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Guide to HIV life insurance

There are ways to make sure that you get the best cover and cheapest premiums for HIV life insurance, which we’ll explore in this guide

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 1 June 2023

7 min read

Guide to HIV life insurance

Getting life insurance can provide financial protection to your family and your partner if you die or for serious illness. Life insurance premiums start from as little as £5 per month and it is the most cost effective way to give your loved ones financial security.

Life insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions such as HIV, can be slightly more complicated and often will be more expensive. There are ways to make sure that you get the best cover and cheapest premiums for HIV life insurance, which we’ll explore in this guide.

Many insurance providers offer HIV life insurance to customers but premiums can vary dramatically from one life insurance company to another. The good news is that HIV life insurance premiums have reduced in recent years because of new treatments and medication.

HIV facts and figures UK

The number of newly diagnosed with HIV in the United Kingdom has dramatically reduced over the past 15 years. At its peak, there were nearly 7,900 people diagnosed with HIV in 2005 which has reduced to just below 3,000 people in 2021.

  • Total number of people living with HIV: 106,890 (2019)
  • % of people with HIV receiving treatment: 98%
  • Virally suppressed percentage: 89%
  • Number of people receiving HIV care: 94,954 (including 45 children under 15)
  • Age of people receiving care: 48% over 50 and 8% over 65
  • HIV life expectancy: 80.90 (2020)

Statistically, you are now able to live a long and healthy life when diagnosed with HIV and receiving treatment. HIV patients can live on average, 54.9 years when receiving treatment for the virus which has increased due to the combination antiretroviral era.

Can I get HIV life insurance?

Yes, thanks to modern antiretroviral treatment and HIV care, life insurance with HIV has become far more accessible than previous years.

When you disclose that you have been diagnosed with HIV on your application for life insurance, you will be asked several questions about your condition. Life insurance underwriters will want to know about your latest readings, dates of diagnosis and what treatment you are receiving.

It’s still a common misconception that HIV life insurance is expensive and even that you can’t get it. Some people also still believe that it won’t pay out or that HIV will be excluded from the cover, which isn’t true.

Life insurance for people with HIV is more affordable and accessible that it has ever been in the past. But, there is still room for improvement and we still believe that insurers can work harder to make HIV life insurance more fair.

More on this topic:

Does HIV affect life insurance terms?

No, life insurance does not usually exclude pre-existing medical conditions which means that your cover will include HIV and anything connected with the virus.

Traditional life insurance is underwritten at the point of application and will include questions about your medical history. You will almost always be asked about HIV on your application form and you should disclose any details about HIV.

If you fail to disclose medical information or if you withhold information, then your policy may be void and claims can be refused.

How much does HIV life insurance cost?

If you disclose HIV on your life insurance application then it is likely that your premiums will be higher than someone with no pre-existing medical conditions.

HIV life insurance premiums have reduced significantly over the past 15 years and are now far more reasonable than previous periods. You should expect to pay slightly higher premiums depending on your CD4 count and viral load.

There are some life insurance providers that are good for HIV patients and some that simply are too expensive or don’t offer cover. You might expect to pay premiums that are around 50% to 150% higher than standard rate premiums on average.

Life insurance premiums for people with HIV have actually reduced significantly in the past 15 years, since the introduction of HAART treatment.

Key facts about HIV life insurance applications

Life insurance terms have improved dramatically over the past two decades as treatment and life expectancy has improved.

Here are some of the most recent Key Facts about HIV life insurance:

  • Life insurance applications will ask about HIV tests and test results (if outstanding)
  • HIV tests may be required for people who have visited countries with high risks of contracting the HIV virus (e.g. Africa, Caribbean, South America etc.)
  • Disclosing your HIV status is required for your application and policy to be valid (not disclosing HIV may result in your policy being invalid)
  • GP reports are usually standard requirements for anyone that discloses HIV on their life insurance application
  • 4 to 6 weeks processing time is about average for any HIV life insurance application
  • HIV life insurance specialists will usually know which insurers will be cheapest and quickest to apply

Do I need to have a HIV test for life insurance?

No, you won’t be required to have a HIV test when you apply for a life insurance policy. This is not a mandatory part of the application process.

If you have had a HIV test then you will be required to disclose the results of that test or your insurance policy may be void. You will be asked questions about HIV tests during your life insurance application so you need to be honest.

Best HIV life insurance policies

There are several different types of life insurance policies that provide cover for specific reasons. You can use life insurance to protect your family, home, or business. The most commonly bought life insurance policies are term life insurance, which covers you for a set number of years. The best HIV life insurance policies for you will be based on your circumstances and need for life cover.

Most common types of HIV life insurance policies:

  • HIV Family life insurance (Level Term) is the most common type of life cover. This cover is designed to protect your loved ones if you die. It pays out a level lump sum that will remain the same throughout the term of the policy. This is ideal to give financial security to your children and partner.
  • HIV Mortgage life insurance (Decreasing Term) is designed specifically to protect your home and pay off your mortgage balance if you die. This type of cover is usually 20 – 30% cheaper than family life insurance. This is because the cover amount reduces as you repay your mortgage.
  • HIV Family income benefit life insurance is a less common type of life cover but can be useful. These policies provide a cheaper alternative to people that can’t afford level term cover. This type of cover pays out a yearly lump sum to your family to replace your income if you die.
  • HIV Whole of life insurance is designed for specific costs of death in retirement or later in life. This includes costs such as Inheritance Tax liability or funeral expenses. This type of cover is guaranteed to pay out on death which also means that premiums will be higher.
  • HIV Guaranteed life insurance is another style of life cover that is available to people with pre-existing medical conditions like HIV. A benefit of this policy type is there is no need for medical evidence. Many people take out these policies because they want to get cover more quickly and they don’t want medicals. These policies are less flexible and will usually exclude any pre-existing medical conditions.
  • HIV Over 50s life insurance is another type of guaranteed life insurance that is available to people older than 50 years of age. This cover is often used to pay for funeral expenses and other associated costs of someone passing away. Over 50s policies are not suitable for everyone so make sure that you read the Terms & Conditions carefully.

Currently there are also a couple of life insurance policies that aren’t available to people diagnosed with HIV.

  • HIV Critical illness insurance is still not available in the current marketplace due to the increased risks of serious illness associated with HIV and HIV treatment. We believe that this isn’t right and we’re pushing for insurers to offer this type of cover more readily to people with HIV.
  • HIV Income protection insurance is also not available in the current insurance market due to the same added risks as critical illness cover. Also, this should be available and we are hoping for this to be reviewed soon.

You can get advice and cover from a HIV life insurance specialist who should be able to save you time and money on your cover.

Many of the major insurance brands will accept HIV life insurance applications these days, but there are some who are clearly better than others. There are still some insurance providers that don’t offer cover to people with HIV so it’s still not unusual to get declined for HIV life insurance.

If you are refused life insurance because of your medical history then you should speak to a specialist to find the best options.

Best providers for HIV life insurance:

How to find the cheapest HIV life insurance

You should get proper advice from a HIV life insurance specialist to make sure that you get the best cover and to pay the lowest premiums. Getting life insurance with HIV can sometimes be difficult and this is why an expert would be able to help you.

Most life insurance specialists and brokers don’t charge a fee for their services and often they will be able to access insurers that aren’t available to the general public.

It is best to speak to someone that has experience in dealing with people diagnosed with HIV. You should then be able to get cover much more quickly and with less hassle. A traditional non-specialist broker might have to make multiple applications or you might get refused cover unnecessarily.

Support for HIV life insurance

There are several support services and online documents that will help to explain how HIV life insurance works. This includes services provided by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and charities such as the Terrance Higgins Trust.

Association of British Insurance (ABI) – HIV and Life Insurance

Terrance Higgins Trust – Healthcare and insurance

AIDS Map – Life insurance for people living with HIV

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