Epilepsy & Life Insurance

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Epilepsy & Life Insurance

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:

  • What type of epilepsy do you have (eg tonic-clonic (grand mal), absences (petit mal) or nocturnal epilepsy)?
  • When were you diagnosed with epilepsy?
  • When did you last have a seizure?
  • How often do you have epileptic seizures?
  • What medication do you take?

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 can often get life insurance at standard terms. But it is important to go find the most suitable insurance provider to support your specific needs.

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 you have not had 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. 

We are proud to have been able to help our friend to get life and critical illness cover, after he developed epilepsy. He was seriously injured during active duty in Iraq in 2003, which led to him being in a coma, developing epilepsy and requiring a titanium plate to repair his school. You can hear his incredible story here.

Critical illness cover pays out a cash lump sum of money, if you are diagnosed with a medical condition that is listed in the insurer’s claims set e.g. cancer, heart attack, stroke.

Critical illness cover for people living with epilepsy can be rather straight forward to arrange if you have absence epilepsy and it 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 increase the premiums more.

This doesn’t have to mean silly prices, but it’s important to research and find the insurer that will increase the premiums, the least. This is where our years of experience researching the insurance market, rally standout.

As with life insurance if you have been symptom free for a number of years then cover can often be offered at standard terms.

There is something important to point out. Some critical illness policies come with a claimable condition known as Total Permanent Disability. You may find that some insurers add an epilepsy and/or neurological exclusion to this specific part of the cover.

If you find that standard critical illness 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 that policy type, who can fully explain what you are and are not covered for. Our advisers can talk you through all the ins and outs of these policies.

Income protection pays you a replacement of your monthly income, if you are unable to work due to ill health.

Income protection for people living with epilepsy that is classed as absence seizures, can sometimes be accepted at standard premiums. But the policy 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 be offered at an increased premium or exclusion. It is sometimes possible to choose between a higher premium (epilepsy claims are included) or an exclusion (cheaper but epilepsy is not covered).

If you have gone symptom free for a number of years, income protection for epileptics, might be offered at standard terms.

Where the symptoms of epilepsy are well controlled, insurance providers may be able to offer you terms straight away at the point of application. But it’s also possible that they will ask to see a report from your GP so that they can fully assess 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 epilepsy.

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 now commonly known as tonic-clonic seizures.*

Hi, so today we were talking to you about our client, Mr. E. Now, Edward came to us because he had clear protection needs to cover his mortgage, and also to cover his income in the event that he was ill, unable to work. He wanted to make sure that he would be able to get some income replacement into the household.

Edward came to us, 28-year old male, non-smoker, BMI in the normal range. He’d been diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy 10 years ago. His symptoms were of the severity where he would have one seizure per year, but he have been seizure free for five years and was on medication to help control the condition. Another thing that was a good indicator as to the severity of his condition, is the fact that he currently holds a full UK driving license.

We decided that we would obviously need to look at protecting the mortgage. His mortgage was around £142,000, capital repayments over 33 years. We were able to arrange a decreasing life and critical illness policy that would match the mortgage on £142,000 over 33 years for a monthly premium of approximately £27. That was at normal terms, meaning that that was the standard offering of the insurer. There was no special terms or price increases due to the grand mal epilepsy being there.

Edward also wanted to protect his income, so we arranged an income section policy of £1,500 per month to the age of 60. It would have a two-year claim period that would replace his income in the event that he couldn’t work due to ill health. That came at a monthly premium of approximately £33. 

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

Linked with: Cerebral palsy, meningitis, strokes, brain tumours, autistic spectrum disorder

Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have epilepsy include:

  • Absences, myoclonic jerks, clonic seizures, atonic seizures, tonic seizures, tonic-clonic seizures
  • Auras
  • Auras
  • Damage to the tongue
  • Driving Restrictions
  • Family planning
  • Fevers
  • Flashing lights
  • Lack of sleep
  • Physical seizures
  • Random bodily behaviour
  • Restrictions on alcohol consumption
  • Routine medications
  • Stress
  • Trance like state
  • Unconsciousness
  • Acetazolamide (Diamox)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Clobazam (Frisium)
  • Diazepam (Diazemuls, Stesolid)
  • Ethosuximide (Emeside)
  • Fosphenytoin Sodium (Pro-Epanutin)
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Inovelon (Rufinamide)
  • Lacosamide (Vimpat)
  • Lamictal
  • Lamotrigine
  • Levetiracetam (Keppra)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  • Phenytoin (Epanutin Infatabs, Epanutin suspension)
  • Phenytoin Sodium (Epanutin capsules, Epanutin ready mixed parenteral)
  • Piracetam (Nootropil)
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • Primidone (Mysoline)
  • Rivotril (Clonazepam)
  • Sodium Valproate (Epilim, Epival, Orlept)
  • Tiagabine hydrochloride monohydrate (Gabitril)
  • Topamax (Topiramate)
  • Trobalt (Retigabine)
  • Vigabatrin (Sabril)
  • Zarontin
  • Zebinix
  • Zonegran (Zonisamide)

Common Questions

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.

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.

Client Reviews

The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 5 out of 5 based on 407 reviews.

Review by Annabelle on 17th July 2018

Definitely recommend - helpful and personal service and made it easy to get life insurance when I've been struggling elsewhere for months. - 5 

You can read more of our reviews here.

Epilepsy & Life Insurance

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

Author
This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

Epilepsy & Life Insurance

Client Reviews

Epilepsy & Life Insurance

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