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Insurance for people with existing medical conditions

It's a common misconception that you can't get health or life insurance cover with a pre-existing medical condition. This guide can help you understand more about the types of insurance available, and whether this includes cover for chronic conditions.

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Insurance for people with existing medical conditions
Insurance for people with existing medical conditions

Insurance for people with existing medical conditions

You can get health or life insurance cover even if you have a pre-existing medical condition. But you may need to go to a specialist insurer and pay more for cover. 

Can I get insurance if I have a chronic health condition?

You can get health or life cover even if you have a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes, or a history of ailments, such as heart congestion or strokes. But you’ll probably find that these conditions aren’t covered. This means if you fall ill you’ll only be entitled to a payout if your claim doesn’t stem from a pre-existing condition. 

If you want to cover a chronic health condition that’s affected you in the past you may need to speak to a specialist insurer or broker. You’ll probably be asked for a detailed account of your condition, and may be asked for permission to speak to your doctor.

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What types of insurance are available to people with existing medical conditions?

Private medical insurance can provide you with a high quality of care . Life insurance can ensure your family is provided for financially should you pass away.

Many health insurance providers will accept people with pre-existing conditions, although these ailments might be excluded from cover. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, it’s important you understand your options.

The effect your previous medical conditions have on your cover will depend on several factors, including:

  • The type of condition

  • Whether you are still affected by it

  • The type of cover you’re looking for

The result could be an increase in what you’re quoted for cover or an additional premium paid to specialist insurer to get this extra protection. You may also find specific types of claims related to that condition are excluded (such as claims within the first two years, for example).

What is considered a chronic condition? 

A chronic health condition is one a person would not be expected to recover from.

These include Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and asthma.

Illnesses that can be remedied, such as flu, broken bones and asthma attacks, are known as acute conditions.

Insurance policies are usually in place for people who develop an illness or complaint after they have taken out a policy. Any health-related illness that is known before the policy is taken out is considered to be pre-existing.

Typically, this relates to a condition you’re already receiving treatment or care for, or when the symptoms have already been identified. It could also include any condition that you’ve  contacted your GP about, or that you’re having tests or outpatient investigations for. 

People develop some form of pre-existing condition as they get older. With this in mind, it could make sense to take out a policy sooner rather than later, so you’re covered should a condition emerge. 

Can I find a specialist life insurer for existing conditions?

Although fewer life insurance companies offer cover to people with previous or existing medical conditions, there are specialist providers available that will be willing to help you.

You may be able to get life insurance without any exclusions, meaning you still get a payout even if you die from a condition you’ve declared to your insurer. But the cost of cover tends to reflect the increased risk. 

The best way to find an affordable life insurance policy with a history of medical issues is to talk to a professional who will take your unique needs into account.

If you’d like to discuss your options with a life insurance expert, call our partners ActiveQuote on 0800 862 0360.

How do I find health insurance if I have pre-existing medical conditions?

If you’re looking for health insurance and have a history of medical problems, your insurer is likely to impose some exclusions on your policy. For example, if you have a history of heart problems, your health insurance’s unlikely to cover you for any treatment relating to this condition. This also applies if you have an ongoing condition such as diabetes or arthritis.

Your insurer may offer you one of two types of insurance policy specifically designed for those with previous or existing medical conditions:

Moratorium underwriting 

Most health insurers will use moratorium underwriting for customers with a history of medical issues. Your cover will usually exclude any conditions you have suffered symptoms or received treatment for in the past five years.

However, your insurer may agree to cover you for those conditions if you go two years without any symptoms, treatment or advice once you have taken out the cover.

Full medical cover underwriting 

If you declare a pre-existing medical condition, your insurer may suggest full medical underwriting. This involves giving consent for the insurer to access your medical records or speak to your GP.

Your insurer will use the details of your medical history to determine which conditions are excluded from your policy or how much you will pay to be fully covered.

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Find health insurance cover from leading providers with Uswitch*

*Based on a treatment and full diagnosis level of cover for a 30-year-old non-smoking male with no pre-existing medical conditions (March 2023)

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