Will having HIV affect whether or not you can get insurance?

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Medical treatment of HIV has made huge advances in recent years, but it’s still the case that if you’ve tested positive it’s much harder to get some types of insurance and impossible to get others. Find out how insurance can be affected if you have HIV.

Testing HIV positive and insurance
Insurers won’t ask you if you’ve taken an HIV test, they can only ask you if you’ve tested positive. But if you have taken the test and it’s positive you have to declare it otherwise it will invalidate your insurance.

Insurance you’ll find harder to get

Very few companies offer life insurance if you’re HIV positive and it’s impossible to get critical illness insurance, which pays out a lump sum if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness, or income protection, which pays out a regular income if you’re too ill to work.

SAVVY TIP: The Association of British Insurers has produced some best practice guidelines on HIV which are due to be revised this month. They include information on when companies can ask for HIV test results and when a company can ask someone to take an HIV test.

Travel insurance
Mainstream travel insurance companies won’t generally cover you if you test positive for HIV, but it’s worth trying specialist companies, particularly those who offer cover for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Free Spirit: The price of insurance varies according to whether you have other medical problems, but a policy for someone who’s HIV positive, receiving treatment so the HIV is well controlled and is otherwise in good health the costs are fairly competitive.

Good to go insurance quotes less than £20 for a 17 day policy for Europe (excluding the Canary Islands, Spain, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta and Switzerland) and less than £50 for the United States. The policy assumes you are 35 years old and have not started a new antiviral drug in the last three months.

Pulse travel insurance: offers both single trip and annual travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions. There are age limits on annual policies. It says it can provide an insurance quote for 98% of people who get in touch.

Life insurance
It’s only in the last year or two that insurance companies have started to offer life insurance to people who’ve been diagnosed with HIV. The market is currently very restricted but the Association of British Insurers says that is likely to change. Insurers are beginning to be better able to assess the risk and life expectancy of someone who has HIV but until recently there hasn’t been enough data available.

Companies that offer life insurance to people with HIV include:

Vitality Life: You can buy life insurance cover for up to £250,000 for ten years if you’ve been diagnosed with HIV as long as you’re aged between 25 and 50, didn’t contract HIV through intravenous drug use, are hepatitis B and C negative and have received HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) in the UK for at least six months and within the last five years.

SAVVY TIP: You must be aged between 25 and 50 when you apply and your CD4 cell counts and viral load must be to near undetectable level. You’ll also have to take a medical test and provide a doctor’s report.

Pulse insurance: This company offers a specialist life insurance policy for people who are HIV positive. The policy lasts for ten years and you have to be aged between 18 and 64 when you apply.

There are two options:

1. You can get life insurance up to £2 million if you have a medical and provide a GP’s report.

2. You can get life insurance up to £25,000 if you don’t have a medical. If you opt for life insurance of £25,000 you can get cover for up to £200,000 for personal accident.

SAVVY TIP: With the lower amount of cover you don’t need to take a medical test, although you will need to give detailed information about your medical treatment on the application form, including CD4 count, viral load, any weight loss or gain in the last two years and whether you are receiving treatment for or have been diagnosed with other illnesses or medical complaints.

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