Retirement and Annuity Advisor Jennifer Lang
Can pre-existing conditions make it more difficult and expensive to get life insurance?
Pre-existing conditions can make it more difficult and expensive to get life insurance, but even if you have a chronic or terminal health problem, you can likely find a policy you qualify for if you shop around. The specific policy types you qualify for will depend on your particular medical problems, how well your condition is managed, and the insurer.
What is a pre-existing condition?
When you apply for life insurance, a pre-existing condition might be any health problem that could affect your longevity, and each insurer qualifies them differently. Due to the added risk health problems create for insurers, some pre-existing conditions can raise your premium or even disqualify you entirely from certain types of life insurance.
A few common examples of pre-existing conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and asthma. Previous injuries might be considered pre-existing conditions,
depending on their severity and any lasting effects. Smoking and chewing tobacco, while not considered pre-existing conditions, will also make it more difficult to get approved and affect how much your life insurance costs. Quitting can result in a lower premium, depending on how long it's been since you stopped.
If you develop a serious condition after you already have life insurance, it won't affect your rates. Your life insurance premium will remain the same for the length of your policy.
What does my life insurance company need to know about me?
When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company may ask questions about your age, fitness level, lifestyle, and medical history. They may also ask questions about your family medical history. In many cases, you'll be required to undergo a medical exam to qualify. You might be able to opt out of the medical exam, but doing so may increase your premium significantly.
Generally, your life insurance premium will be lower the younger you are, the better you maintain any conditions, and the less you participate in risky activities. When you purchase a policy, you might consider adding a guaranteed insurability rider in case you want to increase your death benefit at a later date without undergoing medical testing.
How to get life insurance if you have health problems
If you have the right treatment plan for your pre-existing condition and you shop around for life insurance, you'll likely find a policy you qualify for. And minor, common health conditions may not drastically affect your eligibility or your premium. Every insurance company has a different approach to qualifying customers and underwriting policies, so research your options and obtain quotes from several providers.
Don't be tempted to lie about your health on your life insurance application; if your insurer later discovers false information or omissions, you could be disqualified from coverage or, at a minimum, experience a significant premium increase.
What if I'm denied life insurance due to health problems?
If you're denied coverage because of your health, you still have options. While traditional life insurance might not be an option for you, you still have choices like group life insurance and guaranteed issue life insurance.
Group life insurance is often offered by employers for a highly affordable premium. If you take part in a group life insurance policy via your employer's benefits, your health conditions most likely won't be taken into consideration. However, the death benefit will be limited, and the policy is only valid when you have that job. You might also be able to access supplemental life insurance through your employer.
Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of life insurance that doesn't require you to undergo a medical exam or complete a health questionnaire. It's often the recommended life insurance for cancer patients and others with serious conditions if they don't qualify for traditional life insurance. Because you can get a guaranteed life insurance policy quickly and with no questions asked, it will be significantly more expensive than traditional policies. And there may be a rule that if you die within a few years of purchasing the policy, the insurer will simply return your premium payments to your family rather than paying out the death benefit.
How to get life insurance online
You can get a life insurance quote online and compare rates in as little as 60 seconds. You'll answer some questions, and then you'll choose your payment amount, term length, and other policy details.
You can also call 916-458-4515 to speak with a licensed representative who can help you find the right policy for you.