High Risk Life Insurance

Insurers consider the risk of a policy holder making a claim when they decide how much cover will cost. So, the reality is that your age, health factors and hobbies play a larger part in determining how much you pay (also known as your monthly premium). If you have a passion for extreme sports, or you're a smoker, it stands to reason that you could be placed in a 'higher risk'' group for life insurance. However, every application is different, so in this article, we'll take you through the factors that help us decide whether to issue life insurance for 'higher risk' individuals.

What counts as ‘high risk’ life insurance?

When you apply for life insurance with Legal & General, you will be asked to complete an application form and possibly a further specific questionnaire, to allow you to tell us about your individual circumstances. The answers you give for the following categories will affect whether we can offer you a policy, and how much the premium will cost:

  • Health - You may be placed in a ‘higher risk’ group if the following indicate an increase in risk to your health:
  • Your smoker status - If you’ve smoked any cigarettes, cigars, a pipe (including shisha/hookah), or used nicotine replacements in the last 12 months, you’re classed as a smoker. That includes e-cigarettes and other nicotine replacements, such as patches.
  • Your alcohol intake - Alcohol is considered a relevant risk factor, given that UK government research shows that alcohol misuse is now the biggest killer of working-age adults in England, overtaking 10 of the most dangerous forms of cancer.
  • Your weight - We also take into consideration your build based on your body mass index (BMI) and your waist or clothing size. The NHS considers a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 to be healthy.
  • Your mental health and wellbeing - Legal & General have accepted the vast majority of applications with standard premiums from customers who have told us about their anxiety, depression and stress, but in more serious cases, we may increase the premiums or be unable to provide cover. Find out more about life insurance and mental health issues.
  • Your medical history - Certain medical conditions carry a greater risk to your health. Legal & General will ask for further information and based on this are usually able to offer life cover either on our standard premium or with an increased premium. There are some circumstances where we are unable to offer any cover.


Certain jobs carry greater risk to your personal safety, and this may affect the premium we offer. Life insurance for ‘higher risk’ individuals includes coverage for members of the armed forces and those working at heights or offshore in the oil, gas or fishing industry. The factors we consider are not limited to the risk of physical injury, but work-related stress and depression too.


Everyone’s got their own favourite activities, but as far as life insurance goes, there’s a world of difference between tiddlywinks and skydiving. In theory, you can get life insurance if you take part in extreme sports, but just like other providers, Legal & General will decide whether we can offer cover on a case-by-case basis. ‘Hazardous’ activities under our definition, include, for example, mountaineering, canyoning and paragliding, but ultimately, life insurance for higher risk individuals also comes down to factors like your personal experience level and the frequency that you do the activity.

Getting a quote for life insurance

It’s important to be honest when you complete your life insurance application, as failure to do so may mean that a future claim is not paid, and your policy could be amended or cancelled. If you have any concerns about life insurance policies for ‘higher risk’ people, rest assured that we’ll endeavour to give you a fair quote that reflects your circumstances.

Find out more about our life cover products.