We understand that being diagnosed with epilepsy can be both worrying and in some ways a relief. Relief that you finally know what is going on, relief that you can treat the epilepsy and improve your health, and worry about what it can mean for the future. We are here to take any worry that you have about arranging insurance away.
Things we need to know:
Life Insurance for people who have tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal epilepsy) or absence seizures (petit mal epilepsy) can often be arranged. Most epileptics should be able to get Life Insurance, but the acceptance terms of your policy will depend upon the type of seizures that you have, regularity of symptoms and how well controlled the condition is.
If your epilepsy is classed as absence seizures (no loss of consciousness) you will often be able to get Life Insurance at standard terms if you approach the most suitable insurance provider for your medical disclosure. Some insurance companies will offer standard terms if you have less than 50 attacks per year or have not had an attack for over six months, however each insurer differs.
If you have tonic-clonic seizures (loss of consciousness and/or convulsions) then it is more likely that the prices for life insurance will be subject to a small premium increase. If you have 12 or less attacks per year the increase is likely to be very light, if you have more than 12 per year then this increase will possibly be higher. If however you have had no symptoms for a number of years then some insurance companies can consider cover at standard terms.
It can be difficult to obtain Life Insurance on the standard market, if your diagnosis of epilepsy is quite new. Many insurance companies will want to see you diagnosed for 6 months before offering cover. There are however specialist life insurance policies available that can be arranged if this is the case.
Critical Illness Cover for those with epilepsy can be rather straight forward to arrange if your epilepsy is well controlled. As with Life Insurance you may be able to obtain Critical Illness Cover when you have absence seizures at standard terms, if you approach a suitable insurer. Epilepsy with tonic-clonic seizures will probably result in the insurance provider placing a small premium increase on your policy, however if symptoms are frequent this could become a moderate to high loading.
As with Life Insurance if you have been symptom free for a number of years then cover can often be offered at standard terms. It should be noted that in some circumstances insurance companies may add an epilepsy and/or neurological exclusion to the TPD element of cover.
If you find that standard Life Insurance is not available as you are recently diagnosed with epilepsy, or your condition is not well controlled, then there are specialist critical illness policies available to you. These policies will exclude any claim that's related to the epilepsy and it is worth speaking to someone who is familiar with the policy, who can fully explain what you are and are not covered for.
Income Protection for those with epilepsy classed as having absence seizures can sometimes be accepted at standard premiums, but may come with an exclusion for any claim related to the epilepsy. Some insurance companies offer better terms if you have a longer deferment period on the cover (e.g. 13 weeks); this is the amount of time that you need to wait, from being unable to work, until the insurer can consider your claim.
For individuals with tonic-clonic epilepsy, Income Protection is more likely to come with a moderate premium loading or exclusion, depending upon who you approach and if you would prefer a higher premium or an exclusion. In some circumstances if you have gone symptom free for a number of years Income Protection when you have epilepsy can be offered at standard terms.
Where epilepsy is well controlled insurance providers may be able to offer you terms at the point of application, otherwise they may want to speak with your GP to proceed with your application.
If full Income Protection is not available to you, you may wish to look at short-term income protection in the form of Accident, Sickness and Unemployment cover. This is a non-underwritten policy that offers protection for 12-24 months but will not cover you for conditions linked to your heart attack (or another heart attack).
Are you going on holiday soon? It is always worth taking out travel insurance and it is a good idea to make sure that your insurer knows about your epilepsy. Speak to a specialist travel broker that can find the best travel insurance for epileptics, by visiting our travel page here.
Whilst the video states grand mal epilepsy, this is commonly now known as tonic-clonic seizures.
You can view a transcript for this CuraVision Epilepsy video here.
What is Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a neurological condition classified as either symptomatic, cryptogenic or idopathic epilepsy depending upon the reason for its onset; evidenced brain damage, symptoms of brain damage or no obvious cause, respectively. Epileptic episodes occur when the electrical signals within the brain become disrupted, resulting in the body's usually functioning to be affected (commonly seizures).
Epilepsy usually conjures images of severe physical seizures and whilst this can be the case, the condition can also present itself with a person simply entering a trance like state. An epileptic fit can happen when the individual is fully conscious (simple partial seizure), conscious with no recollection of the event (complex partial seizure) or cause the individual to become unconscious (tonic-clonic seizure).
Also: Also Complex partial (focal) seizures, simple partial (focal) seizures, mycolonic seizures, tonic seizures, clonic seizures, atonic seizures, status elipeticus, Petit mal epilepsy, grand mal epilepsy, nocturnal epilepsy, seizures, fits
Possible Effects on Lifestyle
Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have epilepsy include:
Medications and Treatments
Further Reading and Research
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1. I have epilepsy and had a seizure about a month ago. Will this affect my life insurance application?
This is a tricky one, it could be yes or no, depending on your circumstances. Insurers want to know what type of epilepsy that you have and how often you have seizures. They generally look at how many seizures you have over a year time period, and whilst they want to know when your last one was, they understand that the seizures are a part of your health and will happen. They will ask how regularly you have seizures and if they are happening quite frequently, the insurer may decide to increase your premiums. It is possible in cases where the symptoms of epilepsy are severe, that some insurers will decline or refuse life insurance. But, don't worry, there are insurers who will be able to offer you the cover.
2. I was diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy four months ago. Can I get Critical Illness Cover?
You will probably find that insurers on the standard market will want to wait until you have been diagnosed with epilepsy a little longer, before they can consider your application. There are specialist Critical Illness policies available that you can take out instead, but they will come with an exclusion for any claims related to your epilepsy. It can be worthwhile putting a specialist policy in place until you have reached a time since that diagnosis, so that you can look at Critical Illness Cover on the standard market.
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