September 21, 2020

Asthma – How does it affect a life insurance application?


What is asthma?

Asthma is a common lung condition which causes occasional breathing difficulties.

It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adulthood.

Symptoms of asthma

The main symptoms of asthma are:

  • a whistling sound when breathing (wheezing)
  • breathlessness
  • a tight chest, which may feel like a tight band around the chest
  • coughing

When symptoms peak, this is known as an asthma attack.

Treatments for asthma

Asthma is usually treated by using an inhaler.

The main types are:

  • reliever inhalers – used when needed to quickly relieve asthma symptoms for a short time
  • preventer inhalers – used every day to prevent asthma symptoms occurring
  • Some people also need to take tablets


Although asthma can usually be kept under control, it’s still a serious condition that can cause a number of problems.

This is why it’s important to follow a treatment plan and not ignore symptoms if they worsen.

Badly controlled asthma can cause the following problems:

  • Lethargy and persistent tiredness
  • Underperformance or absence from work or school
  • stress, anxiety or depression
  • disruption of your work and leisure time due to making unplanned visits to a GP or hospital
  • lung infections (pneumonia)
  • an increased risk of severe asthma attacks, which can be life-threatening
    Source: NHS Choices Feb 2018

How does this condition affect a life insurance application?

Obtaining life insurance and critical illness insurance is possible in all but the most severe cases. The severity of the condition and its symptoms will be taken into account during the application and underwriting process.

Questions asked will include:

  • your age
  • your weight
  • whether you smoke (and if you do, how many per day)
  • the type of asthma you have, e.g allergic asthma or non-allergic asthma
  • the frequency of your asthma attacks
  • the severity of the attacks
  • whether you have been hospitalised as a result of an attack (and if so how many times and when)
  • which types of medication you take, and how frequently it is taken

Risk factors

If symptoms are severe and not under control, it will be more likely that the insurer will ‘load’ or increase their standard premium. This is to reflect the additional risk to them of a claim being made against the policy.

‘Loadings’ will vary between different insurance companies, and it is, therefore, worth discussing your situation with an experienced adviser who can offer you expert advice. A lot of research needs to be carried out before we make a recommendation. This will save you time, and potentially hundreds, if not thousands of pounds in premiums over the term of the policy.

The ‘cheapest’ deal at the quote stage is not necessarily going to end up being the cheapest or best deal for you, once the underwriting stage has been completed.

We keep up with the ever-changing landscape of underwriting criteria amongst all providers in the UK and are constantly researching the market so you don’t have to.  What’s more our advice comes with no obligation and no hidden costs.  You don’t pay us directly but we do get paid by the insurer if you decide to start a policy with them.

All our case studies are based on actual client scenarios, many of which pre-date 2020.  We are confident that the acceptance decision made by the insurers would still be offered. Although it is likely that the rates will have changed, your own circumstances will determine whether what amount will be payable by you and would be fully discussed with you before any plan is implemented.

Please note that any premiums mentioned are indicative only and based on this specific case study/ example, which is shown for information purposes only. Your own circumstances will determine whether the amount payable is more or less than the figure quoted.

Next steps

Whilst you are welcome to get a quote online, we would recommend you speak to one of our advisers.

Any quote that your adviser provides you with will take into account your circumstances and medical history, as well as your budget!

An online quote is just that – a quote – it isn’t a definite offer of cover. What really matters is the premium you are offered, after your application has been assessed.

Call Freephone 0800 644 4468 – Monday to Thursday from 09.00 to 19.00 and on Friday between 09.00 and 17.00.

Please feel free to read our Independent client reviews, or read about the team at Future Proof

Call me back

Interested in related stories?

Jon’s moving story – being diagnosed with cancer.

The protection industry pays out over £5.7bn in claims in 2019

What questions will an adviser ask me?

Will my claim be paid?

Why you can trust Future Proof.

The benefits of an index-linked insurance policy

Take a look at our handy guides ‘What Cover is Right for me?’

Do you suffer from a medical condition and concerned you can’t secure Life Insurance?  Please view our ‘Medical Guides’ for further information.

Whilst we will make every endeavour to help someone to arrange insurance, there is no guarantee of success.  All applications are subject to underwriting.

Links to third-party websites exist for information only, and we accept no responsibility or liability for the information contained on any such sites.
The existence of a link to another website does not imply or express
endorsement of its provider, products or services by us or St. James’s Place.