Chances are you know someone who has had a heart attack (technical term: myocardial infarction). Maybe you have had one yourself.
According to the CDC, every year about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, about 200,000 have already had at least one prior heart attack.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Because of this statistic, you may be wondering “If I have had a heart attack, will I be able to get life insurance?”
Life insurance companies base application approvals off a number of factors, life expectancy being a big one. So, how does having a heart attack play into this?
Applying for Life Insurance After a Heart Attack
What Life Insurance Companies Want to Know
If you have had a heart attack (or multiple) and are applying for life insurance, be open and honest about your health condition. Questions the insurer may want to know include:
- When did you have the heart attack(s)?
- Were there any underlying issues that caused it?
- Do you have a family history of heart disease?
- How often do you visit your doctor?
- What treatments were recommended for you?
- What treatments have you undergone (including any surgeries or prescriptions)?
- Has your condition improved?
A single heart attack with no family history of heart disease will likely have more favorable results than if you have had more than one and also have heart disease in your family. The life insurance companies look at many different factors when underwriting an applicant.
What You Can Expect
In most cases, if you have a history of heart attack(s) you are going to be table rated. Life insurance companies want to offer coverage to as many different people as they can. To balance all the different types of risks they insure, they use table rating systems. This helps people with complicated medical histories have access to life insurance.
Most table rating systems take a normal risk class, like Standard, and increase the regular premium payments by 25% for every step you go down the table.
For example, if the price to insure you at a Standard rate would be $40 per month, having a Table B rating would add 50% to the base cost, making your policy $60 per month instead. If you’re rated at Table 3, you would pay Standard prices plus 75%, so $70 per month total.
See what you’d pay for life insurance
What You Can Do
If you have loved ones, you want life insurance to protect them. Having a heart attack quickly puts life into perspective, making the need of buying life insurance that much more important. If you died unexpectedly, would your loved ones be affected financially?
Term life insurance is structured to replace the income you provide. Having a history of heart issues can make buying life insurance a bit more complicated, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of being approved and getting good rates.
1) Work with experience
Quotacy has access to multiple life insurance companies and employs agents and underwriters that know the ins-and-outs of each. Life insurance companies underwrite risk factors differently. With a complicated medical history, Quotacy will shop your case and match you to the company that will give you the best option.
2) Maintain a healthy diet and exercise
Focus on eating heart-healthy foods and exercise regularly. Even a quick 30 minute walk each day can make a difference. Your heart is a muscle and if you exercise, it will become stronger just like any other muscle. People who don’t exercise are almost twice as likely to get heart disease compared to active people.
3) Quit smoking
Smoking is a risk factor of heart disease and if insurance companies see you have a history of heart attacks and you smoke, that’s a double whammy. You could be automatically declined. If you are approved, the amount you pay in premiums will be significant.
4) Monitor your alcohol intake
Drinking excessively is risky for your cardiovascular health. The key is to drink in moderation.
5) Listen to your doctor
If your doctor has prescribed certain treatments for your heart issues, do not ignore them. If insurance companies see you have had a heart attack, but are diligently following through with your doctor’s recommendations, they may lean more favorably and your chances for approval and good rates are much better.
Every individual application is unique and insurance companies underwrite on a case-by-case basis, so it’s impossible to say exactly what kind of rates you will be offered. Quotacy will shop your case to help you get the best coverage for your situation.
Taking a look at how much term life insurance may cost you is free and easy at Quotacy, and we will never sell or share your private information to third parties, nor do we even ask for it until you are ready to apply. Take care of yourself and take care of your loved ones, apply for life insurance today.
About the writer
Natasha Cornelius, CLU
Senior Editor and Life Insurance Expert
Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.