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Life Insurance and Asthma: Buyer’s Guide

May 12, 2021
Our goal is to educate and advise on life insurance options, so you can feel confident in making the right choice, whether that’s through Quotacy or somewhere else. To ensure we provide accurate and trustworthy information, our writers follow strict editorial standards.

Asthma is a fairly common health issue. More than 25 million Americans are asthmatic.

Many individuals who apply for life insurance mention this condition on their application. While having asthma may affect your life insurance premium costs, it doesn’t mean you can’t get life insurance.

Each life insurance company follows their own underwriting guidelines. This means that each company will rate a certain condition differently. While one company may decide to give an applicant a Preferred Plus rating for a certain condition, another company may offer only Standard.

This is where Quotacy can help you. We have relationships with many of the best life insurance companies and know the idiosyncrasies of each. Once we know your unique situation, we will shop your case at the appropriate insurance companies to help you get the best possible coverage.

Buying Life Insurance with Asthma

Asthma is one of the most common medical conditions we see with Quotacy clients. It’s a condition our agents are very familiar with and have had a lot of success in helping people with asthma get life insurance coverage.

If you have asthma, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers are not tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market.

We want you to get approved and will work hard to help you get coverage. Start the process by getting a free term life insurance quote or keep reading for more in-depth information about life insurance and asthma.

Many health conditions impact your life insurance eligibility and potential costs. Learn more about life insurance and pre-existing conditions in our guide.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

Underwriting Asthma

For life insurance, the underwriting of asthma takes into account several variables, including severity, overall control, compliance with prescribed medications and medical appointments, the number of exacerbations, and the need for short acting medications and oral corticosteroids.

The chart below is an example of how a life insurance company may classify the severity of an applicant’s asthma.

Severity Significant Episode Per Year Description and Therapy
Intermittent ≤ 2
  • Any number of inhalers of any kind, including steroids
  • No injections of epinephrine /adrenaline
  • No aerosolized (nebulized) bronchodilator
  • One continuous oral medication, but no steroid
  • Short course tapering oral steroid up to 1 per year
  • No hospitalization for asthma or other respiratory disease in past 2 years
Mild Persistent ≤ 4
  • Any number of inhalers of any kind, including steroids
  • Injections of epinephrine /adrenaline ≤4 per year
  • Short course of aerosolized (nebulized) bronchodilator ≤4 per year
  • Any number of continuous oral medications, but no steroid
  • Short course tapering oral steroid ≤2 per year
  • No hospitalization for asthma or other respiratory disease in past 1 year
Moderate Persistent ≤ 5
  • Any number of inhalers of any kind, including steroids
  • Injections of adrenaline ≤5 per year
  • Short course of aerosolized (nebulized) bronchodilator up to 5 per year
  • Any number of continuous oral medications, which may include low dose oral steroid (≤10 mg daily)
  • Short course oral steroid boost ≤4 per year
  • No hospitalization for asthma or other respiratory disease in past six months
Severe Persistent ≥ 6
  • Persistent wheezing or dyspnea that limits activity
  • FEV 1 ≤1 liter at all times, including between episodes
  • Home oxygen

When you apply for life insurance, underwriters review the complete application and all the records that go along with it. They then decide how much coverage and at what cost to offer the applicant, unless they decide to deny or postpone the application.

For applicants with asthma, you can be classified anywhere between the best rating of Preferred Plus to being table rated. The table rating system typically means that your pricing for life insurance will be the Standard price plus 25% for every step down the table you are. Tables descend A-J or 1-10 depending on which format the insurance company uses.

We’ll take a look at an example applicant and breakdown what their pricing may be depending upon their rating.


John Doe is a 35-year-old male who was diagnosed with asthma as a child.

Depending upon the severity of his asthma, tobacco use, and if there are any other issues that the underwriters may consider a risk, the chart below can be used as an estimate of his monthly payments were he to buy a 30-year, $150,000 term life insurance policy.

If he is an extremely healthy individual with no negative family health history, and his only issue was mild, well-controlled, asthma, there is a chance an insurance company would offer him the best rating of Preferred.

In the world of life insurance, “Table A” is the same as “Table 1.” Companies use one or the other. For the example below, we’ll go with the numerical tables.

Risk Class Estimated Monthly Rate
Preferred Plus $18
Preferred $21
Standard Plus $25
Standard $29
Preferred Tobacco $51
Standard Tobacco $66

Table Rating Non-Tobacco Rate Tobacco Rate
Table 1 $37 $83
Table 2 $44 $99
Table 3 $51 $116
Table 4 $58 $124
Table 5 $65 $149
Table 6 $73 $165
Table 7 $80 $182
Table 8 $87 $198
Table 9 $94 $215
Table 10 $102 $231

Each life insurance company has a different set of guidelines they follow when underwriting an applicant. Because of these different guidelines, when one company may deem an applicant a Table 2, another company may decide that applicant can qualify for Standard Plus rates.

A benefit to working with Quotacy is that we work with multiple top-rated life insurance companies. We’ll shop your case to find the best policy option for you.

Quotacy has years of experience getting clients life insurance coverage, including asthmatics. Our in-house underwriter has worked in many carrier home offices, knows how to navigate each individual’s health history, and knows which life insurance company would be the best option for your individual case. If you are ready to buy life insurance coverage, get a term life insurance quote now and let’s start the process.

If you are looking to get an idea on the cost of life insurance if you have asthma, it costs nothing to run a quote and apply online. You will have a dedicated Quotacy agent shop your case with our top-rated life insurance companies to ensure you receive the best possible price.


Watch the Asthma and Life Insurance Video


  1. Niall Fagan

    I came across your article on life insurance and found it very interesting. I’m a 35 year old male and have applied for life insurance with USAA, for a 25 year term policy for $1.5M. I’m in good health, but have had mild asthma since I was a child. My initial monthly quote was around $80, but after reviewing my case, they say that because of my asthma, the monthly cost could be $169. I wanted to get an idea if this is reasonable or how this compares to the market.
    I’d like to understand if I can get a more competitive quote. Also, I don’t appreciate how I’ve nearly got to the end of the process before being told that my asthma would nearly double my monthly cost. Is there a way to get an agreed quote upfront with the knowledge of my asthma accounted for?



    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Niall, I removed your health information from the comment and forwarded your information to our agents. They will reach out!


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