What is impaired life insurance?

If you’ve ever heard the term impaired life, or impaired risk, in relation to life insurance, you might wonder what it means?

More importantly, if you’re classified as impaired, you’ll want to know what impact this has on you securing affordable life insurance cover.

Impaired risk refers to an applicant who doesn’t meet the insurer’s ‘standard‘ criteria to obtain the most affordable rate. Impaired, signifies that you’re considered a higher risk and therefore more difficult to insure.

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If you’re regarded as impaired, the insurer has decided that because of certain key factors, often health-related, you’re more likely to make a claim.

As a result of being deemed a higher risk, your life insurance premiums will be more expensive compared with a standard applicant with comparable coverage.

Does this mean you can’t secure life insurance?

No. Although a small percentage of applications are declined outright, in the majority of cases being impaired doesn’t mean you’re uninsurable.

The modern life insurance market is much more accommodating than it used to be, and provisions for all sorts of circumstances.

Some insurers now specialise in providing impaired life policies and being labelled as impaired doesn’t mean you won’t be able to secure cover.

It may mean, however, that you need to shop around and compare quotes in order to find the most competitive deals.

At Reassured, over 45% of customers who had previously been declined life insurance, are accepted on a policy through us.

How does impaired life affect your policy?

The main impact, being an impaired risk will have on your policy is the amount you pay for your monthly premium. 

Another potential impact is an insurer may ask more health and lifestyle questions. Others may request access to your medical records.

In certain cases, you may be asked to go for a medical exam, in order to satisfy the insurer of your current health.

Depending on the severity of your medical condition, insurers may also enforce exclusions.

For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your insurer may exclude any future claims directly relating to that condition, like coronary artery disease.

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Who is classed as an impaired risk for life insurance?

There are many reasons why an insurer’s underwriters may class you as an impaired risk.

We have broken this down into 4 areas: medical conditions; dangerous occupations; sports professionals and dangerous hobbies.

1) Medical condition

You may be considered as impaired if you have a pre-existing medical condition, which could impact your life expectancy and/or your ability to work.

Those with a family history of hereditary health problems, drug and/or alcohol addiction, heavy smokers or the clinically obese may also fit into this category.

Monthly premiums could increase by 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% or even 150%+, depending on how serious a risk the condition is considered.

Common impaired conditions include:

2) Dangerous occupations

People who work in a job where there’s an increased risk of death and/or serious injury, are likely to be classed as impaired too.

This includes those in the armed forces, people who work at height, as well as those that handle heavy machinery.

Common impaired occupations include:

Even if you’re job is not considered high-risk, but you’re self-employed, you could be particularly vulnerable.

This is because you don’t enjoy the protection provided by an employer; death in service, company pension, health care, sick pay etc.

3) Sports professionals

Some sporting professionals may also find they’re a higher risk in the eyes of the insurance underwriters.

Sports deemed dangerous and where there is statistically a greater chance of serious injury or death include:

4) Dangerous hobbies / Extreme sports

Even if you don’t play a sport professionally, your lifestyle can impact your life insurance.

If you regularly enjoy extreme sports, such as snowboarding, it’s likely to increase the cost of your premiums.

Commons impaired hobbies include:

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Reassured’s specialist impaired risk team

Not all impaired applicants are handled in the same manner.

Different insurers will employ different underwriting criteria, meaning premiums can vary in cost.

At Reassured, we offer our customers a dedicated impaired team who specialise in finding suitable cover for all non-standard applicants.

We’re able to utilise our knowledge and experience to help secure a policy for those who have previously been declined elsewhere.

Use a broker to compare quotes and secure the right policy

This is the ideal scenario in which to use our free, no obligation broker service at Reassured.

Allow us to search the market on your behalf, finding you the best possible policy quotes, to compare.

Remember, many comparison websites don’t show you the whole wide range of insurers available.


Impaired life insurance cover in summary:

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