of your insurance if there are lasting effects.

If you are still experiencing ongoing symptoms, any life insurance application is likely to be postponed, however, if you are fully recovered then it is likely that the insurance company will accept your application without the need to increase your monthly premiums. Again, we would recommend that you speak to an independent life insurance specialist in order to ensure that you get the best value life insurance for your unique circumstances.

Can you arrange Life Insurance if you have Autoimmune or Alcoholic Hepatitis?

Suffering with Hepatitis for a long period of time can lead to Autoimmune Hepatitis. It is extremely rare but nonetheless, if you've had long term exposure to Hepatitis then it can manifest. Autoimmune Hepatitis causes your immune system to attack your liver and it is for this reason that it can be difficult to get life insurance. If you have been diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis, it is worth speaking with an independent specialist* with the relevant details to hand so that they can conduct a full search of the market for life insurance.

Alcoholic Hepatitis comes about from consumption of alcohol over a prolonged period and not from an infection as with other types of Hepatitis. Misuse of alcohol might only become evident when a person is diagnosed with Alcoholic Hepatitis and where the liver can become damaged. It is common in the UK but not many people will know that they have it. As you might expect, life insurance can be more difficult to arrange if you have Alcoholic Hepatitis and without permanent measures to stop drinking alcohol and regeneration or recovery of your liver, it is likely that an application for life insurance would be declined.

If you have stopped drinking alcohol after your diagnosis and are showing signs of liver regeneration then you should speak to an independent specialist* who will be able to understand your unique circumstances and find the best life insurance policy on your behalf.

Your Hepatitis Status vs Outcome for A Life Insurance Application

Current State of Hepatitis Virus Likely Outcome for A Life Insurance Application
Ongoing symptoms - A recent diagnosis with symptoms/treatment ongoing. Postponed - Your application is likely to be postponed until you make a recovery from your symptoms.
Fully recovered - No symptoms of the virus and liver function tests have come back as normal, needing no further investigation. Accepted (No increase) - Your application is likely to be accepted with no increase to the normal cost for your age, gender and smoker status.
Fully recovered but ongoing monitoring - No symptoms of the virus but requiring ongoing monitoring of your liver functions. Accepted (With increase) - Your application is likely to be accepted with an increase to the normal cost for your age, gender and smoker status. The increase will be dependent on the specifics of your liver function test results.
Ongoing complications - Symptoms continue for more than 6 months. Accepted (With increase) - Your application may be accepted with an increase to the normal cost for your age, gender and smoker status. Possible postponement.
Fully recovered with no intervention for a year - No symptoms of the virus, liver function being monitored but no intervention necessary for more than a year. Accepted (No increase) - Your application can be accepted without any increase to the normal cost for your age, gender and smoker status. This will be subject to the results of your liver function tests.
Fully recovered but treatment continues - No symptoms of the virus but treatment continues for liver function concerns. Accepted (With increase) - Your application may be accepted with an increase to the normal cost for your age, gender and smoker status. This will depend on control of your liver function being evidenced over a period of time through treatment.
Additional complications - Diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. Decision on case by case basis - (Speak to a life insurance specialist) - Acceptance is trickier and will depend on the extent of the cirrhosis and your liver function test results. The results can be wide-ranging and every case is taken on its own merits.
Additional complications - Diagnosed with liver cancer. Likely decline (Speak to a life insurance specialist) - As with all cancers, your application would be subject to reaching the point where the cancer has been treated and is in remission. The longer the time that has passed since this, the better the outcome of your application will be.

 

Will you need to have a test for Hepatitis to arrange life insurance?

In most circumstances you will not be required to take a Hepatitis test, however, if you disclose a history of intravenous drug use then this can prompt an insurance company to ask for more details.

How much will Life Insurance cost if you've been diagnosed with Hepatitis?

For those that have recovered from Hepatitis and have no ongoing liver problems, life insurance should be straightforward to arrange. Finding the best quotes for your life insurance if you've been diagnosed with Hepatitis is sometimes complex but you'll want to know that even if your cost has been increased, that this is the best outcome that you can expect. A life insurance expert can guide you so that you don't waste your time applying to insurance companies that have less favourable guidelines around Hepatitis.

Can you get Critical Illness insurance if you've been diagnosed with Hepatitis?

If you have recovered from the virus and have no ongoing issues with your liver then there is no reason why you can't get critical illness insurance. Critical Illness Insurance pays out for claims associated with organ failures and specific types of cancers and so it is likely that the insurance company will take a close look at the results of any tests that measure how the virus has affected your liver. An insurance company will determine whether your likelihood for claiming against these illnesses has been increased due to the Hepatitis virus. Critical illness insurance is a little trickier to arrange than life insurance and that is why I would always recommend that you speak to an independent specialist* to enlist some help and guidance.

Can you get sick pay insurance if you've been diagnosed with Hepatitis?

Sick pay insurance, which is often referred to as Income Protection, is a policy that would pay you an income if you were unable to do your normal job due to an accident or illness. The time that you may have taken off work due to your Hepatitis diagnosis will be relevant here, but a full recovery and no indication of any ongoing symptoms will stand you in good stead when arranging sick pay insurance. In truth, it is unlikely that you'll be able to find suitable cover that is tailored to your needs without the help and guidance of an independent life and sick pay insurance specialist. See below for more information on who you should contact.

How to get the best and cheapest life insurance if you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis?

The usual advice to find the best rate for any insurance is to shop around and it is no different if you've had Hepatitis and are trying to arrange life insurance. The only difference is that shopping around online or through an adviser that doesn't have access to the whole of the life insurance market or isn't well versed in how to position your application, is not the wisest move here. You should speak to an independent specialist such as LifeSearch*, a life insurance broker who we have personally vetted. By completing this short contact form*, an expert will do all of the necessary research to establish which insurance company will give you the best outcome for your life insurance application.

In addition, LifeSearch will help you to work out what level, type and duration of life insurance suits your budget best. Its free service includes putting your life insurance policy in a trust so that you can ensure that, should the policy pay out, it will reach your chosen beneficiaries quickly and easily. As a Money to the Masses reader, you'll also receive £50 cashback when you have arranged your life insurance.

 

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

 

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