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Heart Disease Life Insurance Guide 2024

Life insurance pays out a lump sum to protect your family if you die and a history of heart disease will inevitably make it more difficult to get the cover that you need. The good news is that there are often more options than you might think and you can usually save money by speaking to a medical life insurance expert.

In many cases, standard life insurance companies can offer life insurance to someone with heart disease or heart-related issues. Some insurance companies will be more suitable and affordable than others though, so it’s worth shopping around to find the best quotes.

In our latest heart disease life insurance guide, our team of insurance experts answers all of the UK’s main questions about buying life insurance if you have heart disease. These answers include price examples, important facts to be aware of, and useful tips to help you save money on your life cover in 2024.

A picture of a stopwatch

60-Second Summary – Heart Disease Life Insurance Guide 2024

Most UK life insurance companies will regularly receive applications from people with heart disease or other heart conditions. Heart disease symptoms can vary massively in severity, so the insurance company that works best for you might not be the best fit for every person with heart disease.

It is understandable to worry that having heart disease might make something like buying life insurance overly complicated. This is why our insurance experts have written this comprehensive guide, to help make this process simpler and less intimidating for you.

  • Popular life insurance policies for people with heart disease include level term life insurance, decreasing life insurance, and whole life insurance. The right policy for you will depend on your own situation and your budget for cover.
  • Life insurance can still be affordable for people with heart disease, and the key is to compare multiple quotes. This helps you to ensure that you don’t end up paying for higher premiums, when lower prices are available.
  • There are several specialist insurance companies that can help if you have a history of serious heart problems, or you have struggled to get life insurance in the past.
  • Critical illness insurance can provide additional financial protection for your family if you have heart disease. These policies will pay out a cash lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious medical condition like cancer or MS in the future.

There are various options for life insurance for people with heart disease, and most people in this situation will be able to buy life insurance. The exact policies and prices that are available for you will depend on how serious your heart disease symptoms are and if you have any other medical conditions.

Life insurance protects your family against financial difficulty if you were to pass away due to heart disease or for unrelated reasons. If you have children or other dependents, the pay out from a life insurance policy can provide much-needed support at a difficult time. This pay out is most often used to cover the cost of important expenses like any increased childcare costs and the cost of your funeral.

Around 7.6 million people in the UK have a heart or circulatory disease, so it is a common condition that life insurance companies will deal with regularly. This video from the British Heart Foundation explains more about heart disease and related health issues.

Coronary heart disease, clogged arteries and atherosclerosis

What is considered heart disease for life insurance?

There are several types of heart disease including arrhythmia, heart failure, heart valve disease and coronary artery disease. Any of these illnesses or other heart conditions must be disclosed on a life insurance application to ensure that your policy is valid.

These conditions won’t necessarily prevent you from getting cover, but life insurance companies will want to consider their impact on your general health.

It can be more complicated to find the right life insurance if you have heart disease, but it is usually possible to get cover to protect your home or family. The best approach is to consider what you need to protect (e.g. family, mortgage, business) and do some research to work out which insurance companies might work best for you.

The symptoms of heart disease can vary from person to person, and so can the prices and policies that are available. If you have had surgery to treat heart disease, this can also affect your policy so you should always mention this when asked.

Certain insurers will view heart disease as a problem, due to the known links to other serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Every insurance company is different, so some insurers will be more understanding and will offer much lower prices than others.

The insurance company will usually ask some extra questions about heart disease, any family history of heart issues, and your general health. This information can then be used to assess how likely you are to claim on your policy and how much your policy would cost.

Key factors for heart disease life insurance:

  • When were you diagnosed with heart disease?
  • Is there a history of heart problems in your family? (e.g. heart attack)
  • Do you take any medications?
  • Have you had surgery to treat your heart disease? (e.g. coronary angioplasty)
  • Does your health prevent you from working?
  • Do you have any other medical conditions? (related or unrelated)

Will life insurance cover heart disease?

Your life insurance policy will cover a previous diagnosis of heart disease and will also cover any medical conditions that are diagnosed in the future, so this isn’t something that you need to be worried about.

Traditional life insurance policies will always cover pre-existing conditions and it’s only policies like guaranteed life insurance that wouldn’t cover heart disease.

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We all understand how serious heart problems can be and your life insurance policy would pay out a cash lump sum to your family if you died because of heart-related issues. It will also pay out if you die for any other reason, so you are fully protected for a range of different scenarios.

Over 39,000 people* in England died due to heart disease and related problems in 2022, so it’s fair to worry about how your family would cope if this happened to you.

In the event of issues with your heart in later life, your policy can give you the peace of mind that your family are properly protected. Losing a loved one will be devastating for most people and life insurance helps to minimise any financial impact on your family.

*according to the latest figures from the British Heart Foundation

Heart disease life insurance will work similarly to any life insurance policy with a pre-existing medical condition. You will be asked questions about your overall health and lifestyle as well as questions relating to your heart specifically.

Life insurance companies may ask about things such as:

  • If you have been hospitalised due to your medical condition
  • If you are having treatments or are on medication
  • Whether you have other related health conditions

Each insurer has its own underwriting criteria and will consider your health and lifestyle based on its own knowledge and experience. Most life insurance applications will work in the same way though, regardless of whether you have any medical issues.

Your policy will also not be any different based on your heart disease diagnosis and will provide the same level of cover as a policy for someone with no medical conditions.

Note: You shouldn’t worry too much if you have been refused cover in the past, as there should still be options available for you.

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We’ve spoken to hundreds of people with heart disease over the years and the price of life insurance is usually the main thing that they are worried about. Most people are initially concerned about how much their policy might cost and if life insurance will be affordable for them.

Life insurance with heart disease can often cost much less than you would imagine, so you shouldn’t let this put you off from applying for the life insurance that you need. Below, our life insurance experts have created tables to highlight recent examples of real customers with heart disease and how much their life insurance policies cost.

The price of a life insurance policy can vary massively from person to person, and every insurance company will offer slightly different prices. The prices below are only intended as examples and the real cost of your cover will be based on things like:

Case Study 1: Miss H.

Details of applicantMiss H. was born in 1991 and is non-smoker
Heart disease details and informationMiss H has aortic stenosis (diagnosed in 2018)
She attends annual check ups with her doctor.
Other health informationAlso has endometriosis (diagnosed in 2009) and anxiety (diagnosed in 2015)
Height: 165cm / Weight: 68kg
Cover requirementsMiss H wanted £179,955 of level term life insurance over 25 years to protect her family
Monthly premiums (£s)£48.28 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Specialist insurance company

Case Study 2: Ms T.

Details of applicantMs T. was born in 1992 and is a non-smoker
Heart disease details and informationMs T. has congenital heart disease that was corrected with surgery when she was a child
Other health informationHeight: 161cm / Weight: 52kg
Cover requirementsMs T. wanted £200,000 of level term life insurance over 25 years to protect her family
Monthly premiums (£s)£42.15 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Specialist insurance company

How do I get cheaper heart disease life insurance?

There are some simple ways to save money on your life insurance if you have heart disease. This applies to both people applying for new policies and people with existing life insurance policies. Many people don’t realise that you can cancel your current life insurance policy if another insurance company offers you a better price.

The main ways to save money on heart disease life insurance are:

  • Improve your lifestyle: Losing weight or quitting smoking or drinking alcohol can have a big effect on the amount you pay for your life insurance. Insurance companies like to see positive lifestyle changes and will sometimes offer better prices based on these.
  • Lower your blood pressure/cholesterol: This is tied into lifestyle changes and can make a significant difference when the insurance company assess your health.
  • Adjust your policy: Consider if you really need as much cover as you thought or if a cheaper alternative (e.g. family income benefit) would provide enough protection for your family.
  • Get expert advice: If you’re struggling to find an affordable policy, an experienced advisor can quickly search the market to find the lowest prices.

There isn’t necessarily one ‘best’ life insurance company for people with heart disease, as the right insurer for you will be based on your own circumstances. Some insurers will be more suitable for people with heart disease though, which is why it is important to compare all your options.

The right insurance company for you could be completely different to the right one for someone else who has heart disease. This is why it is important to consider your own situation and things like:

  • How much cover do you need? (you can assess this based on your average outgoing expenses each year)
  • Does your partner rely on your income?
  • Would your partner still work if you died?
  • Do you have young children who depend on you financially?
  • Do you have any outstanding debts that need to be repaid? (e.g. a mortgage)

Considering the answers to each of these questions can help you to narrow down your options. The answers would also help a life insurance advisor to understand what level of cover is appropriate for you if you wanted extra advice before applying.

Life Insurance provider reviews

Critical illness insurance provides extra protection for your family, by paying out a significant cash lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious or ‘critical’ illness.

Critical illness cover can be available for people with a history of heart issues like heart disease. It can be harder to assess your best options for cover though, as specialist insurance companies might work better for certain people (e.g if you have multiple heart conditions).

You should compare quotes from several insurance companies to see which insurers will offer the right level of protection at the best price.

Note: You might find that some insurance companies will offer you cover but with a ‘cardiovascular exclusion’, which means that you can’t claim for heart-related issues. Not all companies will do this though, so you should carefully compare policies before making any decisions.

Can you get life insurance with congenital heart disease?

You should usually be able to get life insurance with congenital heart disease, as insurer will assess your condition similarly to any other heart issues. Their main concern will be how this condition affects your health or if you have experienced issues or complications.

Congenital heart disease refers to a heart condition or defect that has been present since birth. According to the NHS, this a very common birth defect which affects nearly 1 in 100 babies that are born in the UK.

As long as your symptoms are not severe and your condition is well managed, you should be able to get cover, though some insurers may be better for providing cover than others.

Is AFib considered heart disease for life insurance?

AFib (better known as atrial fibrillation) is a type of arrhythmia, meaning people with atrial fibrillation have an irregular heart rate.

While it is a heart condition, it won’t necessarily be classed as a heart disease by all insurers. They will however take this condition seriously and may request additional medical evidence or GP reports before approving cover.

It is definitely possible to get life insurance if you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation as long as you get the right advice and support when you apply.

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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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