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Facts about epilepsy life insurance

More people are being diagnosed with epilepsy in the UK than ever before. Epilepsy is one of the most common types of neurological conditions that is most well-known for the seizures it causes.

Having lost a good friend from a seizure in 2019, it’s something that we’re extremely passionate about and aware of the risks. We help thousands of people with epilepsy to get the best life cover to protect their families.

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Is epilepsy considered a pre-existing condition?

One of the biggest questions with life insurance is whether you have a pre-existing medical condition or not. Epilepsy is a common neurological condition that is chronic (life long) so will always be classed as pre-existing.

This is not to say that you’ll struggle to get life cover with epilepsy, however there might be some other things to think about which we’ll explain here. Even though it isn’t considered to be life threatening or even serious, there are some additional questions that may apply.

Life insurance for epilepsy patients

Life insurance is the best way to protect your family, home, or business if anything happens to you. Cover for epilepsy is very often available and can be fairly simple to get through the right companies.

You should be aware that some insurance companies are better than others with life insurance underwriting for epilepsy so prices can vary dramatically. We also regularly speak to people with epilepsy who’ve been declined with other companies and we manage to find them cover.

Life insurance underwriting epilepsy

When you apply for life cover you’ll go through a medical questionnaire (fact find) which will ask a number of questions about your health, lifestyle, and occupation. Making sure that you pay the best price for cover is important so you’ll need to apply to an insurer who’s right for you.

Epilepsy life insurance questions:

  • What caused your epilepsy (e.g. alcohol, brain swelling or scarring, other medical condition, drug use, or medication)?
  • Are you awaiting any scans, tests, or investigations?
  • When was your first seizure?
  • Has your treatment changed in the past 6 months?
  • Has your epilepsy caused any cognitive issues or mental health problems?
  • Have you been admitted to the hospital because of your epilepsy?

These questions can vary from one insurer to another but essentially they will be very similar for the majority of companies. The main difference will be how they treat people based on their answers to these medical and health questions.

More information about LIFE INSURANCE

Does epilepsy affect life insurance coverage?

No – life insurance is generally the same product, regardless of your health, or any medical conditions. It will pay out a cash lump sum to your family or to your beneficiaries (family or dependents) if you die which will provide financial security in the future. If you’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy then you’ll need to answer some questions about it and potentially provide a GP report.

The process of applying for life insurance if you’ve got epilepsy might be slightly different than for other people. This is simply to take account of your medical history and so that there are no questions or problems at the point of claim.

Do I need to tell life insurance about epilepsy?

Yes – if you’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy then you’ll be asked questions specifically about this condition. You must make sure that you answer these questions as truthfully and honestly as you can to avoid problems when you claim.

If you fail to disclose information about your medical history then it could result in a claim being refused or significantly reduced by your insurer. This is commonly called ‘non-disclosure’ and if you do this then you might find that life insurance may be invalid.

Will I need a medical?

In most cases where the symptoms are mild and seizures are fewer then you’ll probably not have to give medical evidence. The purpose of medical reports is to make sure that your application has been fully assessed and underwritten.

For a lot of neurological conditions, a GP report will be requested but that’s not a bad thing. If you apply for life insurance and you’ve got epilepsy then you’ll probably be asked to provide your GP details. The next stage is underwriting and where your GP report might be requested.

You will also have the option to view your medical report in this instance which means that you’ll be able to check the information before it gets sent to the insurer. In this instance, you would need to visit your GP to check the report before it gets sent on. If you’re happy with the information on your medical records then you can skip this step to save time.

Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) changed life insurance rates for epilepsy?

The impacts of COVID-19 are similar for most medical conditions because most insurers have placed similar restrictions. Someone with mild epilepsy looking for life insurance would generally see no change to their application journey. It is only towards the more severe end of the scale where there are changes generally.

There are potential links to additional risks connected to epilepsy medication with extra mortality from Coronavirus. Most people with symptoms of COVID-19 would be postponed for a period of 30 days after symptoms have gone. If you had been exposed to certain circumstances where there is a potential risk of contracting the virus then there could be limitations in cover.

Some Coronavirus questions include:

  • Have you tested positive for coronavirus?
  • Have you been told to self-isolate?
  • Are you experiencing symptoms such as cough, temperature, or loss of taste/smell?
  • Do you know anyone with Coronavirus that you’ve been in contact with?

While this situation has been an unprecedented period in history, there’s nothing to suggest that something like this might happen again.

There have been certain limitations that came into force during the pandemic which caused restrictions for some people. The limits only tended to be towards the severe end of the spectrum where people had complications or control issues. Some of those limits put in place include:

  • The maximum amount of cover available (£1 million max)
  • Restrictions to underwriting levels
  • Some medical evidence requirements restricted

The limits are expected to be temporary, however, there could be longer-term effects on medical underwriting for life insurance.

Can I get critical illness cover if I’ve got epilepsy?

People with epilepsy can usually get critical illness cover with no real issues, especially where seizures are mild (absent seizures). If you’ve got epilepsy and you’re considering taking out critical illness cover then here’s how it works. You’ll be asked a series of medical questions about your condition as well as the usual general questions about your health, lifestyle, and occupation.

The main things that will be taken into consideration when you’re applying for this type of cover with epilepsy are:

  • Type of seizures you have (e.g. absent or tonic-clonic)
  • Date of diagnosis
  • Frequency of symptoms/seizures

We’ve dealt with thousands of these types of applications over the years so we know which providers offer the best cover as well as cheaper premiums. It’s often the case that some insurers are far better than others in terms of underwriting for epilepsy and especially with more complicated products such as critical illness cover.

You should need to consider that some insurance companies will remove certain elements from your critical illness cover policy connected to your epilepsy. These are called ‘exclusions’ and in this case, you might find that certain neurological conditions will be excluded.

Make sure that you check your documentation thoroughly to ensure that you’re satisfied with what you are being offered. And remember that cheap isn’t always best in this situation, it’s more important to have the right cover.

How much critical illness cover do I need?

If your epilepsy is well controlled with no recent symptoms, obtaining critical illness cover is a straightforward process. In this case, critical illness cover should be offered under standard rates – this is very similar to the unwritten guidelines of life insurance cover.

If your epilepsy causes you regular symptoms or is newly diagnosed, the obtainment may be less straightforward with the addition of premium loading. If you are eligible, here are factors to consider when applying for critical illness cover:

  • Income (after Tax)
  • Mortgage payments (annual)
  • Cost of living (annual)
  • Any other possible costs (e.g. medical treatment or adaptations)

More information about CRITICAL ILLNESS COVER

Is income protection available with epilepsy?

Most people with epilepsy work normally with no major restrictions on lifestyle so income protection is important. This is something that’s quite common so here’s a bit more about how it might work for you. If you’ve got epilepsy and want to protect your income then you should be able to get covered in most cases.

If you are only suffering from mild symptoms and you are well controlled then you should be able to get this type of cover quickly and easily. Some people with mild absent seizures that happen infrequently could get accepted for cover immediately with no further medical underwriting. It may be the case that you would not be covered for anything connected to your epilepsy in this instance, this can vary depending on the insurer.

People who suffer from more severe symptoms such as tonic-clonic seizures or more frequent symptoms could require further medical underwriting. There’s a chance that you could see some providers offer cover with some limitations which could include exclusions or limits to the length of the deferment period.

A deferment period is the number of weeks you have before you are able to make a claim, usually in this case it will be a minimum of 13 weeks. This basically means that you would be able to submit your claim once you have been off work for 13 weeks and usually for 12 to 24 months from that point.

There are also other types of income protection policies that might be more suitable for someone with epilepsy. These more unique and exclusive products would offer cover for shorter claim periods (e.g. 12 months) with no medical underwriting. We offer these policies because they’re ideal for people with medical conditions like epilepsy.

Epilepsy income protection amounts of cover

If you suffer from epilepsy, it is likely that you will be able to get income protection, however, exclusions may be applied.

Here are some things to consider when taking income protection:

  • Monthly income (after tax)
  • Mortgage/rent payments
  • Debts (other)
  • Cost of living

More information about INCOME PROTECTION

How much does epilepsy life insurance cost?

When you apply for life insurance, there are a few things that insurance companies will need to consider before offering cover.

Firstly, the type of epilepsy you have will influence your eligibility and your premiums. If you are diagnosed with petit mal epilepsy and experience fewer seizures, then the cover can be quick and cheap. However, if you’ve been diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy and have experienced symptoms, your premiums can increase.

Secondly, the type of seizures you have can impact the cost of your epilepsy life insurance policy. Symptoms can vary from simple partial seizures to tonic-clonic seizures where the loss of consciousness is likely. If you have the latter, it is likely that cover may cost slightly more.

Finally, the regularity of your symptoms, diagnosis timescale, and the level of control you have over your epilepsy will influence the cost of your policy

Exclusions for epilepsy life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection, or travel insurance

When applying for epilepsy life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection, or travel insurance, you may also experience ‘exclusions’. Exclusions are classified as conditions that can be linked/caused by your epilepsy symptoms and will be excluded from your policy.

Is epilepsy a big thing on life insurance?

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological medical conditions with a wide range of potential symptoms, severities, and treatments. It’s important to be aware of the possible problems that you might encounter when you apply for life insurance.

We’re always 100% focused on making sure that our customers get a fair price but also that they get the right cover. Here’s what we know are some of the slightly more complex issues around getting life insurance with epilepsy:

  • Recent hospitalisation can cause some concerns for underwriters or multiple hospitalisations can also be an issue. If you’ve had hospital treatment because of your epilepsy then you’ll be asked for information about it
  • Tonic-clonic seizures can also be a concern for some underwriters because they are classed as more serious than absent seizures
  • Outstanding investigations will also often cause your offer of coverage to be postponed until those investigations have been completed and results are available. This is just to ensure that nothing shows up in the results of tests

Many people that we speak to with epilepsy have been refused cover elsewhere or offered premiums that seem high. We’re often able to get you covered even if you’ve had an application declined previously so give us a call.

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