Life insurance pays out as a lump sum if you die during the life of your policy. When an insurer considers any life insurance application, they’ll be weighing up how likely it is that you’ll die during that time. What they’re effectively doing is working out how much of a risk you are to insure, how likely it is that a claim will be made on the policy, and therefore how much it should cost for you to be covered.
If you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, this is certainly something that will be considered during the underwriting process that all applications go through – along with the rest of your health history and lifestyle information.
Can I buy life insurance if I have HIV?
Yes, you can take out life insurance if you have HIV. Medical advances in recent years have led more and more insurers to recognise that people living with HIV have a near-normal life expectancy – so your diagnosis should not affect your eligibility for cover. When you apply for life insurance, you always have to answer questions about your health and lifestyle, which includes questions around your:
- Personal health history
- Family health history
- Height and weight (BMI)
- Smoking status
What will insurers need to know about my HIV diagnosis?
The info required of you during the underwriting process will vary from insurer to insurer, but if you’re living with HIV, it could include any of the following:
- When you were diagnosed
- Whether your diagnosis is linked to intravenous drug use
- Whether your diagnosis is linked to surgery outside the UK
- What your CD4 count and viral load are
- What medication you take
- Whether you have or have had symptoms
You won’t (or should not) be asked for medically irrelevant information like your sexual orientation.
How will my HIV diagnosis 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 HIV. These include:
- Your application being accepted as normal, with standard pricing rates (i.e. the same as they’d be for someone who doesn’t have your health condition)
- Your application being accepted but with a ‘loading’ on the price (i.e. your rates could be between 50% and 150% higher than they would be for someone who doesn’t have your health condition, depending on what you disclose)
- Your application decision 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)
- Your application being declined (this happens if the insurer thinks your health condition means you’ll always be too high risk to insure)
Why it’s important to disclose your HIV diagnosis
When applying for life insurance, it’s extremely important to answer all the health questions honestly. If you don’t disclose that you’ve been diagnosed with HIV – or any other health condition, for that matter – you risk invalidating your policy and it not paying out in the future, when you need it to. This undermines the peace of mind you get from having cover in place.
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- You can take out life insurance if you’re living with HIV
- Medical advances means most insurers now recognise that people living with HIV have near-normal life expectancy
- If you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, you must disclose it during the application process, otherwise you risk invalidating your policy in the future
- When you disclose an HIV diagnosis, some extra medical information will be required from you during the life insurance underwriting process
- Depending on the medical information you provide, insurers may accept your application as normal; accept it but charge a higher premium; or postpone or decline it