Life insurance with previous illnesses
Finding cheap life insurance when you have pre-existing conditions can be a daunting challenge. High-risk life insurance policies are generally much more expensive and limited in their range of services than life insurance products for people without pre-existing medical conditions. Despite the added difficulty of being viewed as a term life insurance candidate, affordable life insurance products exist for those with pre-existing conditions – they just require additional research to find them.
What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is a condition that was diagnosed before the insurance coverage began. While the health insurers can no longer refuse to cover the costs or increase the tariffs in the case of previous illnesses, there is no such law for life insurers. This means that pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cancer and heart disease can have a negative impact on the premium rate and the range of benefits of potential policyholders.
Pre-existing conditions can take many different forms with varying degrees of severity. And while this list is not exhaustive, the following are also considered pre-existing conditions:
- AIDS / HIV
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Mental disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.)
In principle, any illness for which you have received treatment in the past can be viewed as a pre-existing illness. The more previous illnesses a person has, the higher their risk is perceived from the perspective of the insurance carrier.
How do previous illnesses affect my life insurance rates?
Pre-existing medical conditions can adversely affect the determination of your life insurance premium rate and your coverage options. Insurance carriers use a tiered system to determine the insurance risk for you. In general, policyholders are divided into four classifications:
- Super Preferred (or Preferred Plus)
- Standard (or normal)
Those with more pre-existing conditions are usually placed in the lower classifications, resulting in a higher premium or even a denial of coverage. The higher your perceived risk from pre-existing conditions, the more expensive your premium rate will be. However, certain pre-existing conditions are considered to be more risky than others. In order to determine the severity of your illness, the insurance carriers evaluate each case based on the following criteria:
- Severity of illness
- Whether the problem is current or not
- When the diagnosis first appeared
- Lifestyle considerations that could further increase a person’s risk, such as habitual drinking or smoking
Which life insurance can I take out with a previous illness?
While life insurance companies may raise tariffs or refuse coverage due to pre-existing conditions, high-risk life insurance candidates continue to have policies available. Below are just a few of the life insurance solutions available for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Guaranteed edition life insurance
A Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Plan can be a great option if you have a pre-existing medical condition as almost anyone who applies for it will be approved. As a rule, a medical examination does not take place, so that you cannot be refused for health reasons. What’s more, the coverage is permanent so it will last your entire life, which means your tariffs will be set regardless of how your health deteriorates as you age. As long as you make your contribution payments, the insurance cover remains in place.
Term life insurance
Term life insurance is usually an inexpensive solution as it is only offered for a certain period of time (typically between 10 and 30 years). Policyholders can get low insurance rates and can even qualify for coverage even though they already have pre-existing conditions. As long as you are receiving treatment for your ailments and they are under control, term life insurers will often approve you for coverage, even if you have an illness. It’s worth noting, however, that your premium rates are likely to be higher with a pre-existing condition than without one.
Group life insurance
You may have access to a Group life insurance plan through work. These policies are offered to a group of individuals at a cheaper rate because coverage is usually simple and the cost is shared among a large group of people. Group life policies are typically offered to employees as part of their benefit package, and some may consider covering pre-existing conditions when policyholders add their spouse or children to the policy. Coverage is typically capped at a multiple of the policyholder’s annual income, which may not match your financial life needs. Still, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of the plans made available to you as they are much cheaper than the coverage options available through the standard marketplace.
Things to know when buying life insurance with a previous illness
Buying life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. By taking the time to understand how pre-existing medical conditions can affect insurance costs before shopping, you can avoid spending excessive amounts on your policy.
Apply earlier in life
The older you get, the more expensive life insurance becomes. This is because your insurance carrier is more likely to have to do it to pay out the death benefit stated in your plan. To avoid the higher rates associated with applying for coverage later in life, you should apply for life insurance earlier (in your 20s or 30s). By doing so now, you can secure an affordable price for years to come.
Improve your health
It may be easier said than done, but improving your overall health can benefit you in more ways than one. Improvements in the state of health not only help to lower your monthly premium, but also ensure a higher quality of life overall.
Share improvements with your insurer
If you have life insurance whose rates fluctuate based on your health, age, and other factors, it is a good idea to notify your insurer of any improvements in your health. Sometimes insurance carriers can adjust your premium if they discover that a state of health has been eliminated or significantly improved. You may be asked to undergo a medical exam or have a doctor provide evidence of your improvement in order to qualify for lower rates. Discuss your options with your insurance agent to find out how to remove your pre-existing conditions from your profile.
Do not hide your condition
The worst thing you can do about buying life insurance with a pre-existing condition is to lie about its existence. Insurance carriers always refer to your medical history before offering coverage. Even if you don’t tell your agent about your condition, they’ll find out about it through their investigation process. Lying about your pre-existing medical condition will do more harm than good in the long run, so it’s always best to speak to your insurer directly to avoid getting denied coverage altogether.
What do I do if I have been denied life insurance coverage?
Sometimes people can have life-threatening or untreatable pre-existing conditions that put them at a much higher risk than others. Even people with a history of drug and alcohol abuse may be denied life insurance if they have not used rehabilitation for their addiction in the past. If you have been denied coverage by multiple providers, the best way to move forward and find the right plan is to seek the help of an independent broker. These professionals have access to many different insurance companies and, from their experience, are likely to know some tips and tricks to help you find insurance coverage.
Alternatively, you can resubmit your insurance application after a certain waiting period. Some insurance carriers will consider you if you have previously been denied coverage and you can show evidence of improvement in your condition. For example, if you have hepatitis C and are denied coverage but are treated and considered cured over the course of a year, you can re-apply for insurance.
frequently asked Questions
Which life insurance is the best?
Which life insurance is the best depends heavily on your individual needs. Some people may need more robust insurance options than others, depending on their circumstances. To find the right life insurance company for your needs, check out our list of Best life insurance company.
How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?
In general, individuals should base their life insurance needs on their specific spending habits. Calculate the cost of funeral expenses, medical bills, tax obligations, and personal expenses for your surviving dependents to help maintain their standard of living for years to come. If you have children, calculate this cost based on the number of years they have until they reach adulthood. If in doubt, contact your insurance agent to see which coverage solution is best for your personal needs.
What happens if I hide my previous illness?
Your insurance company will inevitably find out about your previous illness through the process. In some cases, the insurance agent will contact you to review the results and adjust your application or insurance plan based on your medical background. Other insurance carriers may see this dishonesty in a more negative light and will refuse to cover you altogether. When it comes to sharing your medical history with your insurance agent, honesty is always the best policy.