Life insurance for people with HIV – can I get it?

Many people believe that life insurance is simply unobtainable if you suffer from HIV and some even cancel their policy upon diagnosis.

However, securing life insurance is still very much achievable.

While premiums may be slightly higher than those not affected by the condition, you can still find a cost-effective solution.

Using an FCA regulated broker service, such as Reassured, you can compare prices to ensure you’re getting the cover you need at the right price.

What’s more, we have a specialist impaired team who have helped find cover for 45% of customers declined elsewhere.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about HIV life insurance…

How does HIV affect life insurance?

Years ago it was impossible to secure life insurance if you had contracted HIV.

However, thankfully, since the introduction of Triple Therapy (HAART) treatment insurers are now open to offering protection to HIV sufferers.

This development in underwriting is the largest to have taken place over the last 10 years and has resulted in HIV being treated like any other pre-existing medical condition.

While now completely possible to obtain life insurance, HIV sufferers may see inflated premiums due to the increased risk their condition may pose.

Insurers may also ask for more detailed information during application.

The application process

Certain aspects regarding HIV are considered during your application and it's highly likely your policy will then undergo additional medical underwriting.

A HIV sufferer won’t be denied life insurance on their diagnosis alone. If a denial is made it'll be due to the perceived risk to the insurer.

In order to determine the level of risk involved, the following is considered by insurers during the application process:

  • Date of diagnosis
  • Treatment administered
  • CD4 count
  • Viral load
  • Any history of drug usage
  • History of hepatitis

It's likely you'll have to provide medical evidence regarding the above aspects and have to go through manual underwriting before being accepted.

Newly diagnosed applicants are likely to have their life insurance policy deferred for 6 – 12 months.

Dependant on the diagnosis date, new cases are likely to go through a 6-12 month deferral period to determine how the disease affects your body and how you respond to treatment.

Providing the information retrieved within this period is favourable, then it's likely the policy cover can go ahead.

Life insurance policies

The stage of your condition and the risk you pose to the insurer will have an impact on the type of cover you can secure.

Different insurers will also provide different levels of cover and pricing strategies for suffers.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance provides life cover for a specified period of time (usually up to 40 years). If you pass away during the term a pay out is made to your loved ones.

Typically, term life insurance comes as level or decreasing.

Level term life insurance provides a fixed sum assured (pay out amount), whereas with decreasing term life insurance your sum assured will reduce over time.

Previously, the maximum term offered to someone with HIV was 10 years. However, due to medical advances and developments in underwriting, it’s possible to be offered the same level of cover as a non-sufferer.

This will be dependant on the stage of your disease and the risk you pose to the insurer.

Whole of life insurance

Whole of life insurance is a form of life assurance, as a pay out is guaranteed when you pass away.

You’ll be required to pay premiums for the rest of your life to keep the cover in place.

You'll need to provide information such as your age and smoking status, as well as provide medical information.

For this reason it may be an expensive form of cover for HIV sufferers.

Whether you can take out whole of life insurance will also be dependant on the stage of your condition and the risk you pose.

Over 50s life insurance

An over 50s plan offers guaranteed acceptance to UK residents age 50 – 85, with no medical information required.

If you fit into this age bracket and have HIV, this could be a good option as you don’t have to disclose your condition.

However, due to the unknown risk, insurers add a waiting period to the policy (usually 12 – 24 months).

If you pass away during this time, your loved ones won’t receive a pay out. However, the premiums you’ve paid will be refunded.

How much life insurance do you need?

Enter your financial commitments to understand the level of cover you require.

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£121,687 is the estimated average outstanding mortgage per household in the UK.

Our property is generally the largest financial commitment any of us will make.

Your life insurance should cover this significant debt should you no longer be around.

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According to Money Advice Service, full-time childcare in the UK now costs £242 a week.

The loss of a parent could result in the need for additional childcare whilst the surviving parent increases their hours to account for lost income.

Your life insurance cover should factor in this additional required outgoing.

£
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The average level of debt (minus a mortgage) in the UK is £15,385.

Factoring in any outstanding debts in your name when arranging life insurance ensures this burden is not passed to loved ones.

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You may wish to leave your loved ones an inheritance or lump sum gift upon your passing.

Factoring in the gift amount when arranging your cover will ensure the pay out amount will be sufficient to provide your loved ones with this selfless gesture.

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According to SunLife, the average cost of a UK funeral is now £4,417, whilst the total cost of dying is £9,493.

This is a 130% increase over the past 16 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

A significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

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If you are one of the 65% of the UK who are lucky enough to have savings, this could be used as protection if you were to pass away.

Any pay outs from existing life insurance policies and investments can also be used as financial protection for your loved ones if you were no longer around.

Factor this into your required cover amount.

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Your total cover estimate

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Let us find your best quote.

The cost of premiums

When it comes to life insurance, HIV is classed in the same category as other pre-existing medical conditions, like diabetes and asthma.

Whilst HIV sufferers will be required to pay higher premiums compared with someone with no health issues, the condition is now treated the same as all other pre-existing medical conditions.

This means the life insurance premiums of an HIV sufferer are likely to be similar to those of a diabetic.

Diagnosis of HIV

Being diagnosed with HIV during the policy term doesn’t invalidate your cover, providing you were honest during the application.

You should check the conditions of your cover to ensure HIV isn’t an exclusion – this is highly unlikely.

As long as it isn’t an exclusion you’re not obligated to inform the insurer of your recent diagnosis.

If it’s an exclusion, you should inform your insurer as the policy won’t be valid and new cover will need to be arranged to meet your change in circumstances.

Certain occupations bring an increased risk of contracting HIV, such as medical professionals, emergency service workers and the military.

Being diagnosed won’t affect the terms of your existing policy, therefore if you work in a profession where you’re at higher risk it’s best to take out life insurance and critical illness cover to ensure you’re fully protected.

HIV non-disclosure

Any non-disclosure regarding your HIV status during the application will deem your policy invalid. As a result, no pay out will be issued after you’re gone.

Unfortunately, even in 2020, being diagnosed with HIV still brings with it inaccurate connotations.

This fear of judgement, coupled with the possibility of higher premiums, can make it tempting to be dishonest about your HIV status.

However, failing to be honest with regards to your health can result in your policy being invalidated and risks a pay out being denied.

Do life insurance companies test for HIV?

HIV tests may be required during the application under certain circumstances, such as high levels of cover, travel, drug use or previous sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The cost of a HIV test will be covered by the insurer and will take place at either a public or private clinic.

If the results of the test are positive, it’s likely the insurer will defer your application for 6 – 12 months to determine how HIV affects your health and how your body responds to treatment.

You’ll not be required to undergo a test if you’ve already declared yourself HIV positive.

Does a HIV test affect life insurance?

Taking an HIV test won't affect your life insurance, it's the outcome of the test which may have an impact.

However, if you're awaiting results from a HIV test this should be declared to the insurer and you may be deferred until the results are provided.

During the application process, you'll be asked if you've ever had a positive HIV test.

A routine HIV test with a negative result won't affect your ability to obtain life insurance and there's no need to declare this.

A HIV test with a positive result could bring with it various implications mentioned within this guide, including deferral, increased premiums and providing medical evidence.

if the applicant is awaiting results from a HIV test then this should be declared and they may be deferred until the results are provided.

HIV and an existing life insurance policy

Long-standing policies (10 years or older) may not be as beneficial to HIV sufferers as a newer policy due to updated underwriting processes and medical advances.

Depending on how long your current cover has been in place, there's a chance certain terms may have been written into your policy regarding your HIV.

These changes mean that if you were to take out a policy today, your cover could be more comprehensive and your premiums lower.

As a result, if you took out life cover some time ago it may be beneficial to seek out new quotes to replace for your existing policy. Alternatively, speak with your current insurer to see if you can update your existing cover.

You can compare quotes from some of the UK's leading insurers by using an FCA registered broker service, such as Reassured.

Critical illness cover and HIV

Critical illness cover provides a pay out to your loves ones if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness.

HIV is one of the illnesses covered by critical illness cover, meaning that if you're diagnosed with the disease and have this protection in place, you'll receive a pay out.

These funds could be used to pay for private medical treatment, make the necessary adaptations to your home or to simply enjoy with your family.

Unfortunately, due to the effect HIV has on your immune system, it's not possible to obtain critical illness cover if you've already contracted HIV.

This is due to the increased likelihood of contracting further diseases due to a weaker immune system, meaning you pose too much of a risk to the insurer.

Drug use and HIV

Life insurance for HIV sufferers who use drugs will require further testing during the application.

People who inject drugs (PWID) may also need to perform a test regardless of their known HIV status.

Whilst only 150 cases of HIV a year are as a result of people injecting drugs, this is still the third-highest category of people most likely to contract the disease.

As a result, during the application, you'll be asked information regarding whether you use drugs.

If declared within the PWID category, you'll be asked further questions regarding your drug habits. This is likely to result in having to undertake an HIV test.

AIDS life insurance

As most people are aware, the biggest risk with regards to HIV is its potential to develop into AIDS-defining disease, which weakens the immune system.

In the same way as HIV, contracting AIDS during the term of your existing life insurance will not invalidate your existing policy providing you were honest at the time of application.

Unfortunately, it's not currently possible to obtain life insurance if you suffer from AIDS at the point of application.

The exception to this is if you're aged between 50-85, where it's possible to take out an over 50s plan without the need to provide any medical information.

Living with HIV UK

There are currently over 100,000 people in the UK living with HIV[3].

Whilst manageable, HIV is an incurable condition which can bring with it complications, such as AIDS-defining illnesses which damage the body’s immune system.

This highlights the need for life insurance cover to secure the financial wellbeing of your loved ones should the worst happen

Support and advice group links:

Life insurance quotes for HIV

Being treated as a pre-existing medical condition means that it’s now possible to secure cost-effective life insurance.

Using the services of an independent, FCA registered broker allows you to find the most suitable policy to meet your unique needs.

Why not save yourself time and money by letting our impaired risk specialists find you the best quotes.

They’ve secured cover for 45% of customers declined elsewhere.

And the best part is our award-winning brokerage service is completely fee-free to use.

Sources:

[1] https://www.the-insurance-surgery.co.uk/medical-conditions-life-insurance/hiv-insurance/

[2] https://www.abi.org.uk/globalassets/sitecore/files/documents/publications/public/2016/hiv-and-insurance/hiv-and-insurance-guide.pdf

[3] https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/western-central-europe-north-america/uk

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