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Life Insurance and COPD: Buyer’s Guide

September 30, 2020
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.

Various health issues affect term life insurance rates, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD affects an estimated 15.3 million Americans which means that many people suffering from the condition still apply for insurance and are accepted for coverage. Even so, life insurance companies view COPD as a risk, so your term life insurance rates might be affected. The good news is that insurance companies underwrite health impairments like COPD a little differently.

Quotacy is here to dig through the different life insurance companies to help you find affordable term life insurance rates that keep you and your family covered.

Buying Life Insurance with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a common medical condition we see with Quotacy clients. It’s a condition our agents are familiar with and have successfully helped people with COPD get life insurance coverage.

If you have COPD, 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 COPD.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

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

Underwriting COPD

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 post-pone the application.

Below is an example of what a life insurance company may rate you depending on the condition of your COPD. The chart is for illustrative purposes only.

Degree Symptoms Treatment FEV1 Possible Rating
Minimal Asymptomatic, normal exercise tolerance, no chronic oral medications, stable chest x-ray with no more than minimal interstitial markings None Greater than 80% and stable for at least 2 years Typical classifications may apply – no table rating
Mild No more than occasional throat clearing or respiratory infection None 60-80% Table B
Moderate Shortness of breath (dyspnea) with moderate exertion such as climbing two flights of stairs Inhaler 50-60% Table D
Severe Dyspnea with mild physical activity such as dressing or walking one block Steroids, multiple medications 40-50% Table G
Extreme Disabled, dyspnea at rest or with minimal activity Home oxygen < 40% Decline

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 A-J or 1-10 depending on which format the insurance company uses. Let’s go over what the premium costs may be for the examples in the previous chart.

If your COPD has a minimal degree of severity, you may qualify for the typical life insurance classes such as Preferred and Standard.  These classes do not have the added on percentage like the Table Ratings.

Example: An otherwise healthy 40-year old male applying for a $500,000 20-year term policy with minimal COPD may be approved for a preferred class. An estimate on his premium cost is $43 per month.
If your COPD has a mild degree of severity, you may be rated Table B.  In this case you would take the standard rating cost plus 50% to calculate the monthly premium.

Example: A 40-year old male with mild COPD applying for a $500,000 20-year term policy would pay an estimated $90 per month if he was rated Table B. The standard price of this policy is an estimated $60 so we take ($60 x 50%) + $60 to equal $90.
If your COPD has a moderate degree of severity, you may be rated Table D.  In this case you would take the standard rating cost plus 100%.

Example: A 40-year old male with moderate COPD applying for a $500,000 20-year term policy would pay an estimated $120 per month.
If your COPD is severe, you may be rated Table G.  In this case you would take the standard rating cost plus 175%.

Example: A 40-year old male with severe COPD applying for a $500,000 20-year term policy would pay an estimated $165 per month.
If your COPD is extremely severe, you may likely be declined.

Keep in mind that life insurance companies all underwrite a little differently. A benefit to working with Quotacy is that we work with multiple A-rated life insurance companies. Shopping your application around to more than one insurance company can only help you. Quotacy will do this behind the scenes so no need for you to hop around applying to different life insurance companies.

Start the process by running quotes online here at Quotacy. Our quoting tool can give you an idea of what life insurance costs, but cannot factor how COPD will affect the pricing. There are just too many variables for online quoting tools to calculate.

To find out exactly how much life insurance will cost you, simply run a quote and apply online and your Quotacy agent will set realistic expectations after reviewing your application. We’ll walk you through the process of buying life insurance and can help answer any questions along the way.

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


  1. Saruul

    Hello, I would like to have an isurance which is valid in Europe, espacially in Austria for my mother who has diagnosed with COPD and her age 60. Please advise which insurance company will cover COPD in Europe?

    Many thanks

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hello Saruul, we suggest looking for insurance companies in Austria versus here in the United States. In order to purchase a life insurance policy in the U.S. on your mother, she has to be on U.S. soil to sign the paperwork and complete the medical exam.

  2. Tre

    Hi, I’m looking at geting life insurance for my 64 year old grandmother with COPD.

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Tre,

      Whether or not your grandmother can be approved for a traditional life insurance policy will be determined by her individual situation, especially the severity of her COPD. If the severity is mild, she may be able to find affordable coverage. The more severe it is, especially at age 64, the more cost-prohibitive a traditional life insurance policy would be. Insurable interest is another hoop you may have to jump through. Do you rely on her financially? In general, if she is insurable, it will be an easier process for her to buy her own life insurance policy and name you the beneficiary.


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