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What Types of Illnesses Affect Life Insurance?


Once upon a time Johnny went online for a life insurance quote.

The quote was €26 per month.

Feeling happy with that quote, Johnny thought “I’ll have a bit of that” and hit the apply button.

Three days later, the insurer offered him cover at €39 per month.

Johnny now thought “50% higher! WTF!”

You see Johnny wasn’t as healthy as he thought.

Getting Life Insurance if you have Health Issues

Health issues are the main reason an insurer will increase your life insurance premium.

And here are the top 10 reasons you’ll pay more for your life insurance starting with smoking…which isn’t a health condition I know but it’s the number one reason insurers increase premiums

1. Smoker Status

Smokers die younger and get more illnesses than non smokers.

If you’re a smoker, you’re well aware of this and you know you should stop but then there’s the whole addiction thing, as an ex-smoker I know how hard it is to give up for good.

Paying more for your life insurance won’t make you quit but hopefully it will add to the list of reasons you should quit, the straw that finally broke the camels back if you like.

Anyway you’ll pay around double the price of a non smokers for your life insurance

But what if I only have the occasional cheeky one when I’m out out?

I’m not going to get into a moral argument about how far you should push the truth on your life insurance form, all I can say is if you smoked in the last 12 months, you are a smoker in the eyes of the insurance

What about e-cigarettes and life insurance?

Most of the insurers will charge you full smoker rates if you vape, this means your premiums will cost 100% more than a non smoker. However we deal with one insurer who will charge you just 50% more.

2. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a common condition in Ireland. It’s one you can control through medication and a change in diet, exercise and lifestyle.

Most insurance companies are happy if your blood pressure is under control with medication and won’t charge you more.

If you let us apply to the most sympathetic insurer, we’ll get you the normal price.

Life insurance and high blood pressure.

3. Asthma

Again if you’re managing your asthma well, the insurer won’t increase your premium

But if you’re not keeping your asthma under control, the insurer will class you as a higher risk.

Higher risks = higher premiums.

Life insurance with asthma

4. Depression / Anxiety / Stress

Severity is all important when it comes to mental health issues.

Mild : e.g. If you suffer with mild anxiety, you’ll get the normal price.

Moderate : e.g. If you’re on medication for long term depression, the insurer will increase your premium

Severe : e.g. If you have been hospitalised on more than one occasion because of your mental health, you might not be able to get cover at all.

  • Mild mental health issues = standard price
  • Moderate mental health issues = increase in premium
  • Severe mental health issues = decline

Life insurance with depression

5. High Cholesterol

High cholesterol can contribute to many life-threatening health conditions.

But like high blood pressure, if it’s well-managed you’ll pay the normal price.

Life insurance with high cholesterol

6. Heart Disease

There’s no getting around this one, heart disease will trigger special terms on your life insurance premium. You will pay more for your cover and if you have heart disease, there isn’t much you can do to avoid paying more.

If you’re a young male with heart disease, you will struggle to get cover especially if you are overweight.

How to be financially healthy if you’ve got heart disease

7. Cancer

Like heart disease, it’s difficult to avoid a loading if you have a history of cancer unless you’re in remission for 10+ years.

Though the insurers take differing views on a history of cancer.

Insurer A may increase your premium temporarily while insurer B may charge you a higher price for the whole term of your policy which will cost you a fortune.

This is why it’s so important to use a broker who deals with all the insurance companies. Doing so will give you the best chance of getting the lowest price. Although you may be loaded heavily by insurer B, a good broker will always apply to insurer A and get you a better quote.

8. Obesity

Insurance companies use your body mass index (BMI) when determining whether to increase your premium due to your weight.

If your BMI is 33+, the insurer will increase your premium which means you may be overweight according to the table (BMI of 25+) but you’ll still get the normal price.

However, if you fall into the obese category (BMI 33+), you will have to pay more for your cover.  If you lose weight in the future, you can contact your insurance company to review the rates.

Unfortunately if you BMI is over 50, all the insurers will decline your application

How to get life insurance if you’re obese

9. Family History

How does illness in my family affect life insurance?

Family history has long been recognised as an important factor in identifying the chances of you suffering a disease during your lifetime. This is why the health of your parents and siblings is taken into consideration when underwriting your application.

Please be aware that the insurer cannot take a genetic test result into consideration, either positive or negative.

As the saying goes, you can pick your friends but not your family. This rings true in relation to life insurance too. All you can do is apply to a life insurer who looks kindly on the particular issue that is common in your family.

Like cancer above, there are some insurers who are more sympathetic to family history than others.

10. Diabetes 

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to lots of additional diseases like coronary heart disease and blindness.

If you have diabetes you will pay more for your life insurance.

Type 1 diabetics will pay more than type 2.

Insurance underwriters look favourably on your application if your diabetes is well-controlled evidenced by low HbA1c readings. The higher the HbA1C reading, the more you will pay for your cover.

Getting life insurance if you have diabetes

Conclusion | What Affects Life Insurance Premiums 

Some of the listed health issues can’t be avoided and can be hard to manage. But do your best to keep them under control with the help of your doctor and you can limit the impact on your life insurance premiums.

As you can see one of the best ways to ensure a lower life insurance premium if to use a broker who can approach all the insurers on your behalf.

All the providers underwrite differently so although one may hit you with a loading, you could get the normal price at another.

If you have a health issue,  please give me a shout on 05793 20836 before you apply so I can go through your options with you.

Over to you…

Remember if you get a life insurance quote online, the quote will assume perfect health.

That’s why we have a medical questionnaire on our quote system.

You complete it before you apply and we’ll get you an accurate quote based on YOUR HEALTH.

This prevents any nasty surprises when you get your final quote.

We know which insurer to apply to depending on your illness.

Applying to the wrong insurer could result in an unnecessary premium increase or even worse….a decline or postpone.

This will make it much more difficult to get the normal price at another insurer.

So make sure you apply to the most sympathetic insurer first time around.

Need some help finding the correct insurer?

Give me a quick outline using the form below and I’ll be right back.

Nick McGowan | making life insurance easier

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