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High BMI and Overweight life insurance during COVID-19

High BMI and Overweight life insurance during COVID-19

One of the most commonly linked health problems with higher risks of serious illness from COVID-19, is high BMI and Obesity. There has been several major studies which have shown that people with a BMI of over 35 are 40% higher risk of death due from COVID.

There are currently some issues with life insurance underwriting in the UK and globally due to the current pandemic. Most insurance providers in the UK have restricted there limits so are currently only offering cover up to certain levels.

At iam|INSURED, we’re experts in helping people with medical conditions and health issues to get life insurance at a fair price. Our team of expert advisers speak to literally thousands of people every month to help them to protect their families.

COVID-19 has caused insurance providers to impose extra underwriting restrictions which includes BMI levels. We are constantly reviewing the situation and working with our partners which includes some UK’s top insurance brands.

High BMI (body mass index) and Obesity statistics in the UK

Obesity and high BMI is one of the most common health risks in the UK which is also the most common health disclosures in life insurance.

Facts and figures:

  • 62% of the UK population is overweight
  • 58% of women and 68% of men are overweight
  • Almost a quarter (25%) of UK adults are classed as obese
  • The UK has the highest obesity rates in Europe
  • Around 30,000 deaths in the UK are weight related

What is classed as overweight or obese in the UK?

Weight classification in the UK is linked to Body Mass Index (BMI). Although this is not the most reliable method of calculating a person’s health, it does provide a good indication.

Example: A body builder or rugby player can be healthy and athletic but have a high BMI due to their muscle mass

BMI calculator:

Current BMI categorisation in the UK according to the NHS are:

  • Underweight: Below 18.5
  • Healthy weight: 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: 30 to 39.9

How has COVID-19 affected Obesity and High BMI life insurance?

There have been a number of studies which clearly link high BMI and obesity with serious illness or even death from COVID-19.

Previously, in life insurance in the UK, it has been possible to get cover with a BMI of over 50 from a select group of insurers.

BMI limits for life insurance before COVID-19:

  • Standard life cover: 50
  • Specialist life cover: 55

Current BMI limits for life insurance in the UK:

  • Standard life cover: 40
  • Specialist life cover: 44

What are the health risks for people who are overweight during COVID?

According to recent studies, obesity can increase the risk of death due to COVID-19 by 48%. The study which was carried out by the University of California (UNC) and the Saudi Health Council and World Bank, found that people who were obese were nearly 50% higher risk, which was “scary” a researcher said.

Another study found that people with a BMI of between 35 and 40, were 40% higher risk of death, and those with BMI’s of over 40 were 90% higher risk. This is compared to those who did not have a high BMI.

Other data sources found that 7.9% of critically ill patients with COVID-19 had a BMI over 40, which was compared to 2.9% of the rest of the population.

Medical conditions linked to High BMI and Obesity:

What’s going to happen to life insurance rates for people who are overweight?

The current situation with the pandemic is constantly being reviewed by insurers and by medical experts. We are also speaking to our insurance partners on a weekly basis to find out whether anything is going to change.

The current underwriting guidance is not likely to change for the foreseeable future until the situation with COVID changes. Some insurers are suggesting that they may relax their rules after a 2nd wave or after a vaccine has been released.

What else can I do if I can’t get life insurance currently because of my weight?

There are certain insurance products which are available through iam|INSUREDto help protect your family through this period. It’s our aim to provide some life cover to our customers where possible, regardless of their health.

Some of the other options includes:

  • Over 50’s life cover (if applicable)
  • Guaranteed acceptance life insurance
  • Personal accident (with accidental death)

It’s important to make sure that you’ve got some cover rather than nothing and a lot of these products are cheaper than standard life insurance.

If you’re confused about getting life insurance and don’t know what to do then you can contact one of our experts free on 0800 009 6559

How are your life insurance premiums calculated

How are Life Insurance premiums calculated?

Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

It’s important to understand how your life insurance premiums are calculated so you know what you’re paying for. Life cover is mainly designed to protect your family, home and business if anything happens to you.

Ultimately if you were no longer around to support your family or your income was impacted because of an illness or accident, these policies would relieve the financial burden. Life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection all come under the same umbrella of personal protection products.

Life insurance is the main type of cover because it’s the most common and the most affordable. This is simply because you’re much less likely to have to claim on a life insurance policy than critical illness cover or income protection.

A life policy is a contract between you (a policy holder) and an insurer. The policy becomes valid when premiums are collected (monthly or annually) after ‘acceptance terms’ are issued.

The policy is set to cover an amount (sum assured) over a period of time (term) to pay out to on death, serious illness or accident (depending on cover type).

What is life insurance?

A life insurance policy is simply a policy that pays out to a beneficiary (e.g. wife, children, partner or family) in the event of death. This pay-out is usually a tax free lump sum which can form part of your estate or this can be avoided using a Trust.

Life insurance also comes in 4 main forms which are all designed for different purposes depending on what you want to cover:

  • Level term (family protection) which is simply to protect your loved ones in the event of death
  • Decreasing term (mortgage protection) which is specifically designed to cover a mortgage (repayment mortgages only)
  • Whole of life is a more recent addition to the life insurance market which is a non-investment based guaranteed life cover
  • Family income benefit is also a newer type of cover which is specifically for your family and provides an annual income rather than a lump sum

All of these different types of life cover also cost different amounts per thousand pounds because of how they pay out. Whole of life is always the highest because it is guaranteed to pay out (as long as you continue to pay your premiums). Family income benefit is the cheapest because the amount of cover reduces faster than the other types of cover.

How are basic life insurance premiums calculated?

A life insurance premium is made up of several main factors before health and lifestyle are taken in to account. These are the things that would be taken in to account to give a base premium, which includes:

  • Age (Note: every time you pass a birthday your premiums will increase)
  • Smoker status (Note: No nicotine or nicotine replacement products for at least 12 months to be classed as a non-smoker)
  • Sum assured (amount of cover)
  • Term (length of policy in years or to age)
  • Type of cover (e.g. level term, decreasing term, family income benefit or whole of life)

Note: Gender– In February 2012 the EU Gender Directive made it illegal to use gender to differentiate between individuals for insurance

What else is used to calculate a life insurance premium?

There are also several other elements that are used to calculate the premium that a person (policyholder) will pay for cover. The following elements are behind the scenes calculations which will also be different for each insurance provider.

Underwriting process

When an application is submitted to an insurer, it will enter one of several potential routes depending on the disclosures. Generally the more complex the disclosures (e.g. medical conditions, hazardous occupations and dangerous activities) the more work that will be required at the back end.

The various types of underwriting processes are:

Underwriting Rules Engine (URE’s) which is where modern technology is used to apply a premium based on disclosures on an online application. Usually an insurer will allow a system (URE) to make a decision up to a set threshold (level of risk)

Manual underwriting is simply where an application will be referred to an underwriter (a person who assesses risk) to calculate a premium. An underwriter will also have certain limits that they will be allowed to go to before the next stage

Nurse screening or telephone medical will be used to gather additional medical evidence via a professional (e.g. nurse). These tests will usually include BMI (height & weight), blood sugar levels, cotinine test (smoker test), and blood pressure

Full GP report (medical report) which will be obtained directly from your GP or Doctor to provide a full breakdown of your medical history. Medical reports are usually for more complicated medical conditions or where symptoms are more severe

Once the underwriting process has been completed by whichever process, a premium will be offered based on information provided. Each insurer has a different set of parameters for each persons circumstances based on their ‘underwriting philosophy’.

Mortality and Morbidity data

All life insurance offices will have a team of actuaries who are mathematical people that calculate risk. These people will constantly be looking at trends in data which help them to make decisions for certain groups or risk categories.

Some of the most common types of morbidity are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia and influenza, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease and suicide.

Also co-morbidity is where two conditions occur simultaneously in the same person. The conditions don’t need to be directly linked to a cause, however they may often occur together. Some examples of co-morbidity are depression, diabetes and obesity which often occur together but are not likely to have the same cause.

There is no exact science to how an insurer will calculate a premium for an individual, however the insurer will use this information to calculate risk of death. It is a fair assumption for example that ‘a person in their 50’s is more likely to fall ill or have an existing medical condition to a younger person.’

Costs and margins

Any business will need to make sure that it is profitable and insurance is no different. There is a cost associated to running an insurance company and for processing an application. Each insurer will have their own costs and these will be different depending on the size of provider and how they operate.

There are several main costs that will be taken in to account when processing an application for life insurance. Some of the main costs will include:

Underwriting – a team of underwriters is a cost to a business so that must be taken in to account

Medical evidence – medical reports from a GP or doctor will costs anywhere between £60 and several hundred pounds

NTU rates (not taken up) – every time an application is processed that is either declined or not accepted, there will be a cost associated to that

Lapse rates (cancelled cases) – if a policy is cancelled within a certain period of time then it may then incur cost to the insurer

Generally bigger insurance providers are more efficient than smaller or newer insurance providers so can therefore drive lower premiums. Profit margins for life offices are difficult to project as they are forecasts based on future premium collections and potential claims.

For more information about this subject you can contact one of our team of experts at iam|INSURED on 01244 732896.

Life insurance rates for people with with high blood pressure

Getting life insurance with Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Author – Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, rarely ever has any visible symptoms, but can increase the chances of dangerous problems like heart attack or stroke. As it has no noticeable indicators, the only way to find out if you have hypertension is to get your blood pressure checked. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to fatal consequences so a check can quite literally save your life.

In this blog we‘ll explain how having hypertension can affect life insurance and travel insurance.

Why we’re able to provide this information

iam|INSURED is a passionate team of experts with over 20 year’s experience helping people with medical conditions to get life insurance. We’ve helped thousands of people to protect their families, homes and businesses regardless of their health. It’s our mission to drive for fair treatment for all of our customers and to help them get the best results.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is when the pressure of the blood in your arteries is consistently too high. Arteries are the blood vessels that deliver blood from the heart to other areas of your body and you need blood pressure to get the blood moving. Your blood pressure will go up and down during the day depending on if you are exercising or resting. However, if your blood pressure is typically high at all times then it needs to be treated.

Every person’s blood pressure is different so what is high for you may not be high for someone else. This is why it isimportant to get it checked by a medical professional. Hypertension, if left untreated, can lead to serious conditions like heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

History of Hypertension

Although our understanding of hypertension has only solidified in the past few hundred years sinceStephen Hales, an English Clergyman, made the first published measurement of blood pressure in 1733, human beings have been assessing the health of the heart as far back as 2600 BC. An illness of the heart known as hard blood disease was treated with bleeding from leeches by figures from Hippocrates to Cornelius Celsus. Medieval Persian medical texts refer to a disease named fullness disease,a disease that has the symptoms of what we now call Hypertension.

After the discovery of blood pressure, the physician Richard Bright noted the relationship between cardiac hypertrophy and kidney disease illustrating the dangers high blood pressure can bring to parts of the body other than the heart. Frederick Akbar Mahomed reported decades later of the first example of high blood pressure without kidney disease by using asphygmograph, a mechanical device used to measure blood pressure. This led to the discovery of high blood pressure being a general circulatory disease.

The concept of Hypertension came into practice when the invention of the cuff-based sphygmomanometeroccurred in 1896 byScipione Riva Rocci, allowing blood pressure to be measured in a clinic. In 1911,Eberhard Frank coined the term Essential Hypertension, which describes 95% of hypertensive patients today.

What are the different types of Hypertension?

There are two primary types of hypertension:

Essential Hypertensionis when the cause of the hypertension is unknown. These cases make up around 95% of the people who have the condition. This type of hypertension is diagnosed when your doctor has eliminated all other types of hypertension after noticing an extended period of high blood pressure.

Secondary Hypertensionis a type of hypertension that is caused by another medical condition. It can be caused by anything fromtumours to kidney disease and many medications. This type can often be controlled once the root cause is found.

What are the signs and symptoms of Hypertension?

Hypertension rarely ever has any noticeable symptoms, a dangerous characteristic when the consequences can be so dangerous. Many who have high blood pressure feel fine but it can sometimes result in blurred vision, nosebleeds or headaches in some cases.

It is important to get your blood pressure checked at least every five years as a healthy middle aged adult. More at risk adults should get checked yearly.

What causes Hypertension?

We still don’t know what exactly causes high blood pressure in most cases but there are several factors that can increase the risk.

It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly after 40 as your chances of hypertension increase as you age. High levels of salt, alcohol consumption and smoking can all contribute to high blood pressure as can lack of exercise and sleep deprivation. It is therefore advised to make healthy lifestyle choices so to decrease your risk.

People of African orCaribbean origin are also moresusceptible to high blood pressure and the condition tends to run in families. If your family has a history of Hypertension itelevates the chances of you contracting it yourself.

As mentioned earlier, the rarer cases of Secondary Hypertension are caused by another health condition or certain medications. The health conditions can range from kidney disease to diabetes. In some cases when medication, like the contraceptive pill, is responsible for the Hypertension, the blood pressure can return to normal once the individual stops taking it.

How can you prevent Hypertension?

Although the exact cause for Hypertension is unknown, there are several steps you can take to decrease your chances of high blood pressure. These include:

  • Exercising for at least twenty minutes each day
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet and cutting down on salt
  • Keeping to a healthy weight
  • Watching your alcohol consumption

Hypertension is not something many of us will notice so it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Stroke statistics (UK)

According to Health matters, Public Health England’s (PHEs) professional resource, in 2017:

  • In the UK, high blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for all disease after smoking and poor diet
  • Around one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure. In England 31% of men and 26% of women have high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure costs the NHS over £2.1 billion every year
  • Between 50-80% of people with high blood pressure do not take all of their prescribed medication
  • High blood pressure accounts for 12% of all GP appointments in England

Public Health England, Health matters: combating high blood pressure, January 2017 (references).

How does having high blood pressure affect life insurance?

Getting life insurance is something that can seem confusing and potentially frustrating, especially if you’ve got a medical condition. There’s not much help out there for people with conditions like hypertension and often it can feel unfair. In most cases where people have high blood pressure, it’s simple to get life cover though.

Here we’ll look at how high blood pressure is disclosed on a life insurance application and what it means. Life insurance is underwritten at the point of applying which means that you’ll be asked a series of medical, health and lifestyle questions. In these questions an underwriter or system will then offer you a premium based on your answers, plus your age and what your life cover requirements are.

If you’ve got high blood pressure then you’ll also be asked a set of questions that relate to hypertension. These questions will include things like:

Are you awaiting any specific tests, scans or investigations for blood pressure?

  • Have you experienced things like kidney problems, angina, heart attack, stroke, chest pain or eye problems due to hypertension?
  • Are you taking any medication prescribed by your doctor?
  • When did you first have a high blood pressure reading?
  • Have you ever stopped taking your medication without being told to do so?
  • What was the result of your last blood pressure review?
  • How many different medications do your take?

It might seem slightly unusual to have to answer so many questions but this is just part of the process. Hopefully once you’ve answered questions, you’ll be offered life insurance without needing a medical or GP report. It’s also usual to have experienced problems with getting life insurance if you’ve got a medical condition. Lots of the people we speak to have had issues in the past getting cover, but that’s where we can help.

What’s a good blood pressure reading for life insurance?

There are 2 readings that you’ll be given when you have your blood pressure taken by a GP or yourself. The number at the top of the reading is your ‘Systolic’ level and the bottom is your ‘Diastolic’ level.

The levels that are considered normal will also change or vary depending on your age, as these tend to increase as you get older. If your blood pressure is above 160/100 then you would usually be checked 3 times by your GP before being diagnosed with hypertension. If your readings are above 140/90 then it’s usually 5 times before you get fully diagnosed.

Insurers have different tolerances for blood pressure readings depending on how good they are at offering terms for hypertension. Usually we find that if you’ve got a Diastolic reading over 100 then we may need further medical evidence as a rule.

Has Coronavirus affected life insurance for people with high blood pressure?

The simple answer is the short term effects on life insurance rates for people with pre-existing medical conditions is minimal. We’re waiting to see what the long term impact is but expect that things will return to normal within a period of 6 to 12 months.

High blood pressure (hypertension) can be a sign of other problems which can cause other issues connected to COVID-19. It is suspected that there are links with cardiovascular risks as well as respiratory risks with Coronavirus.

There are now several additional questions as a result of COVID-19 which include:

  • Have you tested positive for COVID?
  • Are you self-isolating?
  • Do you currently have any symptoms of COVID?
  • Have you been in contact with anyone who has been suspected or confirmed to have Coronavirus?

As part of the complications potentially that are caused by Coronavirus which can be linked to Hypertension. You should be aware that there are certain other elements to consider as part of the potential restrictions being imposed by insurers as a result of COVID-19.

Some of the additional restrictions have included:

  • Maximum sum assured (amount of cover)
  • Underwriting limits have been reduced
  • Medical evidence restrictions for nurse screening and GP reports

Long term impacts of Coronavirus on the life insurance market for people with hypertension and other medical conditions are still unknown.

Will anything be excluded from my life insurance because of hypertension?

In almost all cases you should find that there will be no exclusions to life cover if you have a medical condition like high blood pressure. There are some more specialist products that are available which may exclude pre-existing medical conditions.

It’s very important to read your documents thoroughly to make sure that you’re fully and properly protected. If you have any doubts whatsoever then you should speak to your insurance company or contact a qualified adviser like iam|INSURED.

All of the mainstream insurers in the UK operate the same way that they would not exclude hypertension or anything related. You should instead find that the premium that you pay may reflect the fact that your cover has factored your health in. You should know that some insurance companies are better than others with pre-existing conditions and some will simply be cheaper.

Is critical illness cover available if I’ve got high blood pressure?

Critical illness cover can provide you with some cover and peace of mind if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness. Many people with medical conditions like hypertension think that this type of cover simply isn’t available which is not usually the case. In many circumstances, this type of policy is available and usually can be simply to get.

If you’ve got mild symptoms with reasonably good readings and only minimal medications or treatment then you’ll be fine to get critical illness cover. Also if you are able to reduce your blood pressure readings then you might also be able to reduce premiums.

Some of the things that can cause concerns for insurers when applying for critical illness cover with hypertension are:

  • Unstable readings
  • High readings
  • Hospitalisation
  • Time of work due to the condition
  • Multiple medications
  • Other complications or related conditions (e.g. Diabetes)

It’s important to make sure that if you are offered critical illness cover that you check your documents thoroughly. Some companies will offer terms (cover) with what is known as, an exclusion, which simply means something you’re not covered for. Exclusions will relate to your current health or any existing medical condition.

Is it possible to get income protection with hypertension?

If you’re employed or self-employed then you might want to consider taking an income protection policy. This will provide you with a monthly income if you’re not able to work because of an accident, injury or sickness. If you don’t receive any sickness pay from your employer and don’t have sufficient savings in place then you should consider this type of cover.

Anyone with a pre-existing medical condition will usually be underwritten when they apply for this policy. Hypertension is considered to be one of the more coverable conditions when it comes to income protection. Most people with well controlled blood pressure on 1 or 2 medications will be able to get this type of cover quickly and easily.

If your symptoms are slightly more severe and your readings are slightly higher then you might find getting cover more difficult. In these situations you shouldn’t be put off because there are other policies and types of cover that will help. There are some unique and exclusive policies that will offer cover and even some where there are no exclusions.

If you’ve applied for income protection in the past and you’ve got raised blood pressure then you should speak to an expert like iam|INSURED to see what can be done.

What does travel insurance cost with hypertension?

For someone who’s been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), it’s very important to make sure that you’re properly protected while travelling abroad. If you’ve got a fully comprehensive travel policy then you’ll have peace of mind that you’re covered.

Travel insurance policies will cover very basic medical expenses in most cases but with a specialised policy then you’ll get extra. You should disclose any information regarding your condition on the application to be sure.

What you’ll be covered for:

  • Lost, stolen and damaged property
  • Emergency medical treatment and repatriation
  • Cancellation and curtailment
  • Personal liability

Get the best travel cover at the right price for your own peace of mind and your protection.

What are the possible issues for someone with high blood pressure for life cover?

Even though hypertension is a common condition and usually very mild or managed with medication, there can be problems. Life insurance is underwritten based on risk at the time you apply and in the future based on statistics plus claims experience.

Some of the other areas that would be taken in to consideration when applying for life insurance with high blood pressure are:

  • High readings can be a problem if you’ve recently had levels that are well above normal acceptable levels which can vary depending on your age
  • Multiple medications is also something that will be taken in to consideration and especially if they have been changed recently
  • Recent hospitalisation will also flag to underwriters as a possible problem if there has been issues connected to this condition or other related conditions
  • Smokers are usually considered to be a potential problem with some insurers in connection to hypertension

If you’ve had problems getting cover in the past or you want more information about this then you can speak to one of iam|INSURED’s team of experts.

Hypertension awareness events

World Hypertension day is held in May to help raise awareness to people all over the globe and to educate the public about blood pressure problems

Blood Pressure Awareness week in the UK is also known as ‘know your numbers’ to help increase awareness around testing your blood pressure. Usually held in September and run by the Blood Pressure UK charity

National High Blood Pressure Education month is an American event to raise awareness around regular testing

Hypertension and Blood Pressure charities / Support (UK)

Blood Pressure UK
Helpline: 020 7882 6218
Address: Wolfson Institute of Prevention Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

British Heart Foundation
Helpline: 0300 330 3311
Address: Greater London House, 180 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 7AW

Stroke UK
Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Address: 240 City Road, London, EC1V 2PR

NHS Choices (Hypertension)
Emergency: Dial 111

Why have I been refused life insurance and can I still get cover?

What to do if you’ve been declined life insurance in the past

(Author – Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)

A lot of people come to us after they’ve been declined life insurance previously. Nobody likes to be turned down for anything and life insurance is no exception. It can feel demoralising or even offensive if you have a medical condition and you get told cover isn’t available.

There are several main reasons why you might have been declined for life insurance by an insurer. It’s important to remember that insurers are all different so just because you’ve been told no before, that’s not always the end of the road. Feeling annoyed or frustrated is totally understandable and it’s natural to question whether applying again is worthwhile.

Why have I been declined life insurance?

You could have been refused cover for several reasons which are unfortunately quite common. Most life insurance applications are declined because of medical conditions, occupation or dangerous activities.

If you’ve applied for cover in the past and your application was refused, then it might be because of:

  • Insurance advisor might not have the expertise and the skills to find an appropriate or suitable insurer
  • Insurance providers have different underwriting philosophies so some may decline cover where others could accept. Your adviser should be able to identify which insurers are best for each situation and persons circumstances
  • Medical disclosures might be incorrect or inaccurate so it might be that there was a simple error with submitting your application
  • Medical evidence may be requested in some instances which can expose additional elements which can cause concern. It’s important to know what might be on your medical report before applying for cover
  • Timing could be wrong so you might have applied when your medical readings were high or not as well controlled. If you’ve made changes to your lifestyle or treatment which has improved your condition then things will have changed
  • Smoking is sometimes a red flag with life insurance and especially with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular and lung disorders. If you quit smoking more than 12 months ago then definitely try again
  • Underwriting changes could mean that cover which wasn’t available before has now become available. Underwriting philosophies can and do change so you should keep checking just in case this happens

Does being refused life insurance have any impact on future applications?

You should know that insurers do not share personal information about individuals. The only real reason why being declined cover might have an impact in the future, is if you re-apply to the same provider.

It may just be as simple as you didn’t remember which company had declined you in the past, or you didn’t know who they were. It’s a common and simple mistake so don’t worry if this happens. This happens to lots of people and is certainly not an issue so let someone find the right insurance provider for you.

What are the main medical reasons for declined life insurance?

Some of the main things that could cause a medical decline for a life insurance application are:

  • Recent diagnosis such as cancer or heart attack
  • Ongoing treatment which includes chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Combinations of conditions such as Diabetes and Heart Attack
  • Undiagnosed conditions where symptoms are identified
  • Outstanding investigations, results or surgeries
  • Higher than normal results or readings (such as blood sugar, cholesterol or blood pressure)

You should know that there are usually other options and solutions in a lot of these instances so don’t be put off. It might also be a case that cover may not be available now through mainstream insurers but there are other options.

Do life insurance companies share medical information?

The simple answer is no they don’t unless it is agreed by the insurance companies and the applicant. Generally this does not happen more often than not because of the potential issues around data protection and sharing of personal data.

Do I have to pay more for life insurance because I’ve been declined?

Again the answer isn’t necessarily yes and some insurance companies might still offer cover and even be cheaper. Insurance underwriting is a complex calculation which is individual to each company and pricing will vary from one company to another.

If you’ve had a quote from a company in the past then by shopping around and applying to the right insurer, you might still be able to get cover cheaper. Your insurance adviser should help you to find which provider is cheapest and who will accept you.


Ultimate guide to getting life insurance after a stroke

Getting life insurance after a Stroke

(Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)

Having a stroke is incredibly difficult for the person and for their loved ones. Personally I’ve seen the effects of a major stroke through a very close friends parent which was a shock to say the least. In this case it was difficult to watch someone who was otherwise fit, strong and healthy to suddenly lose almost everything.

A stroke can vary from mild to moderate symptoms which will have relatively little impact on life, to severe with massive ongoing consequences. People who’ve had a stroke or someone close to them, will understand the difficulties. In this blog we explain how having a stroke can impact life insurance mainly, and travel insurance.

Why we’re able to provide this information

iam|INSURED is a passionate team of experts with over 20 year’s experience helping people with medical conditions to get life insurance. We’ve helped thousands of people to protect their families, homes and businesses regardless of their health. It’s our mission to drive for fair treatment for all of our customers and to help them get the best results.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a medical occurrence in the brain and the affects can be devastating to a person. Essentially the blood flow to your brain is obstructed because of a blood clot or broken blood vessel. Similarly to a heart attack, the lack of oxygen-rich blood can cause tissue to die.

When brain cells start dying because of loss of blood flowing, parts of the brain cause certain areas of the body to change. Most common symptoms which are also shown on television include, loss of speech, change in facial expression and inability to move. These adverts shown on TV are to help raise awareness for spotting early symptoms to help reduce further damage.

History of strokes and why is it called a stroke?

Medical experts and professionals are now aware of the causes of a stroke which wasn’t always the case. A stroke was first identified over 2,400 years ago by a gentleman called Hippocrates (also known as ‘the father of medicine’). Originally a stroke was called ‘apoplexy’ which is Greek meaning “struck down by violence”.

In the 1600’s a doctor called Jacob Wepfer then made a discovery which was that disruptions in the blood supply to the brain caused deaths from apoplexy. In a proportion of these cases there was high levels of bleeding in the brain, whereas in others arteries were blocked.

Decades later, medical sciences made further developments regarding the causes, treatment and symptoms of apoplexy. One of the major advances was dividing apoplexy in to various categories based on the causes. Following this, apoplexy then became known as a stroke and cerebalvascular accident (CVA).

What are the types of Stroke?

It is now known that there are three different types of strokes which have different causes called:

  • Ischaemic stroke is where there is a cutting off of blood supply to the brain due to a blockage. This is the most common variation accounting for approximately 85% of cases
  • Haemorrhagic stroke will be caused by bleeding around the brain or in the brain
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which is also known as a ‘mini-stroke’, because the symptoms are similar but don’t last as long. The reason for this is because the blockage is only temporary.

What are the signs and symptoms of having a stroke?

You might have seen adverts on TV about what to do if someone is having a stroke and how to spot the signs. The reason for this is so people can react quicker to reduce long lasting damage. Adverts by major stroke charities and associations created ‘FAST’ which stands for:

  • FACE – one of the most visible signs of someone experiencing a stroke is facial changes. This includes the face dropping on one side, unable to smile and mouth or eyes dropping
  • ARMS – if someone is having a stroke then they will be unable to lift both arms and keep them elevated
  • SPEECH – a person having a stroke will have slurred or incoherent speech so will be very difficult to understand. The person may not even be able to speak at all in some cases as well as find it difficult to understand you
  • TIME – Finally it’s time to contact the emergency services so call 999

What causes someone to have a stroke?

The organs in the body need two things to survive which are oxygen and nutrients that are provided by blood. The brain is one of the most important organs and if blood is restricted or stopped then it causes cells to die. This can ultimately cause brain injury, long term disability or even death.

The two main causes for someone having a stroke are:

  • Blood supply stopping which is due to a blood clot
  • Weakened blood vesselsthat supply blood to the brain burst

The other type of stroke which is known as a TIA (transient ischemic attack) is a temporary blockage. This is commonly known as a mini stroke because of the shorter period of time that symptoms last for.

Someone who has had a TIA should seek immediate medical attention as this can be a warning. People who have had a mini stroke will be at a higher risk of having a full stroke in the future.

There are also other conditions which will increase the risk of having a stroke, these include:

  • Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeats)
  • Diabetes (Type 2 mostly)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Raised cholesterol

Is it possible to recover after having a stroke?

Every stroke is different and it effects people in different ways, which can vary from a minor attack to severe.

It is possible for someone to experience a stroke and recover to a reasonably good level. A minor stroke can even be more or less undetectable with very minor symptoms that only last for a short period of time.

Severe strokes can clearly cause more damage which can be long lasting or in some cases lead to death. Roughly 1 in every 8 stroke patients will not survive having a stroke and will pass away within 30 days.

Stroke statistics (UK)

According to the recent 2018 ‘state of the nation’ report produced by the leading Stroke charity, The Stroke Association:

  • Over 100,000 strokes per year (1 every 5 minutes)
  • 1.2 million survivors in the UK (stroke patients)
  • World wide someone has stroke every 2 seconds
  • Stroke is currently the 4th biggest killer in the UK
  • Over 400 children have a stroke per year
  • 1 in 3 stroke survivors get depression
  • Approximately 65% of stroke survivors will have a disability
  • People under 65 are 2 to 3 times more likely to be out of employment for eight years after having a stroke
  • Stroke costs approximately £26 billion each year

*Stroke Association ‘State of the Nation’ report 2018 (references)

Can I get life insurance if I’ve had a Stroke?

Stroke is one of the most common medical conditions in the UK. People applying for life insurance after having a stroke are also high numbers. You can get cover in most cases where the symptoms are fairly mild to moderate and not much long lasting damage.

This can depend on how quickly your stroke was detected and how quickly you received treatment. Also it can depend on how severe the stroke was in terms of the level of the attack. In most cases where someone is applying for life cover after a stroke, insurers will want to view a medical report. This report can be obtained from your GP and will be requested and paid for by the insurance company, not you.

If your stroke was mild or a TIA (mini-stroke) then you should find insurance terms are positive. You should also find in more severe cases that cover will still be available for the vast majority of people.

The questions you will generally be asked about a stroke on a life insurance application will include:

  • Was your stroke caused by any of these? Blood disorder, high blood pressure, head injury, hole in the heart, migraines or other
  • How many times have you suffered from a stroke?
  • Have you been diagnosed with heart attack, atrial fibrillation, heart valve problems, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease or chronic kidney disease?
  • When did you have a stroke?

There are also some products which will offer cover if you have been declined by the standard insurers. If you’ve been declined life insurance before because you’ve had a stroke then it’s still worth asking us.

Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) made a difference to getting life insurance after a stroke?

The recent situation with the coronavirus pandemic has caused some changes to insurance underwriting. It is fair to say that the virus caused additional issues when applying for life insurance, especially for people with existing conditions. Some conditions which could be considered higher risk saw greater restrictions than others.

There were some extra questions which were added to most life insurance applications relating to Coronavirus:

  • Have you been told to self-isolate?
  • Are you experiencing any symptoms of Coronavirus?
  • Have you been exposed to the risk of contracting COVID-19?
  • Do you know someone with Coronavirus who you have been in contact with?

This situation was unprecedented in the global insurance market so re-insurers reacted quickly. This was mainly to avoid an increase in claims which would make cover less affordable in the future.

Some of the restrictions we saw for people with medical conditions such as stroke were:

  • Lower underwriting limits (higher risks not accepted or postponed)
  • Restrictions to levels of cover available

Which are the best life insurance companies for someone who’s had a stroke?

There are several major insurance providers in the UK, including Aegon, Aviva, AIG, Legal & General and Zurich. All of these companies have their own underwriting philosophy which can also change regularly. It can be tricky to find the best company if you’ve had a stroke without the help of an expert.

There are also lots of different levels of severity of stroke with different symptoms, damage and treatments. Each insurance company has their own strengths when it comes to underwriting so the right one for you could be any of these companies.

You should also know that if you’ve been declined by one or several insurance companies in the past, then that isn’t the end of the road. There are lots of companies to choose from as well as some more specialist providers for certain circumstances.

Is it possible to get critical illness cover if I’ve had a stroke?

Stroke is one of the most common medical conditions claimed for on critical illness cover. People who have experienced a stroke in some cases can still get this type of policy. This depends on the type of stroke and in mild cases where the stroke has caused no lasting damage.

A critical illness cover policy for someone who’s had a stroke generally won’t include cover for another stroke. There are policies which can be cheaper that will offer this type of cover with anything relating to stroke excluded.

Can someone who’s had a stroke get income protection?

If you’ve had a stroke and are able to go back to work then you might want to consider income protection. It’s possible to get this type of cover after you’ve had a stroke and there are some unique products available just for you.

There are lots of cover options with income protection which can be confusing. If you’ve had a stroke then it can make it even more confusing in some cases to find the right cover. Some policies will even offer cover for related conditions or symptoms so it’s important to get the full picture of what’s available.

Income protection can be affordable if the right cover options are selected. There’s lots of choice and options with this type of policy so make sure that you get all your facts before choosing.

How much is travel insurance if I’ve had a stroke?

Travel insurance after you’ve had a stroke can sometimes seem daunting and confusing. There are lots of different companies advertising travel insurance and lots of options available. It’s important to remember that some companies are more capable to help you and better equipped in terms of experience.

It’s very important to make sure that you disclose your medical history when applying for travel insurance. If you’ve had a stroke then you’ll be asked questions about your condition and your current health.

You should also be aware that you may need to provide some evidence before you travel as proof that you are fit to fly. If you fail to disclose facts about your medical history then you might not be covered which could be expensive if you need treatment abroad.

What potential issues are there for someone who’s had a stroke needing life insurance?

Even though cover is generally available for someone who’s had a stroke, it’s important to know everything. As a company, we don’t like to focus on the negatives but there are a few things to be aware of. Some of the possible issues are:

  • Multiple strokes can cause insurance underwriters to be more cautious when considering your application. There are many instances where a person can suffer multiple attacks which is classed as higher risk
  • Reason for the stroke can play a part in whether or not you would be restricted in terms of your options for cover in the future
  • Further medical conditionsmay also have an impact on your application for life insurance due to the related risks. There are certain conditions which may be classed as higher risk such as heart attack, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease

We regularly speak to customer who have had problems applying for cover in the past, especially with conditions like stroke. It’s not the end of the road and we’re very often able to get cover in this situation.

Stroke awareness events

World Stroke Day is a global event usually held towards the end of October to help raise awareness through all of the leading global stroke organisations.

Stroke Awareness Month is an event held in the UK in May which is run by the charity, The Stroke Association.

Stroke charities and support for people after a stroke (UK)

Stroke Association
Helpline: 0303 3033 100
Address: Life After Stroke Centre, Church Lane, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B61 8RA

Different Strokes
Helpline: 0345 1307172
Address: 9 Canon Harnett Court, Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes, MK12 5NF

Headway (The Brain Injury Association)
Helpline: 0808 800 2244
Address: Bradbury House, 190 Bagnall Road, Old Basford, Nottingham, NG6 8SF

NHS Choices (Stroke)

If you’ve had a stroke and need help or information about life insurance or travel insurance then please call us on 01244 732895. We’re here to help and we’ve helped thousands of people like you over the past 20 years.


Facts about Diabetes Insurance

Facts about Diabetes Insurance

(Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)
iam|INSURED is the #1 life insurance expert for people with Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 as well as other medical conditions. Over the past 20 years we’ve worked with some of the UK’s leading insurance and medical experts to help our customers to get the best cover to protect their families and homes.

We’re proud to have been part of several major initiatives and product development forums to help improve diabetes life insurance for our clients. Through our many years of working hard to get people the cover they need to protect their loved ones, we’ve developed an in depth understanding of the condition and underwriting terms. Our management team has also been part of helping to develop new ways to offer cover for people with diabetes which includes life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection.

Our mission is to make sure that people with diabetes are treated fairly and to give you the best cover as well as saving you money. I personally have helped to develop some incredible products for people with diabetes and worked out new ways to help people with diabetes to get life insurance much quicker.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious medical condition which has two main types known as type 1 and type 2, but there are also a number of other types of diabetes as well. It is also a chronic condition which means that once you have diabetes then you will generally have it for the rest of your life.

The body normally produces glucose (sugar) which we all need for energy and insulin which is a hormone that allows the glucose to enter our blood stream to fuel our bodies. Glucose which gives us energy is produced when our bodies break down a thing called carbohydrates which comes from the food we eat and what we drink, the glucose then gets released in to our blood.

Our pancreas produces insulin which the body uses to control the amount of glucose that we have in our bloodstream. This process then allows the body to manage how much glucose getting in to our cells, but for people with diabetes this system doesn’t work properly.

Some of the main symptoms for someone with diabetes include:

  • Excessive urination, usually at night
  • More thirsty
  • Being tired and lethargic
  • Weight loss
  • Thrush or genital itch
  • Blurred vision
  • Scars and wounds don’t heal as quickly

Some people with type 2 diabetes live with these symptoms for up to 10 years before they get them checked by a medical professional.

What are the main types of Diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes as well as a number of other less common and less well known types.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type which affects roughly 90% of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. People most commonly and mistakenly in a lot of cases, associate this type of diabetes with a poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight. But this is not necessarily the case as type 2 diabetes can develop for a number of different reasons.

Generally type 2 diabetes will develop later in life and occurs because the body still produces insulin but the insulin can’t work properly which means that glucose levels continue to rise. Over time, higher than normal sugar levels in the body can cause potentially serious and long lasting damage to your heart, eyes, feet and kidneys.

Managing type 2 diabetes is usually done with diet, tablet (Metformin) or in some cases insulin injections. It has been known in recent years for people with mild type 2 diabetes to reverse the condition with a specific diet and healthy lifestyle including exercise.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong (chronic) and serious medical condition which is currently found in approximately 8% of people with diabetes in the UK. Generally this type of diabetes occurs more in younger people and is also known as ‘childhood diabetes’ or ‘juvenile diabetes’.

The main difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is that in type 1, the body actually attacks the cells in your pancreas that would normally produce insulin. Whereas in type 2 the body can still produce insulin, in type 1 the body simply does not produce any insulin which can have a dramatic effect on the us and our entire bodies.

Having known someone with quite severe type 1 diabetes for many years I can say from personal experience that this condition can be very scary. Treatment that has included many years on kidney dialysis, eventually receiving a full kidney transplant after several years on an NHS waiting list and almost complete loss of sight in both eyes.

Gestational diabetes is the last of the more common types of diabetes which gets its name from how it develops in pregnant women. This type of diabetes can affect almost any woman at any stage of pregnancy regardless of your diet, lifestyle or health. Gestational diabetes will also generally go after the pregnancy or can sometimes develop in to type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a newer type of diabetes which has been developed in the modern medical world to help people to manage their health and make sure that they don’t develop full blown diabetes. Someone may be told by their GP or a medical professional that they have pre-diabetes and then advised on how to manage their health to stop them getting diabetes.

Diabetes Statistics (UK)

According to the latest statistics by the leading diabetes charity, Diabetes UK, the latest figures for the UK are:

  • 3.9 million people living with diabetes (plus almost a million with undiagnosed diabetes – making the total over 4.8 million people)*
  • More than 100,000 people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2019 in the UK (projected to increase to 5.3 million by 2025)*
  • 1 in 15 people living in the UK has diabetes
  • 6 in 10 people with type 2 diabetes has no symptoms
  • People with type 2 diabetes are approximately 50% more likely to die early*
  • Risks of Heart Attack or Heart Disease is much more likely in someone with type 2 diabetes (almost 2 to 2.5 higher risk)*

*The latest figures are provided by Diabetes UK, Diabetes Prevalence 2019 report.

Does diabetes affect me being able to get Life Insurance?

People living with diabetes can be extremely healthy and should not be too greatly affected when applying for life insurance. It is increasingly likely that you’ll also be able to get accepted for life insurance without the need for further medical underwriting so can be covered immediately so you won’t need to provide evidence from your GP or Diabetic Nurse. Our experts at iam|INSURED has worked very closely with some of the UK’s biggest and best insurance companies to make sure that people with diabetes get the lowest rates available and the best cover.

A standard life insurance application will ask questions about your general health and lifestyle to gather information about you. In the case of someone with diabetes, you’ll be asked to provide specific information about your condition, such as:

  • Do you take insulin?
  • Which type of diabetes do you have?
  • When were you first diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Has your diabetes affected any other areas of your body (e.g. eyes, kidneys, nerves or limbs)?
  • Have you ever been hospitalised because of your diabetes?
  • When did you last get your blood glucose levels checked by your GP?
  • What was latest HbA1c (or Mmol) reading?
  • Have you been diagnosed with High Blood Pressure or Raised Cholesterol?

These types of questions and some others will enable underwriters to assess your application and apply an accurate decision. Another major positive impact on premiums for people with diabetes over the past 15 years has resulted from insurers competing for policyholders with diabetes. You should also know that life insurance rates and terms for people with diabetes are constantly improving so it’s always worth reviewing existing policies as well.

What about Diabetes and Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Life Insurance?

It is also usually not an issue to get life insurance for someone with diabetes regardless of whether we are in a state of national emergency such as during Coronavirus. These were unprecedented times in 2020 which caused a huge impact on the diabetes community due to the additional cardiovascular risks on these people.

From a life insurance point of view there are no issues with getting cover for people with diabetes as long as they are not exposed to risks or displaying symptoms. This is a highly unusual situation and questions such as:

  • Are you currently self-isolating?
  • Do you currently have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
  • Have you been exposed to the risk of contracting Coronavirus?
  • Do you know anyone with symptoms who you have been in contact with?

While this is a one off and isolated event, we wanted to mention it as it may have longer lasting effects on life insurance and this is a common question we get asked about.

Which Types of Diabetes get Life Insurance?

It is and always has been possible to get life insurance for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The main difference between getting life insurance for people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is that generally people with type 1 diabetes will require some additional medical underwriting. We are increasingly seeing applications for type 2 diabetes accepted instantly with no further underwriting requirements which is a smaller percentage for people with type 1 diabetes.

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes life insurance rates have reduced dramatically over the past 20 years thanks to better treatments, more information about the conditions and higher survival rates which means that people are living longer. All of this has had a positive impact on the cost of cover for people with diabetes which we expect to continue for many years to come.

Which are the Best Life Insurance providers for people with Diabetes?

There are several major life insurance providers in the UK currently which include Aviva, AIG, Aegon, L&G, Zurich and LV. iam|INSURED works with all of the TOP insurance companies in the UK as well as some specialist insurers who provide more bespoke or unique solutions for people with more severe symptoms of diabetes and other conditions.

We know the best insurance companies for each person based on their medical history, health and age but this can vary dramatically. It’s very difficult to say which insurers are best for each condition simply because of the fact that people’s circumstances are so different and no application is generally the same. Also the fact that underwriting can change dramatically and quickly which means that there can be a major shift in the insurers we would go to at any time.

Once we know more about you and your medical history then we can simply apply our expertise to help get you the best cover to protect your family. The main reason why you would use an expert like iam|INSURED is to save time and money to make sure that you get the cover you need at the right price.

How does my HbA1c reading affect Life Insurance rates?

The main consideration and influencing factor for underwriters looking at life insurance for people with diabetes is their HbA1c (Mmol) reading which is the blood sugar levels. The term HbA1c is an abbreviation for Glycated Haemoglobin which develops when haemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen through the body) meets glucose in the blood, which becomes glycated.

There are two types of measurements for this type of reading which is usually taken by your doctor, the readings can be given as mmol/mol or % (HbA1c).

HbA1c levels for people with diabetes are as follows:

    Levels Mmol/mol Percentage (%)
    Normal Under 42 Under 6.0%
    Prediabetes 42 to 47 6.0% to 6.4%
    Diabetes Over 48 Over 6.5%

In terms of life insurance underwriting for people with diabetes there are several levels to consider that have an impact on your premiums:

    Levels Mmol/mol Percentage (%)
    Low (good control) Under 53 Under 7.0%
    Moderate (could improve) 54 to 74 7.0% to 8.9%
    High (poor control) 75 to 85 9.0% to 9.9%
    Very High Over 86 Over 10.0%

You should also know that in recent years there has been changes to the acceptable levels so more and more we are seeing decisions for people with readings over 10.0% (86Mmol/mol). We also appreciate that this is not an exact science and there are situations where people are asked by their GP to maintain higher readings, such as sports people.

Can I get Critical Illness Cover with Diabetes?

In recent years we’ve found that more and more that people with diabetes are able to get critical illness cover again thanks to changes in underwriting rules. Currently critical illness cover is only available for type 2 diabetes from the mainstream or more popular high street insurance providers. It is possible to get more specialist critical illness style products for people with type 1 diabetes which come with slightly different terms to standard cover.

You can now get critical illness cover through the major insurance providers as long as you fit certain criteria. These criteria questions include:

  • Do you smoke?
  • Have you got type 2 diabetes?
  • Do you have any diabetes complications (e.g. Retinopathy, Neuropathy or Nephropathy)?
  • What is your height and weight (BMI)?
  • Is your diabetes well controlled and readings low (HbA1c / Mmol)?

As long as you can answer these questions positively then you should have no problem being able to get critical illness cover. These terms are constantly changing so you’ll find that this will change over a period of time which we’ll be able to keep you informed about through our blogs and news articles.

Can I get Income Protection if I’ve got Diabetes?

It is also now possible to get income protection insurance with diabetes which is a more recent development and again shows promising signs for the future. In previous years it would have seemed almost impossible to get more strictly underwritten products like income protection insurance for someone with diabetes so this is good news. We appreciate that this may not seem incredibly positive to everyone but from our perspective it shows that things are progressing.

Income protection can provide cover for someone if they were unable to work because of long term sickness or because of an accident. The reason that diabetes has historically been difficult to get this type of cover is because of the strict underwriting guidance but with new technologies and bespoke products, this is changing.

There are also products that are available through some of the major insurance companies that offer a short term income protection cover (called Accident and Sickness) with no medical underwriting. This type of product is quite unique and we’re delighted to be able to offer this as a solution to our diabetes clients. This type of cover can be incredibly cost effective to people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes to you with the solution that you need.

How much is Travel Insurance for Diabetes?

Anyone who is travelling overseas who has a medical condition such as diabetes, should have adequate travel insurance in case anything happens to them whilst abroad. Diabetes travel insurance is no different and as long as you disclose details about your medical condition then you will be fully covered. You should be aware that if you fail to disclose certain information about your medical history then you may not be covered.

The main reason why it is essential to have appropriate levels of cover when travelling abroad is to make sure that you don’t get stuck with expensive medical bills if anything happens to you. It can be extremely difficult and costly to get treatment or medical attention in a foreign country, and especially for those with a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes. If you’ve got diabetes then you’ll know that your health and your symptoms can be unpredictable which is why it’s important to be covered.

You should also be able to get travel insurance which can cover any specific diabetes equipment whilst you are abroad. There are policies that will cover your medications and specialist equipment which includes diabetes pumps, insulin injections, tablets and other related items.

What about Diabetes Complications with Life Insurance and other type of Cover?

There are a number of diabetes related complications which can have an effect on all types of insurance when making an application. The main types of diabetes complications that can impact your insurance terms include:

  • Retinopathy which is a common form of eye disease in people with diabetes which is most common in people who have had diabetes for longer periods of time
  • Neuropathy is a nerve disorder which comes in three main categories including Sensory Neuropathy, Motor Neuropathy and Autonomic Neuropathy
  • Nephropathy also known as Kidney Disease which will affect approximately 40% of people with diabetes

Anyone with diabetes who has any of these complications will usually still be able to get cover and may find that there are some limitations such as insurers prepared to offer terms.

Diabetes Awareness events

Due to the high levels of diabetes both in the UK and globally, there are a number of major events that have been dedicated to raising awareness for diabetes. These events are annual events which help to raise money for research as well as raise awareness for people living with diabetes and the risks of developing diabetes.

Diabetes events include:

World Diabetes Day which is held every year on November 14th to increase awareness around the world for diabetes. The reason that the event is held on this specific date is that it coincides with the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting who helped to discover insulin

Diabetes Awareness Week is held in the UK usually in June and is operated by Diabetes UK which is the biggest British diabetes charity

National Diabetes Month is primarily an American event which is held by the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and the American Diabetes Association

Diabetes Charities and Support organisations (UK)

Over the past century there have been a number of organisations that have been established to help people living with diabetes. These charities and companies provide vital information, guidance, support and services to people with diabetes. Some of the main organisations include:

Diabetes UK


Helpline: 0345 123 2399

Address: Wells Lawrence House, 126 Back Church Lane, London, E1 1FH

Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation


Helpline: 0239 263 7808

Address: Building 6000, Langstone Technology Park, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1SA


Address: Technology House, Sir William Lyons Road, University of Warwick Scient Park, Coventry, CV4 7EZ

For more information or if you’ve got any questions about insurance for people with diabetes, call iam|INSURED on 0800 009 6559 or submit an enquiry

Guide to Diabetes Life Insurance

Guide to getting Life Insurance with Diabetes

(Author: Daniel Sharpe-Szunko)
If you suffer from Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and you need to get some life insurance to protect your family, home or business then there are things to consider which will have an impact on your cover or premiums. iam insured is one of the top Diabetes life insurance experts in the UK with over 20 year’s experience in helping people with Diabetes to get the best cover and to save money on their premiums.

If you need life insurance to protect your loved ones then you should speak to one of our iam|INSURED Diabetes life insurance experts who will help you find the cover you need. We know more about Diabetes life insurance underwriting than 99% of advisers thanks to the fact that we have helped thousands of families to get the best cover at the lowest rates.

You should also know that Diabetes life insurance rates and cover has evolved greatly over the past several years thanks to point such as:

  • Improvements in underwriting
  • Higher levels of care
  • Medical advances
  • Morbidity and mortality data
  • Demand for Diabetes Life Insurance

Diabetes rates are increasing constantly in the UK as we often here in the national and local press so insurers are simply responding to demand. Recently there have also been a number of products released by some of the UK’s biggest insurers specifically designed for people with Diabetes. We are also proud to have assisted with the development of a number of Diabetes Life Insurance products to help our diabetes clients.

How Diabetes life insurance works

If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes then you will find that there are additional underwriting requirements from life insurance underwriters to assess your application. Diabetes life insurance underwriting is based on the severity of your symptoms primarily and the treatment or medication that you receive to manage your condition.

Some of the main factors that have an impact on your Diabetes life insurance premiums and your cover

Hba1c/Mmol readings: The thing that will have the biggest impact on your Diabetes life insurance premiums will be your latest reading from your diabetes nurse or your GP. If you do not know your latest reading then you can either obtain this yourself from your GP or this can be collected by the insurance provider as part of the application process.

Date of diagnosis: As with most other medical conditions, you must disclose the date that you were originally diagnosed with your condition for your Diabetes Life Insurance application. This information will help underwriters to accurately review your case to ensure that they apply the correct decision when they make an offer of cover.

Treatment and medication: Another of the main points to be considered on any application for Diabetes Life Insurance is what treatment or medication you receive. There are three main types of treatment or medication which are diet controlled (Type 2), Medication such as Metformin (Type 2) and Insulin dependent (Type 1 and Type 2). Your rates for Diabetes Life Insurance will depend on your treatment which will be lower for diet controlled and higher for insulin dependent generally.

Smoker status: You should also be aware that when you apply for Diabetes Life Insurance and you declare that you are a smoker, it can cause issues. It is generally considered to be more high risk for people with Diabetes if the smoke or have smoked in the past 12 months because of the additional risks relating to the use of tobacco or nicotine products.

Diabetes related complications: There are a number of possible issues connected to diabetes that will be questioned on an application for Diabetes Life Insurance which include Retinopathy (including laser surgery), Neuropathy and Nephropathy. An underwriter will ask whether you have experienced any diabetes related complications as well as whether you have had any treatment for those complications.

Each application for Diabetes Life Insurance will be assessed in a similar way in terms of the information that is required, however certain underwriters will view this information differently. iam insured will help you to find the most suitable insurer for your Diabetes Life Insurance based on your individual circumstances and requirements.

About Type 1 Diabetes life insurance

Currently around 10% of all diabetics in the UK have Type 1 Diabetes so this is by far the least common type of diabetes but still seeing the same improvements in underwriting as Type 2 Diabetes. Generally this type of Diabetes is diagnosed younger in life and it is treated with a medication called ‘insulin’ to help control blood sugar levels which is how rates for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance are generated. The risks for Type 1 Diabetes are very different to Type 2 Diabetes because of the vast differences between the two, even though they share the same group name of ‘Diabetes’.

Some of the main points to remember for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance are:

  • Type 1 Diabetes critical illness cover and income protection are not currently available from any insurance provider in the UK
  • Rates for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance can vary from standard rates for well controlled mild late onset to decline for severe or poor control
  • Medical underwriting for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance will almost always require evidence from a Doctor, GP or diabetes specialist to support your application
  • Almost all applications for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance will require manual underwriting so cover will not be accepted online immediately

As you will know, Type 1 Diabetes is a complex condition which can vary from mild and well managed to severe with some extreme complications that can cause major issues for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance rates. You may not know however that underwriting and premiums for Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance will vary dramatically from one insurer to another so it is vital to make the right decision to get the best cover. Our team of Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance experts will talk to you about your condition to get the information that we need to make sure that we apply to the right insurance providers for you to protect your family, home and business.

About Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance

Type 2 Diabetes is by far the most common in the UK and globally of the Diabetes conditions with millions of people in the UK currently diagnosed. It is also said that currently there are over 4 million people in the UK alone who have been diagnosed with this type of Diabetes which is why Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance is such an important part of the insurance market. The main difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is that 1 is a chronic medical condition and 2 is a lifestyle condition which can now be reversed and also can be controlled with diet rather than medication.

Some of the main elements to consider for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance:

  • Type 2 Diabetes critical illness cover and income protection are currently available through a limited number of providers and based on underwriting
  • Rates for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance can vary from a small loading (usually 25%) if well controlled with no complications and low Hba1c
  • Some providers will now accept Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance applications with no medical evidence in some cases
  • Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance underwriting can vary dramatically from one insurance provider to another

There are a number of standard variables which can affect your premiums and underwriting for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance which can include:

  • Body Mass Index (e.g. Height, Weight and Waist size)
  • Smoker status (Smokers will pay more for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance)
  • Hba1c reading (see below)
  • Complications (e.g. Neuropathy, Retinopathy, Nephropathy etc.)
  • Hospitalisation
  • Time off work

Most applications for Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance will ask about your health as well as your medical status to give underwriters a clear view of your circumstances. You should ensure that you disclose all information accurately to ensure that there are no questions about cover if you need to claim on your Type 2 Diabetes Life Insurance.

How does Hba1c affect Diabetes Life Insurance premiums?

You will be required to disclose your latest Hba1c reading when applying for Diabetes Life Insurance which will be used to determine how well controlled your condition is. There are a number of other elements that will be considered when applying for Diabetes Life Insurance, however Hba1c is one of the main factors. Insurance underwriters currently assess an application for this type of cover based on whether your condition is well controlled with diet or medication.

Levels of Hba1c for Diabetes Life Insurance:

  • Under 6: Very well controlled
  • 6 to 8: Good control
  • 8 – 10: Average control
  • 10+: Poor control

You will find that your premiums and levels of cover that are available for Diabetes Life Insurance will depend primarily on your Hba1c reading followed by other Diabetes related elements.

How has Diabetes Life Insurance changed?

The way that Diabetes Life Insurance risk is viewed by insurers has improved greatly over the past 10 years and especially over the past 3 to 4 years. There has recently been an evolution of Diabetes Life Insurance products which has included several of the UK’s top insurance providers developing specific Diabetes Life Insurance products which are tailored to your needs.

iam insured advisers have specialised in Diabetes Life Insurance for over 10 years and has helped thousands of Diabetics to protect their families, homes and businesses. Our team of very highly experienced experts has a detailed and in-depth knowledge of Diabetes Life Insurance underwriting to help:

  • SAVE YOU MONEY (lower premiums)
  • Better cover (get quotes for Diabetes critical illness cover and income protection)
  • Guaranteed acceptance

Most of the top UK insurance providers now offer very competitive rates and products for Diabetes Life Insurance, critical illness cover (several insurers) and income protection (currently very limited). You should be able to find the Diabetes Life Insurance cover that you need to protect your family, home or business depending on your circumstances and your health.

Diabetes insurance products from iam insured:

  • Diabetes Life Insurance
  • Diabetes Critical Illness Cover
  • Diabetes Income Protection
  • Diabetes Relevant Life Insurance
  • Diabetes Key Person Insurance
  • Diabetes Travel Insurance

Useful links:

If you need help to get the BEST cover and the LOWEST premiums for Diabetes Life Insurance to protect your family, home and business then you should contact iam|INSURED today on 0800 009 6559.