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.

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.

However, being labelled impaired doesn't necessarily mean you can't secure affordable life insurance.

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 best 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?

Enter your financial commitments below to understand the level of impaired life insurance cover you require.


£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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

£ -

Your total cover estimate

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Let us find your best quotes.

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.

Our award-winning team are trained to understand individual circumstances and determine the insurers most likely to accept your application.

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

45% of customers who have been declined elsewhere have found cover through Reassured.

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

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.

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 you need to shop around and compare quotes in order to find the most competitive deals.

We can help you compare multiple quotes, 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.

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.

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. However, the cost and terms of your cover will vary depending on your individual circumstances.

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 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:

  • 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.

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 cover protection.

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 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 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 the most competitive quotes
  • 50,000+ 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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