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Can I get Life Insurance after Heart Attack? 2024 Guide

You can get life insurance to protect your family after you’ve suffered a heart attack, and traditional life insurance won’t exclude heart conditions in this situation. Suffering from a heart attack is often life-changing and it will often change your perspective on things like needing life insurance.

In this independent guide, our team of insurance experts explain how life insurance after a heart attack works and the best way to get cover for your family and mortgage. We’ll look at the different things that can affect your life insurance after a heart attack and how much your cover could cost you each month.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are:

  • Around 1.4 million heart attack survivors living in the UK
  • Around 100,000 hospital admissions due to heart attacks every year
  • Every 5 minutes someone is admitted into hospital due to a heart attack

We’ve spoken to many people over the years who are worried that life insurance won’t be available for them, or that it will be too expensive because they have had a heart attack. This isn’t usually true, and it is exactly why our insurance experts create each of our comprehensive life insurance guides. Our aim with these guides is to help you to understand all of your options for life insurance and how this process might work for you.

A picture of a stopwatch

60-Second Summary – Can I get Life Insurance after Heart Attack? 2024 Guide

This comprehensive guide has been created by our team of insurance experts to answer all the UK’s main questions about getting life insurance after a heart attack.

Buying life insurance after a heart attack can sometimes feel overwhelming or impossible, but policies are often cheaper and more easily available than you might imagine. A heart attack life insurance expert can save you time and money, by helping you to choose the right life insurance company for your health and your budget.

  • Life insurance can still be very affordable after a heart attack, particularly if it has been several years since your heart attack and you are generally healthy.
  • There are several options for life insurance after a heart attack including level term cover (family protection) and decreasing cover (mortgage protection).
  • You will need to wait for at least 6 months after having a heart attack to apply for a standard life insurance policy. Policies like personal accident insurance or guaranteed life insurance can provide a level of cover for you until standard cover is available again.
  • Heart attacks are one of the main reasons for critical illness insurance claims in the UK. Most critical illness policies will pay out £10,000’s to financially support you and your family while you recover.
  • Having life insurance can make a huge difference to your family’s future, so it’s important to consider your options carefully. An experienced life insurance expert can provide free help and support with making this decision.

If you have had a heart attack, you might believe that life insurance isn’t something that you will be able to buy anymore. The truth is that life insurance will still be available in most cases, and it will provide cover for any future heart attacks or heart related issues. Treatment for heart attacks is constantly improving and so are life insurance prices, which makes it even more likely that your life insurance application will be accepted.

Having a heart attack is one of the scariest things that can happen to you, and it will often cause you to consider if you are doing enough to protect your family if anything else happens to you in the future.

If you have other heart conditions or have experienced complications, it can be useful to get extra advice from a medical life insurance specialist. Applying with the help of an expert can make a massive difference in how much you pay and how quickly your application is approved.

100,000’s of people in the UK will have heart attacks each year, and this recent video from the NHS shares the true story of Carol who is a heart attack survivor.

Surviving a heart attack: real life story | NHS

What is a ‘mild’ heart attack?

It is possible to experience a ‘mild’ heart attack, which doesn’t cause your heart and blood flow to stop entirely (cardiac arrest). These heart attacks are caused by a partial blockage in an artery in your heart and can be referred to as NSTEMI (non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction).

It may be easier to get life insurance if you have had a milder heart attack and haven’t experienced lasting damage or symptoms. Life insurance companies will still consider your heart attack when you apply, as a mild heart attack can indicate a higher risk of having a more serious heart attack in the future.

Thousands of people every year will buy life insurance after experiencing a heart attack in the past. There are various policy types to choose from including family life insurance, mortgage life insurance, and whole life cover.

You should choose the policy that feels like the right fit for you and the amount that you want to spend each month. When you apply for life insurance after having a heart attack, you will be asked additional questions about your health and lifestyle.

This helps the insurance company to assess how much cover they can offer you and how much your policy should cost each month.

Key factors for life insurance after a heart attack:

  • When was your heart attack?
  • How many heart attacks have you had?
  • Did you have any surgery after your heart attack? (e.g. bypass or angioplasty)
  • Do you have any other related medical conditions? (e.g. heart disease)
  • Did you have any stents fitted?
  • Was your heart attack over 6 months ago?

How many years after a heart attack can you get life insurance?

You will generally need to wait for around 6 months after having a heart attack before starting a new life insurance application. While this can be frustrating if you want your cover in place sooner, there are alternative options which can be useful in the meantime.

For example, personal accident insurance will usually include accidental death cover as standard, while also paying out cash lump sums if you experience an accidental injury (e.g. a broken bone). Policies like this can provide some level of cover before you can apply for standard life insurance again.

Should I buy guaranteed life insurance after a heart attack?

Another option for immediate cover would be guaranteed life insurance. These policies won’t provide as much cover as standard life insurance, but will cover things such as accidental death and death due to new non-related conditions (e.g. cancer).

Guaranteed life insurance can work well for people with multiple medical conditions, as it allows you to skip most of the usual medical questions when you apply.

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This a question that we are asked a lot, and it is understandable to worry that your policy might not cover future heart attacks if you have had one in the past.

Your life insurance policy should cover any heart attacks you had in the past, as well as any that you experience in the future. Standard life insurance policies will always cover pre-existing conditions, as long as you tell the insurer about them when you apply.

While it can be tempting not to mention something like a heart attack, this could lead to your policy being invalid and not paying out when it should which really isn’t worth the risk.

The main priority for most of us who have had heart attacks is how to protect our family if the worst happened in the future. If you were to die due to a heart attack or something related, your life insurance policy will pay out a cash lump sum to your loved ones.

According to the British Heart Foundation, every 3 minutes someone in the UK will die due to a heart or circulatory disease which is a shocking figure.

Most forms of life insurance will pay out for heart attacks, as explained below:

  • Life insurance heart attack pay out: Your family (beneficiaries) will receive a lump sum if you die after suffering a heart attack
  • Critical illness cover heart attack pay out: This is considered to be a core condition for critical illness insurance, so you should be paid a lump sum on diagnosis
  • Income protection heart attack pay out: You should be able to claim on your income protection policy if you are unable to work for 4 or more weeks because of a heart attack

It unfortunately isn’t possible to claim on your own life insurance policy while you are still alive (the main exception being if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness).

However, if you have a combined life and critical illness policy, you would likely be able to submit a claim for your heart attack against the critical illness part of your policy. Depending on the type of policy, your life cover might end after this point, so it is important to understand if this is what will happen for you. The last thing you would want is for your life cover to end without you realising, which would leave your family at risk.

Luckily, there are some life and critical illness policies that will allow you to claim twice (once for serious illness and once for death).

A qualified life insurance expert will be able to fully explain both options to you when you buy your policy. There should be a full outline of how this works within your policy documents, which you can check if you’re unsure of which type of policy you have.

Term life insurance is the most common form of life insurance in the UK, and these policies will often be available after a heart attack. There are two main types of term life insurance which are:

  • Level term life insurance: These policies are known as ‘family protection’ or ‘family life insurance’, as they are designed to protect your loved ones.
  • Decreasing term life insurance: These policies are known as ‘mortgage protection’ or ‘mortgage life insurance’, as they are designed to repay the remaining balance on a repayment mortgage.

Another option is increasing life insurance, which you can buy from several UK life insurance companies. Increasing cover protects your policy against the impact of rising costs in the future (inflation). It is important to note that if you choose an increasing policy, your policy premiums (monthly payments) will increase over time as well.

One of the main questions our team gets asked about life insurance after a heart attack is ‘how much will life insurance cost for me?’, and if it will be far more expensive than it would have been in the past. Realistically, there isn’t one set answer to this question, as other things like your age and occupation will also affect the cost of your cover.

There may be other things related to your heart attack that will have an impact on prices as well, such as any related conditions or ongoing symptoms/treatments.

One of the best things about life insurance is that policies are generally very flexible, which means that there are normally varying levels of cover and pricing available. The best approach to find the lowest prices would be to speak to a heart attack life insurance expert who can quickly compare the best quotes for you, so you don’t waste any time.

Example heart attack life insurance policy

Below is an example of a real customer that our team helped to find the right life insurance policy back in July 2023. This a real policy and a great example of someone who was able to get a brand new life insurance policy, and within less than a year of having their heart attack.

Details of applicantMr G was born in September 1973 and is a non-smoker
Heart attack details and informationHad a heart attack 8 months before applying for life insurance.
Also has type 1 diabetes, controlled with insulin.
Other health informationHeight: 6ft / Weight: 18st
Cover requirementWanted £82,000 of decreasing life insurance to protect his mortgage with a policy term of 9 years.
Monthly premiums (£s)£28.89 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Specialist insurance company (The Exeter)

In this case, the best price and policy was through a specialist insurance company (The Exeter) as the heart attack was recent, and the customer had another medical condition (type 1 diabetes). Having access to a specialist like The Exeter allowed our experts to find the perfect life insurance policy for Mr G., and it was a budget-friendly option that costs less than £30 per month.

It won’t be necessary for everyone who has had a heart attack to buy their policy through a specialist life insurance company. It can be possible to get your cover through a well-known insurer like Aviva or Legal & General, especially if it has been many years since your heart attack happened.

The insurance company that is right for you will depend on your current health and lifestyle, and if you have any other medical conditions.

The easiest way to work out your best option for cover is to get advice from an experienced life insurance specialist. A medical life insurance expert will be able to identify which life insurance companies will work best for the policy that you need.

Life Insurance provider reviews

Applying for life insurance might seem like a complicated process, but it is usually pretty simple even if you have pre-existing conditions. You will need to apply for your cover either directly through an insurance company, through a price comparison site, or through an experienced broker.

You will then be asked to answer various questions about your general health and any other factors that an insurance company might consider ‘high risk’ (e.g. a dangerous hobby). You have had a heart attack before, you will normally be asked some extra questions about this, such as how you were treated and how long ago this was.

Once you have given the insurer all the information that they need, they will assess your application and decide whether they can offer you the amount of cover that you want.

You will need to pay for your life insurance every month (or annually) to make sure that your protection stays in place. This could be for a set number of years (your policy term) or for the rest of your life (whole life insurance).

There can even be options for you if you have had a life insurance application declined, which is always upsetting and frustrating. Insurance underwriting changes over time, and there is always the chance that you simply applied to the wrong company and another one will work better for you.

Will I need a medical because I have had a heart attack?

In some cases, the life insurance company might want to learn more about your medical history before approving your application. The most common thing that they will do is to request a nurse screening or ask for a GP medical report.

This extra information helps the insurance company to understand if your heart attack has had any lasting impact on your general health.

While being asked for more information might seem like a bad thing, it can actually be helpful as providing more information ensures that your policy is valid. This means that your loved ones are less likely to experience issues or delays when they need to submit a claim.

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A heart attack is one of the top 3 reasons for critical illness insurance claims in the UK, with the other reasons being cancer and stroke. In 2023, the Association of British Insurers released guidelines which state that these 3 conditions must be covered by all critical illness insurance policies.

Your critical illness insurance policy will cover each of these conditions (plus more) and will pay out a cash lump sum to support you through your illness and recovery.

It’s important to be aware that your heart attack will normally need to meet certain criteria for you to have a valid claim. These terms and conditions will be set out within your policy documents, and you should contact your insurer if you aren’t sure if you can claim.

There are several cardiovascular diseases (CVD) that are also closely linked to heart attacks, including conditions like angina, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You won’t necessarily be able to claim for each of these conditions, but you will often be able to claim for serious complications like a heart attack.

Heart attacks can happen suddenly without warning, and they are often caused by conditions like heart disease. This video from the British Heart Foundation explains some of the main initial symptoms of a heart attack that you should be aware of.

What is a heart attack?
What is the average life expectancy after a heart attack?

Many people who have a heart attack will survive if they are given appropriate medical treatment. It can take several months to fully recover, and your life expectancy may not be drastically affected.

If your heart attack caused lasting damage or was linked to other conditions, this could affect your life expectancy.

Can you get life insurance with a heart stent?

If your heart attack resulted in heart surgery such as fitting a stent, it can still be possible to buy life insurance.

The key will be to apply via an experienced life insurance expert, as they can help you to avoid applying to any companies that aren’t suitable.

Is a heart attack a pre-existing medical condition?

Conditions like heart attacks will always be classed as pre-existing conditions if they happened before you bought your life insurance policy. If you don’t disclose a pre-existing medical condition when you apply, this can cause serious issues with your cover.

Our insurance experts have written a full and comprehensive guide that answers the question ‘What is a Pre-existing Medical Condition?’ and explains how medical conditions affect different types of policies.

What are 3 early signs of a heart attack?

Exact heart attack symptoms can vary from person to person, but common initial heart attack symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling extremely anxious
  • Coughing or wheezing

You may experience pain in other areas of your body (e.g. arm or jaw) before experiencing any chest pain or tightness. It is also possible to have a heart attack and not experience any chest pain, which is why it is important to get checked if you experience other symptoms as well.

Can a heart attack be cured?

Heart attacks can be treated or ‘cured’ with prompt medical attention and treatment. Depending on the cause of your heart attack, you may be treated with blood thinning medication, or surgeries such as bypass or coronary angioplasty.

Fast action by medical professionals can minimise any damage to your heart, but you may still need follow up treatment during your recovery.

There isn’t an overall ‘best’ life insurance policy after a heart attack, as everyone will need different things from their cover. Ultimately, you should consider what is most important for you to protect and how much money you are able to spend.

Our team of independent experts can help you to compare the cheapest life insurance quotes after heart attack to find the policy that works best for you. If you have struggled buying life insurance in the past or are simply looking for a better deal, our team of experts is here to help.

Call 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE to contact our life insurance experts for free and impartial advice about your life insurance policy.

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Can I get life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Yes, you will be able to get life insurance with almost any pre-existing medical condition, as long as it is not terminal. If traditional life insurance is not available due to the severity of your symptoms, then there are other guaranteed and specialist life insurance options, such as:

  • Accidental death
  • Over 50s life insurance
  • Guaranteed life insurance

Some of the most common examples of life insurance with pre-existing conditions are:

  • Overweight or High BMI life insurance
  • Diabetes life insurance (e.g. Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes)
  • Cancer life insurance
  • Heart attack or heart disease life insurance
  • Mental health life insurance
  • Multiple Sclerosis life insurance
  • Autoimmune disorders life insurance
  • HIV life insurance

There are literally thousands of types and variations of pre-exisiting medical conditions and so your situation is likely to be different to someone else. Life insurance with pre-existing conditions will take a number of elements in to account:

  • Severity and type of symptoms
  • Dates of diagnosis, episodes or attacks, and treatments
  • Any ongoing treatment and medications

Your life insurance premiums will be based on your own individual circumstances and how much cover you need. You should be able to adjust the levels of cover to suit your budget and it’s just as important to make sure that you at least have some cover in place.

What does Martin Lewis say about life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

MoneySavingExpert.com suggests that life insurance will ‘cost a lot more’ with a pre-existing medical condition. This is not true and it really does depend on your own individual circumstances so don’t be put off by this as they are not experts in this area.

It is true that some circumstances where the pre-existing medical condition is serious or severe, premiums can be higher to reflect the additional mortality risks. Ultimately, your life insurance premiums are unfortunately based on how likely you are to claim or if you have a higher chance of death within the policy term.

Martin Lewis doesn’t provide any real substance to his comment about pre-existing conditions life insurance and that’s not good enough. You should speak to a medical life insurance specialist to get a fully underwritten quote before you make any final decisions about whether or not you can afford to protect your family.

How much is life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Most traditional life insurance providers will accept applications for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Often, you will have a number of potential options from several different insurance providers so you can usually save money as well by shopping around.

Historically you might have had less offers when you apply for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, but fortunately that is changing. Most of the more well-known high street life insurance brands are now offering more competitive rates and more flexible underwriting.

Top tips to save money on life insurance with pre-existing conditions:

  • Speak to pre-existing medical conditions specialist (these companies will understand the market better and should know which insurers will be cheapest for you)
  • Shop around and get different quotes (same as everything else, by shopping around you’ll get a better idea of what a good price is and what different companies offer)
  • Apply at the best time (timing can be important when applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, usually when symptoms are stable and not before or after treatment)

There are also other things to take into consideration, such as if you’re a smoker or if your weight is higher than normal. Can you do anything to improve your situation that might help to reduce your life insurance premiums.

Best life insurance for pre-existing conditions?

The best life insurance for pre-existing conditions will be different for each individual, based on their circumstances and the details of their health or medical history. There are certainly some insurance providers who are better for people with pre-existing medical conditions than others, such as:

  • The Exeter (better for people with more severe symptoms and serious health problems)
  • Legal & General (can sometimes be good for certain pre-existing medical conditions, especially mild to moderate symptoms)
  • Royal London (offers a number of specialist products and policies for certain pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and mental health)
  • Scottish Widows (sometimes good for moderate medical conditions and offers flexible underwriting for certain conditions)
  • The Guardian (also offers flexible underwriting towards some pre-existing medical conditions)
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