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Respiratory conditions life insurance

For most of us, protecting our family’s future and wellbeing will be a top priority. Life insurance is a great and cost-effective way to provide financial security for your loved ones for years to come.

You shouldn’t be put off applying for life insurance if you have a respiratory condition. With the right advice, you can get the life cover you need at a price to suit your budget.

Respiratory conditions facts and figures UK

Around 1 in 5 people in the UK will be diagnosed with a respiratory condition, such as asthma or pneumonia.

According to the NHS:

  • Respiratory disease is the 3rd biggest cause of death in the UK (due to COPD, pneumonia, and lung cancer specifically)
  • There are double the number of hospital admissions for respiratory conditions in the Winter compared to the rest of the year
  • Treating respiratory conditions costs the NHS £11billion every year
  • Hospital admissions have risen for lung disease in the UK at 3 times the rate of all other hospital admissions (over the course of 7 years)

Learn more – NHS – Respiratory diseases

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A respiratory condition (or respiratory disease) is a medical condition that affects the airways and lungs. This includes conditions such as lung disease which affects the lung tissues, air sacs and airways.

Causes of respiratory conditions include:

  • Smoking (including second hand smoke)
  • Air pollution
  • Genetics (family history)
  • Exposure to chemicals/ irritants (e.g. asbestos)

Some conditions may be classed as ‘acute’ if they are something that will get better and not have ongoing symptoms. This is an infection or illness which only occurs once and lasts for a short period of time.

Symptoms of respiratory conditions

The symptoms you experience may vary depending on the specific condition you have and how severe it is. Common respiratory condition symptoms include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing that produces mucus
  • Tightness in chest
  • Lower immune system

When you are applying for life insurance, you will be asked a series of questions about your health, lifestyle and medical history. This is referred to as a medical questionnaire or ‘fact find’. You will normally be asked around 30 questions.

Your answers help insurance underwriters to get a clear picture of your health. This allows them to work out what policy is right for you and how much you will pay. The amount your policy costs can vary due to factors such as:

  • Your age when you apply
  • How much cover you need (sum assured £s)
  • Length of cover (policy term)
  • Type of life insurance (family or mortgage protection)
  • Smoker status

Insurers will all have slightly different underwriting policies and practices. This means some insurers will be a better option than others for people with respiratory conditions. A life insurance expert will be able to advise you about your best options for cover.

Our team are specialists in respiratory conditions life insurance, with more than 25 years of expertise.

Insurance providers that work well for people with medical conditions include:

Can I get life insurance with a respiratory condition?

YES – In many cases, it should be simple to get the cover you need, provided you have the right advice. People with COPD, asthma and other conditions shouldn’t worry that life insurance will be inaccessible or unaffordable.

Certain conditions such as asthma are very common in the UK. Insurers will be used to seeing applications from people with these conditions and so will normally be able to offer cover.

If your condition is more serious e.g. lung cancer, it is worth speaking to an insurance specialist to work out your best options.

Are respiratory conditions covered by life insurance?

YES – If you were to die due to a respiratory condition, your existing life insurance should cover this.

A standard life insurance policy won’t exclude pre-existing conditions. Your policy should pay out a cash lump sum to your family in the event of your death.

This can provide much needed financial support at a difficult time. The money received can be used to pay for important costs such as:

  • Mortgage repayments
  • Funeral expenses
  • Repaying debts
  • Household bills
  • Cost of living

YES – It is always best to disclose pre-existing medical conditions when you apply for life insurance. If you don’t, you risk your cover being invalid and not paying out when your loved ones might need the support most.

Will I need a medical for respiratory conditions life insurance?

Sometimes, insurers will ask for further medical information when processing your life insurance application. This often happens for people with medical conditions and isnot anything to be overly worried about.

They may ask for evidence such as:

  • A GP report (from your doctor or GP surgery)
  • Nurse screening (medical exam carried out in a home visit)

Providing extra medical information helps ensure your cover is valid. If you are worried about your medical history, you have the option of applying for a ‘guaranteed’ policy.

Will critical illness cover pay out for respiratory conditions?

YES – Many critical illness cover policies will pay out on diagnosis of respiratory conditions. Which conditions are covered will vary depending on your insurance provider.

Conditions such as end stage lung disease will be covered in most critical illness cover policies.

You should always check the terms and conditions before agreeing to a critical illness insurance policy. This means you know exactly where you stand and what you are covered for.

Respiratory conditions list A-Z

Below we a list of conditions that affect the respiratory system. You can find out more about life insurance and critical illness cover for each condition by following the links.


Acute Chest Syndrome

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis







Bronchiolitis Obliterans (Popcorn Lung)

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia




Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic Cough

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (Black Lung Disease)

Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever)

Common Cold

Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Cryptogenic Organising Pneumonia (COP)

Cystic Fibrosis


E-cigarette or Vaping Use Associated Lung Injury (EVALI)


Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (EGPA)


Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)


Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV)

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis


Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

Infectious Lung Diseases

Influenza (flu)

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)



Legionnaires’ Disease

Long Covid

Lung Cancer

Lung Disease


MAC Lung Disease


Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Myasthenia Gravis


Neuromuscular Disorders

NTM Lung Disease


Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)


Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pleural Effusion




Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD)

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)

Pulmonary Edema

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary Hypertension


Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)



Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)


Sleep Apnoea


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)




What are the 5 main respiratory conditions?The 5 main respiratory conditions are:  

Lung cancer
Cystic fibrosis
What is the most serious respiratory disease?The NHS states that the biggest causes of death from respiratory disease are COPD, lung cancer and pneumonia.
Can life insurance be declined for respiratory conditions?In some cases, mainstream providers may decline to provide cover if your condition is very serious.   There will usually be some options though, so it is worth speaking to a specialist for advice.

Useful resources

Asthma + Lung UK – Living with a lung condition

British Lung Foundation – Lung Disease in the UK

NHS Inform – Lungs and airways (conditions)

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