Sleep Apnoea & Life Insurance
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We understand that having a diagnosis of sleep apnoea can be difficult to adjust to. You may need to change your lifestyle habits, start using a machine and wear a mask to help you sleep at night, and make added considerations for taking your equipment when you travel (we know, Alan’s dad has it!). But, we also know that sleep apnoea does not have to stop you living your life to the full, and you can have the same protection insurance needs as anyone else. Our job is to step in on your behalf and find an insurer that suits you.
Some of the questions that you might be asked when arranging your insurances:
- When were you diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea?
- What are your symptoms?
- What medication and/or treatment do you take?
- Do you use a breathing aid while you sleep?
If your diagnosis of sleep apnoea is classed as minor obstructive, you may have access to normal terms on your life insurance. The insurer will want to know if you are using a CPAPs machine as well as other risk factors such as having a high BMI, heart trouble or other breathing problems, to determine if they can offer standard terms. It is likely that the insurer that you approach will want to see a report from your GP, at their expense, to confirm the severity of your condition.
You may be offered life insurance with at non-standard terms (a price increase) if your condition is classed as moderate to major obstructive. For more severe cases specialist insurance companies may need to be approached for the cover.
People with minor obstructive sleep apnoea that use a CPAPs machine and have no other risk factors, such as heart problems or a high BMI, may find standard terms on their critical illness cover. As with Life Insurance, the insurer will probably want to see a report from your GP, before they can fully consider your application for critical illness cover.
For those who have a high BMI alongside major obstructive sleep apnoea, cover will likely be subject to a price increase. Options can be available for those who are not interested in the latter, involving exclusions for claims related to the sleep apnoea.
Normal terms may be available to you if are diagnosed with minor obstructive sleep apnoea and you use a CPAPs machine. Similarly to the insurances above, the insurer will also look at factors such as heart trouble or your BMI level.
If you do have other health factors or have been diagnosed with major obstructive sleep apnoea, your cover is likely to be offered at non-standard terms with an increase to the policy premium.
What is Sleep Apnoea
Sleep Apnoea is a condition that affects breathing during the night when someone is asleep. There are a few variations of the condition that generally fall under obstructive sleep apnoea, obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome, or central sleep apnoea. Typical symptoms can include snoring and difficulty breathing, with some feeling as though they are choking and gasping for air. It is broken down into various levels of severity: mild, moderate, severe. People with sleep apnoea can feel very tired during the day, have difficulty concentrating, feel depressed and have heartburn. Sleep apnoea can affect anyone, including children, but typically middle-aged men, women going through the menopause, people who are obese, or smokers.
Also: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome (OSAHS)
Possible Effects on Lifestyle
Possible problems that people with sleep apnoea can experience:
- Changes to driving ability
- Frequent night-time urination
- Memory and concentration difficulties
- Night sweats
- Poor coordination
- Stopping/difficulty breathing
- Tiredness, fatigue, feeling less alert
Medications and Treatments
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device
- Eliminating sleeping pills
- Epworth Sleepiness Scale
- Losing weight
- Mandibular advancement device (MAD)
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Stopping smoking
- Weight loss (bariatric) surgery
Further Reading and Research
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There are plenty of options when it comes to life insurance, and we are sorry to hear that you were refused life insurance in the past. We need to know a bit more about the sleep apnoea, but if you are a mainland UK resident, we will be able to arrange life insurance for you.
There are a few different options that you can look at, the main thing is to figure out exactly what protection insurance you need. Depending upon the severity of the sleep apnoea and any associated conditions that you have, some insurers may be decline your life insurance application. We have access to specialist insurers that will be able to consider your application, its all about knowing where to look!
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