Osteoarthritis & Life Insurance

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Osteoarthritis & Life InsuranceOsteoarthritis effects people in different ways and can make day to day life difficult. For many it can often be well managed and have little impact on your life insurance.

Things we need to know to get started:

  • When were you diagnosed with osteoarthritis?
  • Do you take any medication for this or have any treatment?
  • What symptoms do you have?
  • Are you due to have surgery?

Osteoarthritis life insurance applications can often be accepted at standard terms with many insurers. This is most likely if your symptoms and medication are mild, and you are not due to have any surgery.

If the osteoarthritis greatly affects multiple joints and you need to take strong medication, it is possible that the insurer may offer policy terms at special terms. For life insurance, this usually means an increased premium, it is not common to have exclusions on life insurance.

Where you are awaiting surgery to help ease the osteoarthritis, you will be advised by most standard insurers to delay your application, until after the operation has occurred and you have recuperated. 

There are a number of options that can be put in place, whilst you are awaiting the surgery, so please do not be put off my asking about what is on offer.


Critical illness cover pays out a cash lump sum of money, if you are diagnosed with a medical condition that is listed in the insurer’s claims set e.g. cancer, heart attack, stroke.

When you apply for critical illness cover, osteoarthritis will be assessed by the insurer based upon the strength of your symptoms (amount of joints affected), the medications that you use and if you are awaiting surgery.

Osteoarthritis critical illness cover policies can be available at ordinary rates. This is most likely if your symptoms are mild and there is no strong medication being used.

Where the condition is affecting you in multiple joints and you need to used stronger medications, it is likely that your policy terms will be loaded. This will most likely be an increase to the policy premiums.

Again, if you are awaiting surgery you will find that most insurers will want you to wait to apply until after the operation.

Please note that if you opt for your critical illness cover to include TPD (total permanent disability) then this part of the cover may come with an exclusion for your condition.


Income protection pays you a replacement of your monthly income, if you are unable to work due to ill health.

Applications for income protection for people living with osteoarthritis, can be placed with a number of insurance providers.

The income protection terms that can be on offer will differ between insurers based upon their own underwriting guidelines for the condition. This means that they will assess things like how many joints are affected, the strength of the medication needed and also if the osteoarthritis has caused you to have any time off work.

It is likely that income protection will exclude any claims related to your osteoarthritis. If the osteoarthritis affects your day to day living and if there any additional medical disclosures, the policy may also include a premium increase.


You may wish to consider accident, sickness and unemployment cover as an alternative to income protection, as your osteoarthritis will not be taken into consideration at the point of application. Whilst the policies are not medically underwritten at the point of application, any claim that you make will exclude anything related to existing conditions, so you will not be covered for a claim related to osteoarthritis.

Accident, sickness and unemployment cover can provide short-term income protection for 12 to 24 months in the event that you cannot work due to injury, illness or involuntary unemployment.


Planning on a trip abroad? It is worthwhile checking what your travel insurance covers you for, with your osteoarthritis. To find out more details about a specialist travel broker, click here.


What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a long-term pain condition that develops from inflammation or cartilage damage to joints; primarily the hips, knees and spine. Depending upon the severity of the condition there can be a marked stiffness in the joint when trying to use them, often coupled with a degree of pain. There is no one set specific cause of osteoarthritis but it is believed that you are more likely to develop the condition if you are female, over 50 years of age, have been a professional athlete, are overweight or have a family medical history of osteoarthritis.

Also Known as: OA, degenerative joint disease

Linked with: Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, obesity, stress

Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have osteoarthritis include:

  • Inflammation around joints
  • Bony growths around joints
  • Cartilage damage
  • ‘Knobbly’ joints
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Grinding of the joint (crepitus)
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Modifications to work environments
  • Pacing daily activities
  • Well balance diet
  • Acemetacin (Emflex)
  • Adcortyl
  • Arthrotec
  • Aspirin (Anadin Original, Disprin, Nu-Seals)
  • Capsaicin (Zacin)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Codeine/Paracetamol (Tylex)
  • Dexibuprofen (Seractil)
  • Dexketoprofen trometamol (Keral)
  • Diclofenac Diethylammonium (Voltarol Emulgel)
  • Diclofenac potassium (Voltarol Rapid)
  • Diclofenac sodium (Dicloflex, Diclomax, Econac, Motifene, Voltarol, Voltarol Dispersible)
  • Etodolac (Eccoxolac, Lodine)
  • Etoricoxib (Arcoxia)
  • Felbinac (Traxam)
  • Fenactol
  • Flurbiprofen (Froben)
  • Hydrocortisone acetate (Hydrocortistab)
  • Ibuprofen (Anadin Ibuprofen, Brufen, Calprofen, Cuprofen, Hedex Ibuprofen, Nurofen)
  • Indometacin (Indolar, Pardelprin)
  • Ketoprofen (Ketoci, Ketovaild, Orudis, Oruvail, Powergel)
  • Lidocaine/Methylprednisolone acetate (Depo-medrone with Lidocaine)
  • Mefenamic Acid (Ponstan)
  • Meloxicam
  • Methylprednisolone acetate (Depo-Medrone)
  • Misoprostol/Naproxen (Napratec)
  • Nabumetone (Relifex)
  • Naprosyn
  • Naproxen
  • Naproxen/Esomeprazole magnesium trihydrate
  • Paracetamol
  • Piroxicam (Feldene)
  • Prednisolone acetate (Deltastab)
  • Tenoxicam (Mobiflex)
  • Tiaprofenic Acid (Surgam)
  • Vimovo

Common Questions

Hi, it depends on a couple of different bits, but mild osteoarthritis does not generally have a big impact on insurance applications. The main insurance that you would see a change with, will be income protection, as most policies will exclude claims relating to osteoarthritis. For life insurance and critical illness cover, the insurer will mainly be interested in the medication that you take and any surgeries that might be planned, both of which could alter the terms on offer.

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Review by Anastasia on 22nd March 2021

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Osteoarthritis & Life Insurance

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

Osteoarthritis & Life Insurance

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Osteoarthritis & Life Insurance

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