MS Life Insurance Guide
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) generally live very normal lives and have standard life insurance requirements to protect their families.
Life insurance is a type of policy that is designed protect your family and dependents if you die. Your family will receive a cash lump sum on your death which will help them to manage financially if you are no longer able to support them.
It’s a harsh fact but this is something that we should consider to protect our children or home, and most people with MS can get affordable life insurance.
MS facts and figures UK
MS is a common neurological medical condition that affects around 130,000 people in the UK according to MS Society. Every year there are a further 7,000 people who are being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so 130 new cases every week.
People who are most affected by MS in the UK are women between the ages of 35 and 75 or men between the ages of 45 and 70. This means that people are most typically affected during normal working and family ages, so have a greater need for life cover.
There are three common types of MS which are:
- Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (85% of people with MS have Relapsing Remitting MS)
- Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (approx 5% of people have Secondary Progressive MS)
- Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (10-15% of people with MS have Primary Progressive MS)
Statistically, 1 in 500 people in the UK has been diagnosed with MS and life expectancy is seven years below the average.
SUMMARY: People with MS need life insurance to protect their loved ones to make sure that they are financially protected if anything happens to them. You can generally get affordable life cover with MS from some standard life insurance providers or some specialist insurers, depending on your symptoms or treatment.
Life insurance for MS sufferers UK
People in the UK living with MS are generally at the age where they will want or need life insurance to protect their family or homes.
There’s nothing that makes you think about your mortality like being diagnosed with a medical condition. When we’re healthy, most of us don’t really see the need for life insurance but that changes when things go wrong.
Most people don’t think about life insurance until after the event, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get life insurance or that it’s going to be expensive.
There are lots of things that you can do to help to get life insurance with MS and save money on your premiums. People with MS are generally classed as a relatively lower risk for life insurance, especially with Relapsing Remitting MS and mild symptoms or periods of remission.
Top 5 tips for saving money on life insurance for MS sufferers UK:
- Get specialist advice from an MS life insurance expert
- Compare MS life insurance premiums from several insurers
- Be realistic with how much life cover you need
- Regularly review your life insurance premiums
- Get cover younger and when you’re healthier or have less severe symptoms
Most people will be put off getting life insurance with MS because they don’t think that it’s available or affordable. Realistically you can get affordable life cover in most cases and premiums are generally lower than you might think.
It’s well worth checking to see how much your MS life insurance premiums are and don’t forget that life cover is important to protect your family.
Is MS life insurance different to standard life insurance?
The simple answer is NO, life insurance should be the same regardless of your health or lifestyle. Traditional life insurance will pay out a cash lump sum upon the death of the person covered by the policy.
When you buy a life insurance policy with a pre-existing medical condition like MS, your application will be medically underwritten. Your cover will be offered based on your health and lifestyle so your premiums will reflect that.
How much is MS life insurance?
Life insurance premiums are ‘generally’ higher for people with pre-existing medical conditions compared to healthier people.
If you think about it compared to car insurance for example, someone who has had driving convictions or accidents is considered a higher risk. The insurance company will therefore charge a higher premium because of the greater chance of making a claim.
This might seem like a strange example, but it’s just to help to explain another common scenario where insurers might charge more.
Your MS life insurance premiums will be based on:
- What type of MS do you suffer from?
- When were you diagnosed with MS? (over 90% of people are diagnosed via MRI scan)
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Are you symptoms intermittent or continuous?
- Do you need to use walking aids?
You’ll be asked these questions and others so that insurers can assess your application for life insurance and generate your premiums. It is also possible that the insurance provider might ask to see your medical records from your GP.
What happens if I have life insurance and I get diagnosed with MS?
Most people get diagnosed with MS in their 30’s and 40’s which means you’re highly likely to already have life insurance.
Traditional life insurance won’t change if you’re diagnosed with a medical condition during the term of your policy. This means that your existing policy will remain the same and will pay out, regardless of what happens to your health or lifestyle.
Here are some of the things that you should look for:
- Guaranteed premiums: your cover should state somewhere that your premiums are ‘guaranteed’ which means that they’re fixed and not subject to change. The majority of traditional life insurance policies should be set up on this basis.
- Reviewable premiums: this means that your cover and premiums are reviewed at regular intervals, usually every 5 years. Your review might also include a medical declaration where you will need to disclose any changes.
- Change in circumstances: if you have a change in circumstances and you need to review your cover, then you might be better looking for a top-up policy. You can have as many life insurance policies as you want within reason so it’s often worth thinking about keeping an existing policy and adding another to it.
Does life insurance pay out for MS?
Yes, if you have life insurance and you die (even if it’s related to MS) then your policy should pay out a lump sum to your family.
Traditional life insurance will be medically underwritten when you take out your policy. Your premiums should take any pre-existing medical conditions in to account and will pay out for any reason.
Examples of insurers that would pay out for pre-existing conditions include:
There are some non-standard or specialist life insurance policies that might not pay out for pre-existing medical conditions. You should definitely check your documentation and speak to a life insurance specialist for advice.
Note: The only exclusion that applies to a standard life insurance policy is suicide in the first 12 or 24 months of the policy.
Examples of insurers that might not pay out for pre-existing medical conditions:
- Hive Insurance
- Smart Insurance
Can you get critical illness cover with MS?
Unfortunately, critical illness insurance is currently not available at the time of writing this guide.
Underwriting criteria for things like MS critical illness insurance does change from time to time, so this hopefully will improve again. You would have been able to get critical illness insurance up to around 2019 (pre-Covid) with an insurer called Old Mutual Wealth, but this product was withdrawn during the pandemic.
There are some policies that are available that might offer critical illness insurance or accident insurance which you may want to consider.
These products include:
- MetLife (accident insurance)
- ESMI (Guaranteed life insurance) *MS exclusions apply
- HIVE (Guaranteed life insurance) *MS exclusions apply
Does MS affect life insurance?
No, traditional life insurance will be the same product and offer the same levels of cover regardless of your health or medical history.
As we explained earlier in this guide, you’ll have the same cover as someone that has no pre-existing medical conditions. The main difference that you’ll find is that your options of insurers may be limited and your premiums will be different.
Is MS a critical illness?
Yes, almost all critical illness insurance policies will pay out for multiple sclerosis as a standard condition.
This is one of the major reasons why it’s advisable to look at getting some critical illness insurance earlier in life, to protect against this as you get older. If you decide to take out critical illness cover and you are diagnosed with MS during the term of that policy, then you should receive a pay out from your insurer.
Best way to buy life insurance with MS?
If you have MS or any other pre-existing medical condition, then buying life insurance can be frustrating at times.
There are some specialist insurance experts that have experience and expertise in this area of life insurance. Getting the right advice can make a big difference with how much your premiums are and how much time it takes to get cover.
Some of the key points for speaking to an MS life insurance specialist:
- Free advice: you shouldn’t need to pay for this service
- Commission: insurers pay a commission to the specialist but that won’t affect your premiums or cover
- Time: they’ll save you time searching for cover and applying to multiple insurers
- Understanding: they know about your condition and how it affects you