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What is the best way to get life insurance if I have health conditions?

Do you prefer to learn by watching? We answer this question in a video below. Click here to jump ahead.

It’s Halloween here at Quotacy and buying life insurance is less scary when you’re informed. Today we want to talk about how life insurance is impacted by health conditions.

To do so, we dug up some of the most common risky health issues we could find and gave them all to our new friend, Frankie (see graphic below). And before you ask, no, he’s not related to Victor and his monster – he gets that a lot.

With everything that he’s got going on, it’s doubtful that Frankie would be approved for coverage. Luckily, if you’ve only got one or two of these risky health issues, it’s still definitely possible to be approved for life insurance, especially through Quotacy. We’ll make sure to shop around for you to find the best possible price.

Life Insurance & health conditions

Issues that Affect the Head


Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

While severe depression can result in a table rating or decline depending on its severity, clients with past or mild depression that is well controlled with medication can still see approvals for best-class rates for coverage. We’ve written a blog specifically about depression if you’d like more information on how it’s underwritten.


Anxiety disorder is often described as heightened feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with your daily life. These feelings are often out of proportion with the normal impact of an event.

Similarly to depression, the degree to which anxiety affects your life will have a big impact on your prices. Minor and well-controlled anxiety can see approvals for near-best-class rates, while poorly controlled anxiety is more difficult to insure, and therefore more expensive.


A stroke is a medical emergency caused by damage to the brain due to an interruption of its blood supply. Since you’re more likely to have several medical problems if you’ve previously had a stroke, an insurance carrier will most likely not approve you for anything other than standard rates or table ratings. The time since your stroke and the steps you’re taking to make sure that it doesn’t happen again are key factors in an underwriter’s decision.

Issues that Affect the Heart

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a broad categorization of several cardiovascular health issues ranging from angina to heart attacks to recent heart surgery done. Because heart disease covers so many health issues, your unique medical situation plays a huge role in how underwriters will rate you.

The time since your heart condition, the steps you’re taking to keep your heart healthy, and the types of medicine you’re taking play strongly into how you’re seen by underwriters. We’ve also got a dedicated heart disease blog, so head there if you’d like to learn more.


Coronary artery disease is normally categorized by the buildup of plaque in the major blood vessels entering and leaving the heart, restricting blood flow, making your heart work harder, and leading to several dangerous health issues. Since having CAD can lead to worse problems down the road, underwriters look very closely at how you’re treating your CAD in order to determine the proper risk class.


Even as few as five years ago, a pacemaker would have made your life insurance application much more costly just by virtue of its presence. The wires used in pacemakers were previously prone to shortages, which would increase your risk significantly and end up putting you into table rating territory.

Recently, thanks to advancements in the production of pacemakers, the wiring has become quite a bit more reliable, so carriers are beginning to offer standard risk classes to pacemaker patients after one year of problem-free use. The one-year stipulation is primarily due to the risk of infection during the surgery. Carriers like to see that everything went well with the operation before offering a policy.

Issues that Affect the Lungs


Asthma is a fairly common health issues that occurs when a person’s airways constrict, swell up, and generate excess mucus, which results in difficulty breathing. These attacks can range from momentary shortness of breath to the total closure of your airways, leaving sufferers unable to breath and in need of immediate help. As such, underwriters look at the severity of your asthma to give a risk class. For more info and a few example cases, check out our blog on how asthma is seen by underwriters.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by inconsistent breathing during sleep. A person with sleep apnea repeatedly stops and starts breathing during their sleep, which can lead to medical issues if it isn’t properly treated through exercise or surgery, or controlled using a CPAP or BiPAP machine.

Sleep apnea is one of the most common health conditions we see on applications. To learn more about how sleep apnea affects life insurance, take a look at our sleep apnea blog post.


Tuberculosis, or TB, is a respiratory health issue that is asymptomatic in most people, but can cause chest pain, cough, fever, fatigue, and even weight and muscle loss in the cases where it makes itself known. It’s a bacterial infection that’s partially treated with vaccines, but there are still around 200,000 cases every year in the US.

If you’re currently suffering from tuberculosis, you will most likely not be insured. However, once you beat the infection and get healthy again, you should be able to be approved for normal insurance rates.

Issues that Affect the Stomach


Depending on your body mass index (BMI), you may be more likely to develop certain medical health issues like diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea later in life. This means that life insurance underwriters take your BMI into account when determining your risk class.

BMI is judged on a sliding scale based on things like your age, height, family history, and many other factors, so it’s difficult to give a hard and fast rule to follow. For a few example cases, check out our blog on how obesity affects life insurance applications.

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in every cell in your body. Normally, your body makes cholesterol in order to help it process nutrients like vitamin D and hormones, and it also plays a role in digestion. However, cholesterol also comes into your body through the food you eat. Too much cholesterol can stick to your blood vessels and lead to complications like heart disease.

Underwriters look at the numbers. If your cholesterol is over a certain threshold, you’ll be disqualified for that risk class. Carriers use different scales for how much cholesterol they find acceptable for each risk class, but in general, staying below the 240 mg/dl range can help keep you in the running for best-class offers.


Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels, and a lack of enough insulin to process it all normally. There are a lot of factors that go into underwriting for diabetes, but this handy blog post about diabetes walks you through the main factors you need to know about. 

Here at Quotacy, we’re always upfront and honest about our price estimates, and the more information you give us about any medical conditions you have up front, the earlier we can give you an accurate estimate about the kinds of prices you’ll see.

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Issues that Affect the Blood


Until recently, HIV and AIDS would get you an automatic decline for life insurance due to how risky it was to insure. However, thanks to advances in medicine that are making it easier to live with these conditions, insurers are beginning to offer policies for HIV+ clients. These policies are highly dependent on how well your HIV is being controlled through medication, and on the other risk factors present in your case, but it isn’t an automatic cause for rejection anymore.

Blood Pressure and Hypertension

We all know that high blood pressure can lead to medical complications. Heart and kidney failure, stroke, vision loss, and quite a few other risky conditions stem from this problem. Like high cholesterol, blood pressure is underwritten by the numbers – past a certain threshold you’ll be ineligible for certain risk classes. Check out our blog post on hypertension for more information and example cases.


Anemia is categorized by the lack of healthy red blood cells, which means that less oxygen makes its way around the body. It can be caused by iron and vitamin B deficiency, or by a genetic disorder called sickle cell anemia, which causes healthy blood cells to break down naturally. Depending on the root cause, the severity of your anemia, and how well you’re managing your condition, underwriters will evaluate your application differently.

Issues that Affect the Liver

Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism is an incredibly risky condition that can easily compound with other issues like depression or blood disorders to greatly increase your risk of death. This means that underwriters look very hard at how your alcohol use interacts with other aspects of your life in order to determine your risk class. This blog about alcohol and insurance applications goes over how underwriters see alcohol use in a little more detail.


Cirrhosis of the liver is basically the formation of scar tissue that prevents the liver from completing its normal tasks within the body, like getting rid of toxins and harmful substances within the body and breaking down saturated fat to produce healthy cholesterol. If you are currently suffering from cirrhosis of the liver that has had time to progress unchecked, it’s probable that you’ll see a decline from the carrier.

Issues that Affect the Spine

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord. Essentially, it stems from a lack of healthy myelin in the body, which is the fatty substance surrounding nerve cells that normally facilitates nerve transmission. You can think of MS as “faulty wiring” in your nervous system. We’ve got a blog that explores MS underwriting in much more detail.


Paraplegia and quadriplegia describe paralysis in either the legs or all limbs, respectively. Since there are many factors that could cause paralysis, the cause of the condition is the first thing that underwriters look at in order to place a rating on a case.

The degree to which the client can still move the affected body parts and the possibility for rehabilitation also play a role in your opportunities for coverage. Quadriplegia will see higher rates and a higher rate of declines than paraplegia, but both conditions will more than likely result in substandard approval classes.

Issues that Affect the Legs


Osteoporosis is a common disease that reduces a person’s bone mass, which means that the bones are more brittle and less resistant to fractures and breaks. Most people suffering from osteoporosis don’t even realize they have it until they break a bone unexpectedly.

Since a bone that’s broken once is more likely to break again, osteoporosis left uncared for can result in chronic pain, and even fractures from actions like coughing or standing up. Underwriters will look at the length of time you’ve had osteoporosis and the degree to which it affects your life in order to find the right prices for you.


Gout is a condition caused by the crystallization of uric acid in the joints, which causes inflammation, redness, tenderness and sometimes severe pain. The carrier’s decision will be primarily based on the severity of a client’s gout, as well as the frequency at which the client suffers from gout attacks, but a person suffering from gout can still get approved for normal rates.

If you’re starting your life insurance journey with a medical condition that has an impact on your life, you can almost certainly still find insurance – but you probably won’t end up getting best-class rates. Here at Quotacy, we’re always upfront and honest about our price estimates, and the more information you give us about any pre-existing conditions you have up front, the earlier we can give you an accurate estimate about the kinds of prices you’ll see.

If you’d like to explore your options for coverage, run a term life insurance quote. You can see price estimates instantly without even giving up any contact information.

When you’re ready to apply, the online process only takes a few minutes. On the application, we’ll ask you for details on your medical conditions. This allows your Quotacy agent to shop around for you to find the coverage that best matches your needs. Who knows, the prices might shock you (in a good way!)


Watch the Health Conditions and Life Insurance Video

Video Transcript

Welcome to Quotacy’s Q&A Friday where we answer your life insurance questions. Quotacy is an online life insurance broker where you can get life insurance on your terms.

I’m Jeanna and I’m Natasha.

It’s Halloween month. So we’ve invited Frankie to join us today. As you can see Frankie has a few issues going on. It’s what happens when you’re put together using various people’s body parts. Maybe you can relate to one or two of the medical problems Frankie has.

Life Insurance & health conditions
We don’t want to scare you, even if it is Halloween, but having a medical condition may mean your life insurance premiums will be higher than that of the average person.

But good news! Quotacy works with many top rated life insurance companies to try and get as many people life insurance as possible. Even if you have a medical issue.

Today we’ll explain how your Quotacy agent goes to bat for you.

When you apply for life insurance online through Quotacy you can see initial quotes instantly without even giving any contact information. This allows you to window-shop in peace without being afraid your phone will blow up with tons of calls from people trying to aggressively push life insurance on you. We all know life insurance is important, but we don’t want to harass you about it.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

Once you run some quotes and find the policy you like you can apply right online. The online application portion takes less than 10 minutes to complete leaving you lots of time to sneak some of your kid’s Halloween candy.

There’s a section of the online application where you check if you have any health issues. If you check Yes to any of these your Quotacy agent will double check that the insurance company you originally chose is the best option for you. Not all life insurance companies evaluate medical conditions in the same way.
screenshot of Quotacy's online life insurance application health questions
Basically, your Quotacy agent will put together an anonymous summary of your application information and send it out to the insurance companies we work with. The insurance companies then respond letting your agent know what risk class they’re likely to assign you to.

This risk class determines what you’d have to pay if you decided to apply to that company. If there is an insurance company that will treat your condition more favorably than the one you originally chose your agent will give you the option to make a switch before officially submitting your application.

Quotacy has access to over 25 of the nation’s top-rated life insurance companies and because we’re an independent broker we aren’t legally bound to any one company. In other words, we advocate for you, not the insurance companies.

Your Quotacy agent is paid a salary, not working on commission. So not only are we not going to push you towards one insurance company over another we’re also not going to try and push you into buying more coverage than you need.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

Quotacy’s mission is for everyone who has a loved one who depends on them to have life insurance. Whether it’s one million dollars of coverage or a $100,000 policy Quotacy is here to help you get life insurance to protect your little monsters.

Apply for life insurance now. Your age and the severity of your health condition will affect your policy options.

If you have any questions about life insurance, make sure to leave us a comment. And if you’re ready to get quotes, check out Quotacy.com. We’re here to help you find the best deal on the life insurance you want.

About the writer

Headshot of Eric Lindholm, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc. New Year's Resolution

Eric Lindholm

Communications Coordinator

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.