Updated: November 04, 2019

Life and Health Insurance

Combined life and health insurance policy are available if you know where to look. Read our guide to find out how to get the bespoke cover you need

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: November 04, 2019

If you’re planning for the future and want to make sure your health and finances are covered, you may have considered both health insurance and life insurance.

Some people are under the impression that they’re the same product, or that taking out just one of these policies means they receive cover for both. But this is rarely the case, although combined plans are available.

In this article we’ll be discussing the difference between life and health insurance, what it means to have a combined plan, what the application process involves, and lots more:

What’s the difference between life insurance and health insurance?

Life insurance pays out a lump sum when the holder passes away, or in some cases when the holder is diagnosed with a terminal condition. It’s usually taken out for a specified period of time (‘term’ life insurance), during which you’ll pay a monthly premium. When this time is over, the policy will stop being active.

This type of cover is usually taken out to give you peace of mind that any dependents you have will be looked after financially in the event of you passing away.

Health insurance, also known as ‘private medical insurance’, covers the costs of private healthcare if you get ill or have an accident that results in you needing treatment.

It helps you avoid NHS waiting lists, and therefore make a speedier recovery, by giving you access to fast, high-quality private medical care which can cover hospital fees, treatment, medication, and other expenses you may incur.

Again, you will pay a monthly premium, but unlike with life insurance, health insurance will usually have an excess included in the policy which must be paid before you reap the benefits.

So, to summarise: life insurance pays out once you pass away, and health insurance will cover your medical expenses.

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Can health and life insurance be combined?

While it’s possible to take out combined health and life cover, there are a limited number of providers that give you this option in the UK, and many experts believe that separate plans are better.

This is because, in many cases, ‘combined’ plans are simply a ‘bundle’ of two separate ones, and they tend to offer less flexibility when it comes to choosing the terms. In buying two separate policies, you are able to select the best deals for your circumstances.

On the plus side, combi plans may work out slightly cheaper, so if cost is an issue it could be a tempting prospect, but this shouldn’t be the determining factor for purchasing one.

If you’re interested in taking out combined life and health cover, ensure to examine the fine print to ensure that the policy suits your needs because a policy that’s doing two entirely different things, rarely does them both as well as what separate standalone policies will do.

Or, save yourself the legwork and get one of the experts we work with to do it for you – get in touch and we’ll match you with an advisor shortly.

Can I get life insurance without medical exams or health questions in the UK?

When you take out life insurance, you will be subject to a health check by a majority of providers. It’s uncommon that an application will be approved by a reputable insurer without one as they are used to determine your health, which plays a key role in determining how much your monthly premiums will be.

However, you may be able to find a provider who can approve you for life insurance without needing a medical check. Be sure to go through their terms and conditions with a fine-toothed comb, though.

So, if you eat well, exercise, and generally lead a healthy lifestyle, your life insurance is likely to cost less than, say, a smoker who leads a sedentary lifestyle and has a poor diet, because the latter is at greater risk of developing health problems.

Usually, you can expect to be asked a range of questions surrounding not only your lifestyle, but your and your family’s medical history. Depending on your responses you may be asked to undertake certain medical examinations and/or the insurer may request information from your GP or any other medical professional you’ve consulted.

When you receive your results, you’ll be given a risk score – the higher the score, the more at risk you are of developing a serious illness. This score will then impact whether an insurer is willing to cover you, the terms on which they’ll do it and the cost of your monthly premiums.

Over 50s life insurance

The exception to this is if you’re over the age of 50 and looking to take out a specialist over 50s life insurance policy.

Unlike standard life cover, no medical tests are required when you take out whole-of-life over 50s cover; your life insurance should have guaranteed approval without any health questions or exams.

Can I get life insurance if I have health problems?

As covered, when you take out life insurance you’re likely to be subject to a number of medical assessments to determine how high a risk you pose.

If you suffer from health problems at the time of application, or are thought to be at risk of developing them in the future, this can trigger warning bells with insurers, and could result in higher rates for you and/or exclusions applied.

If you suffer from a very serious condition or multiple health issues this could mean higher rates, or a declined application. Alternatively, your insurer may write a clause into your contract to say that they will not pay out if you die as a result of a specified condition.

Concerned about how an existing health condition could impact your life insurance application? Get in touch – the expert advisors we work with can source providers that cater for your needs thanks to their ‘whole-of-market’ access.

What’s the maximum life cover available?

How long your life insurance policy runs for depends on the terms of your plan.

There are two main policy types to choose from which will dictate how long you will be covered for:

Term life insurance
Whole-of-life health cover

‘Term’ insurance refers to cover which runs for an agreed period, usually to cover the term of a financial liability i.e. a mortgage or until a certain age i.e. retirement or when the kids have grown up. . When you pass away, your beneficiaries will receive a lump sum payout – provided the policy hasn’t expired.

If you live beyond the term of the policy, the cover simply terminates – you won’t receive a “reimbursement” of premiums, so this should not be seen as an investment opportunity.

If you die within a relatively short time of taking out the policy, your insurer may be reluctant to pay out, so it’s always best to check the fine print and speak with an advisor before you take out a plan. They may also be able to recommend a better plan for your circumstances.

Whole-of-life health cover is not restricted to the over 50s; it is available as an alternative to term cover for standard life insurance policies. If you’re looking for maximum life insurance policy length, this may be the best option for you.

Again, your beneficiaries will receive a payout when you pass away, but you will have to make monthly payments from the day you take out the policy right up until you die, or until the policy maturity period (usually when you reach age 90).

These types of policies are commonly used to leave a legacy or to pay an inheritance tax bill.

What’s the best life and health insurance company to use?

As is the case with every type of insurance, there’s no “best” company on the market as all their products are slightly different and no two peoples circumstances are the same.

Every life insurance provider has different terms and requirements, and, as established, there are many other factors at play including how long you want you policy to run for, the desired end payout, and of course, your current state of health.

Some providers may provide both health and life insurance but offer them as separate policies, and while for example health insurance may be better under one provider, it doesn’t mean that the provider’s life insurance is best for you.

For bespoke-picked providers to best suit your circumstances, speak with an expert.

Speak to an expert for further advice on life and health insurance in the UK

If you’ve got any more questions about UK health or life insurance, or want to know whether a separate or combined plan is best suited to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The experts we work with will discuss your circumstances with you, and deliver accurate advice, tailored to your needs. So if you do take out a policy, you’re safe in the knowledge that you’ll receive the best, most suitable deal.

You can send us a message using our online enquiry form, or give us a call on 0808 189 0463. We only work with the best, 5* accredited advisors, we don’t charge a fee, and you’re under absolutely no obligation to make a purchase.

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We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in life insurance. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

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FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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