Can high risk applicants secure life insurance?

Yes, it’s possible to secure life insurance for high risk applicants.

Just because insurers deem you to be higher risk than a standard applicant, doesn’t mean your application will automatically be declined.

At Reassured, we’ve over 14 years of experience in helping customers from all walks of life secure the cover they need, at an affordable rate.

Even if you've been declined in the past due to being considered a high risk individual, there may still be some options available to you.

Our specialist impaired risk team could help you secure some form of cover even if you have previously been declined.

Continue reading as we expand on some of the risk factors insurers consider and how you could secure affordable high risk life insurance…

What is considered high risk for life insurance?

You may be considered high risk by insurers if you present certain factors during the application process.

For example, if you’re at an older age, have a high BMI or a pre-existing medical condition.

Insurers calculate risk based on the likelihood of you making a claim and, in the eyes of the insurer, these factors can make a claim more likely.

How risky insurers perceive you to be will have an impact on whether you’re offered cover, the terms you're offered and how much you pay for your life insurance premium.

High risk factors considered during the application process include:

  • Health - Whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions or a history of family illness
  • Smoking status - Those who smoke are considered to be higher risk than those who don’t smoke due to the associated health concerns
  • Weight - Those who have a high BMI are considered to be higher risk due to the increased risk of developing certain health conditions
  • Alcohol intake - Regularly exceeding 14 units of alcohol per week could lead to you being classed as high risk by insurers, as long-term alcohol misuse can affect your health
  • Occupation - Some jobs are riskier than others. For example, police officers and military personnel are often faced with life threatening situations, for this reason they’ll be considered higher risk than someone with an office-based job
  • Hobbies - Taking part in extreme sports or other dangerous hobbies can lead to you being considered high risk by insurers due to being in potentially life-threatening situations
  • Travel - Frequently travelling to countries with outbreaks of serious disease or war-torn areas can increase your level of risk

It’s important to always be completely honest during the application process.

Failure to provide your insurer with the truth is known as ‘non-disclosure’ and this can lead to a pay out being denied when your loved ones need it most.

Risk is assessed differently by each insurer due to the different underwriting processes employed, so it’s important to compare quotes to make sure you’re getting the most favourable rate.

Even if some of these factors apply to you, it can still be possible to secure the cover you need.

Get in touch with us today to find out about your policy options.

What is high risk life insurance?

High risk life insurance is simply another way to describe a life insurance policy that provides cover to a high risk applicant.

The life insurance policy will work in the same way as any other life insurance policy.

However, you may have to pay a higher premium if you take part in risky activities, work in a dangerous job, have a pre-existing medical condition or if any other high risk factors are present.

This means you may need to provide more information or answer more questions regarding your circumstances during the application process.

The level of risk involved with insuring you will likely vary between insurers so you’ll want to shop around to see who will offer you the most affordable quote.

Why not let Reassured help you compare multiple quotes from some top UK insurers to find the best deal we can offer, without charging you a fee?

Do I need high risk life insurance?

Anyone with dependents who rely on them financially is likely to benefit from having some form of life cover in place.

Having a pre-existing medical condition, high risk occupation or any other high risk factors can further emphasise the need of having life insurance in place to ensure loved ones are protected if the worst were to happen.

A life insurance pay out can help you to:

  • Keep up with mortgage payments or rent - average mortgage debt in the UK stands at £142,755[1]
  • Cover the cost of your funeral - the average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £3,953[2]
  • Fund future family living costs - £157,562 is the average cost of raising a child to 18[3]
  • Pay for additional childcare - £285.31 is the cost per week for full time childcare[4]
  • Pay off outstanding debts in your name - £65,510 is the average total debt per UK household[5]
  • Provide an inheritance - 34% of adults have no savings, or less than £1,000, in a savings account[6]. An inheritance could provide much needed financial aid for your loved ones

Why not speak to one of our life insurance experts about your needs and reasons for taking out cover?

We can take your personal circumstances into consideration and provide you with all the necessary information.

High risk life insurance calculator

Enter your financial commitments below to establish the level of high risk life insurance cover you need.


£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.



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.



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.



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.



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:, &


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.



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.


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How much is high risk life insurance?

At Reassured, we could help you arrange life insurance even if you are regarded a high risk. However, the exact price you pay will depend on your personal circumstances.

Key details that insurers will take into account to calculate your monthly premium include:

  • Your age
  • Your health & wellbeing
  • Family medical history
  • Smoking status
  • Occupation
  • Lifestyle/hobbies

Any of these details could lead to insurers identifying high risk factors and it’s likely they may ask you more questions to find out the specifics of your circumstances.

The type of cover, as well as the pay out amount (sum assured) will also help insurers to determine your monthly premium.

For high risk applicants needing to seek cover through a specialist insurer, premiums start from just £15 a month » .

Reassured can compare quotes from some of the UK’s best life insurance providers, as well as smaller specialist insurers to find you their most affordable deal.

What is the best high risk life insurance?

The best high risk life insurance for you will depend on what it is you’re looking to cover and for how long, as well as your available budget.

There are different life insurance policy options available, these include:

Each policy is tailored to protect different aspects of your life and some may be more affordable than others, depending on how risky insurers class you to be.

Level term

  • Provides a fixed (level) sum assured up to £1,000,000
  • Covered for a specified period of time (the term)
  • Term length of up to 40 years
  • Ideal for helping to protect an interest-only mortgage or other large expenses
  • You’ll need to provide key information (including health and lifestyle details) during the application process
  • Could experience inflated premiums due to disclosing high risk factors

Decreasing term

  • Provides a sum assured that reduces over the policy lifetime
  • Sum assured up to £1,000,000
  • Covered for a specified period of time
  • Term length up to 40 years
  • Ideal for helping to protect a repayment mortgage (the sum assured can reduce at the same rate)
  • You’ll need to provide key information (including health and lifestyle details) during the application process
  • Could experience inflated premiums due to disclosing high risk factors

Whole of life insurance

  • Provides a fixed sum assured
  • Cover lasts for life (making this policy type a form of life assurance)
  • Loved ones are guaranteed a pay out when you pass away
  • Sum assured up to £1,000,000
  • Ideal for helping to cover funeral costs and providing an inheritance
  • You’ll need to provide key information (including health and lifestyle details) during the application process
  • Could experience inflated premiums due to disclosing high risk factors (this could become very expensive if paying premiums for the rest of your life so this option may not be the most suitable)

Over 50 life insurance

  • Provides a fixed sum assured
  • Cover lasts for life
  • Guarantees acceptance to those aged 50 - 85
  • Loved ones are guaranteed a pay out when you pass away
  • Sum assured up to £20,000 (depending on your personal circumstances and budget)
  • Ideal for helping to cover funeral costs
  • No medical information required during the application process (all that’s required is your age, sum assured and sometimes your smoking status)
  • A 12 or 24 month waiting period will be added to your policy, meaning your loved ones can’t claim within this time if you pass away due to natural causes (but can claim for accidental death)

Reassured could save you time and money by helping to compare a range of life insurance options - ensuring you secure a great deal on a policy that meets your needs. Simply get in touch for your free quotes.

Other policy types for high-risk applicants

You may also want to consider the following insurance policies:

Terminal illness cover - Terminal illness cover comes as standard will all term life insurance policies and selected over 50s plans with Reassured.

This benefit will allow you to make an early claim on your life insurance policy if you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and predicted to pass away within 12 months.

Critical illness cover - Critical illness cover can be purchased as a standalone policy through some providers or added to a life insurance policy for an additional cost.

It will provide you with a pay out should you be diagnosed with a serious illness. The funds from this pay out could be used to help replace lost income while you’re unable to work, cover medical bills or pay for carers.

Income protection - Income protection insurance is a separate insurance policy that will pay out up to 70% of your usual income if you become too ill or injured to work.

Cover can be purchased on a short or long term basis and policies have flexible terms to help meet your needs.

Family Income Benefit (FIB) - Family income benefit works in a similar way to term life insurance as you’ll be covered for a set period of time. The difference is that rather than receiving a lump sum pay out upon your passing, your loved ones will receive tax-free monthly income payments.

Get in touch to compare policies and quotes to arrange your ideal cover…

Life insurance for high risk occupations

During the application process, insurers will take into account key information. This can include information about your occupation.

Those who’re considered to have a job that’s high risk may pay more for their life insurance premiums.

As a general rule, insurers deem your occupation as high risk if you:

  • Regularly work at height (12 metres+)
  • Work in a job where your car mileage is very high
  • Work in hazardous environments (eg. a building site)
  • Work underwater or underground
  • Work with explosives, pyrotechnics or dangerous chemicals
  • Operate heavy machinery
  • Often undertake heavy lifting

Examples of occupations that insurers can consider to be high risk include:

The above list of high risk occupations is not a complete list, it’s merely a guide of the most common.

In particular, those who are self-employed, with a high risk occupation, may benefit from life insurance as you won’t receive a death in service benefit from an employer.

We have written a comprehensive life insurance for self-employed guide which may be of interest.

If your job is on the list, fear not, it’s still possible to secure affordable life insurance.

Why not get in touch with Reassured today to find out how we can help?

Life insurance for high risk sports and hobbies

Many of us enjoy some thrill-seeking every now and then, but regularly taking part in extreme sports or dangerous hobbies can lead to you being considered as high risk by insurers.

Some hobbies and activities considered as high risk by insurers include:


Water sports

  • Scuba diving
  • Surfing
  • Water-skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Some types of boating
  • Deep-sea fishing

From the sky

  • Hand gliding
  • Flying
  • Skydiving
  • Parachuting
  • Hot air ballooning

Outdoor pursuits

Again, if you see any activities which you undertake listed above, don’t think your quest to secure life cover is hopeless.

It can still be possible to secure life insurance, why not enlist the help of one of our experts?

Lifestyle and high risk life insurance

There are certain elements of your lifestyle that could affect whether insurers deem you to be high risk.


Smoking can cause health complications and have a negative impact on your lifespan. For this reason a smoker will pay more for life insurance than a non-smoker.

This also includes vaping and using e-cigarettes.

Quitting smoking can help to reduce your level of risk, but most insurers will need you to have stopped smoking for a specific period of time before offering you non-smokers rates (this is typically 12 months).

Read our comprehensive life insurance for smokers article »

Alcohol consumption

Having the odd drink at the weekend or as a celebration won’t have a negative effect on your life insurance application.

Government guidelines state that 14 units a week is a healthy limit for both men and women[7].

If you’re regularly exceeding this amount, you could be considered high risk by insurers.

If you are or have been dependent on alcohol we have this in-depth life insurance for alcoholics guide »

Weight (BMI)

Being overweight can be a gateway to a range of health problems, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Generally, insurers will ask about your weight and height during the application process to calculate your BMI and assess your level of risk. They will look at your BMI in correlation to your age and determine your monthly premium.

In any case, having a BMI of over 30 (being classified as obese) may place you in the high risk category.

Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce your risk and could help you to secure a lower premium.

If you have a high BMI you may benefit from reading our life insurance for overweight article »

Drug use

Taking recreational drugs can have a detrimental effect on both your physical and mental health, could put you at risk of HIV and hepatitis and, in a worst case scenario, could result in an overdose.

Therefore, those actively using drugs are likely to be considered too high risk by insurers and will be declined.

It can be possible to secure life insurance after you’ve stopped using drugs, but insurers will often need to you have been clean for a set period of time and it’s likely you may still pay inflated prices.

For more information read our life insurance for drug users article »


Frequently being on the move, whether for work or leisure can be flagged as a high risk factor during a life insurance application.

Particularly if you’re frequenting countries with disease outbreak, political unrest or in the midst of war.

Life insurance for high risk seniors

If you’re over the age of 50 it can be possible to secure life insurance without having to give any medical information.

This is through an over 50s plan, which guarantees acceptance to those aged 50 - 85.

Rather than giving details about your health and wellbeing, occupation, weight etc, an over 50s plan simply takes your age and sum assured into consideration (and sometimes your smoking status).

This option is ideal for any high risk individuals that fit into this age bracket that may have struggled to secure other types of cover in the past.

There are some factors you should be aware of when taking out an over 50s plan:

  • Cover amount is much less than with traditional life insurance policies - The sum assured for an over 50s plan is up to a maximum of £20,000 (depending on your personal circumstances and budget) but this can be ideal if you want to help cover funeral costs
  • There will be a waiting period added to your policy - This is the first 12 or 24 months of your policy where a pay out will not be made if you pass away due to natural causes. However any premiums paid into the policy will be refunded to your loved ones and accidental death is often covered during this time
  • Premiums may be more expensive - This how insurers mitigate the unknown risk of offering you cover

Reassured can help you to compare over 50s plans to find the right policy at the right price. Our over 50 life insurance starts from just 20p-a-day + .

Do I need to take cover out through high risk life insurance companies?

It’s not necessary to secure cover through a high risk life insurance company.

This is because what’s deemed as high risk differs between insurers, and you may be able to secure standard life cover even if you think you may be high risk.

At Reassured, we work with a panel of major insurers as well as smaller specialists, so we’re well equipped to help you find the right cover.

We take your personal circumstances into account and help you find the insurers from our panel who are most likely to offer you cover at an affordable rate.

Simply get in touch for your FREE high risk life insurance quotes.

Can a person be denied life insurance?

Yes, it’s possible for you to be refused life insurance if insurers deem you as too high risk. However, this is rare.

Whether you’ll be accepted for life insurance, and the terms offered to you, will depend on the level of risk you pose to the insurer (the likelihood of a claim being made).

In some severe cases, if insurers deem the risk to be too great, cover can’t be offered.

However, it can still be possible to secure life insurance after previously being declined.

If you were declined by a mainstream provider, it can be possible to secure cover through a specialist insurer, such as The Exeter.

Cover with The Exeter can’t be arranged directly, so contact Reassured to find out if they’re the right provider for you.

Our dedicated impaired life insurance team could help you secure some form of cover even if you have been declined in the past.

What if my circumstances change?

It’s a natural fact that circumstances in your life will change over time and you may need to adjust your life insurance accordingly.

It may be that:

  • You take on a new high risk job or start a new high risk activity
    Starting a new job which could be considered to be high risk, or starting a new high risk hobby while you already have cover in place won’t invalidate your policy. You’re not obligated to inform insurers of these changes when you have existing cover in place, but it could be beneficial to let them know to make the claims process more straight forward for your loved ones.
  • Your health changes
    Developing an illness or becoming overweight during the term of an existing policy also won’t invalidate your policy and your loved ones can still make a claim as per the terms and conditions of your policy. While you’re not required to inform your insurer, you may wish to do so to make the claims process easier for your loved ones. Some insurers will also reward you with a reduction in premiums if you lose weight while your policy is active
  • You quit smoking
    Quitting smoking can help to reduce the price you pay for your premiums. If you have been free of nicotine for 12 months or more it could be beneficial to source new life insurance quotes as your lifestyle change could help you to save some money
  • You quit your high risk job or hobby
    If you leave a high risk job or stop participating in a high risk hobby, it could benefit you to source some new life insurance quotes. Depending on your age and overall health, this could lead to you securing cheaper premiums as your risk may have lessened

Will I need to take a medical exam as a high risk applicant?

You won’t always be required to take a medical exam when applying for life insurance.

However, insurers do have the right to ask you to undergo a medical to find out more about the level of risk involved with offering you cover.

This is only likely with some pre-existing health conditions, as insurers may need to see if your condition has caused any other medical problems.

What’s more likely is for insurers to request a medical report from your GP (they will need your permission to do so and you’ll be able to see the report before it is sent to the insurer).

The exception to this is an over 50s plan, where no medical information is required.

Compare high risk life insurance quotes

Being placed in a high risk category by insurers doesn’t mean your quest to secure life insurance is impossible.

It’s always important to compare multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting a good deal for your chosen policy, and this is especially true for high risk applicants.

Some providers may penalise you more than others, so by comparing quotes you can find the lowest price available from our range of insurers.

Reassured can help you by finding the best price we can offer, while being on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Our quotes are personalised, fee-free and without obligation. So why not get in touch?









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