When you apply for life insurance, your insurer will look at lifestyle factors, such as age, health, and occupation. They will also ask you to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. 

But will you be able to get cover if you do? Learn more about getting life insurance with pre-existing conditions.

What do we mean by a pre-existing condition?

Pre-existing conditions are when you've been diagnosed with a disease, illness or injuries prior to applying for life insurance.

Insurers use their own definitions for what constitutes a pre-existing condition, but most commonly it includes conditions such as:

Depending on how serious your condition is, your insurer may choose to deny your life insurance application. And even if you are accepted, you might be charged higher premiums because of your medical history.

They'll also consider the severity. For example, if you've got a mild case of a chronic condition, like high blood pressure, you might qualify for life insurance because it doesn't meet the insurer's definition of "severe".

If you're thinking of buying a life insurance policy, make sure you understand what's covered and what isn't. You don't want to find out later that you're paying too much or have the incorrect cover in place. 

If you’re aged 50 and over, you may want to consider over 50s life insurance. This type of cover is designed specifically for those who would usually be denied cover due to age or illness. 

Because of this, acceptance is guaranteed, although you may be required to pay a higher premium.

Need to speak to an expert insurance adviser?

How will my life insurer know if I have a pre-existing condition?

When you apply for life insurance cover, your insurer will ask you some health and lifestyle questions. If you disclose any health conditions, your insurer may ask further questions. such as:

They may also ask you about your family's medical history, this includes hereditary diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, dementia, diabetes, & heart disease.

It's important to disclose any pre-existing conditions when applying for life insurance. If not, your cover may be cancelled later down the line, or worst still, your family's claim may be denied once you've died.

Will I need to have a medical exam?

If you suffer from health conditions, your insurer may ask to see your medical records. They can also ask you to undertake a medical examination, or request a report from your doctor. In most cases, the provider will cover the cost of the medical.

If your health has changed since the application was submitted, it may affect your ability to obtain coverage.

It can be possible to get life cover without a medical, however this will limit your options for cover. For more information, please get in touch with one of our trained life insurance advisors on 01392 43 61 93 - or alternatively you can request a call back.

Life insurance from leading brands

  • Zurich
  • Legal And General
  • Aviva
  • AIG
  • Beagle Street
  • LVE
  • Royal London
  • Vitality Life
  • Virgin Money
  • Budget Insurance
  • Scottish Widows

Frequently asked questions


Can I get cover if I've had cancer?

Yes, you can buy life insurance after having cancer. However, there is usually a waiting period before you can start taking out cover. This is due to insurers wanting to ensure they are fully aware of your current health status.

If you've successfully undergone treatment, your provider will also want to know a few details, such as:

You should check whether you can get cover immediately following diagnosis, or whether you need to wait until you've completed treatment.

Can I get cover if I’ve had a heart attack?

It may still be possible to get life insurance if you've had a heart attack or heart condition. However, it's likely you will need to pay a higher monthly premium.

This is because, in the eyes of an insurance provider, you’re a higher risk compared to somebody who hasn't had a heart attack.

Providers may ask you for more information about your medical history, including:

They may also inquire about your current health and lifestyle, such as whether you smoke or drink alcohol regularly. These factors can also affect the cost of your life insurance premiums.

Can I get cover if I have diabetes?

It is possible to get life insurance with diabetes, however, there are exceptions. People who have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of developing certain health complications. These include things like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. 

As a result, insurers may be reluctant to provide coverage. 

However, if your diabetes is well controlled, you may find that insurers are more favourable. You can prove to the insurers that your condition is well controlled by providing your latest HbA1c readings from a GP, and by showing you’ve had little-to-no complications so far.

Additionally, if you have had gestational diabetes, you will still need to let the insurer know, even if you have made a full recovery. But since this condition doesn’t usually lead to further health complications, your insurer may not be concerned.

Is there anything else we can help with?

How are my monthly premiums calculated?

Each insurance company will respond differently when it comes to life insurance. This is because each insurer calculates premium rates based on different factors such as age, lifestyle, and medical history.

For example, insurers might use a combination of information about how much risk you pose, your lifestyle, and your family history to decide whether you qualify for a certain level of coverage.

Your monthly premiums will vary depending on factors such as:

Would I be better suited to critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover is designed to pay out if you are diagnosed with a serious medical condition or illness. 

In this case, having pre-existing conditions could make getting cover difficult, as you are deemed a higher risk. Despite this, you may still be able to get critical illness cover with an added exclusion.

Where can I get advice?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition and are looking to buy life insurance, Cavendish Online is here to help.

Our expert advisors can provide advice based on your condition, as well as recommending the right type of life insurance policy for you. Learn more on how to talk to an adviser.

Speak to the experts...

Give our advisers a call today.

Our team of friendly and professional advisers are on hand to help with any questions you may have regarding Life Insurance.

The advisers can also make recommendations tailored to your current situation and will research the market on your behalf, ensuring you secure the cover you need and supporting you every step of the way. 

01392 43 61 93(Monday to Friday, 9am - 5.30pm)

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