Can I get life insurance with COPD?

Yes, you can get life insurance with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), particularly if your condition is well-controlled and you’re a non-smoker.

In cases where you’re unable to secure standard types of life insurance due to severe COPD, you could apply for specialist life cover or an over 50s plan.

At Reassured, we can compare quotes for a variety of policy types from major insurers as well as smaller specialist insurers, to help you find a suitable policy.

Our experts will talk you through your available options and discuss your needs so you can make a fully informed decision as to which option is best for you.

Even if you’ve been declined life insurance in the past due to COPD, our dedicated specialist impaired risk team may be able to help you find some form of protection.

Our award-winning service is free of charge and without obligation, so get in touch today.

About COPD and life insurance

What is COPD?

COPD is a degenerative disease of the lungs which affects around 3 million people in the UK[1].

It’s the name for a group of lung conditions which include:

  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis

The two main symptoms of COPD are breathlessness and coughing which can get progressively worse as you age.

While the condition can’t be cured or reversed, treatment (such as inhalers and medication) can help slow the progression and control the symptoms[2].

The Asthma and Lung Charity provide advice and support on living with a lung condition, if you’d like to find out more about how you can manage your COPD.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is designed to pay out a cash lump sum to your loved ones when you pass away, helping to relieve financial stress during a difficult time.

Depending on your personal circumstances, and the amount of cover you take out, the pay out from a life insurance policy could be used towards expenses such as:

Funeral

Funeral services (average cost of a UK funeral is £3,953[3])

Mortgage

Mortgage or rent payments for your family home

Family Protection

Family living costs, household bills and childcare

Debts

Outstanding debts in your name such as credit cards or loans

Life insurance could also provide a cash gift for loved ones to spend how they see fit.

If you’re living with COPD, then having a life policy in place can give you peace of mind that your loved ones will have some financial support after you’re gone.

You can choose from different policy types depending on your needs and budget. We explain these options later on in this guide.

How much life insurance do you need?

Find out how much COPD life insurance you may need by filling in this calculator with the costs you would like your policy to cover.

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£137,934 is the estimated mortgage debt per household in the UK.

The purchase of a home is likely to be the largest financial commitment any of us will make in our lifetime. Your life insurance should cover your remaining mortgage balance to allow your loved ones to stay in the family home should anything happen to you.

Source: Moneynerd.co.uk

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The average monthly household budget in the UK is £2,548 (that’s £30,576 per year), which is spent on transport, food & drink, utilities (gas, electricity, water etc), clothing, council tax and leisure activities.

With energy prices hitting a record high and the cost of living rising sharply in the UK, you may wish to factor in utility bills and family living expenses into your cover.

Source: Nimblefins.co.uk

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The average personal debt of UK adults has risen to £34,566 (not including mortgage debt), with credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts being the most common forms of debt.

Factoring in any debts into your life insurance cover means that, if they need to be paid back from your estate after your passing, your loved ones won’t miss out financially.

Source: Money.co.uk

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According to SunLife, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,953 (with the overall cost of dying at £9,200).

Funeral costs have increased by 116% since 2004 and are a significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

Source: SunLife.co.uk

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When factoring in cover for your children, you may wish to calculate the amount based on how long it is until they reach financial independence.

This could include childcare (£7,000 per year for part-time care), school expenses (£1,519 per school year for uniforms, lunches, stationary etc), as well as an additional sum for further education (this could be a contribution of up to £5,000 per year).

Sources: Daynurseries.co.uk, Primarytimes.co.uk & Savethestudent.org

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2 in 5 adults say they are relying on an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Factoring in an inheritance to your sum assured could allow loved ones to live a more financially comfortable life. Alternatively, you could leave a cash gift to a charity of your choosing.

Source: Moneyage.co.uk

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If you’re lucky enough to have your own savings or are part of the 30% of UK residents who already have a life insurance policy in place, this can provide financial protection for loved ones.

By entering your current cover, savings or death in service amount you can reduce the sum assured you require.

Source: Scottishbusinessnews.net

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How does COPD affect life insurance?

If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, then insurers will take this into account when assessing your life insurance application.

The severity of your symptoms and how the condition impacts your day-to-day life will influence your eligibility and the cost of your premiums.

For example:

  • Non-smokers with very mild COPD may have their application accepted but with a small premium loading (a loading is the percentage increase on top of a standard premium)
  • Non-smokers with moderate COPD may have their application accepted but with a slightly higher premium loading, or they may be declined
  • Those who smoke, have severe COPD and/or other related health complications, may have their application declined

If you’ve been refused life insurance in the past, or your quotes have been unaffordable when applying with mainstream insurers, then a specialist insurer may be more suitable.

Specialist insurers are more likely to offer you a policy when others won’t, and their terms are much better for applicants with pre-existing medical conditions.

Regardless of whether you have mild, moderate or severe COPD, it’s important to shop around and compare quotes from different insurers to find the best solution for you.

At Reassured, we work with a panel of mainstream insurers as well as specialist insurers, allowing us to help with this process - saving you the time and hassle.

Does life insurance pay out for COPD?

Yes, if you pass away due to COPD while your life insurance is in place then your loved ones will receive a pay out.

Life insurance will provide a cash lump sum upon your death as long as:

  • You’ve provided honest and accurate information during the application process
  • Your premium payments are up to date
  • Your policy hasn’t expired

Some insurers won’t pay out for pre-existing medical conditions, however, if you arrange a policy through Reassured, your COPD (or any other health condition) will be covered.

What is the best COPD life insurance?

The best life insurance for people with COPD will depend on your personal circumstances, how much cover you need and your budget.

As mentioned, it’s important to compare different policy options and quotes across the market to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Some types of life insurance may be better suited to applicants with COPD than others. At Reassured, we can offer the policy options below:

Type of life insurance for COPD over 50s

Over 50s life insurance

You may consider an over 50s plan if you’re aged 50 - 85 and suffer with moderate or severe COPD, as the application doesn’t include medical questions.

Policy key features:

  • Provides a cash lump sum pay out when you pass away
  • Pay out up to £20,000 depending on your age & budget
  • Typically used to help cover funeral costs and/or to leave an inheritance
  • Guarantees acceptance to UK residents aged 50 - 85
  • Application doesn’t require medical information
  • Fixed monthly premiums until you turn 90 (or until you pass away)
  • Premiums from just £5 a month + through Reassured
Type of life insurance for COPD

Term life insurance

This is usually the most affordable type of life insurance. Those with mild COPD may be able to secure a low rate for cover.

Policy key features:

  • Provides a cash pay out if you pass away during the term (2 - 40 years)
  • Typically used to help cover a mortgage, replace an income or to leave an inheritance
  • Application requires medical information
  • Fixed monthly premiums until the policy expires (or until you pass away)
  • Can choose between a level or decreasing cover amount
  • Comes with terminal illness cover as standard

Funeral plan

A funeral plan could be a good option for people with COPD who want to leave behind some funds for family but can’t secure suitable life insurance.

Policy key features:

  • Allows you to plan and pay for your funeral in advance
  • Includes essential funeral director services
  • Guarantees acceptance to UK applicants, (age restrictions apply)
  • No medical questions asked
  • Please note: Reassured do not sell funeral plans

Whole of life insurance

Whole of life insurance may not be suitable for some people with COPD because premiums are usually more expensive than other types of life insurance, even before a loading is applied.

Policy key features:

  • Provides lifelong cover and guarantees a cash pay out when you pass away
  • Typically used to help cover funeral costs, pay off a mortgage and/or leave an inheritance
  • Application requires medical information
  • Potential pay out much higher than an over 50s plan
  • Fixed monthly premiums until you pass away

How much does COPD life insurance cost?

The cost of life insurance depends on your personal circumstances and the policy you choose.

For example, if you opted for a whole of life or term life insurance policy, then your monthly premium will be influenced by the following factors:

  • Your age, medical history, weight (BMI), and smoking status
  • The type and severity of your lung condition
  • The terms of your policy (length of cover, level of cover etc)

On the other hand, if you opted for an over 50s plan then your monthly premium will be calculated based on just a few simple factors. These include:

  • Your age
  • Level of cover
  • Smoking status (with some insurers)

Over 50s plans arranged through Reassured start from just £5 a month. If you’re aged 50 - 85 then you may consider this type of policy as the premiums aren’t affected by your health.

While it may be difficult to secure an affordable whole of life insurance policy with COPD, it may be possible to secure term life insurance at a good rate if you’re a non-smoker and your condition is well-managed.

If your condition is particularly severe and you need to apply for cover with a specialist insurer, then premiums through our partner The Exeter start from just £15 a month » .

The cost of life insurance varies greatly between insurers so it’s important to compare multiple quotes.

Compare our best life insurance for COPD quotes by using our award-winning, fee-free broker service.

What questions will I be asked about my COPD during the application?

Applying for life insurance with COPD will require you to answer some additional questions about your condition.

The information you provide will allow the insurer to determine the level of risk you pose and whether to accept your application (and if accepted, the cost of your premiums).

Some common questions include:

  • When were you diagnosed with COPD?
  • What are your symptoms and how frequent are they?
  • Do you take any medication?
  • Do you use an inhaler?
  • Do you need to use an oxygen cylinder?
  • How often do you use a Nebuliser?
  • Do you take any time-off work due to COPD?

The more detail you can provide about your COPD, the quicker it will take to complete your application and find out the outcome.

What happens if I don’t disclose COPD during the application?

If you don’t disclose that you have COPD, then this will invalidate your life insurance policy and a pay out would be denied when you pass away.

For this reason, it’s really important to be 100% honest and accurate on your application form and while providing information about your COPD.

Will I need to have a medical?

No, not necessarily. You may not need to have a full medical exam to take out life insurance with COPD.

Generally, insurers can offer you a policy straight away based on the information you provide during the application process.

If you apply for cover and the insurer can’t make an immediate decision, then they’ll postpone your application while obtaining more information about your health.

For a more detailed picture of your health, they could ask for one of the following:

  • A medical report from your GP (obtained with your permission)
  • A mini screening with a nurse
  • A full medical exam with your GP

If you’re asked to undergo a mini screening or a full medical exam, then this will be carried out at a time and place convenient for you. The insurer will also cover the cost.

Life insurance for smokers with COPD

If you’re a smoker with COPD then you’ll probably be declined by mainstream insurers for standard types of life insurance.

This is because cigarette smoking is the number one cause of COPD and continuing to smoke will worsen the condition.

You may be able to secure life insurance if you’ve given up smoking and have been smoke-free for at least 12 months (and your COPD is well-managed).

However, some insurers will still consider you a smoker up to 5 years after you’ve quit.

We have written a dedicated life insurance for smokers guide if you need more information »

Life insurance for seniors with COPD

Typically, people with COPD are diagnosed later in life as this is when symptoms start to appear[4].

As a result, you may be in your 60s, 70s or even 80s looking for life insurance protection for the first time.

Standard life insurance or even specialist life insurance may be too expensive or simply unsuitable for you due to your age.

However, if you’d like to leave behind some money for your funeral or as an inheritance, then you may consider an over 50s plan.

This type of policy is quite popular among senior citizens with pre-existing medical conditions.

This is because it guarantees acceptance if you’re aged 50 - 85 and you don’t have to provide any medical information during the application process.

Your premiums would be calculated based on your age, the level of cover you need and your smoking status (depending on the insurer).


The table below shows how much cover you could secure at each age, with an over 50s plan, for an example premium price of £20 per month. Quotes are based on a non-smoker:

AgeSum assured
50£7,417
55£6,108
60£5,217
65£4,078
70£3,015
75£2,137
80£1,538


Contact Reassured for your free, personalised over 50s life insurance quotes.

Can I get critical illness cover with COPD?

COPD sufferers may be able to take out critical illness cover to protect their income should they become seriously ill.

Critical illness cover provides a cash pay out if you’re diagnosed with a specified critical illness while the policy is active.

The money can be used to help cover:

  • Rent or mortgage repayments
  • Day-to-day living costs
  • Home adaptions
  • Private medical treatment

Critical illness cover can be taken out as part of your life insurance policy for an additional cost.

It covers a wide range of specified illnesses such as some cancers, stroke, heart attack, blindness and multiple sclerosis.

If you have COPD, it may exclude this condition and any associated illnesses. This means you won’t be able to claim for these reasons.

Get in touch with Reassured for your free critical illness cover with COPD quotes to see if this could be an option for you.

Is COPD classed as a critical illness for life insurance?

Yes, some insurers class COPD as a critical illness, but only in severe cases.

The specific illnesses covered under your policy will be included in your policy conditions.

As mentioned, if you’ve been diagnosed with COPD prior to taking out critical illness cover, then it’s likely that this condition will be excluded from your policy.

If you’re diagnosed with COPD after taking out critical illness cover, and it’s one of the illnesses covered under your policy, you should be able to make a claim.

Is COPD classed as a terminal illness for life insurance?

COPD may be classed as a terminal illness by insurers if your condition has progressed to a stage where you’re expected to live less than 12 months.

In this instance, if your life insurance includes terminal illness cover, then you could make an early claim on your policy and a pay out will made.

Once the policy pays out, your life cover will come to an end.

Life insurance quotes with COPD [Compare our best deals]

If you need help arranging life insurance with COPD then get in touch with our expert broker service.

Here at Reassured, we’re able to identify the best insurers for people with lung conditions from our panel of mainstream and specialist insurers.

We also have a dedicated impaired life insurance team, who are on hand to help applicants that have been declined in the past.

Our award-winning service is fee-free and without obligation. We simply provide all the information you need to make a fully informed decision.

A friendly member of our team can also help you fill in the application form, answer any questions you may have and decipher any jargon.

Get in touch today for your free COPD life insurance quotes, there’s nothing to lose!

Sources:

[1] https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/background-information/prevalence-incidence/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd/

[3] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs/

[4] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd/symptoms/

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