Can I get life cover if I'm called up?

Can I get life cover if I'm called up?
Royal Anglian Regiment preparing Army surplus to be shipped to Ukraine. Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images/Fotoware

Clients have started to ask about their life cover in the event of the UK entering into armed conflict or the government reinstating National Service, advisers have claimed.

Jiten Varsani, mortgage and protection adviser at London Money, said he had been approached by a client worried about whether or not he might end up being called up should the war in Ukraine escalate beyond its borders. 

Similarly, Hayley-Louise O'Reilly, insurance adviser at Coreco, tweeted that she had been asking providers for information about life cover as a "couple of clients" had been querying this. 

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Typically, income protection is not available for occupations in the forces; their employer - the Army, for example - will pay for any sick leave.

Similarly, critical illness covers will generally have an exclusion applied against conditions caused while in active deployments, but not in all cases. 

The situation is different for life insurance - providing someone had not been conscripted at the point of application.

In most cases, if someone is in the Army, then their occupation would be assessed for underwriting purposes and would likely be excluded.

Moreover, cover for soldiers expecting deployment at time of application will often be restricted to cover identifiable liabilities, such as the mortgage amount or other debt. 

If the soldier is expecting be involved in the highest risk army activities at time of application, then a much larger loading will be applied. Again, cover will be restricted or, if deployment is expected, declined.

Conscription concerns

The situation is different for people who have taken out cover long before they have decided to sign up; and certainly could become more complicated if conscription was reinstated as some clients fear, Varsani said.

National Service ended gradually from 1957 in the UK. Call-ups formally ended on December 31 1960, and the last conscripted servicemen left the British armed forces in May 1963.

Andy Rayner, IFA at Star Financial Planning, commented: "Life companies underwrite the risk at point of application. It does not say in the T&Cs if you change occupation or are called up to fight a war you're not covered."

But while many life policies have no standard exclusions for when someone who is not employed by the military dies in a conflict, many insurers have suggested they may have to review their policies if there were any reinstatement of national service or there were conscription.

According to Varsani, most providers stated that, as long as the life cover is in place prior to National Service, then the applicant should be fine.

However, most suggested that they might have to amend their policies to reflect the risk to the life assured, and this might affect any new applicant as well as people at the point of renewal. 

Insurer caveats

Varsani said he received caveats, such as "if the cover had been taken out knowing they were going to actively take part in a conflict, then we may have a different view".