Lupus & Life Insurance
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We understand that being diagnosed with lupus can be worrying, but that with effective treatment and medication, it is possible to live a full and rewarding life. Our job is to find an insurer who will listen to your story and offer you the best insurance possible.
Things we need to know:
- When were you diagnosed with Lupus?
- What type of lupus do you have, SLE or DLS?
- What are your symptoms?
- What medications do you take?
- How does the lupus affect your daily living?
Life Insurance if you have lupus can often be arranged in most circumstances so please don’t worry. The insurer that you apply to will want to see a medical report from your GP, in order to establish how much the condition affects you before they offer policy terms. Lupus Life Insurance is often available but the policy terms will depend on the type of lupus you have (e.g. Discoid Lupus Erythematosus or Systemic lupus erythematosus). Rates for DLE are usually better than those for SLE, however it will depend upon the severity and frequency of symptoms. Insurers are also likely to offer more favourable terms to non-smokers than smokers combined with lupus.
Critical Illness Cover for people with lupus can sometimes be available on the standard insurance market but it is rare. This will depend upon the type of lupus (DLE is treat more leniently than SLE), the type/duration of medication and the frequency of symptoms. For SLE you would need to have had the condition be dormant for a number of years to be considered. Where it is available, it is likely that any offer of Critical Illness Cover will come at non-standard terms in the form of a premium increase.
If you find that you cannot access Critical Illness Cover on the standard market due to your lupus, then you can apply to a specialist insurer for the cover. However, it is worth noting that the critical illness policy will come with an exclusion for any claim related to your lupus.
Income Protection for people with lupus can sometimes be offered. If you suffer from DLE (Discoid Lupus Erythematosus) then any potential terms are likely to be more favourable than for people with SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus). Some companies may look to put an increase in premiums on the plan and some may look to exclude lupus from the policy.
For sufferers of SLE obtaining Income Protection may be more difficult. Some insurers may consider cover so long as you are not had symptoms for some time and/or are not requiring medication. Some providers may look at cover with a longer deferment, e.g. 6 months. This is the amount of time that you have to wait from being unable to work due to ill health, before the insurer can consider a claim. It is worth bearing in mind that if you apply for an Income Protection policy, you should aim to get cover under an ‘own occupation’ definition, that gives you the strongest claims criteria.
You may decide to apply for Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover as an alternative to Income Protection. Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover provides a short-term monthly income replacement and is not medically underwritten, though existing medical conditions are excluded from the claimable conditions.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune condition that can be triggered by genetic factors, photosensitivity and as a reaction to certain medications. Systemic lupus erythematosus primarily affects females of childbearing age, this form of lupus can affect the skin, joints and internal organs. Symptoms of lupus will often come in waves for weeks at a time and are then followed by periods of remission.
There are four main type of Lupus:
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – The most common form of Lupus and the most serious. It can affect many parts of the body including the organs.
- Discoid (Cutaneous) Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) – Affects the skin, causing rashes but does not affect the body’s organs. Some cases of DLE can lead to SLE.
- Drug-induced Lupus (DIL) – Can be caused by certain types of medication and can disappear once medication is stopped.
- Neonatal Lupus – Whilst rare, it is possible that offspring of a mother with lupus can be born with neonatal lupus however symptoms usually go away within a few months.
Also: SLE, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE)
Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have lupus include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Family planning
- Fluid retention
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Headaches and migraines
- Hitch-hiking thumb
- Joint pain and swelling
- Memory loss
- Mild anaemia
- Mouth ulcers
- Raynaurd’s syndrome
- Scarring of the skin
- Skin rash (butterfly rush)
- Swollen lymph glands
- Benlysta (Belimumab)
- Chloroquine (Avloclor)
- Depo-Medrone (Methylprednisolone acetate)
- Dexamethasone sodium phosphate (Dexsol)
- Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
- Methylprednisolone (Medrone)
- Prednisolone (Deltacortril)
- Prednisolone Sodium Phosphate
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It depends on the insurer that you spoke to. It is possible to arrange Life Insurance when you have lupus, but you need to apply to the right insurer for your circumstances, or you could be refused life insurance. If you are newly diagnosed, have had a change in your medication or your symptoms are quite active, then you may need to look at specialist insurers for your Life Insurance.
No-one can predict what might happen in the future, but it is a good idea to prepare for it. Without knowing more about your circumstances, it is difficult to know what to recommend for you. We would suggest that you look at putting some life insurance in place to make sure that if you die, that your mortgage liability is paid off. It may also be beneficial for you to look at some income protection, so that if you were to fall ill and be unable to work, that you and your children can maintain your current standard of living.
No, as long as you were wholly truthful on your application three years ago. Insurers accept your application for life insurance based on your health, on the day that your policy starts. They cannot change your life insurance policy as events happen in your life, such as your lupus diagnosis. However, if you had symptoms of lupus at the time that you set up your policy, or you or your doctor suspected that you had lupus, then it is worth speaking with your insurer. It may be that the insurer says that you can keep your life insurance as it is, they may alter the sum assure or premium that you pay, or they may say that they would not have accepted your application for life insurance if they had known about the lupus, and cancel the policy. If this does happen, please be assured that there are insurers who can offer Life Insurance to people who have lupus, and it is simply a matter of finding the right one for you.
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Review by Rachel on 7th October 2017
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