Can I get life insurance if I have an existing medical condition?

15th Aug, 2016

By Robert Little

Unfortunately many people who approach us for advice on life insurance have an existing medical condition and they worry this could affect their application. In this post I will set out the possible outcomes in this scenario and answer some common questions.

What is an existing medical condition?

Essentially it is anything which could potentially make you a higher risk applicant from the perspective of the insurance company. It tends to fall into 3 categories which are:

  1. Someone who has previously experienced a medical condition – for example someone who was previously diagnosed with cancer but has been given the all-clear
  2. Someone who has an ongoing medical condition – for example someone who is currently receiving treatment for depression or high blood pressure
  3. Someone who hasn’t personally suffered a medical condition but has a family history of a genetic medical condition

Will an existing medical condition stop me from applying for cover?

The insurer will want to assess you closely to see whether this condition is likely to continue or to repeat itself again in the future. They will also want to gauge how badly it could affect your health overall if it does happen again.

What options are available to the insurance company if I have an existing medical condition?

There are 4 options available, which are:

  1. Decline the application – this is the worst case scenario because it means you are not covered for anything.
  2. Provide cover but exclude anything related to the existing medical condition – this means you are still covered for most illnesses and conditions but, should your existing medical condition cause any issues in the future, you will not be covered for this.
  3. “Load” the premium – this simply means the premium is increased to reflect the fact the insurer considers you a higher risk applicant. You can then choose whether to accept this higher premium or look at another insurance company.
  4. Accept your application on normal terms – this means you are accepted as if you don’t have any existing medical conditions which is the best possible outcome for you.

What should I do when I apply?

It is best to seek advice about any insurance application to ensure you are getting the most suitable policy provider for your circumstances at the best possible monthly premium.

It is sometimes possible to speak to the underwriters of an insurance company (the people who assess applications) before you apply, giving you the opportunity to discuss your existing condition and get an indication of the terms that may be offered (albeit a final underwriting decision will be subject to receipt of a full application and any additional medical tests required).

Most importantly, you should always fully disclose all relevant information on the application form. If you don’t disclose something and later need to claim on the policy the insurance company will check your medical records for any discrepancies like this and this could affect the payout. In this scenario they may pay out only part of the claim or, in a worst case scenario, they may not pay out at all. As long as you are upfront and honest on the application form you should have full confidence in your insurance policy.


We offer a free initial meeting for all new clients. This allows you to review existing insurance policies you have (if any) and ask any questions without incurring any fees. To arrange a meeting please call us (01642 477758) or visit our Contact Us page.

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