Life expectancy has risen in the UK, and much of the developed world, to the mid-eighties. Couple that with advances in what medicine can achieve and previously life limiting conditions are now manageable, sometimes for many years. This means that life insurers have had to review their view on how they approach conditions that they would have previously excluded from cover.

A pre-existing condition is one that you will have been diagnosed with prior to the application for life insurance being made. All life insurance policies are assessed according to a person’s individual circumstances, so there is no definite answer about how an insurer will view your particular condition. 

High blood pressure: Since high blood pressure is common, most insurers won’t exclude you or consider you as a high risk. However, high blood pressure can be a factor in other diseases, so it’s important you can prove to your insurer that you’re able to manage your condition.

Sleep apnoea: As well as the lack of sleep itself, sleep apnoea goes hand in hand with health conditions such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. It’s these conditions which place you in a risk factor category with your insurer.

High cholesterol: This puts you at significant risk for other health conditions related to circulation and the heart, as well as strokes. The result is that applicants with high cholesterol are assessed in a similar way to those with high blood pressure if the condition is well managed and under control, you will often be accepted without penalty.

Asthma: Asthma is a very common health condition, and if you can show medical history to prove that your asthma is well managed, ideally without a history of regular hospital visits, then again you may well be accepted by many insurers.

These relatively commonplace conditions still need to be notified to your potential insurer at the outset, as should any significant change in your circumstances. Keeping them informed may mean the difference between being able to claim or not. Smoking or drinking to excess are still regarded negatively by insurers. Weight problems are one of those root conditions that can lead to other health problems, malnourishment or anorexia can affect life insurance premiums as much as obesity, as sufferers are exposed to a range of health risks because of their poor diet and weakened body. The level of risk from obesity is determined by your body mass index rating. Insurers may sometimes only cover claims unrelated to weight.

We have discussed conditions such as Diabetes and HIV in previous blogs and will look at mental health issues separately in future. Generally, though life insurers have adopted a more enlightened view of conditions affecting larger proportions of the population. As always, I am happy to review your specific circumstances so get in touch if you need some advice.