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Life insurance Guide for People Living with Ulcerative Colitis

If you have Ulcerative Colitis and are considering life insurance, then this guide will help you understand how your condition could affect your applications

People with ulcerative colitis will have things to consider and questions to answer when applying for life insurance. We’ll explain the medical condition and then how that could impact insurance premiums.

Our aim is to provide you with a useful guide to help you make an informed decision and give you support through the application.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis is similar to other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in how it affects the body and treatments. It is a lifelong (chronic) condition of the large intestine, with no known cure. Primarily this type of condition causes ulcers and inflammation around the colon and rectum areas.

Symptoms can include abdominal pain which can be extremely strong and diarrhoea with blood. People with ulcerative colitis may lead fairly normal lives with no or few symptoms but it can also be more severe, potentially life-threatening.

Inflammatory bowel diseases are a group of medical conditions and diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract. The most common conditions under IBD’s are Crohn’s disease and Colitis which can also have similar symptoms. These conditions are also classed as autoimmune diseases which is simply where the immune system does not function properly.

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

The severity of this condition can vary dramatically from one patient to another. The types of symptoms can also change as time passes which cause other potential issues. As with other IBD’s, there can be periods of few or even no symptoms (remission) and periods where symptoms are regular or acute (flare-ups).

Most common symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:

  • Abdominal pains.
  • Blood in stools.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • High temperature.
  • Rectal pain.
  • Weight loss.

There are also potential complications which may occur as a result of ulcerative colitis which can include:

  • Dehydration.
  • Eye swelling.
  • Joint pain / swelling.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Skin problems.
  • Nausea and loss of appetite.

What causes Ulcerative Colitis?

The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is still a mystery to medical experts around the world. There are several theories which are similar to other inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s. It was previously thought that the cause was stress and diet but we now know that these just aggravate it.

It is strongly believed that the cause of UC is because the immune system is overactive. This is when your immune system fights off invading bacteria or viruses, unusually the immune response causes it to attack cells in the digestive tract as well.

Another possible view on the potential cause of ulcerative colitis is that it is a hereditary condition. There are a number of patients who do have a family history of UC but there are also many instances where this isn’t the case.

Complications with Ulcerative Colitis

There are a number of main issues that people with ulcerative colitis tend to experience either frequently or infrequently. These complications can vary from moderate risk to severe health problems.

Some of the main complications connected to this condition are:

  • Perforated colon.
  • Liver disease.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Colon cancer.
  • Rapidly swelling colon.

What types of Ulcerative Colitis are there?

The various types are ulcerative colitis are classified based on where they are located on the body. Main types include:

  • Acute severe ulcerative colitis is a rare type of colitis that affects the colon and would cause severe pain, extreme diarrhoea, bleeding, high temperature and loss of appetite.
  • Left-sided colitis which is where the inflammation would move from the rectum to the sigmoid and descending colon. Main symptoms for this include bloody stool, diarrhoea, cramp and abdominal pain and weight loss.
  • Pancolitis commonly is known to impact the entire colon which can cause bloody diarrhoea (potentially severe), cramps and pains around the abdomen, tiredness and unexplained weight loss.
  • Proctosigmoiditis is an inflammation of the rectum and sigmoid colon (lower section of the colon). Symptoms are bloody diarrhoea, pain and cramp of the abdomen and constipation.
  • Ulcerative Proctitis causes inflammation around the anus (rectum) and bleeding around the rectum. This type of UC is known to be the mildest.

List of Ulcerative Colitis Statistics (UK)

According to recent statistics published by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for 2014, the most recent figures show:

  • Approximately 146,000 patients (240 per 100,000).
  • Most common age group is 15 to 25.
  • Next highest age group is 55 to 65.
  • Approximately half (50%) of people with UC have 1 or more relapses annually.
  • 80% of patients are mild to moderate.
  • 20% are severe.
  • Approximately 25% of patients have 1 or more severe episodes in their lives.

*statistics provided by NICE 2014 report on inflammatory bowel disease (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs81/documents/inflammatory-bowel-disease-briefing-paper2).

Can I get life insurance with Ulcerative Colitis?

In almost all cases it is possible and can be even simple to get life insurance for someone with this condition. Because of the simple fact that nearly three-quarters of UC patients have either mild or moderate symptoms. The vast majority of cases that we deal with where we help people with ulcerative colitis, the cover is available instantly.

An application for life insurance for someone with ulcerative colitis will consist of several main questions about the condition. The most common questions regarding UC will include:

  • When were you diagnosed?
  • Are you currently undergoing or awaiting hospital treatment, tests or surgery?
  • Have you had surgery for this condition?
  • Has this affected your eyes, joints, liver, bile duct or stomach?
  • What treatment have you received?
  • How many flare-ups have you had in the past 2 years?

These are just an example of some of the most typical questions that we are asked by insurers. The questions can vary from one insurance company to another so these are just a guide. You should also know that a growing number of insurers are offering cover without the need for medical evidence (GP reports).

Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) affected life insurance for people with Ulcerative Colitis?

Coronavirus has caused some unprecedented changes to the underwriting philosophies from insurance providers. Most of the medical conditions where symptoms are more severe have been affected, unfortunately. Life insurance underwriting was affected in the short term and there may be longer-term changes.

Some of the questions that were asked as a result of Coronavirus were:

  • Have you been told to self-isolate?
  • Are you currently or have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Have you been exposed to the risk of Coronavirus?
  • Do you know anyone who has contracted COVID-19?

This was an unprecedented global event and a lot of decisions to make changes were made by re-assurers. These companies are global companies and therefore were making decisions about underwriting based on some of the worst-affected countries.

Some of the restrictions that were brought in to play included:

  • Limits to the amount of cover being offered (sum assured).
  • Restrictions around certain medical conditions considered to be high risk.
  • Terms of policies being offered.

There is a possibility of longer term changes to the life insurance industry depending on how the situation develops.

Which are the best life insurance providers for Ulcerative Colitis?

There are a number of circumstances where premiums can be unaffected by having UC. If your symptoms are mild or in some cases moderate then you could be offered good rates by some insurers. The terms that are offered to people with ulcerative colitis can be very different depending on which insurance company you apply to.

It’s important to remember that insurance underwriting is a complex process and there are various calculations involved. There are some insurance companies who will target certain medical conditions due to a good claims experience for example. It’s the job of an expert or trained adviser to search the market for you to find the best rates.

You’ll need to complete a medical fact find with the adviser you’re dealing with and make sure that you give honest answers. Also, you should be aware that underwriting guidance changes so the best companies for you and your condition can be different over time.

Can I get critical illness cover if I’ve got Ulcerative Colitis?

This type of policy is a good way to ensure that you’re covered if you get diagnosed with a serious illness like Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, MS and more. Someone with ulcerative colitis who wants to be insured against a critical condition should definitely consider applying. It’s also often possible to get critical illness cover if you’ve got this condition and again terms can vary between insurers.

There will be some main factors that will be taken into consideration when applying for critical illness cover with UC:

  • When did you last have symptoms?
  • Are you a smoker?
  • Have you had any hospital treatment or surgery?
  • Do you have any restrictions to daily living?

If you’re well managed with mild to moderate symptoms then you should be able to get this type of policy without any problems. Often in these types of applications will be considered and can be offered with no medicals required. If you are asked to provide a medical report from your GP then this just means that it will be reviewed by underwriting.

You should also remember that cheapest is not always best when it comes to critical illness cover. This can be especially important when you have a medical condition such as ulcerative colitis. Higher premiums can often mean more comprehensive cover, so you should always check terms being offered.

There are also products available from more specialist insurers if your symptoms are more severe. For example, if you’ve had recent treatment or surgery as well as people who have greater restrictions on lifestyle.

Can I have income protection if I’ve got Ulcerative Colitis?

This type of cover can be extremely important to protect you and your home if you’re not able to work. You can cover yourself against being off work due to an accident or long term sickness if you’re employed or self-employed. People with ulcerative colitis can get income protection or accident and sickness cover in most cases.

If your symptoms are mild and you have not experienced any recent symptoms or flare-ups then it can be simple to get income protection. There are more options when it comes to looking for this type of policy so carefully consider your requirements. People with ulcerative colitis might be offered terms with some elements excluded so read your documents properly.

People suffering from more severe symptoms such as hospitalisation or surgery can get more specialist cover. You may have been refused this type of policy in the past but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get cover. There are options to make this type of policy more affordable as well so check to see what’s available.

How much is travel insurance for people with Ulcerative Colitis?

It is definitely possible and often simple to get travel insurance for someone with ulcerative colitis. There are some hints and tips that you could consider when travelling to help manage the cost of cover, such as:

  • Travel when symptoms are stable where possible.
  • Get quotes from a specialist insurance company.
  • Disclose accurate details about your condition.
  • Travel with your required medication

Travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions can be easy to arrange but there can be a big difference between price, cover options and quality of cover. It’s very important to make sure that you check with your travel insurance provider that everything declared is covered.

It is very important to disclose all information requested about your medical condition to avoid any questions at claim stage. If you fail to disclose material facts then you may find unnecessary questions when it comes to paying out claims. The cost of medical treatment overseas can be extremely high so best not to risk it.

What are some common issues with getting life insurance for someone with Ulcerative Colitis?

We don’t like to focus on negatives but it’s important to make sure that we give you the full picture. Some of the things that can cause either a need for further underwriting or potentially some restrictions are:

  • Recent surgery or outstanding investigations can make it slightly more complicated and may mean a delay (postponement) to your insurance offer. You should disclose this information (e.g. colectomy or ileostomy) on your application but it’s not the end of the road.
  • Liver disease can also be a bit of an issue when combined with ulcerative colitis and especially where there has been recent hospitalisation or surgery.
  • Medication or treatment such as immunosuppressants can be a problem if symptoms are moderate or severe so there could be underwriting considerations.

We often speak to customers who have had problems applying for cover previously or been declined by another broker. Don’t be disheartened, we’re very often able to get cover for people who’ve been refused elsewhere.

Ulcerative Colitis Awareness Events

Here’s a list of some of the events that we follow every year to find out what’s happening in the world relating to ulcerative colitis. Each year these amazing events help to raise thousands of pounds for charities.

  • Crohn’s disease awareness week is a national event through Crohn’s & Colitis UK. This event usually takes place on the 1st week in December to raise awareness and funds for colitis research.
  • Crohn’s and Colitis awareness month is a global event in November to increase awareness for people living with the condition.
  • World IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Day is an event held in May across the globe with most national charities involved.
  • IBD awareness month is held in the United States in December by leading charities to help raise awareness. There are approximately 3 million people in the US living with Crohn’s disease or Colitis which is 1.3% of the population.
  • Ulcerative colitis charities and support for colitis (UK).

List of Ulcerative Colitis Charities

There are a number of charities dedicated to helping people with Ulcerative Colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD’s). These organisations provide vital guidance, help and support for those living with this condition.

References:

As a team of experts who regularly help people with medical conditions like Ulcerative Colitis (UC), to get life insurance, our mission is to ensure that everyone who needs it stands the best chance of getting it and that they don’t pay over the odds for it too. Over the past 20 years, we’ve helped thousands of families to get life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection.

If you’ve got ulcerative colitis and you want to know more then read this article where we explain how it works. As the first team of experts in the UK to focus our efforts on helping people like you to get cover, we understand your needs. We’re committed to providing the best advice to our customers regardless of their health.

You can also check out what other people think about iam|INSURED by reading our Feefo reviews. It’s important to know what other people think about the service we provide.

How Does Crohn’s Disease Affect Life Insurance?

A Guide to Life Insurance for People Living with Crohn’s Disease

For people with Crohn’s disease, there are a number of main things to consider as well as some background information which we want to help explain to you here. Our iam|INSURED website is a great source of useful guides to show how life insurance works for Crohn’s and other conditions.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong (chronic) medical condition so once you have it you then it will remain in your body for the rest of your life. The condition is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which causes inflammation in your digestive tract. The inflammation that this causes can also very often spread deeper into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease is usually painful and potentially debilitating which can also sometimes develop into life-threatening complications.

There is currently no known cure for this condition, however, there are therapeutic treatments which can dramatically reduce symptoms. If effectively treated, Crohn’s disease can be mild and you could experience long periods of remission which means that impact on lifestyle can be minimal.

Some of the main symptoms of Crohn’s disease:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Blood in stool.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Tiredness.
  • High Fever.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Mouth sores.

Symptoms for people with more severe Crohn’s disease:

  • Skin, eyes and joints can inflame.
  • Liver and bile duct inflammation.
  • Children may grow more slowly.
  • Slower sexual development in children.

There are several different levels at which a person might experience the impact of this type of condition on the body. Some people with Crohn’s disease might only have the last section of the small intestine (ileum) affected, whereas others it may be confined to the colon. These are the main areas of the body that are affected by Crohn’s disease.

Symptoms of this particular condition can vary dramatically from extremely mild or none at all (remission) to extremely severe and life-threatening. These symptoms can also often build up slowly, but can also be acute and develop very suddenly.

What causes Crohn’s disease?

It is still not known what exactly causes Crohn’s disease to develop and there have been a number of theories over the years by the medical profession. Previously it was suspected that higher levels of stress and a poor diet cause the condition but it is now known that these simply aggravate it. Some of the main things that we now know about Crohn’s disease include:

  • Family History (hereditary) influences can play a part in people developing Crohn’s disease as people like this are potentially more susceptible. This is however not the main cause as most people who develop this condition have no family history or genetic links
  • Immune Systemis also another potential cause whereby a bacteria or virus can potentially result in developing Crohn’s disease. Our immune system is the bodies defence against foreign organisms, this can also result in the immune system attacking the digestive tract

There also a number of risk factors which can play a significant part in whether or not you are likely to develop this type of medical condition such as:

  • Age: most people who are diagnosed are usually under 30 years of age.
  • Nicotine: smokers are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease which is also the most controllable factor.
  • Ethnicity: it is known that people of a certain ethnic background are more likely to develop this condition (e.g. Caucasian, including Eastern European and Jewish decent).
  • Environment can also play a part as people who live in built-up urban and industrial areas, combined with high-fat diets may also lead to developing this condition.

Complications connected to Crohn’s disease

There are several main areas of the body and other related medical conditions that could be impacted as a result of having Crohn’s disease. Some of these conditions can be serious and life threatening which is why it is so important to manage your health with this type of medical condition. Complications connected to Crohn’s disease include:

  • Bowel (e.g. scarring, narrowing and intestinal wall thickness).
  • Ulcers (digestive system, mouth, anus and genital area).
  • Fistulas.
  • Anal Fissure (a small tear in anal lining).
  • Malnutrition.
  • Medication side effects.
  • Colon Cancer.

Crohn’s disease statistics (UK)

According to recent statistics provided by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) research:

  • 157 of every 100,000 people in the UK have this condition.
  • Approximately 115,000 have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in the UK.
  • 33% of patients are diagnosed before age 21.
  • Smoking and genetics are suggested to be the two main causes.
  • 5 years after diagnosis 15-20% of people with Crohn’s will have a disability.
  • Most people with Crohn’s disease will live normal active lives.

*statistics from NICE 2014 report on inflammatory bowel disease (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs81/documents/inflammatory-bowel-disease-briefing-paper2).

Can someone with Crohn’s disease get life insurance?

There’s a variety of different levels of symptoms for people living with Crohn’s disease so life insurance terms can be simple in most cases. The majority of people that we help who have been diagnosed with this condition have minor to moderate symptoms. So we generally find it easy to get cover for them. We’ve spoken to thousands of different clients with Crohn’s disease over the past 20 years so we’ve seen lots of different scenarios.

When we complete an application for life insurance for people with Crohn’s disease, we’ll have to ask normal health and lifestyle questions, plus specific questions about this condition. Some of the questions that you’ll be asked about Crohn’s will include:

  • When were you first diagnosed with this condition?
  • Are you awaiting results or referral for any scans, tests, investigations or surgery?
  • Have you suffered any symptoms such as eye problems, joint pain, Liver disease, Anaemia or Bile Duct problems?
  • What treatment are you on (e.g. Steroids, Immunosuppressants or hospital treatment)?
  • Have you had any hospital treatment or treated with medication?
  • When did you last experience any symptoms or flare-up?

These are some of the types of questions that you’ll be asked by some of our team of advisers which gives underwriters information about your medical history. More and more we’re able to get decisions immediately without the need for further medical underwriting (GP Reports) for people with Crohn’s disease.

Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) changed Life Insurance for people with Crohn’s disease?

The recent pandemic which has swept the globe has had a major impact on life insurance underwriting as a whole, but especially for autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s disease. The life insurance market had to react at the time with certain restrictions being placed on several main areas such as:

  • Amount of cover (sum assured)
  • Certain medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, neurological conditions and autoimmune diseases)
  • Length of policies (Term)
  • Medical underwriting limits

Most applications that our iam|INSURED experts dealt with through Coronavirus was either accepted with some restrictions or were postponed until after the main period of risk had ended. The majority of people with Crohn’s disease were still able to get life insurance through the COVID-19 pandemic however you may need to review your cover once things relax back to normal again.

Some of the additional questions that were being asked by life insurance providers through Coronavirus included:

  • Are you currently self-isolating?
  • Have you experienced symptoms of Coronavirus?
  • Have you been exposed to the risk of contracting the virus?
  • Do you know anyone with COVID-19?

There is a short term impact on the life insurance market, especially for people with certain medical conditions, which could have a long term effect on life insurance terms as well.

Which are the best life insurance companies for people with Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease has a wide range of severity levels so the best life insurance provider will vary depending on how bad your symptoms are. Most of the more common high street insurance companies offer life insurance for people with Crohn’s so you should be able to get cover fairly easily.

Some insurance underwriters are better than others when it comes to auto-immune conditions like Crohn’s disease. It can be difficult to know which one is best for you, which is where we can help you.

Our many years of experience and close connections with top specialist underwriters means that we’re here to help. Over the past 20 years, we’ve helped thousands of people with Crohn’s disease and other conditions to get the best cover.

We’ll complete a very quick medical questionnaire and then speak to insurance underwriters for you. Our mission is to make sure that our customers get the best cover to protect their families and save money.

Is Critical Illness Cover available with Crohn’s disease?

This type of cover can be essential to make sure that you and your family are protected if you get diagnosed with a serious illness. In most cases, it is possible to get critical illness cover with Crohn’s disease. There are a number of the major insurance providers who would offer this type of cover to you.

Some of the main things that will be considered on an application for critical illness cover for someone with Crohn’s are:

  • When was your last flare-up / attack?
  • What treatment or medication do you take?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Does your condition affect your ability to work or daily living?
  • Have you had any hospitalisation or surgery?

Where the condition is well managed with mild symptoms, you’ll find it pretty straight forward to get cover. If there are some minor complications or if your symptoms are more severe then you could have some restrictions applied.

Critical illness cover terms for people with Crohn’s disease can also vary dramatically between insurers. Let iam|INSURED take the stress and hassle out of searching for the best policies to suit you.

Is Income Protection available for people with Crohn’s disease?

Income protection or accident and sickness style policies can be a lifeline if you’re unable to work. This type of cover would payout if you’re unable to work because you were ill or involved in an accident. For someone with Crohn’s disease, generally, you can get income protection or accident and sickness cover.

There’s a vast range of different types of income protection and accident & sickness policies to suit all budgets and needs. You should be able to get the right cover for you regardless of whether you’ve got Crohn’s. Premiums for income protection can vary dramatically between insurers and depending on your symptoms. It’s very important to get the right advice to make sure that you don’t buy the wrong cover or pay more.

For people with mild to moderate symptoms, it should be pretty straight forward in most cases. There’s a range of different insurers for us to consider in these cases and lots of options to choose from generally. If your symptoms are more severe then you might consider looking at an Accident & Sickness policy. This can work out very cost-effective and give you the cover you need.

How much is Travel Insurance for Crohn’s disease?

It’s important to get the right cover to protect you if you are travelling abroad and especially for conditions like Crohn’s. If you’ve got Crohn’s disease then travel insurance will generally be available for most people. Premiums can vary dramatically between travel insurance companies so it’s best to speak to a specialist.

Most travel insurance companies would offer cover and it is often cheaper to get cover through a medical specialist. Companies that specialise in cover for people with Crohn’s and other conditions understand the risks better.

You must make sure that you tell your travel insurance company about your medical condition and answer all questions accurately. Medical treatment when you’re overseas can be extremely costly so make sure that your cover is good enough. If you’re not covered then you could be at risk of extremely expensive medical procedures.

What are common problems getting life insurance with Crohn’s disease?

There are some potential complications which can cause some possible problems when looking for life insurance. We don’t like to focus too much on the negative points and in this case, there are only a couple of things, including:

  • Colostomy bags can cause some possible issues when applying for life insurance if the bag was fitted recently. If you’ve had a bag fitted and there are issues or you’re awaiting further treatment then you might need to wait.
  • Recent or awaiting surgery can also cause insurance underwriters to ask further questions about your condition or can mean you may need to wait for cover.

Declined cover previously doesn’t have to mean that this is the end of the road so speak to an expert like iam|INSURED you should be able to get at least some cover in most cases so make sure that you speak to one of our experts before you make any decisions.

What Crohn’s disease awareness events are there?

There are several events nationally and internationally, dedicated to raising awareness about Crohn’s, Colitis and other Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. These and other events have been developed by leading health charities to increase awareness about Crohn’s. Events can be to prevent risks, improve treatment or medication and fund research.

Crohn’s disease events include:

  • Crohn’s disease awareness week is a national event in the UK run by the charity, Crohn’s & Colitis UK. The event usually takes place on the 1st week in December and is to raise awareness and funds for Crohn’s research.
  • Crohn’s and Colitis awareness month is a global event in November to increase awareness for people living with the condition.
  • World IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Day is an event held in May across the globe with most national charities involved.
  • IBD awareness month is held in the United States in December by leading charities to help raise awareness. There are approximately 3 million people in the US living with Crohn’s disease or Colitis which is 1.3% of the population.

Crohn’s charities and support for Crohn’s disease (UK)

There are a number of major charities dedicated to helping people with Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases. These organisations provide vital guidance, help and support for those living with this condition.

Our team of life insurance advisers are some of the leading UK life insurance experts for people with medical conditions like Crohn’s disease. Over the past 20 years, we have helped thousands of people with Crohn’s disease and other medical conditions to get the cover they need to protect their families, homes and business. We offer FREE advice on a wide range of different types of insurance products and services.

We’re passionate about what we do to help our customers to make sure that they get the best cover and help them to save money. Our mission is to make sure that everyone is treated fairly regardless of their health or lifestyle. Check out our incredible Feefo customer reviews, see for yourself what our customers think about what we do.

For more information about getting life insurance, critical illness cover or income protection with Crohn’s disease then you can give our team of experts a call on 01244 732895.