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.
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive, permanent neurological condition that can be unpredictable and reduces life expectancy. For this reason, it’s bound to have a bearing on how eligible you are for life insurance and, if you are eligible, how much it’ll cost to get covered. If you disclose a multiple sclerosis diagnosis during the application process, this will be carefully 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 multiple sclerosis?
Unless your condition is severe or advanced, you should be able to get life insurance. 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
If you disclose that you’ve got relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (the most common kind) you should be able to buy cover, but a ‘loading’ will be added to the price of between 50% and 200%. How much this loading is will reflect the risk of your individual condition and the extent of the disability it’s currently causing. If you’ve got progressive multiple sclerosis, the maximum loading will be added to the price – though if you also have other complications or you’re dependent on someone else for care, your application is likely to be declined.
What will insurers ask about my multiple sclerosis?
The info required of you during the underwriting process will vary from insurer to insurer, but if you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it could include any of the following:
- When you were diagnosed
- What type of MS you have – e.g. relapsing-remitting or progressive
- The current pattern of your condition – i.e. whether you’re free of symptoms or experiencing intermittent, continuous, or worsening symptoms
- Whether you need to use any kind of walking aid
- Whether you’ve had any complications in the last 2 years as a result of your condition – e.g. episodes of memory loss or urinary infections
- Whether you’ve had any difficult breathing, eating or swallowing as a result of your condition
How will having multiple sclerosis 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. In the case of multiple sclerosis, it very much depends on the pattern of your condition, and whether or not you have relapsing-remitting MS or progressive MS. Possible outcomes include:
- Your application being accepted with a ‘loading’ on the price – i.e. your rates could be between 50% and 200% higher than they would be for someone who doesn’t have your condition, depending on the pattern of your condition
- Further medical information being required – e.g. a GP report to get a fuller picture of your situation in relation to your condition
- Your application being declined – this happens if the insurer thinks your health condition means you’ll always be too high risk to insure; in the case of multiple sclerosis, this is most likely to happen if you have progressive MS, continuous or worsening symptoms, or you are dependent on someone else for care
Why it’s important to disclose your multiple sclerosis
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 multiple sclerosis – 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. Not being honest also undermines the peace of mind you get from having cover in place.
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- You should be able to take out life insurance if you have multiple sclerosis
- The success of your application depends whether or not you have relapsing-remitting MS or progressive MS and the current pattern of your condition
- If you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, you must disclose it or you risk invalidating your policy in the future
- If you disclose that you’ve got multiple sclerosis while applying for life insurance, some extra medical information will be required from you during the underwriting process
- Depending on the medical information you provide, insurers may accept your application but charge a higher premium or decline it