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Sleep apnea and life insurance

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and need life cover to protect your family, then there are a few things to think about. You should be able to get life insurance with sleep apnea through most of the mainstream companies.

You can save a lot of money on your life insurance by speaking to the right company, so you could get better value for money.

Sleep apnea isn’t usually life-threatening but can have an impact on lifestyle and health.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an incredibly common condition that affects around 1.5 million adults in the UK. According to the British Lung Foundation, 85% are undiagnosed and therefore not treated for the condition.

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Here are a few useful hints and tips that should help you to find the ideal solution to protect your family.

Can you get life insurance with sleep apnea?

YES – you will definitely be able to get life cover with sleep apnea and the trick is just making sure you pay a fair price. Some insurers will charge more than others for life insurance and some are better for people with certain medical conditions.

Each insurer has its own criteria or philosophy when it comes to sleep apnea life insurance underwriting.

Life insurance questions for sleep apnea

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll need to complete an application that will ask about health, lifestyle, and occupation. There are some standard questions that you’ll be asked if you’re applying for life insurance with sleep apnea.

Common questions include:

  • In the last 5 years have you had asthma, sleep apnoea, or anything affecting your lungs or breathing?
  • Are you awaiting any scans, tests, surgery, or investigations?
  • Has your condition been investigated and diagnosed as obstructive sleep apnea?
  • Have you been treated with, or are you being treated with a CPAP machine, Mandibular advancement device, Surgery, or other?
  • Have you been using a CPAP machine for more than 3 months?
  • Do you suffer from excessive tiredness during the day?
  • Is your condition controlled?
  • Have you been told that your condition is caused by a neurological disorder?
  • Does your condition have any impact on your daily life, or your ability to work?

YES – if you’ve had any symptoms or treatment in the past 5 years then you’ll need to disclose this on your application. Most insurers will ask about respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and sleep apnea in the past 5 years.

If you are asked and the question applies to your condition, then you’ll need to tell your insurer about it. The only reason why it might not apply is if you’ve not had any symptoms or treatment for over 5 years.

Does life insurance payout for sleep apnea?

If you have a life insurance policy already then you should be covered if anything happens in the future. Life insurance provides coverage with no exclusions in general unless you have a guaranteed acceptance policy (this might exclude pre-existing medical conditions).

Does sleep apnea affect life insurance rates?

Life insurance rates are based on a number of things which include health, lifestyle, and age. You can get cheaper life insurance rates by shopping around especially when you’ve got a medical condition, such as sleep apnea.

Getting a fair price for life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition is important, and possible with the right company.

Some of the other reasons why life insurance premiums change:

  • How much cover do you need?
  • What term do you need to take life cover for (years)?
  • Your age
  • Do you smoke?
  • What type of life insurance do you need (e.g. family or mortgage)?

Best life insurance for sleep apnea

There are several main types of life insurance policies and coverage that are designed to cover your family and you. You’ll simply need to decide what is important to you and then see what is affordable.

Sleep apnea term life insurance (family protection) is the most common type of life cover for people wanting to protect their children. This will be the easiest type of life insurance to get with sleep apnea because of the standard underwriting process.

Sleep apnea decreasing life insurance (mortgage protection) is the cheapest type of life cover and the same as term life insurance for underwriting. You should be able to get a decreasing term policy with sleep apnea, and this will protect your mortgage if you die.

Sleep apnea critical illness cover can be available in a lot of cases as long as you don’t have severe symptoms. When you apply for this type of cover, you’ll be asked the same questions as when you apply for life insurance.

You should easily be able to get a critical illness cover policy with minor obstructive sleep apnea and you use a CPAP machine. If you have major obstructive sleep apnea then you might find that there are slightly fewer options but cove should still be available.

Income protection with sleep apnea is also sometimes available with some limits on underwriting. You might find that you’ll be offered cover with some exclusions such as cardiovascular or respiratory conditions.

Will I need a medical for life insurance with sleep apnea?

It is possible to get immediate cover for sleep apnea which is without needing a medical or GP report. You might also need to provide some medical evidence or have a nurse screening, which is normal.

Generally, if your symptoms are mild (minor obstructive sleep apnea) then you’ll be able to get cover instantly. Most people with mild to moderate symptoms and no surgery will get cover without a medical.

Best life insurance companies for sleep apnea

There are plenty of options when it comes to applying for life insurance and there are dozens of companies. Finding the best company for you when you’ve got sleep apnea can be confusing, but can also save you thousands.

Here’s a quick example of how much life insurance can be with sleep apnoea

Age (Date of birth)33 (13/10/1987)
Height / Weight5’7” / 12’5 stone
Are you waiting for surgery, tests etc.?No
Has this condition been investigated?Yes
Have you had any treatment?CPAP machine
Have you used a CPAP machine for 3 months?Yes
Do you suffer from tiredness in the day?No
Was your condition caused by a neurological disorder?No
Amount of cover£200,000
Term of cover20 years
Cover typeLevel term (family protection)
iam|INSURED premium£9.68

Medical conditions linked with sleep apnea

There are some medical conditions and lifestyles that are closely linked with sleep apnea, including:

Common questions about sleep apnoea

Here are some of the most common questions that people ask about sleep apnoea and how it affects you.

What are the warning signs of sleep apnoea?There are some usual signs that you can look out for if you think that you might have sleep apnea. These include:

Tiredness during the daytime
Snoring (more loudly)
Your partner might have noticed you stopping breathing during sleep
Waking up from sleep abruptly, usually gasping for breath
Dry mouth or sore throat after sleep
Concentration problems
Can sleep apnea kill you?Approximately 20-30% of adults have obstructive sleep apnea according to experts, and this causes your airways to close multiple times every hour.

There are instances where sleep apnea can be fatal as well as an increased risk of accidents due to tiredness during the day.
What causes sleep apnea?The most common cause of sleep apnea in adults is obesity, which can be linked to soft tissue in the mouth and throat.

This in turn can cause the airways to become blocked during sleep when the throat and tongue muscles relax.
How do I cure sleep apnea?If you have been diagnosed with minor obstructive sleep apnea by your doctor, then you might be recommended to make some of these changes:

Reduce your BMI (weight loss)
Take regular exercise
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Stop smoking
Sleep on your front and not your back

Useful information

NHS Choices – Sleep apnoea overview

Hope 2 Sleep – The sleep apnoea and sleep support charity

Sleep Apnoea Trust – Charity

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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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