Qualifying for life insurance may be somewhat more challenging when you have been diagnosed with heart failure or heart disease. The good thing is that you do have options if you know where to look. Yes, you can obtain life insurance with heart disease.
Many life insurance companies are reluctant to accept applications because congestive heart failure and heart disease are regarded as severe medical conditions. Most insurers will require applicants to wait for a period of at least one year after diagnosis and/or treatment so as to get a better idea of how your condition is currently progressing.
When reviewing your application for coverage, the insurance underwriters will typically request additional information regarding your heart condition such as:
What symptoms or health issues have led to your diagnosis?
When were you diagnosed with congestive heart failure and/or heart disease?
Does your family history include heart disease?
Has anyone in your immediate family died as a result of heart disease?
What medications are you currently taking and what is the dosage for each?
It’s essential that you provide as much information as possible to the underwriters, as this can help them to come to a more precise choice regarding your acceptance and rates. Should it later be found that details were omitted; it will likely cause an increase your premium rate — or to have your coverage canceled at a later date.
After all the information has been reviewed, the underwriters will be better able to determine whether you will qualify for coverage — and if so, they could at that time determine your appropriate underwriting class and the rate for your policy.
Although each insurance company may differ in its actual underwriting criteria, most use classifications that are similar in terms of where their policyholders fall based on health and other factors. The primary life insurance underwriting categories include:
Preferred – Applicants who show excellent health may be ranked as preferred. (Some insurers may also have a Preferred Plus category for applicants who exhibit outstanding health qualities.) These policyholders generally pay a lower premium rate than standard rated applicants. It is highly unlikely that an insured who suffers from heart failure will qualify for the preferred underwriting class.
Standard – These applicants generally have an average overall health and will typically fall into the standard rate class. An applicant who has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure or other heart diseases at age 60 or older and is otherwise in good health may be classified in the standard underwriting category. This is particularly the case if she or he did not apply for coverage for at least one year after their diagnosis and/or treatment.
Table Rated / Sub-standard — While your actual rating will be contingent upon the seriousness of your condition, in addition to the age at which you’re diagnosed as well as your overall health condition, it is likely you will fall somewhere in the sub-standard table or table rated underwriting class. This means that you will be required to pay a higher premium than a policyholder in the standard class for the same amount of insurance coverage, since because of your heart condition; you represent a higher risk to the insurer.
In order to increase your odds for getting approved, it’s important that you work with an agent that is successful in dealing with high-risk insurance cases. This way you can be confident that the agent will know what requirements are necessary for the application process.
Specializing in life insurance for high-risk applicants, we are knowledgeable about which life insurance companies are more likely than others to accept and approve your application. We can also help using other measures such as including a letter of recommendation that highlights health habits and lifestyle changes that will positively affect your condition. This can greatly improve your chances of getting your application approved.
The truth of the matter is that many high-risk life insurance cases are declined, and this is when your independent agent can help you even more. As an independent agent, these professionals can represent as many carriers as necessary to make sure they can deliver a solution for every applicant. If your application is declined, your independent agent will typically offer a “guaranteed issue” policy which, although more expensive than standard life insurance, is certainly better than having no life insurance at all. A guaranteed issue insurance policy is a Whole Life insurance policy that is issued without regard to any health issues. In fact, a guaranteed issue policy has no health questions on the application and requires no medical exam or blood and urine test. There are three caveats that the applicant will need to consider and agree to before applying for the guaranteed policy:
Lower Death Benefit – The insurers that offer guaranteed issue life insurance typically cap the death benefit at $25,000 depending on the age of the applicant.
Full Death Benefit Waiting Period – The insurance company typically requires a waiting period of two or three years before they will pay the full death benefit if the insured dies from natural causes. Most companies will, however, pay the full death benefit from day one if the insured dies as the result of an accident.
Higher Rates – Since the insurance company has agreed to accept an unknown health risk, they are entitled to charge more premiums for the insurance coverage they offer.