It’s a common belief that sufferers of epilepsy are unable to obtain standard life insurance cover. That, no matter the individual circumstances, the premiums will be raised or you may even be outright denied cover.
The truth is that life insurance providers are all different, and may view your policy differently. However, obtaining cover for someone who suffers with epilepsy is entirely possible, and very often it’s even possible to obtain the same, standard cover as someone without epilepsy or any pre-existing condition.
The term pre-existing condition is likely to be one of the first things that comes up in the application process, though, so read on to find out what that means for you.
All life insurance policies, from the provider’s perspective, are about assessing each applicant’s potential risk. If the risk for one person is higher than another, then the terms of their policies are likely to be very different.
Epilepsy is typically defined as a pre-existing condition. This means that you were diagnosed before you applied for your policy. Epilepsy is a particularly varied condition, so all providers will want to ask follow up questions about the severity of your epilepsy.
Pre-existing conditions do, in many cases, raise your premiums and sometimes alter the length of time for which you’re able to obtain cover.
In the case of epilepsy, the details can vary tremendously based on your particular circumstances.
The most important thing to remember is that most providers will consider your case on an individual basis. They will want to know the specific circumstances of your condition, and they will use that information to write your policy terms.
There are two primary descriptors of epilepsy: Petit Mal and Grand Mal. Petit Mal epilepsy involves no loss of consciousness, and sufferers can usually manage their conditions and live an ordinary life. If you haven’t had a seizure in the last five years, you should be able to obtain standard cover without a problem.
If you experience Petit Mal attacks on a regular basis, i.e., multiple times a week, standard cover may still be available on inflated premiums. Those who suffer from Grand Mal seizures and lose consciousness may also be able to obtain standard cover, but again on higher premiums.
Insurers will also want to know how recently you were diagnosed. Epilepsy can be an unpredictable condition, and providers will want to see that your condition is stable before they will agree to a policy for you.
If your epilepsy is very severe and you suffer from frequent seizures or have required hospitalization in the past, it will be more difficult to find cover. Under standard terms, most insurers will decline your application.
However, specialist cover is available even for sufferers of severe epilepsy, so you should always compare your options and you can even work with brokers to find your best option.
Life insurance takes several forms, so deciding which is best for you is important before you start comparing providers.
We compare plans from the leading life insurance providers
How best to decide on an insurance policy for you starts with identifying your own needs. Most who take out life insurance do so to protect their home in the event that they pass away, leaving money behind for their loved ones to continue paying the mortgage. Policy pay-outs can also be used to cover expenses like childcare.
The most common form of life insurance is term life insurance, which covers you over a certain specified period. If you pass away during the term of the policy, the pay-out will be made.
Term life insurance can be taken on either level or decreasing terms. Level terms means that the pay-out made remains the same over the course of the policy, or it decreases in value over time.
If your epilepsy is well managed, you may have no trouble obtaining standard term life insurance. These policies are often the most affordable, and mean that you can be covered for the duration, say, that your mortgage payments will still need to be made.
Decreasing term policies tend to be the cheapest, and are useful if your mortgage is a repayment (as opposed to an interest only) mortgage.
Whole of life, as you might expect, describes insurance policies which cover you when, not if, you pass away. You pay into them for the rest of your life.
It’s usually suitable for those in later stages of life in good health, and for those with pre-existing conditions such as epilepsy, the premiums are likely to be higher. Whole of life policies are more expensive to begin with, and with the added inflated premiums due to epilepsy, this can mean that you may end up paying more into the policy than you ever receive back from it.
Whole of life policies may not be the best option for you if you suffer from epilepsy.
Your other option, if you are a UK resident aged 50-85, is an over 50s plan. If you have been struggling to obtain cover on standard or even non-standard terms as a result of your epilepsy, an over 50s plan may be a good choice for you as they do not request any medical information at the point of application. You are guaranteed to be accepted if you fall into the age bracket.
The risk is, of course, mitigated by the providers. There is typically a waiting period of up to 2 years at the start of the policy, during which time, if you pass away, your premium payments will be refunded and no pay-out will be made. The premiums are, also, somewhat higher than standard policies.
Furthermore, the pay-out is capped at £25,000. If this would cover your needs and you’ve been struggling to obtain cover elsewhere, then an over 50s plan would be a great option for you. One way or another, cover is more than available for you as a sufferer of MS.