03 Nov 2023

Arthritis and Life Insurance

According to the NHS, millions of people in the UK have arthritis or a similar condition, so if you’re wondering if a life insurance or a critical illness policy covers arthritis – you’re not alone. In this guide, we explain the relationship between arthritis and your life insurance.

Image showing a woman suffering from arthritis

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What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain, inflammation and discomfort in people’s joints. There are two main types of arthritis:

Osteoarthritis

This is when the surface of joints become damaged, causing cartilage and bone changes which lead to pain, stiffness and disability. You might sometimes hear this referred to as ‘wear and tear’ or a ‘degenerative’ joint problem.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune systemic disorder, mainly affecting joints. It varies in severity and may also feature eye inflammation, weight loss, skin rash and cardiac involvement. The condition can be very disabling and require significant immunomodulatory treatment.

While the NHS states that osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, there are also around 450,000 people in the UK with rheumatoid arthritis, according to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. 

Can I get life insurance with arthritis?

Yes, simply having arthritis should not prevent you from getting a life insurance policy. At Legal & General, the cost of life cover isn't usually higher for someone with arthritis unless the condition is severe.

When applying for life cover, it’s important to answer the questions truthfully and accurately, such as your health history and any current medical issues. Giving accurate information is the best way to ensure that a payout can be made following a valid claim.

Will life insurance pay out for arthritis?

A Legal & General Life Insurance policy is designed to pay out upon the death of the insured person, rather than when the person develops a condition, such as arthritis. So while it’s perfectly possible that the death of someone with arthritis would trigger a payout, it’s not the arthritis itself that is the relevant factor. Read more about how a life insurance payout works.

Please remember that life insurance is not a savings or investment product and only pays out if a valid claim is made.

Can I get critical illness cover if I have arthritis?

Our Critical Illness Cover can be added when taking our Life Insurance or Decreasing Life Insurance for an extra cost. If you have arthritis, you could still be offered a critical illness policy, but a payout would only be triggered if you are diagnosed with, or undergo a medical procedure for one of the specified critical illnesses that we cover during the length of your policy, and you survive for 14 days from diagnosis.

Is arthritis listed as a critical illness?

Arthritis, whether it’s osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, is not listed as a specified critical illness on our Critical Illness Cover policy, so a diagnosis for arthritis would not lead to a valid claim.

However, arthritis is linked to certain health conditions that can be covered by a critical illness policy, so in some circumstances, someone with arthritis can still make a critical illness claim when other critical health conditions materialise unless an exclusion was applied when you took out your policy. 

What health conditions are linked to arthritis?

While arthritis alone is not covered under critical illness insurance, this isn’t true of all arthritis-related conditions. For example, some types of heart disease are covered by Legal & General Critical Illness Cover. This includes:

  • Cardiomyopathy (of specified severity)
  • Primary pulmonary hypertension (of specified severity)
  • Cardiac arrest (with the insertion of a defibrillator).

For full definitions and when you can claim for these illnesses, please refer to our Guide to Critical Illness Cover PDF.

However, there are many health conditions related to arthritis that Legal & General's critical illness policies do not cover.

Will I be asked questions about my arthritis?

If you’re taking out life insurance and you have arthritis, you may be asked some related questions.

In some circumstances, you can get life insurance with no medical, and even if we do request further medical information, we can only obtain your medical records with your consent.

Useful resources

For more information and resources on arthritis, here are some suggestions.

Want to learn more about Life Insurance?

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