Life insurance policies pay out a lump sum if you die while you’re insured. This means that when insurers consider your application, they’ll weigh up how likely it is that you will die in that time (i.e. how likely it is that they’ll have to pay out).

Having a pre-existing medical condition like epilepsy will cause insurers to consider this even more carefully during the ‘underwriting’ process that all applications go through. For people without a health condition, the decision about whether or not to insure you can usually be reached automatically. For someone with a health condition, depending on the severity, the application is more likely to be handed over to a (human) underwriter for closer review.

Depending on how severe your epilepsy is, you might find it more difficult or more expensive to get insured. This is because insurers may consider you higher risk to insure (so they’ll charge more to carry that risk) or too high risk (so they won’t be willing to insure you at all).

Can I buy life insurance if I’ve got epilepsy?

You should be able to buy life insurance if you’ve got epilepsy, but it depends on the information you provide about your condition and its severity. Anyone who applies for life insurance has to answer questions about their health and lifestyle, which includes questions about their:

  • Personal health history
  • Family health history
  • Height and weight (BMI)
  • Smoking status

All of this will be taken into account during the underwriting process, as the insurer evaluates how much of a ‘risk’ you are to insure and how much you should pay to be covered.

Getting help from an adviser can really help if you’ve got a health condition like epilepsy, as they’ll quickly be able to filter out the insurers most likely to accept your application, who offer the best terms for you and your circumstances.

What will insurers ask about my epilepsy?

If you’ve got epilepsy, it’s likely you’ll be required to provide the following info during the underwriting process:

  • When you were diagnosed with epilepsy
  • The cause of your epilepsy (if known)
  • What type of epilepsy you have
  • Whether you’re receiving treatment for your condition
  • How many epileptic fits you have per year
  • When you last had an epileptic fit
  • Whether you’ve ever required surgery for your condition
  • Whether your condition has ever caused psychological or intellectual impairment
  • Whether you’re awaiting any surgery, referrals, tests or test results for your condition

How will epilepsy affect my life insurance application?

Typically, there are a few possible outcomes when you apply for life insurance but disclose a pre-existing health condition like epilepsy. These include:

  1. Your application being accepted as normal, with standard pricing rates – i.e. the same as they’d be for someone without epilepsy
  2. Your application being accepted but with a ‘loading’ on the price  – i.e. your rates will be higher than they would be for someone without epilepsy
  3. Your application being postponed – this happens if the insurer thinks your health condition poses too much of a risk right now, but has the potential to improve in the future
  4. Your application being declined – this could happen if your condition is very severe

Why it’s important to disclose your epilepsy

When applying for life insurance, it’s extremely important to answer all the health questions honestly. If you don’t disclose that you’ve got epilepsy, you risk invalidating your policy and it not paying out in the future (this is the most common reason for claims not being paid out by insurers).

  • You can apply for life insurance even if you have an existing health condition like epilepsy
  • If you have epilepsy, you must disclose it during the application process, otherwise you risk invalidating your policy in the future if it’s mild, otherwise you risk invalidating your policy in the future
  • If you disclose that you have epilepsy when applying for life insurance, extra medical information will be required from you during the underwriting process
  • Depending on how mild or severe your epilepsy is, insurers may accept your application as normal; accept it but charge a higher premium; postpone or decline your application

This guide is intended for informative purposes only and doesn't constitute advice.