Income protection for sole trader

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I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 and finished active treatment a couple of years after (including surgery, chemo, radio and herceptin) and am now on adjuvant treatment. 

I work as a psychotherapist in the NHS and I want to move away from the NHS due to the high stress levels and start my own business. I have started looking into income protection insurance (and also critical illness insurance but I think income protection is more suitable) and was wondering if there is a particular insurance you can recommend that covers cancer as a pre-existing condition and what your experiences are on whether this is economically valuable or not. (I am aware that this might be different case by case but most to see whether this is actually an option or not)

Thank you so much for your time and for getting back to me. 

  • Hi ,

    Thanks for posting your question. This is just a quick notification to let you know that I have moved your question over to our Ask a Financial Guide forum, as they will be best positioned to advise you further.

    As always, if you need any help or support relating to your previous diagnosis, please don't hesitate to give our Macmillan Support Line a call. The Support Line teams can be reached on freephone 0808 808 00 00, and they're open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

    Wishing you all the best in your new venture! Relaxed

    All the best,
    Macmillan Online Community Team

  • Hi  ,


    Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry to hear you’re having such difficulties getting income protection or critical illness insurance. This can be quite common for those who’ve had a cancer diagnosis in the past.

    As you’ve already discovered, a cancer diagnosis, or any other serious medical condition, is likely to make getting insurances such as critical illness cover or income protection much harder. The application will normally require a more rigorous underwriting process, requiring medical reports and sometimes an examination. But this depends on the type of cancer, the stage it reached and the length of time since diagnosis.

    Unfortunately, we can’t recommend a specific insurance company or product, but an Independent Financial Adviser could look at your circumstances and search the whole of the market and see if there are other alternative products. Maybe check with family and friends to see if they can recommend an adviser. Alternatively, visit to find details of advisers in your area.

    When choosing a financial adviser, always check that they, and the company they work for, are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide financial advice.


    This information can be found on the FCA register:



    Please be aware that, if an unregulated firm (or individual) is used, there may be no protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if things go wrong.


    Another website which may be useful is British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA). They have created an insurance directory which can be used to search for insurance for anyone who has a pre existing medical condition. You can visit their website by clicking here. Please note Macmillan does not endorse any particular company or product that may be advertised on BIBA website.  


    It’s important to remember that insurance companies look at ‘risk’ when assessing an application and will consider the likelihood of a claim during the term of the policy. If the insurance company believes that this risk is higher than average, they might accept the application but increase the premiums.

    If the insurance company sees the risk as being too high, they might decline immediate cover but agree to review the application at a later date, or may even refuse to offer any cover at all.

    Sometimes, an insurer might agree to offer insurance, but with an exclusion for a pre-existing medical condition (like cancer). Before agreeing to an exclusion, think about the implications of not having cover for that particular illness.

    I hope this provides you with a bit of helpful information in your search for insurance. If you have any further questions or would like to discuss things such as mortgages, pensions or your will, then please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

    Yours Sincerely,


    Financial Guide

    The Financial Guidance Service will not advise you on the merits of buying, selling, cancelling or making a claim on a specific financial product from any company or otherwise provide you with any regulated services. As a guidance service, we do not provide financial advice or carry on other activities that are regulated and we are not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. No part of our service constitutes, nor is intended to constitute, a financial promotion within the meaning of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 nor an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity.


    The aim of the Financial Guidance Service is to provide you with information to help you make informed decisions about your personal finances. For financial advice, including recommendations to buy, sell, cancel or make a claim on specific financial products or to obtain any other type of financial services, you should speak to a financial adviser or company who is permitted to provide you with those services. You can find a local financial advice firm or other type of firm who provides regulated services on the Financial Conduct Authority's website -


    The information that we provide you is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities and is not legal advice. We are not liable to you for any information or services obtained by you from, or given to you by, a third party.


    If you need more details on your rights, please contact a financial, legal or other appropriate professional adviser


    If you need more details on your rights, please contact a financial, legal or other appropriate adviser.

  • Thank you so much for your advise, I will look into the above :-)