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Life Insurance with Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases…

…affect many parts of the body and generally begin with similar signs and symptoms like:

  • fatigue,
  • muscular aches and pains,
  • bloating,
  • rashes and redness,
  • inflammation and low-grade fever

In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

Symptoms range from mild rashes to life-threatening conditions that attack major organ systems.

For the purpose of this article I’m going to concentrate on the ten most common auto-immune disorders in Ireland.

1. Type 1 Diabetes

Getting life insurance with type 1 diabetes can be difficult but it’s not impossible.

Compared to someone in perfect health, you’re looking at an additional premium of around 200%.

So if their premium is €10 per month, yours will be around €30 per month.

Read more here in this article I wrote: Applying for life insurance with Type 1 Diabetes

2 Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s can be mild, moderate or severe.

If you have been symptom free for over 4 years, without using oral steroids and there have been no complications, you may be able to get the normal price for life insurance.

Otherwise it will depend on the severity of the condition and the date of your last major flare up.

The usual increase in price is 75% to 150% e.g if the normal price is €10 per month, you would pay between €17.50 and €25 per month.

I discussed Crohn’s in this article : How Crohn’s affects life insurance

3. Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a condition where tiny nodules (lumps), known as granuloma, develop at various sites within the body due to inflammation.

It most commonly affects the skin and the lungs but may also affect other organs including the liver, central nervous system, heart, kidneys and the spleen.

sarcoidosis symptoms

One of my insurers will give you the same price as someone in perfect health if your condition is fully resolved and you’re off all treatment.

In ongoing cases that are mild and stable, the insurer will increase your premium slightly.

For moderate case, you’re looking at a loading of 100% to 150% (i.e 2 to 2.5 times the normal premium).

If your sarcoidosis is severe or getting worse, it will be difficult to get you covered.

I have only recently been diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Despite the fact that it is stage  1 which requires no medical intervention or treatment I cannot find a provider for mortgage protection insurance due to the date of the diagnosis being only last week. Can you advise if you would be able to provide any assistance?

This was a recent query and unfortunately in this case we couldn’t help.

With a recent diagnosis of any condition, including auto immune disorders, the insurers will make you wait 3 to 6 months before they can offer you cover.

They need to see how your condition develops.

After 6 months, you might be able to get the normal price.

If you’d like me to speak to the life insurance on your behalf, please complete this sarcoidosis questionnaire.

4. Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition affecting the colon. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Anaemia
  • Tiredness and fatigue

Ulcerative colitis and Crohns

Similar to Crohn’s your final premium will depend on the severity of the condition and the date of last major flare up.

Usually the insurers apply a loading of +50% to +150%.

The standard price is possible with one of my insurers provided you have been symptom free for over 4 years and

  • there is no history of prolonged immunosuppressive use,
  • continuous oral steroids
  • or other complicating factors.

5. Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis

Check this article out if you’d like to know how rheumatoid arthritis affects life insurance.

Psoriatic arthritis is also an auto-immune disease.

On the surface rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis can look very similar, making diagnosis a little tricky at times.

The biggest difference is which joints are involved in the hands and feet, and the fact that psoriatic arthritis also involves psoriasis of the skin which is a persistent chronic disease in itself

Psoriatic arthritis involves both the skin and the joints and that is why it often times is referred to as having a ‘Double Whammy’. So, now when I’m trying to explain it I just say, “It’s a lot like rheumatoid arthritis but with a nasty skin rash.

6.  Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease. In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

This leads to long-term (chronic) inflammation. The most common forms of Lupus are

  • Discoid Lupus,
  • Drug Induced Lupus,
  • Neonatal Lupus
  • and Systemic Lupus Erythematous (aka Lupus, LE or SLE).

Before an insurer can decide whether they can offer cover or not, they typically need the following information:

  • Disease duration
  • Duration in remission
  • Symptoms
  • Medication history and response to therapy
  • Organs involved

If you have lupus, your final premium will be 2 to 3 times the normal price.

7. Sjogren’s syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome

This is a chronic disorder which affects the immune system and is characterised by two common symptoms, dry eyes and a dry mouth.

The condition can occur by itself or often with other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other rheumatic conditions.

Sjogren’s syndrome can be difficult to diagnose as symptoms can vary from one person to another and can be similar to those caused by other conditions.

Symptoms generally appear between the ages of 45 and 55.

It affects 10 times as many women as men.

Approximately 50% of those affected with Sjogren’s also have rheumatoid arthritis or other connective tissue diseases such as lupus.

The condition can affect other parts of the body including the lungs, brain, nerves, joints, kidneys, thyroid and liver.

The condition can be classified as follows:

  1. Primary Sjogren’s where the condition occurs alone i.e. dry eyes and dry mouth
  2. Secondary Sjogren’s where the condition occurs with another connective tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma or systemic lupus erythematous

Life insurance is possible with primary Sjogren’s but it’s more difficult to find an insurer willing to cover someone with secondary Sjogren’s.

8. Auto-immune Hepatitis

Cover is possible but at a slightly higher premium than viral hepatitis. Current liver function and how the condition is being treated are the most important factors. Being autoimmune, the treatment is an immunosuppressant, so that as always comes with its own risk. To get the lowest premium, you’ll need to be

  • in remission
  • normal liver function tests
  • off treatment after only a short term on treatment

It goes up to decline depending on the circumstances.

9. Addison’s Disease

Check out this blog on Getting Life Insurance if you have Addison’s Disease

10. Behcet’s Syndrome

Some of our insurers will generally offer cover with an increased premium. You may struggle to get cover if there are issues with blood arteries e.g blood vessel inflammation.

Over to you…

After trawling through that post, you may feel a little


The good news is that I’m here for you.

I’ll be your one point of contact and will deal with all 6 insurers to make sure you get the most suitable cover, at the best price with the least amount of hassle.

If you’d like some help arranging cover with an auto immune disorder, simply give me a quick outline using this form or call me for a confidential chat on

Until then…take care.

Nick McGowan | making life insurance easier

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