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How to get life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition

5 mins read
by Unbiased Team
Last updated Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Getting life insurance with a pre-existing condition is possible, but you may have to get a medical examination and have some exclusions to ensure you get cover.


  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) wants to challenge and improve access to insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.

  • While it is possible to get life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition, certain terms and conditions may apply.

  • If you have a pre-existing condition and qualify, it might be easier to apply for other policies, such as insurance for over 50s.

  • Unbiased can connect you with a qualified insurance broker to help you navigate applying for life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition.

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is a diagnosed health issue you have before applying for life insurance.

Some examples include diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma, or heart disease.

These conditions could affect your ability to get traditional life insurance as they automatically increase your risk to the insurance provider.

Can I get life insurance with a pre-existing condition?

In the UK, getting life insurance with a pre-existing condition is possible, and some companies offer policies specifically for this purpose.

Additionally, insurance providers assess risks differently, so shopping around is a good idea. 

Researching and comparing policies tailored to your needs can help you find suitable life insurance despite your pre-existing condition.

However, policies for life insurance with pre-existing conditions will likely incur higher premiums or impose certain limitations.

For instance, life insurance for cancer, heart attack, or diabetes patients might require additional medical information or have specific coverage terms.

What questions might your life insurance provider ask?

Life insurance providers may ask about your medical history, lifestyle, and habits even if you don’t have a pre-existing condition.

It's crucial that you answer these questions honestly to ensure accurate coverage and premiums, as providing false information could lead to your claim being denied or your policy being cancelled.

Here are some questions you can expect from a life insurance provider.

  • Do you smoke, vape, or use tobacco products?

  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?

  • Are you currently taking any medicines?

  • Have you had any surgeries or hospitalisations?

  • Do you participate in risky activities or sports?

  • Do you travel frequently out of the country?

Do I need a medical assessment for life insurance? 

Whether you need a medical assessment for life insurance depends on various factors, including your age, coverage amount, and health history.

Some policies may require a medical exam, including blood tests and health screenings, to assess your health accurately and determine your premiums.

What are the different types of life insurance policies available for pre-existing conditions?

Life insurance policies for pre-existing conditions typically fall into two categories: policies with exclusions and policies without exclusions.

Policies with exclusions

These policies provide coverage while excluding specific conditions from benefits.

These conditions vary between insurance providers and each tailored policy but typically involve pre-existing medical conditions and related complications.

Policies with exclusions may offer coverage for other health issues. Still, they won't pay for expenses directly related to the excluded condition.

Given the limited coverage, premiums may be lower than policies without exclusions.

Individuals considering such policies should review their terms and conditions to understand what is covered and excluded before purchasing.

Policies without exclusions 

These life insurance policies for pre-existing conditions provide comprehensive coverage and benefits for individuals.

Unlike policies with exclusions, these policies typically cover all health issues, including those directly related to the pre-existing condition.

Given its broader scope, the policy's premiums will likely be higher. Still, it offers peace of mind by providing financial protection for all health-related expenses.

As with all policies, it's essential for individuals to carefully review the terms and conditions to understand the coverage limits, premiums, and any waiting periods before benefits become payable.

Is there life insurance for cancer patients?

Cancer patients can obtain life insurance, but doing so may be challenging.

Insurers assess cancer patients based on factors like cancer type, stage, treatment history, and prognosis.

Depending on their assessment, they might request a specific medical examination. People in remission or with early-stage cancer may have better chances of approval.

Due to increased risks, life insurance for cancer patients’ premiums are typically higher, and coverage may limit or exclude cancer-related claims.

Is there life insurance for heart attack patients?

Heart attack patients can get life insurance, but it can be challenging to obtain.

Insurers evaluate heart attack patients based on severity, treatment, recovery, and overall health. They may request a medical examination before making a decision.

Those with a single, mild heart attack and good health afterwards may have better chances of approval.

Life insurance policies for heart attack patients typically have higher premiums due to increased health risks, and coverage may be limited or exclude heart-related claims.

Is there life insurance for diabetic patients?

Life insurance for diabetics is available but can also be tricky to get. Insurers will assess diabetic clients' Type 1 or 2 control level, complications, and overall health.

As with other pre-existing conditions, the premiums for diabetics may be higher than average, and the insurer might request a medical examination.

That's why shopping around is essential instead of accepting exorbitant premiums.

Can I get life insurance after I’ve had a stroke?

Getting life insurance after a stroke is possible, depending on the severity and aftermath. 

For instance, those who have a milder stroke with no residual effects and good health afterwards may have better chances of approval.

Premiums for stroke survivors are typically higher because of their increased health risks, so coverage may be limited or even exclude stroke-related claims.

Additionally, insurers may request medical examinations to determine premiums accurately.

Seek expert financial advice

Obtaining life insurance for pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes is possible.

However, policy approval depends on various factors, including severity, treatment, and overall health.

Insurers typically charge higher premiums for those with pre-existing conditions, and tailored policies may be limited or exclude condition-related claims.

They may also request a medical examination to assess an applicant's health status accurately.

If you are looking for life insurance with a pre-existing condition and are looking for the best policy, Unbiased can help.

We can quickly match you with an insurance broker for expert financial advice

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Unbiased Team
Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing, retirement and pensions, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.