Life Insurance and Heart Disease
It may be possible to buy life insurance after a diagnosis of heart disease, but it depends on the severity of your condition. If you are able to get a policy, you may be charged more for coverage because insurers consider you to be at higher risk.
Buying life insurance is important to protect your family members who depend upon your income or rely on you to provide them with services, such as caring for kids or aging parents.
Unfortunately, many people don’t think about getting life insurance quotes and buying a policy until after they are diagnosed with a serious medical condition such as heart disease.
You can find out more about life insurance and heart disease in this guide to getting life insurance coverage after you have been diagnosed with a cardiac condition.
On this page:
- How Life Insurance Factors In
- How Does Heart Disease Influence the Cost of a Life Insurance Policy?
- What are the Best Policies for People With Severe Heart Disease?
- Improving Your Chances of Getting Covered With Heart Disease
How Life Insurance Factors In
If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, you can still get life insurance. However, you may not be approved for all policies that you apply for, or you may need to pay much higher premiums in order to get coverage. If you have heart disease, your insurance agent will likely tell you that it will be difficult to get affordable life insurance or the best rates.
Whether you’ll be approved for a policy – and the amount you’ll have to pay – will depend upon the severity of your condition and the guidelines set by different life insurance companies. It’s important to do everything you can to show insurance companies you’re making a serious effort to stay healthy, and it’s also essential to shop around for the right policy for you and the most competitive life insurance rates.
How Does Heart Disease Influence the Cost of a Life Insurance Policy?
Heart disease can have a major impact on the cost of buying life insurance, and your condition can also affect whether an insurer will approve you for coverage at all since you are considered high-risk when you have this health condition.
Your condition affects costs and eligibility because insurers do not just give policies to everyone. When you apply for life insurance, your application will go to an underwriter. Underwriters have the job of assessing risk. During the life insurance underwriting process which is somewhat like an application process, a professional who works for the insurance company will consider the likelihood that you will die during the time when you have insurance coverage.
Underwriters will consider a number of factors related to your medical history and pre-existing conditions, including the severity of your heart disease, whether you’ve had any heart attacks, and whether you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other conditions that could affect your heart and increase the chances of death.
Insurers want to insure people who have a minimal risk of passing away while covered so there’s a reduced chance the insurance company will actually have to pay the death benefit. Unfortunately, since heart disease increases your risk of death, you’ll be seen as a risky person to insure and the insurance provider may decide not to give you a policy or to charge you more because there’s a bigger chance the insurer will have to pay out to your beneficiaries.
If you can take steps to reduce your risk, such as quitting smoking, taking your medication, and following all of the doctor’s recommendations and eating a healthy diet, you can increase the chances an insurer will give you a policy at a reasonable cost.
If you’ve overcome heart disease, medical tests show you’re much better, and it has been a long time since you have had any complications because of your heart disease, policy premiums should fall, and your chances of getting covered should increase significantly.
What are the Best Policies for People With Severe Heart Disease?
If your heart disease is severe, many insurers may deny you coverage entirely or the policy may be so expensive that there is no way you can afford to get covered.
The good news is, you don’t have to give up on getting a policy that protects your loved ones after you’ve passed on. There are a few good options for insurance policies that even people with the most severe heart conditions can usually get approved for.
One of your best options is a guaranteed issue policy. These kinds of policies give you coverage regardless of your health issues or personal or family history. Typically, no medical exam is even required in order for you to get coverage – you just need to find an insurer, provide your information, and pay premiums.
Many guaranteed issue policies cap coverage, so you may not be able to get a huge death benefit to provide for your loved ones. But, you should still be able to get enough coverage to pay for funeral costs, and expenses associated with your death, while leaving your loved ones with some extra money to live on in the aftermath of your passing.
People with severe heart disease are also often eligible for graded death benefit policies, regardless of health status. A graded death benefit policy phases in your eligibility to receive full death benefits.
For example, with a graded death benefit policy, the insurance may be structured so just a quarter of the death benefits are paid out in year one. In year two, this could increase to half of the death benefits being paid out, and by year three, 75% of the death benefits could be paid to your loved ones after your death. After four years, your loved ones would get 100% of the death benefit.
Different companies structure graded benefit policies differently, so look for the coverage that would give your family the largest amount of benefits if something happened to you soon after you got covered.
Improving Your Chances of Getting Covered With Heart Disease
While it may seem difficult to get life insurance with heart disease, you can take steps to improve your chances of being approved for life insurance options that you can afford and that provides comprehensive coverage.
Effectively managing your heart disease and improving your health is one of the best ways to become more insurable. Heart disease often cannot be cured, but many patients with heart conditions can reverse some of the damage to their heart with lifestyle changes.
If you can improve your health so your blood pressure and cholesterol drop and so blood flow to the heart and the heart’s pumping abilities return to normal, you may even be able to get an insurance plan for a cost similar to someone who has never had heart disease.
Many health insurers offer programs to manage heart disease and improve your health. Taking part in these programs could also work to make you more insurable if you can show the life insurer that you are being proactive about staying in good shape.
You should be prepared with your medical records showing signs of improvement if you want to drop your policy costs or maximize the chances an insurer will approve you for coverage.
You Can Get Life Insurance With Heart Disease
While it’s discouraging to learn that getting coverage with heart disease is more difficult, the good news is that it is possible to obtain protection for your loved ones after you are gone.
The key is to do everything you can to improve your health – and to shop around among different insurers to find a policy you can afford that provides the coverage you need.