HIV & Life Insurance

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We are aware that many people with HIV live long and full lives. Here at Cura, we are fighting for insurers to offer people with HIV, fair and clear insurance policies.

Things we need to know:

  • When were you diagnosed with HIV?
  • Were you diagnosed in the UK?
  • What is your viral load?
  • What is your CD4 count?
  • What medication do you take?
  • Did you contract HIV through drug use?
  • Is your GP aware that you have HIV?

Applying for Life Insurance when you have HIV should cause no apprehension. You can speak with our advisers with the utmost confidentiality. Insurance providers will want to see a report from your GP about your general health, and will wish to speak to your specialist in regards to your HIV. We have established specific processes with insurers to keep your HIV status confidential from your GP, if they are unaware of your diagnosis. It is important that your application is placed with the right insurer for you. Some insurers limit the amount of your life insurance to a maximum of 20 years, and it is good to know which insurer is going to be best for you if you require a longer term of cover.

By speaking with your GP and specialist, the insurer is making sure that they have all the information that they need about your health, before they offer you life insurance. This is a standard process for many health conditions, not just HIV. It is a worthwhile process, as should your family need to make a claim the insurance provider cannot dispute the stage of your condition at the point of application. Until recently the term has been limited to 10 years for people with HIV however some providers will now offer cover for up to 25 years.

HIV Life Insurance can only be offered if the condition is well controlled with good CD4 counts, near undetectable viral loads and no other health concerns; many, but not all, providers require you to be on medication. Insurers on the standard market will need you to have been diagnosed for at least one year before offering cover. You should be prepared that the cost of your cover will be higher than someone who does not have HIV. The insurer calculates your premium for life insurance based on the details provided by your GP and specialist, that will include factors such as your most recent CD4 and viral count, potentially your original CD4 and viral loads at time of diagnosis, how long you have had HIV and the medications that you take.

It is possible that you may need to look at specialist life insurance policies if you are recently diagnosed, your CD4 or viral loads are outside of standard acceptance ranges, you have other significant health complications, or you contracted HIV due to drug use.

There are some specialist policies available to residents in the UK that provide Critical Illness Cover when you have HIV. When you arrange one of these policies it is essential that you know exactly what you are and are not covered for, as they are very likely to exclude anything related to HIV. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

Are you planning a holiday? As with any medical condition, it is important that you arrange travel insurance that covers your HIV. Cura are delighted to have teamed up with experts in travel insurance Emerald Life, that can help you get the protection that you need. For more details on arranging travel insurance when you have HIV, please visit here.

Do you have a high BMI and plan on travelling abroad? It is worthwhile checking that your travel insurance covers you fully whilst you are abroad, at your current weight. We work alongside a specialist travel insurance broker who can help guide you to the right cover for you. Find out more here.

You can view a transcript for this CuraVision HIV video here. In this video I talk through some of the key bits of information that are good to have to hand when you apply for life insurance.

What is HIV

HIV affects the strength or fighting ability of the human body’s immune system. This means that the body’s self defence mechanism (CD4 cells) for fighting foreign contagions and bacteria becomes significantly reduced. HIV can be contracted through sexual transmission (blood, semen or vaginal fluid), infected blood transfusion, infected needle sharing and potentially from mother to child.

Diagnosed early and with the quick administration of medication, people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. HIV should not be mistaken for AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) which is a late-stage development of HIV. A person is considered to have developed AIDs when the HIV virus has weakened their immune system to a point where other serious illnesses manifest e.g. encephalitis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, pneumonia, etc.

Also: Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Linked with: Autoimmune conditions

Common problems experienced by individuals who have HIV include:

  • Acceptance of HIV status
  • Additional medical treatments – daily medicines, yearly flu jabs and five yearly pneumoccocal vaccinations are recommended
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Emotional isolation
  • Employment restrictions – primarily regarding surgery, dentistry and the armed forces
  • Fear of social stigma
  • Malnutrition
  • Primary (early stage, up to 3 weeks) – sore throat, fever and blotchy red rash
  • Secondary (potentially years later) – persistent lymphadenopathy, night sweats, mouth ulcers, shingles, seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • Sexual anxiety
  • 3TC
  • Abacavir Sulphate
  • Abacavir sulphate / Lamivudine (Kivexa)
  • Abacavir sulphate / Lamivudine / Zidovudine (Trizivir)
  • Aptivus / Tipranavir
  • Atazanavir sulphate / Reyataz (Ziagen)
  • Atripla / Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate / Efavirenz / Emtricitabine
  • AZT
  • D4T
  • Darunavir ethanolate / Prezista
  • ddI
  • Didanosine / Videx
  • Efavirenz / Sustiva
  • Emtricitabine / Emtriva
  • Emtricitabine / Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate / Truvada
  • Enfuvirtide / Fuzeon
  • Etravirine / Intelence
  • Fosamprenavir calcium (Telzir)
  • FTC
  • Indinavir
  • Invirase / Saquinavir mesilate
  • Isentress / Raltegravir
  • Lamivudine (Epivir)
  • Lamivudine / Zidovudine (Combivir)
  • Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Kaletra)
  • Maraviroc (Celsentri)
  • Nelfinavir
  • Nevirapine / Viramune
  • Nevirapine hemihydrate / Viramune Suspension
  • Ritonavir (Norvir)
  • Stavudine / Zerit
  • T-20
  • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate / Viread
  • Vistide (Cidofovir)
  • Zidovudine (Retrovir)

Common Questions

Yes you can. Depending on your circumstances you may be able to get life insurance with some insurers on the standard market, or with a specialist provider. Please do not be downhearted if you have been declined life insurance in the past, there are many insurers that will refuse life insurance applications for people with HIV. We know which insurers are going to be right for you. You will pay higher premiums for life insurance due to you having HIV and it is common for insurers to limit the amount of years that you can take out the cover for.

No it wont. Your health is your health. If your partner has HIV it will have no bearing on your application.

No it isn’t. We work with a number of insurers, HIV organisations and charities to develop fairer insurance policies for people with HIV. There are a number of insurers in the UK who will offer life insurance to people living with HIV, it’s possible that you didn’t speak with one of them. Every insurer has different acceptance criteria based on how long you have been diagnosed for, your current CD4 and viral load counts. It’s best to speak to an adviser who knows the market well and can direct you to the right insurer. If you have any additional health complications, such as diabetes, you will most likely need to speak to a specialist insurer.

Client Reviews

The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 5 out of 5 based on 361 reviews.

Review by George on 28th October 2016

I was declined life insurance because I have HIV online. After speaking to cura I felt hopeful and was so grateful that they found me cover. I can't recommend them enough for their caring and professional attention. - 5 

You can read more of our reviews here.

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Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

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

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