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Life Insurance Basics

Considerations for finding affordable life insurance with a pre-existing condition

If you have a pre-existing condition and want to purchase life insurance, you may still be able to obtain coverage.

Just because you have a pre-existing medical condition does not necessarily mean that you can't buy life insurance.

Your insurability depends on a multitude of factors that include your diagnosis, associated health issues, and how well your condition is being controlled and monitored. Medical progress and the availability of preventive programs now allow many people with chronic conditions to live long and productive lives. In step with that, many insurance companies are offering coverage to those whose health conditions are managed and stable.

The fact is, every insurer underwrites differently, and there are always going to be certain health problems that are likely to preclude you from getting life insurance. However, recent medical advances and treatments that at one time might have discouraged you from considering life insurance may no longer be a barrier to buying a policy today.

According to Marvin Feldman, CEO and president of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, the insurance landscape has shifted dramatically. “The rules vary greatly depending on the insurer," he says. “But it is now a lot easier for people with pre-existing conditions to get life insurance policies.”

The following are a few considerations for shopping for affordable life insurance coverage with a pre-existing condition.

Understand that every insurer is different

It's important to note that every life insurance company has its own set of qualifying criteria. So if one company turns you away, don't let that prevent you from shopping for coverage elsewhere. Try finding an insurance carrier that will treat you the most liberally or leniently when it comes to your particular condition. Start by getting a number of quotes from reputable insurers.

Know that not everything is considered pre-existing

While certain conditions such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea can drive down your overall health rating, it doesn't necessarily mean that your life expectancy will be shortened - especially if you're under a doctor's care. In many cases you may be able to find the coverage you need, especially if you are actively managing your condition.

Stable conditions can bring better rates

Today, many ailments are being diagnosed and treated more effectively than in the past, and more life insurers are taking those factors into consideration. For example, if you've been successfully treated for breast cancer and your condition has since stabilized, you may still be able to find coverage.  

Get quotes from an experienced life insurance agent or reputable insurance company

If you are shopping for life insurance and have or have had a serious illness, Feldman suggests working with a life insurer who has experience working with applicants with pre-existing health conditions. "Costs vary drastically from company to company," he notes.

Being able to find affordable life insurance after you've been diagnosed with a serious condition isn't as impossible as it has been in the past. And while there is no guarantee, more life insurers are willing to consider applicants with a history of illness on a case to case basis.




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