Preexisting conditions will usually have a substantial impact on life insurance rates; however, they do not always prevent you from being able to purchase an affordable policy. The good news is the life insurance industry has become very competitive, and insurance companies are now offering life insurance policies to people who may have been rejected in the past.
Typical Health Issues
Even though preexisting conditions differ according to how old you are and where you live, the most popular diseases and illnesses are still making it difficult, yet not always impossible to get an affordable life insurance solution.
Heart Disease – People who have a health history that includes a heart-related event will be judged on how much time has passed since the event took place, and how well your overall health has improved since the heart attack. If it has been more than seven years and you are currently healthy, your carrier is likely to offer a standard rating. If it has been three to seven years, you’ll typically be accepted with a table rating. If your heart attack was as recent as three years, you’d be better off looking at an alternative policy such as guaranteed issue whole life insurance. You’ll pay more but you will most probably qualify for coverage.
Stroke – Even though stroke is the number two killer of Americans today, a stroke survivor can get a life insurance policy. There are several factors that the underwriter will consider to determine your rate if accepted: How old you were when the event took place and the number of years since it happened; your follow-up test results; results from a medical exam ordered by the underwriter; and all pertinent information from your doctor. Your underwriter is going to consider as much data as possible and take into consideration your current health condition and lifestyle to determine your classification if your application is considered acceptable.
If after speaking with your independent agent, you both agree that a declination is probable, then, by all means, consider buying a guaranteed issue policy to make certain you have some coverage in place when the worst happens.
Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes – Diabetes is likely one of the most common chronic diseases in America today, and because of lifestyle and diet, more people are being diagnosed every year. Fortunately, there are insurers who are willing to compete for these cases, and as a result, the underwriting has gotten a bit more liberal over the last five years. Your A1C levels, current health condition, and lifestyle will be the most critical parts of the underwriting process. If your A1C levels are below 7.0, and you are not experiencing associated illnesses, you can expect a standard rating from some insurance companies. This standard rating should be great news for the large group of people who are struggling to manage this disease.
Hepatitis C – Hepatitis C is probably one of the most unexpected diagnoses today, and in many cases is diagnosed in people who have had no symptoms. Most people are diagnosed as a result of a blood test for other reasons such as for a life insurance application. Typically, after being diagnosed, your doctor will require a liver biopsy, and the results of this biopsy will play a considerable part in determining your insurance rate and the resulting premium. If your blood test indicates very high enzyme levels, and you continue to consume alcohol, it’s likely that your case will be declined.
COPD – Since there is no cure for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), getting approved for life insurance is substantially more difficult. Since this lung condition exists in varying degrees, when you were diagnosed will play an important part in the underwriting process. If your diagnosis was recent and your attacks are considered infrequent, there’s a good chance of your being approved with a standard rate are higher – but only if you have stopped smoking for several years. Your underwriter will require all available information and test results from your pulmonologist and will also require an updated medical exam that will include a blood and urine sample. If you have frequent breathing attacks and tightness in the chest, it’s possible you will be rated as substandard or even declined coverage.
The Alternative to Consider
There is good news for the many Americans who suffer from a chronic disease and have been unable to purchase traditional life insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Today, many insurance companies are offering Final Expense Insurance, also referred to as burial insurance, on a “guaranteed issue” basis. Guaranteed issue is the term used for non-medical life insurance. The insurance company typically asks only a few questions about your health and does not require a medical exam, blood and urine test, or an attending physician statement from your doctor.
Since the insurer is taking on an unknown health risk, they will apply a waiting period of two or three years before they will pay the death benefit if you die within that period from natural causes. If your death is the result of a covered accident, your beneficiary will receive the full benefit you were approved for from day one. If you die from natural causes during the waiting period, the company will return the entire premium you’ve paid in, and in many cases, the insurer will add a small percentage to that amount.
In either case, your best chance of buying affordable traditional or guaranteed issue life insurance is to contact an independent agent that represents all of the highly-rated carriers and who are experts at taking on tough cases and helping those Americans with pre-existing conditions. The insurance professionals at LifeInsure.com are familiar with the information needed from the underwriter and will be able to help you navigate through the process of finding coverage that will fit within your budget.
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In my 20+ years as an independent life and disability insurance broker, I have personally assisted thousands of clients with their life and disability insurance needs. Being independent, I represent many highly-rated insurance companies and, because I am not beholden to any one insurance company, my focus is to find the right company and policy for each individual client. I believe that when people shop for insurance (or anything else, for that matter) on the Internet, they are looking for a simple, non-intrusive, non-pressure method of doing so. I strive to treat my prospective clients with the utmost respect and I believe an educated prospect can make the right decision without sales pressure. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience.