- Access to travel insurance and life insurance has improved in recent years.
- When employers offer insurance as a perk, this won’t necessarily involve a medical questionnaire, so HIV should not be an issue.
- Companies are allowed to take HIV and other health information into account when assessing eligibility for insurance.
There are no medical questionnaires when applying for car, home, building, gadget or pet insurance, so your HIV status will not be an issue.
Travel insurance and life insurance are available, although you need to mention your HIV status when applying and policies should be checked carefully. Income protection and critical illness cover are harder to get as an individual, but you might be able to get coverage through your employer. Private health insurance in the UK doesn’t cover HIV treatment.
HIV status should not affect access to a mortgage, although some financial institutions may try to sell life insurance with the mortgage. Mortgage protection policies and accident and sickness insurance are available, although illnesses linked to HIV will not be covered.
HIV should not be an issue in relation to banks, loans, credit cards, pensions, or investments in stocks and shares.
The Money Advice Service website has free and impartial information on a wide range of financial issues.
The Equality Act is the law which protects people living with HIV from discrimination in England, Wales and Scotland. Generally speaking, insurance companies are not allowed to discriminate against you. However, there is an exemption within the Equality Act which allows insurance providers to take your HIV into consideration when assessing the risk of you making a claim and deciding whether to offer you insurance and on what terms it’s being offered.
But they must base their risk assessments on information from a reliable source and one which is relevant to the product they are providing – for example, statistics that show that having HIV can increase the risk of stroke would be relevant to an application for critical illness cover. You can challenge an insurance provider if you think a risk assessment isn't based on a reliable or relevant source of information.
Insurance providers are not allowed to have blanket or general policies of refusing to provide insurance or only providing insurance on certain terms to people living with HIV. This would be unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act.
If you think you have been unlawfully discriminated against when applying for insurance or making a claim, you have the right to make a complaint.
Making a complaint
If you think your insurance application or claim has been handled badly or unfairly, you are entitled to make a complaint. There is a simple step-by-step process you can follow to try and resolve the situation.
First, you can raise your complaint informally, either by calling the insurer or, if you have used an insurance broker, asking them to make a complaint on your behalf.
If this does not work, you should then check the insurer’s complaints procedure and raise a formal complaint.
Finally, if you are still unsatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman to investigate your complaint for free.
The Money Advice Service has more information about making a complaint and a template complaint letter here.
This page reflects the personal finance market in the UK.