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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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Getting life insurance with sleep apnea

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

More about LIFE INSURANCE

Can you get life insurance with sleep apnea?

YES – you should 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?

Is sleep apnea a pre-existing condition for life insurance?

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.

Also, if you fail to tell your insurer about a medical condition then your cover may be invalid so you won’t be protected.

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).

You might also have taken a policy since you were diagnosed, or need a new policy in the future. As long as you disclose all information about your medical history then your family will be covered if anything happens in the future.

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 and 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)?

Making your life insurance affordable and getting the right cover is important so you need to do your research.

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 to 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.

You should always check your policy documents and term & conditions before you accept any offer of cover.

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.

If you have more severe symptoms or if you’ve got other medical problems then you may be asked to have a medical. A medical report or a nurse screening are both normal so there’s no need to worry about it.

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

*example above was created by iam|INSURED on 03/03/2021

Medical conditions linked with sleep apnea

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

If you have another medical condition linked with your sleep apnea then you can read more by clicking the links above.

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
  • Headaches
  • 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 for people with sleep apnea

NHS Choices – Sleep apnoea overview
Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sleep-apnoea/

Hope 2 Sleep – The sleep apnoea and sleep support charity
Link: https://www.hope2sleep.co.uk/

Sleep Apnoea Trust – Charity
Link: https://sleep-apnoea-trust.org/

World Sleep Day – 19th March