APS and Life Insurance

Unlike travel insurance where a number of companies are prepared to offer insurance to people with APS, it can be very difficult to obtain a life insurance policy if you have a diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome. Many insurance providers may automatically reject an application for a pre-existing condition such as APS and other policies may be unaffordable.

The main issue seems to be a lack of evidence about the disease nature and outcomes of antiphospholipid syndrome. This means it is classed as ‘unknown’ by the insurance industry who are then reluctant to offer policies before it is deemed as too high risk. This is not very helpful for APS patients as most manage their condition well, are capable of working, paying taxes, having a family and taking out mortgages!

So we are pleased to be working with Cura Insurance who specialise in securing insurance policies for people with medical conditions, including antiphospholipid syndrome.

Cura Insurance will be happy to talk to you free of charge about your medical circumstances and, although there is no guarantee a policy will be offered, they are aware of how APS can affect people very differently and will work with you to try and find you some insurance cover. Please look at their Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Life Insurance webpage for more details. You can also download their APS leaflet.

Kathryn Knowles, the Managing Director of Cura Insurance, has kindly written the following information and produced a video to help APS patients understand how Cura Insurance may be able   to find the best policies for your personal health situation.

“I am sure that most people reading this will have had some sort of experience arranging insurance. Home, travel, car insurance are all pretty common.

I am a specialist insurance adviser and I help people to arrange insurance if they have a medical condition. I am not here as a salesperson, I am here as someone who has medical conditions and struggled to get insurance. I know what it’s like to not know which insurers to use; I know what it’s like to be told you are not “normal” enough to have insurance.

What I want to do is give you some knowledge about what to look out for and how to get the best insurances for you and your family.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is the kind of thing that’s generally good to consider if you have a partner or children that are dependent upon your income, if you have a mortgage, or you simply want to cover some funeral expenses. These are not steadfast rules but are a good indication of what you might need.

Please watch my APS Blog Video to find out what Insurers will need to know from you when looking and applying for protection insurance, if you are living with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). 

You can also read the Transcript of the video.

When it comes to looking at life insurance when you are living with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) it’s a good idea to have the following bits of information to hand:

  • The month/year that your diagnosis was made.
  • Any treatments or medications that you take?
  • How the condition affects you? Eg. history of blood clots, CAPS
  • Does the APS impact upon your ability to work?
  • Any complications that you might experience? Budd-Chiari syndrome, portal vein thrombosis etc

I can’t say that Insurers X Y Z are going to be good calls for people with APS, every single person is assessed individually. It really comes down to how the condition affects your day to day living. It is likely that you will pay an increase premium for the life insurance, compared to somebody without APS, and the trick is to find the insurer that increases the premium the least!

It is possible that some insurers will not be able to offer the life insurance to you, for some it will be simply because of the diagnosis of APS, others it will be if there have been any recent clotting events. It is really important to remember that when you use price comparison sites, that the cheapest insurer may not be the best one for your health, they may end up actually being far dearer than the insurer that was originally halfway down the list.

What will it cost?

It’s not easy to say how much life insurance might cost and I know that might not seem overly helpful! For some policies the premiums are fixed amounts for specific ages or the amount of insurance you buy. Others the premiums can change based upon your health, age, smoker status, BMI and quite a few other factors.

When it comes to life insurance you can arrange this as an individual or as a member of a business (with your employer’s permission!). If you own a company or have an employer that is open to looking at insurances for you, it can really open up more options to you.

Are there any extras?

At the moment many insurers now offer access to enhanced medical support services. This can include second medical opinions from experts, specialist nurses and counsellors. You do not need to make a claim to access these services they are just there for you and your family to use as you wish.

Critical Illness Cover

Critical illness cover is an insurance policy that protects you if you are diagnosed with a medical condition listed in the contract. This will usually include things like cancer, heart attack, multiple sclerosis, strokes and the policies typically cover for the diagnosis of at least 60 critical illnesses. You may find the policy comes at either a price increase or with an exclusion for claims relating to the APS.

Income Protection

This really does do what the title says. You buy an insurance policy to protect your income in the event that you cannot work due to ill health. Any policy you arrange will probably exclude any claim relating to existing health conditions, which I know does not sound fabulous. But, please listen to the ‘but’, it covers you for anything else that might cause you to be ill.

Top 5 Tips

  • Use an insurance broker that offers an advised service. This means that they can tell you which insurer is best for you and make sure that the insurance you want, is actually what you need. Check that they are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority!
  • Watch out for fees and tie-in periods. Some brokers charge a fee for their services, some are instead paid a commission by the insurer for introducing you to them. Some brokers also include a clause in their contracts that you need to pay them a fee if you cancel the policy within a couple of years. I’m not saying that either option is better or worse, just make sure you know what you are signing up for.
  • Keep an eye out for tied panels. Banks, some mortgage brokers and insurance brokers, are tied to specific insurers. Banks are usually tied to one insurer, others are often tied to a panel of 5-7 insurers that they can use. It may be that the best insurance for you is with one of those insurers, but it’s probably best to speak to someone that can do a whole of market analysis for you.
  • Ask for the FCA number. Any adviser firm worth their salt will give you their Financial Conduct Authority number, so that you can check that they are a legitimate company. Using a firm that is regulated by the FCA gives you some guarantees if their advice does not match your needs.
  • Don’t take no for an answer! If someone tells you that you are uninsurable, ignore them and use a specialist broker. 

This guide was written by Kathryn Knowles, Managing Director of Cura Financial Services. You can read her bio here.

As an additional benefit, Cura Insurance make a contribution of 20% of their initial fee from the insurer back to APS Support UK to show their continued support.  There is no charge to you to use their insurance services as they receive fees from the insurer once the policy is put in force.