Life Insurance for Asthmatics - The Ultimate Guide

James Rodriguez James Rodriguez  updated on September 14, 2020

You are suffering from asthma and are wondering if it would be a good idea to take out life insurance?

If you’re looking for answers, you’ve come to the right place!
You are not alone in this situation. About 5,4 million people in the UK are also asthmatics.

If you want to get:

the appropriate life insurance cover for your asthma
top tips to pay attention to when applying
medical screening questions example
and indicative quotes

you will find everything you need in the below guide. Let's dive in.

Do I need life insurance if I am suffering from asthma?

Taking out a life insurance policy when you're suffering from an illness is always a wise decision.

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties.

It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although this can also occur for the first time in adulthood.

There's currently no cure, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it does not have a big impact on your life.
Asthma is usually not seen as a severe medical condition to live with and you may not even be subject to an increase of your premium when taking out a life insurance.

Can I get life insurance if I have asthma?

Although you might find it harder, in most of the cases, you will always be able to get life insurance if you are suffering from asthma. There are still plenty of providers on the market who will accept to cover you. 

The severity of your condition will affect the risk assumptions used by insurance companies to calculate your premium though. As a result, your monthly spending on life insurance is likely to be higher than it would be for the average individual. 

In any case, it is absolutely essential that you tell your insurer about your condition. Even if you think you could save money by keeping the information to yourself, you would actually be putting your cover in jeopardy. This fraud is called 'fronting'.

Find out more on life insurance with our ultimate guide.

Which kind of life insurance can I apply to?

There are different types of life insurance you can apply to if you are suffering from asthma.

  • Whole of life: whole of life assurance covers you for your entire life, as long as you keep paying the premiums. It's called 'assurance' not 'insurance', and the reason for this is technical. Insurance covers you for a risk that may or may not happen, like a house fire.
  • Level term: with a level term life insurance, both your premiums and the sum insured remain the same for the length of the policy. The payout is fixed.
  • Decreasing term life insurance: it reduces the sum insured. It’s usually linked with a repayment mortgage and is designed to ensure your mortgage is paid off if you die. As you pay off the amount borrowed, the sum that you need to insure reduces. Payments will stay the same throughout the length of the policy.

How can asthma affect my life insurance?

Here are the factors that will have an impact on your life insurance:

  • Age of diagnosis
  • Treatment (i.e. Inhalers, Steroids, Medication etc.)
  • Date of the last attack
  • Any hospitalisation
  • Time off work

Depending on your condition, certain exclusions might be added to your policy. 

How will my insurance premium be affected If I am a asthmatic?

Life insurance will generally be more expensive, since insurers consider asthma to pose an added health risk and increase the chances of a claim being made before the term of the policy (if there is one). 

Usually asthmatics won't get drastic increase in their life insurance premium as asthma is not seen as a severe medical condition.

Life insurance for asthma can sometimes be subject to additional underwriting though, where there is use of oral steroids or for smokers (especially heavy smokers).
For more severe cases where there has been multiple attacks in the past several years or for more acute symptoms, a life insurance policy may be offered but with an increased premium or even declined.

Will my premium increase if my asthma condition gets worse?

We would recommend a guaranteed premium policy for asthma life insurance. With that kind of guarantee, your insurer won’t be able to raise your premium, regardless of the evolution of your condition.

How to apply for life insurance covering asthma?

What questions am I likely to be asked when subscribing to life insurance with asthma?

As you fill in your application for life insurance, the chosen insurance firm will ask you a list of question to evaluate your condition and estimate what premium you should pay. 

You will have to answer honestly and fully to the best of your knowledge. If you omit to mention a specific illness or provide any misleading information, you will encounter issues when making future claims. 

With a medical condition, you will be requested to disclose more information. As a person suffering from asthma, you will generally have to deal with the following questions:

  • Have you required In-patient hospital treatment (i.e. admitted to hospital overnight) for asthma within the last 2 years?
  • On how many days in total over the last 2 years have you needed to take steroid tablets for asthma (e.g. Prednisolone)?
  • How many prescriptions have you used over the past 12 months for reliever inhalers (i.e. short acting relief medication also known as bronchodilators such as salbutamol, salmeterol, vilanterol etc)?
  • Over a typical month, on how many nights are you kept awake due to asthma symptoms (e.g. wheezing, coughing, tightness of chest, shortness of breath etc)?
  • In the last 12 months, on how many days have you either been unable to follow your normal daily activities or required time off work due to asthma?

Which documents will I need to provide?

Not all life insurance policies involve a medical examination, depending on your age and the amount of life cover you are requesting. However, with a medical history of asthma, your insurer might request a professional to undertake your medical examination. 

Indeed, in order to proceed with your request, the insurer will need proof of your condition, and will likely request that you provide medical documents and tests. 

Can I not get covered if I am suffering from asthma?

You can be denied your life insurance if you are a asthmatic, particularly if there are aggravating conditions:

  • You are a smoker;
  • You suffer from heart conditions;
  • You have a family history related to asthma;
  • You have asthma complications etc.

However, you should always be able to find a specialist insurer able to cover you as long as your illness is not terminal.

Does life insurance with critical illness cover is enough for my asthma?

Usually asthma is not considered as a serious medical condition being covered by criticall illness option. A standard life insurance policy plan can be sufficient to cover your asthma. However, taking out a life insurance with critical illness add on is always a wise decision as you can contract another disease.

However, you must know that applying for life insurance with critical illness covering your medical condition is not enough to be covered. You must mentioned in any case your medical record to your insurer when applying.

Critical illness insurance is an extra that can be added to your policy, or can be combined with your standard life insurance. It pays out a tax-free lump sum if you contract a disease. The illness developed must be specified in your policy contract.

Critical illness is defined as an illness that is curable; this is different from terminal illness, where the life expectancy is really low (not more than one year). Terminal illness is usually covered by life insurance. 

The most common illnesses covered by critical illness insurance are heart attacks, stroke, non-terminal cancer etc. If you become really ill, your insurance will pay out exactly as if you’ve passed away. 

There are two types of cover and it’s important to know the difference:

  • additional cover will pay out if you’re diagnosed, and it will also pay out if you die:
  • combined cover will pay out either on diagnosis, or if you die, but it won’t pay out twice.

Check out our guide to know more about life insurance with critical illness.