It’s springtime! The flowers are blooming, the grass is turning green, and sinuses everywhere are screaming out in agony. Yes, dear reader, it’s allergy season. As pollen begins falling from trees, people all across the U.S. are beginning to feel their allergy symptoms returning.
The issue is that everyone suffers from allergy symptoms a little differently. Because of the breadth of irritants and the range of conditions that can arise when a person is exposed to an allergen, they can have an incredibly diverse impact on an allergy sufferer’s quality of life.
Pollen allergies, for example, are often very mild, resulting in a little swelling of your throat and sinuses and causing your mucous membranes to act up. A more severe reaction, like a peanut or bee sting allergy, on the other hand, can be fatal. A person with a peanut allergy can be sent into anaphylactic shock within minutes of accidentally consuming one without the immediate use of an epi-pen or emergency care.
Because of the risks that can come with a severe allergy, asking about your allergies is one of the many lines of questioning that a life insurance underwriter pursues when determining the price for your life insurance.
How Underwriters See Allergies
The severity of your allergy symptoms are all that matters. If your worst allergy symptoms just make you uncomfortable, it’s unlikely that they will have any effect on your final price. This means that mild seasonal allergy sufferers have just as good a chance of getting best-class coverage as someone without allergies.
If your seasonal allergies can sometimes trigger asthma flare-ups that require visits to an ER, however, the insurance carrier will often rate you at a slightly worse risk class comparable to the rate people with moderate non-allergy related asthma receive. The same principle is also true if your allergies necessitate steroid-based medicine, since the use of steroids does slightly increase your risk of death.
Where underwriters look more closely is in instances where an allergy causes a life-threatening reaction like anaphylaxis. Since life insurance is priced based on the likelihood of a person’s death, adding a fun new way to die into the mix will most likely raise your price.
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During Your Application
Most life insurance carriers don’t ask about your allergies directly during the application process, but they do gather that information from your doctor during your medical record review. Most life insurance carriers don’t ask about your allergies on the application itself, but they do gather that information during the medical exam or phone interview. When you are asked about any allergies, be sure to disclose about the allergy itself and how you react to the allergen.
If you don’t divulge your allergy, then end up dying while covered by the policy due to that allergy, the carrier will have room to contest your claim, which may result in your family not getting the payout you were insured for.
The insurance carrier can use this loophole because an insurance carrier offers coverage based on the information provided by the applicant. When a condition isn’t disclosed, the carrier can claim that the applicant set out to deceive them during the application, which can violate the terms of the policy.
Disclosing your allergy whenever possible can help to ensure that the carrier will know all of the information relevant to your case before your application is finalized. Honesty is the best policy here, since an incremental price increase is well worth the peace of mind that divulging your allergy can bring.
The Bottom Line
While disclosing a potentially fatal allergy could raise your price, not revealing it just opens a gateway for the carrier to contest your policy in the event that you pass away from an allergic reaction. If your allergy is well controlled either through regularly-taken medicine or emergency medication like an epi-pen, the impact that your allergy will have on your price will be fairly marginal, and some carriers may not even raise your price at all.
If you have any more specific questions about how your allergy will affect your life insurance application, feel free to get in touch with us if you aren’t applying for coverage, or talk to your Quotacy agent if you’ve already gotten a quote and submitted your application. We’d be happy to help clear up any questions you have.
About the writer
Eric started in Quotacy's sales department, but moved to marketing after helping hundreds of people through their life insurance buying journey. Aside from writing about buying life insurance, he also edits Quotacy's monthly newsletter, runs our YouTube channel and produces Real Life, our podcast. Eric lives in Minneapolis, where his coworkers are trying to convince him to take his humor into the spotlight. Connect with him on LinkedIn.