In most cases, individuals with pre-existing conditions and certain severe health conditions are still able to buy life insurance despite their increased risk. Getting life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition is not impossible, and policy options are available to most people with pre-existing health conditions.
Why is it more difficult to find life insurance with pre-existing conditions?
If you’re wondering why your pre-existing medical condition may be an obstacle to finding good or affordable life insurance, it is due to the fact that insurance companies see the buyer as a risk. People with pre-existing health conditions are typically viewed by insurance companies as higher risk, since the chances of their needing treatment or passing away may be higher due to complications that arise from a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies must decide if it is profitable to insure a customer and may be hesitant to sell life insurance to someone whose health conditions pose a higher possibility of death.
Fortunately, life insurance is available to people with most pre-existing conditions, and even those with more severe health conditions such as cancer have options when it comes to life insurance. For specific information about finding life insurance for pre-existing conditions and diseases, see the common health conditions listed below and what you should know about shopping for life insurance with any of these conditions.
Many insurance companies will not sell a life insurance policy to someone who is still undergoing treatment for cancer. However, once treatment is complete, life insurance policies are usually available to cancer survivors, even though they still present a higher risk for insurance companies. Life insurance availability and rates depend on a few factors, including:
- The type of cancer
- Whether treatment is still in continuation or is completed
- How long it has been since treatment was finished
Depending on the type of cancer, survivors may not be able to purchase life insurance during treatment or right after the completion of treatment and instead must wait a certain amount of time before they are eligible to buy a life insurance policy. These “waiting periods” can be as short as one year for prostate cancer and as long as ten years for leukemia.
HIV & AIDS
Thanks to modern treatment for HIV/AIDS, life insurance is usually available for people living with these conditions. However, due to the higher risk of HIV/AIDS patients, their life insurance premiums are typically three to five times more than those of healthy individuals. Additionally, life insurance policies available to people who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS may have much lower death benefits.
Cardiovascular & Heart Disease
People with cardiovascular disease can usually find life insurance policies, although they may not get a preferred rate if they are currently receiving treatment. Patients whose conditions appear to be stabilized and are following their doctor’s advice may receive a better rate.
Unfortunately, those with congestive heart failure may not be eligible for any life insurance policies, and in some cases, insurance companies may increase premiums for perfectly healthy individuals who happen to have a family history with heart disease.
Heart Attack & Stroke
Individuals who have had a heart attack or stroke typically must demonstrate to insurers that their condition has stabilized and they are properly controlling their health before they qualify for lower rates. The longer the person has gone without having a second heart attack or stroke, the lower the life insurance premiums will be for that individual. In cases of those who have experienced a stroke, the severity of the stroke also affects the premium cost.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Those with COPD can usually find life insurance policies as long as they have their condition under control and are following their doctor’s treatments and advice properly. People diagnosed with COPD with good to moderate conditions should not have much difficulty in finding life insurance, but those with more severe cases of COPD may find it harder or more expensive to get a policy.
Insurance companies will often sell life insurance policies to diabetes patients as long as they are doing a good job of controlling their condition. However, life insurance policies available for Type 1 diabetes patients may have higher premiums than those available for Type 2 patients.
Less Severe Pre-Existing Conditions
Health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, and minor weight issues typically do not pose a problem when shopping for life insurance. With these conditions, as long as the patient is properly controlling their condition and following their doctor’s advice, insurance companies will usually sell them life insurance policies at a standard rate. However, some insurance companies may not sell life insurance to individuals who are severely obese.
How to Buy Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition
When buying life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition, you should first and foremost make sure that you have your condition under control as much as possible, and be sure to hold on to all your medical records to show that your condition has stabilized. This will help you get a better life insurance premium.
If you apply for life insurance and have a pre-existing condition, the insurer may ask about when you were diagnosed with your condition, which medications you are taking, any treatment you have received and the dates of treatment, and any other medical conditions you may have. It’s important to answer these questions as thoroughly as possible to avoid higher rates.
In addition, the younger you are, the lower your life insurance premium will be. If possible, buy life insurance when you are younger; insurance companies cannot raise your rate if you are diagnosed with a medical condition later in life.
Never assume that your medical condition prevents you from qualifying for life insurance. If you are unsure of your eligibility, you can discuss your options with an impaired risk specialist, who knows which insurance companies may be more accepting of your specific condition.
If you are unable to find any option, you may consider guaranteed life insurance, although it is not a great option, as it offers very limited benefits.
In conclusion, as long as you have your pre-existing condition under control to your best ability, you should be able to find a life insurance policy that fits your needs, although depending on your condition, your life insurance rates may be higher. Different companies may view the same condition as higher or lower risk, so you may get a better rate by discussing your life insurance options with multiple insurers. If you have any specific questions regarding pre-existing health conditions and life insurance, contact your insurance agent or an impaired risk specialist.