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Which Illnesses Affect Your Life Insurance Premium

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Your health is one of many things taken into consideration when you look to get life Insurance. It can significantly affect the premium you pay, however a pre-existing condition is unlikely to rule you out of getting a policy.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a relatively common condition in Ireland and is one that is easily controlled with medication, exercise & diet. In general Insurers are happy once you can control your blood pressure with medication and shouldn’t look to increase premiums.

Mental Health Issues (anxiety/ stress /depression)

Mental health issues are graded according to severity with the Insurance companies. So for example if you have mild anxiety, you should be quoted at normal price. If you are on medication for depression, the insurance company will increase your premium, and if you have been hospitalised as a result of your mental health issues you may be declined.


In order to determine if someone’s premium is to be increased due to weight, the insurance companies use BMI. This is your body mass index, or your weight to height ratio. If two people are the same height but one weighs a significant amount more, this person will have a higher BMI. However, two people of different heights but who weigh the same amount will have different BMI’s. If you fall into the obese category (BMI of 30+) your premiums will be increased. If you BMI is 50+ you will probably be declined for Life Insurance. However the good news is that if you lose the weight, you should contact your insurer and ask for a review of your premium.

Heart Disease

Getting Life Insurance can be tricky if you have a heart or circulatory condition. Having heart disease will trigger special terms on your policy which means that you pay more for the cover. In some cases for example if you are a young overweight male with heart disease you may struggle to get the cover at all.


Similar to heart disease it is hard to avoid an increased premium if you have a history of cancer unless you have been in remission for a number of years. Going with a broker who deals with all of the insurance companies is key to getting the lowest premium as the insurers take different views on a client with a history of cancer.


Smokers pay approximately twice the price of a non-smoker for Life Insurance. The reason behind this is that smokers get more diseases than non smokers and smokers die younger than non-smokers. Occasional smoking and vaping would put you in the “smokers” bracket if you have smoked or vaped in the last 12 months. However if you are trying to quit and successfully manage to do so, you should contact your insurance company once you have not smoked for 12 months and ask that they review your premium. For quitting, your reward will be a saving of 50% on your current premium.


If you are a diabetic you will pay more for your life insurance and a type 1 diabetic will pay more than a type 2 diabetic. The reason behind this is that uncontrolled diabetes can result in lots of additional health issues. Insurance companies will look at HbA1C readings to determine if your diabetes is well controlled. The higher this reading is, the more you will have to pay for cover.


The more control you have over your condition the more lenient the insurance companies will be in terms of your premium. Using a broker like Citywide Financial who deals with all of the insurance companies will ensure that you get a competitive market price. We will liaise with the companies on your behalf, and will have a handle on which companies are the most receptive to certain conditions.

Brian Courtney

Head of Private Clients

Citywide Financial

January 2020

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