Will having Spina Bifida affect a life insurance application?

Will having Spina Bifida affect a life insurance application?

Our client

Mr S, is a 40-year-old man who contact us in desperation because he wanted to ensure funds were available to repay his mortgage should he pass away, but had been declined life insurance in the past due to his medical conditions.


His mortgage had an outstanding balance of £115,000 over a remaining term of 30 years.

Medical Condition

Mr S was born with Hydrocephalus which was treated at the time of his birth. Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid on the brain. The excess fluid puts pressure on the brain, which can damage it. He also suffers from Spina Bifida.  It’s not known what causes spina bifida, but a lack of folic acid before and in the early stages of pregnancy is a significant risk factor.

The scar tissue from the Spina Bifida caused his spinal cord to become tethered. Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by tissue attachments which limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column. These attachments cause an abnormal stretching of the spinal cord and Mr S subsequently had had operations carried out to his feet to correct him from walking on the sides of them.

In addition, the Spina Bifida had caused many Urinary tract infections meaning that he had to use a catheter. Mr S, subsequently had operations carried out on his feet to correct him from walking on the sides of his feet.

Our process and advice

Undeterred, we felt that we could use our wealth of insurance and medical underwriting knowledge to help Mr S obtain the cover he needed.
Once we had a good understanding of his situation, requirements and medical history we started our research process.

This involves us contacting many, and in some cases all, of the UK’s leading insurers to discuss our client’s requirements. The purpose of this is to establish how they might treat his application.

Would they add a ‘loading’ to the premium (this is an additional amount on top of the standard quoted monthly premium to reflect their additional risk)?

Could they exclude certain conditions?

Might they decline an application altogether? We want to avoid wasting time by making applications which may be declined.

The outcome

A lot of the providers we spoke to said they would not be able to offer cover or that they would increase the premium quite considerably and, as this case was complicated, it would have had to be referred to their Chief Medical Officer before their terms could be determined. Some providers suggested the increase to the monthly premium could be anything from 75% to 250%. It was quite difficult to ascertain which provider would eventually offer the cover as they were all very cautious.

We were able to make the right decision based upon the confidence of the underwriter at one large insurer who increased the premium by only 50% making the cost affordable.

Mr S was very pleased that we were able to arrange a decreasing term life or earlier terminal illness policy with an initial sum assured of £115,000 over a term of 30 years for a monthly premium of £17.78.  Based upon the positive outcome, he then decided to arrange additional cover to provide a financial cushion to his family whilst the children were still dependent on him.

Please note that the premiums provided are indicative only and are 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. Quotes correct as of November 2019.

Client Id: 143662224

For more information and support on Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus:

Charity Shine: Shine provides specialist support from before birth and throughout the life of anyone living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, as well as to parents, families, carers and professional care staff. Shine enables people to get the best out of life.

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Next steps

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

Any quote we provide you with will take into account your circumstances, your 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

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.

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