Post Office reveals the most common misconceptions about life insurance & answer whether you can get cover with a pre-existing medical condition


According to data from the Post Office, little over one in ten people (12%) believe it is impossible to receive life insurance coverage if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Is that indeed the case?

The swift response is no.

Having a life insurance policy in place can provide you comfort knowing that, in the worst case scenario, your loved ones will be financially taken care of. However, if you already had a major medical condition or sickness, you could be worried that you won’t be eligible for coverage or that the policy might not pay out if your death was caused by your illness.

Pre-existing ailments are a category of illnesses that most insurers maintain a list of; these conditions can include anything from asthma and high cholesterol to heart disease and mental illnesses like depression.

While it is not impossible to obtain coverage with a pre-existing condition, Ed Dutton, Director of Financial Services Products at Post Office, says that it may come with exclusions or result in higher premiums.

What questions could an insurer ask?

Any person applying for life insurance will be questioned about their overall health and way of life; if they admit to having a pre-existing medical condition, they will typically be asked more in-depth questions.

These could include:

  • How long have you had the condition?
  • Any medication you may be taking
  • Have you been admitted to hospital recently?
  • Is there any family history of the condition?

In order to make a decision based on your particular situation, the insurer may also request to see your medical history or GP record.

Common Misconceptions

A fifth of respondents (21%) believed that a life insurance policy allows the policyholder to withdraw money at any time to cover life events, which is false unless you have an investment-linked life insurance policy, in which case it might be possible. The most common misconception regarding life insurance was related to how the policy pays out.

Most policies only provide a lump sum to be distributed to the designated beneficiaries following the death of the insurance holder. The policyholder may, however, specify different instructions for the payout, such as investing the money or using it to settle other debts, like a mortgage, for example.

According to the study, 53% of respondents currently had a life insurance policy in place, and 40% of them were under the age of 35. However, 18% of those with coverage said “I don’t know” when asked to explain how a policy’s pay out to its beneficiaries operated. This implies that the actions policyholders’ beneficiaries would need to take in order to submit a claim and receive the payout were not clear to them.

Regardless of whether they have a life insurance policy or not, this percentage increased to 24% of respondents, which means that almost a quarter of UK citizens are unaware of the most basic principles underlying life insurance.

Approximately two fifths (38%) of us, according to the report, are unable to adequately describe the distinction between Life Insurance and Life Assurance.

Other Misconceptions 

Life Insurance Covers Funeral Costs – According to 63% of respondents, normal funeral insurance coverage is provided. Funeral expenses, critical illness insurance, and income protection are all add-ons that are frequently omitted from regular insurance packages. Although the Post Office Over 50s Life Cover plan includes a funeral benefit option, if the customer expects the payout to cover funeral expenses without this, they will need to make private arrangements through a Will or other means.

Life Insurance Won’t Cover You with A Pre-Existing Condition – While it may be more difficult and expensive to acquire coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition, it is still attainable. Customers should compare prices from specialised providers because they will have an answer for pre-existing conditions.

Life Insurance Covers You for Life – Only if you die away within the term of your life insurance policy, such as the duration of your mortgage, will you receive a payout. It is possible to have lifetime coverage, but this is known as whole-life insurance. Only 36% of respondents accurately distinguished between the two.

Life Insurance Won’t Cover Over 50s – It is still quite feasible to obtain coverage later in life, even though your age might have a significant impact on the sort of coverage you are eligible for and the older you are when you apply, the higher your premium will likely be. Numerous companies, including the Post Office, provide specialised over 50’s insurance.


The information was obtained from a poll of 2000 UK adults that was commissioned by the Post Office to learn more about “The Nation’s Relationship with Life Insurance” and gauge how much people in general knew about it. A study was carried out in January 2022.

About the Post Office

  • With over 11,500 branches, Post Office has the biggest retail network in the UK, with more branches than all the banks and building societies combined.
  • The Post Office is assisting anyone who needs cash to obtain it in the most practical manner. 99% of UK bank clients have access to their accounts at their local Post Office thanks to partnerships with more than 30 banks, building societies, and credit unions.
  • Cash withdrawals, deposits and balance enquiries can be made securely and conveniently over the counter at any Post Office; and the biggest investment by any organisation or company in the last decade is being made to safeguard 1,400 free-to-use ATMs across the UK.
  • Post Office is simplifying its proposition for Postmasters with a focus on its cash and banking; mails and parcels; foreign exchange; andbill payments
  • Researchhas found that visits to the Post Office help drive another 400 million visitors to other shops, restaurants and local businesses equating to an estimated £1.1 billion in additional revenue for High Street businesses.
  • 7% of the population live within three miles of a Post Office; and 4,000 branches are open seven days a week.

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