Can you get life insurance if you have an eating disorder?

Yes, it’s possible to secure life insurance if you live with certain eating disorders, or have recovered from one in the past.

Around 1.25 million people have some form of eating disorder in the UK[1], with conditions including anorexia, EDNOS, bulimia and binge-eating disorder.

While anyone can develop an eating disorder, it mostly affects teenagers between the ages of 13 - 17[2].

If you've actively recovered from an eating disorder, you should be able to secure cover. However, it may be more difficult for those who have experienced relapses, who still live with an eating disorder or have an irregular BMI.

A low, or high BMI, won’t always impact monthly life insurance premiums, but battling an eating disorder can also have an effect on both your mental and physical well-being.

Side effects of eating disorders can range from dizziness and stomach cramps to heart disease.

Due to the impact an eating disorder can have and the wide array of potential side effects, life insurance premiums (monthly payments) for those with an eating disorder can vary, depending on your personal situation.

Insurers will require additional information regarding your condition, including any side effects or physical complications that may exist because of your eating disorder.

Having an eating disorder is only one factor which would determine your life insurance options and the cost of your premiums. Age, occupation and smoking status, amongst other factors are also considered.

At Reassured, we could help you save time and money by finding life insurance quotes which suit your individual circumstances.

Our award-winning team can compare quotes for free from some of the best UK life insurance providers and our specialist impaired team could help find you some form of cover if you’ve been declined previously.

How does an eating disorder impact life insurance?

Eating disorders range in complexity and can impact both your physical and mental well-being. As a result, there are multiple ways they can impact your life insurance.

Aspects of an eating disorder which may affect your application include:

  • Date of your diagnosis
  • If you’ve required time off work
  • If it has caused you to be hospitalised
  • If you have a history of or are actively self-harming
  • If you have any additional physical or mental health conditions
  • Any physical symptoms or medical issues
  • If you’re currently living with your eating disorder, are in recovery or have relapsed

Your current and what your BMI was at its lowest may also be an important factor to determine your premiums. If you have an eating disorder, your BMI may not be in the recommended healthy range of 18.5 - 24.9[3].

Being classed as underweight or overweight, due to an eating disorder may result in additional loading (increased monthly premiums).

However, due to no two individuals being the same, BMI may not impact premiums if supported by a GP’s medical note. Those with no health problems who have a naturally higher or lower BMI may find they are accepted on standard terms.

Many insurers judge these aspects differently, meaning premiums will vary depending on the provider.

It’s, therefore, a good idea to compare quotes through an FCA-regulated life insurance broker (like Reassured). We can source our best quotes from our panel of insurers.

Why do I need life insurance?

Around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder[1] and these can cause a wide range of physical conditions.

Whether you’re currently living with an eating disorder or have recovered, it’s important to consider the future of your loved ones if something were to happen to you.

A life insurance pay out can help your loved ones to cover:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Essential bills and debts
  • Childcare and day-to-day cost of living
  • Your funeral expenses

Furthermore, life insurance could also help you leave an inheritance for loved ones.

It can also be possible to add additional forms of cover to your policy such as terminal illness cover or critical illness cover.

No two individual’s reasons for obtaining life insurance are the same. However, Reassured can help you determine which life insurance policy can suit your needs.

Simply contact us today.

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Calculate how much life insurance you may need by filling in the costs you’d 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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Should I disclose my eating disorder?

Yes, you’ll need to disclose whether you’re living with an eating disorder, or if you have a history of eating disorders during the application process.

Failure to disclose any condition you have is known as ‘non-disclosure’.

As well as being a type of insurance fraud, it could lead to your policy being invalidated and future claims by your loved ones being unsuccessful.

Fortunately, our award-winning team can help you throughout the entire application process.

Understandably, you may be anxious about disclosing your medical history to a stranger.

However, our friendly team won’t judge or rush you, and only require this information to find the right policy for your circumstances.

Are eating disorders classed as a pre-existing medical conditions?

Yes, if you have an eating disorder or have had one in the past, it will be classified as a pre-existing medical condition in the eyes of insurers.

Any mental or physical condition you have, or have had, when securing life insurance is classified as a pre-existing condition.

Some eating disorders won’t prevent you from securing life insurance cover.

However, you may find your application takes longer to be processed, additional medical information is required, or an additional loading on your premiums is necessary.

It’s possible your application could be declined if you have additional health complications.

For example, if you have anorexia and have additional physical ailments as a result, you may struggle to find life insurance with most mainstream providers.

Alternatively, your application could be postponed until you’ve hit a certain criteria, including maintaining a healthy BMI, or being in recovery for a set period.

It’s essential to disclose this information so Reassured can see if there’s a suitable policy to cover your specific needs.

Life insurance options for those with eating disorders

If you’re living with an eating disorder, or have had one in the past, there could still be a range of life insurance options available to you.

However, it’s important to choose one which is best for your individual requirements. Due to your condition or other personal circumstances, some may be more attainable or beneficial to you then others.

Level term life insurance with eating disorder

This covers a specific period of up to 40 years and your loved ones will receive a fixed sum assured (lump sum payment) on a successful claim.

This is in return for a fixed monthly premium. Medical information is required so you’ll need to disclose any eating disorders during the application process.

Level term life insurance can help to protect an interest-based mortgage and/or family living costs.

However, it’s important to remember that if you were to pass away after the term expired, you wouldn’t be covered, and any claim made after the term’s expiry would be unsuccessful.

Decreasing term life insurance with eating disorder

This is similar to level term life insurance, with the only difference being the sum assured decreases over the policy term.

On average, decreasing term life insurance is slightly cheaper than level term life insurance. Again, you’ll need to disclose any eating disorders during the application process.

If you have a repayment mortgage, decreasing term life insurance can help to cover the cost if you were to pass away as your sum assured can reduce at the same rate as your remaining mortgage balance.

Like level term life insurance, the policy can expire before you pass away, which means claims made after this period would be unsuccessful.

Whole of life insurance with eating disorders

Also known as a ‘life assurance’ policy as a pay out is guaranteed, regardless of when you pass away. Medical information is required so you will need to disclose any conditions.

Whole of life insurance can guarantee a pay out to help provide an inheritance and/or cover your funeral costs.

Due to the guaranteed nature of the product, premiums are significantly higher than other policies and could be even more costly if an additional loading is applied due to health complications caused by an eating disorder.

Over 50s life insurance with eating disorders

Also a type of life assurance but designed specifically for UK residents aged between 50 - 85. Acceptance for those within the age range is guaranteed and no medical information is required.

If you’re in this age range and have struggled to secure cover in the past due to having anorexia, EDNOS, bulimia or a binge eating disorder, this could provide a way to secure the cover you need.

However, as no medical information is required, premiums can be higher and there’s also a cap on the maximum sum you can take out (often capped at £20,000)

Critical illness cover with eating disorders

This is a type of policy which pays a lump sum if you have been diagnosed with a specific life altering illness during the policy term.

Claims can be used while you’re alive to help with home adaptations or other necessary care costs.

It can be added to term-based life insurance for an additional cost.

Critical illness cover can't be taken out as a separate policy through Reassured. Furthermore, your insurer may exclude any critical illness claims from your policy which relate to eating disorders.

Terminal illness cover with eating disorders

This cover provides the option to make an early claim if you've been diagnosed with an incurable illness and have less than 12 months to live.

The pay out could be used to help cover any end-of-life care costs. This type of cover is included with all term-based life insurance secured through Reassured.

Terminal illness cover can't be secured by itself through Reassured, and is not included with any life assurance policies. Once you’ve made a successful terminal illness claim, the life insurance will expire.

Please also bear in mind your budget when securing a life insurance product, policies become invalid if premium payments are not up to date.

Reassured can take your personal circumstances into consideration and provide you with our best quotes. Simply get in touch.

Can I get life insurance if I have recovered from an eating disorder?

Yes, if a sufficient amount of time has passed, it’s very likely you'll be able to secure life insurance. However, you may be asked additional questions about your medical history.

If your BMI and weight is considered, with the healthy range decided by your chosen insurer, and you haven’t experienced a recent relapse, you may find that your premiums have little to no increase with some providers.

If you've only recently recovered from your eating disorder, you may find that some providers will add a loading on your premiums, or postpone your application to ensure you’ve had long enough to recover.

If you developed health complications as a result of an eating disorder, these will need to be disclosed during the application.

Depending on the severity of your condition, you may experience a loading to your premiums.

If your application has been declined in the past, Reassured may still be able to help.

It may have been that you had been in recovery for a short period and your weight or BMI hadn’t had long enough to maintain a healthy level.

Contact our specialist team to secure life insurance today.

How much will life insurance be if I have an eating disorder?

The price you pay for life insurance will vary depending on your personal circumstances.

You’ll be asked questions about your condition to help determine the price you pay, as well as being required to provide standard information.

The questions you’ll be asked as standard will be about:

  • Your age - Those who are older will pay higher premiums on average
  • Your smoking status - Those who have used nicotine products in the past year will pay a higher premium than non-smokers
  • Your occupation - If you've a potentially dangerous or hazardous occupation, you’ll have a loading on your premiums
  • Your health - Insurers will want to know about any conditions related or unrelated to your eating disorder
  • Your lifestyle - Any dangerous hobbies you partake in, and alcohol consumption can affect premiums
  • Your weight/BMI - This information is required regardless of whether you have an eating disorder
  • Length of cover - A longer term-based policy will require higher premiums than a shorter term-based policy. Life assurance policies like whole of life insurance and over 50s life insurance have, on average, a higher premium cost
  • Level of cover - This is the sum assured (amount of cover) that you require. The higher the amount, the higher your premiums

Can I be declined life insurance due to having an eating disorder?

It’s possible to have an application declined due to having an eating disorder.

You can't legally have a life insurance application declined due to a mental health condition without there being a reliable source noting there’s a level of risk.

For example, if your eating disorder results in a very low or high BMI, it could lead to certain health complications and impose additional risk on the insurer.

Depending on the history and severity of your condition, you’re likely to experience one of three scenarios:

  1. Your history or ongoing condition has little impact on your policy, and you secure standard premiums or have a slight loading
  2. Your policy’s premiums have an increased loading and may include exclusions for your condition
  3. Your application is declined, postponed or further information is required

However, many insurers may judge the severity of your condition differently, meaning that some insurers may decline your application, while others may accept it with more favourable terms.

If your application has been accepted but the premiums are too high, you could also consider altering the length and sum assured to make your premium more affordable. It’s also worth confirming eating disorders are included in the cover if you've concerns.

It’s best to talk to a life insurance broker like Reassured who can provide quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers and smaller specialists.

What happens to my life insurance if I relapse?

Unfortunately, the road to recovery with eating disorders isn’t always smooth. For example, between 35% and 41% of anorexia nervosa patients relapse within 18 months[4].

Life insurance terms and premiums are agreed during the application process. This means that your life insurance won't be impacted if you relapse during the term.

It’s important to inform your life insurance provider if a change has happened to your health.

While it’s not compulsory, failure to do so could result in a claim requiring investigation, leading to a delayed claim for your loved ones, or claims being unsuccessful or if incorrect information or a non-disclosure is discovered.

However, we do appreciate that you would need to focus on your recovery at this point, so don’t feel rushed to contact your life insurance provider.

Eating disorder helplines and support networks

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, or concerned about yourself or a loved one relapsing, there are support services that can help:

Compare quotes for life insurance for people with eating disorders

Eating disorders are complex conditions. No two eating disorders will result in the same premiums and it’s unlikely two individuals with the same condition will pay the same amount.

As a result, it’s best to contact a life insurance broker, like Reassured, to look at your individual circumstances and help determine which life insurance policy is right for you.

Reassured can compare life insurance quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers, and some smaller specialists.

We could help find quotes that could cover your condition.

All quotes will be personalised, no-obligation and, best of all, completely fee-free.

Contact our award-winning brokerage for your life insurance quote, today.

Sources:

[1] https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/get-information-and-support/about-eating-disorders/how-many-people-eating-disorder-uk/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/eating-disorders/overview/

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-is-the-body-mass-index-bmi

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5017136/

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