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 does this mean?

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

Impaired risk refers to an applicant who doesn't meet the insurer's standard criteria to obtain the most affordable rate. It’s typically due to:

  • A pre-existing medical condition
  • A dangerous occupation or hobby
  • Lifestyle factors, such as smoking or excessive drinking

Impaired, signifies that you're considered a higher risk and therefore more difficult to insure.

However, being labelled impaired doesn't necessarily mean you can't secure suitable life insurance to protect your loved ones.

At Reassured, we have a specialist impaired life insurance team who can help secure cover where you may otherwise have had difficulty.

Read on to find out exactly how being classed as impaired risk can affect your life insurance…

Impaired risk life insurance

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 high-risk by the insurer, your premiums will be more expensive compared with a standard applicant.

Therefore, it's more essential than ever to compare quotes to secure the right policy at an affordable deal.

Once cover has been secured, whilst you may be paying slightly more, the terms of the cover won't differ from a standard applicant.

Contact our dedicated team today to arrange life insurance protection.

How much life insurance do you need?

Work out how much life insurance would be ideal to suit your needs by filling in our handy calculator.


£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


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


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


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


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


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


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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Impaired life insurance providers

In recent years, the life insurance market has become more accommodating to impaired applicants.

As a result, not only do many specialist insurers exist, but many mainstream insurers are accepting higher risk applicants.

At Reassured, we work with major insurers, as well as impaired specialists The Exeter, to help secure you the best quote we can offer.

Our award-winning team are trained to understand individual circumstances and determine which of our insurer partners are most likely to accept your application.

We have a specialist team dedicated to finding cover for applicants who may have struggled previously.

In addition, we also work with insurers that specialise in over 50 life insurance - a type of policy designed for people aged 50 - 85 who have poor health.

Over 50 life insurance guarantees acceptance, even if you’re classified as impaired, and there are no medical questions when you apply.

Contact us today to discover your policy options and receive your free quotes.

Does being impaired 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.

As discussed, 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 standard cover.

It may mean, however, that it’s more important to shop around and compare quotes in order to find the most competitive deals.

You may also consider over 50 life insurance if you’re in the eligible age bracket, as acceptance is guaranteed regardless of your health and lifestyle.

At Reassured, can help you compare multiple quotes for various policies, at no cost to you.

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.

The amount your premium will be increased by will depend on your personal circumstances and the insurer.

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 check, in order to satisfy the insurer of your current health.

If you agree to a medical check, then this would be at your local pharmacy or GP, at a time and date that suits you.

Usually, the terms of your cover will not be affected and you will be insured for all the same causes of death as a standard applicant.

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 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 your 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:

  • Equestrian sports
  • Motorsport
  • Rugby
  • Watersports
  • Boxing
  • Cycling

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:

  • Gliding
  • Motorsports
  • Bungee jumping
  • Hunting
  • Skiing

Exeter life insurance

The Exeter offer life cover specifically designed for people with chronic or serious health conditions, who may find it difficult to secure standard cover.

Their unique underwriting process provides impaired applicants with a greater chance of securing affordable life insurance. Even if they’ve been declined elsewhere.

The Exeter have two types of protection:

Real Life (life insurance)

  • Pays out a cash lump sum to loved ones if the policyholder passes away, or is diagnosed with a terminal illness, during the policy term
  • Can be taken out with a level or decreasing cover amount
  • Term length can be between 5 - 50 years
  • Sum assured (cover amount) between £20,000 - £3,000,000
  • Available to those aged 18 - 80

Income First (income protection)

  • Designed to pay out up to 60% of your usual income if you’re unable to work due to sickness or injury
  • Maximum monthly benefit of £10,000
  • Available to those aged 18 - 59
  • You must work at least 15 hours per week (either employed or self-employed) to be eligible to take out a policy

You’re unable to apply directly for Exeter life insurance or income protection, so get in touch with our team at Reassured today for your individual quote.

Over 50 life insurance

As mentioned, if you’re aged 50 - 85 and you’re classified as impaired by insurers, then you may consider over 50 life insurance.

When applying for this type of cover, you don’t have to disclose any health conditions or certain lifestyle factors that could make you high-risk.

Over 50 life insurance policy key features:

  • Guaranteed acceptance if you’re a UK resident aged 50 - 85
  • No medical questions or exam
  • Cover amount up to £20,000 (depending on your age, smoking status and budget)
  • Guaranteed pay out when you pass away
  • Fixed premiums from just £5 a month +

Get in touch for your free over 50 life insurance quotes through Reassured.

Reassured's specialist impaired risk team

Not all impaired applicants are handled in the same manner.

Different insurers will employ different underwriting criteria, meaning life insurance 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 find the right policy

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

Let us compare multiple quotes to help find you the right financial protection to protect your loved ones.

What's more, our broker service is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Read our comprehensive article on 9 reasons to use a life insurance broker »

Impaired life insurance in summary:

  • You may be impaired as a result of a medical condition, dangerous occupation or hobby
  • Impaired risk applicants will pay more for their premiums
  • This doesn't mean all impaired applicants are uninsurable
  • Impaired life quotes can vary, as insurers employ different underwriting criteria
  • Some insurers put exclusions in your policy, meaning you can't claim in certain scenarios
  • There are insurers that specialise in providing impaired life insurance
  • Undergoing a medical could reassure your insurer and reduce your premium
  • Cover expires if you don't maintain your monthly premium payments

Why use Reassured to find the best impaired life insurance quotes?

  • We've a dedicated impaired team, who work tirelessly to help secure you cover
  • We've a great track record of securing some form of cover for those who have previously been declined
  • We've years of experience working with major insurers and smaller specialists
  • We understand the different underwriting processes and criteria insurers employ
  • We'll compare our panel of insurers, identifying our most competitive quotes
  • 70,000+ people can't be wrong! We have an 'Excellent' average Trustpilot rating of 4.8/5
  • We never charge you a fee to use our service
  • We're a non-advised broker - we listen to your unique circumstances and find the most suitable policies

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