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Life Insurance and Lupus: Buyer’s Guide

December 11, 2023
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.

The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that at least 1.5 million Americans have lupus and more than 16,000 new cases are reported annually across the country.

Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure for lupus. Treatments focus on improving quality of life through controlling symptoms and minimizing flare-ups.

While it can be challenging to find life insurance coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, it’s not impossible. In this guide, you’ll learn how life insurance underwriters evaluate lupus, your coverage options, and how to find the best price.

Table of Contents

Can You Get Life Insurance with Lupus?

The good news for individuals with lupus is that it doesn’t mean automatic coverage denial. But, the disease is commonly chronic and relapsing, so rates will be higher than average.

If you have lupus, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy.

As an independent broker, we’re not beholden to any of our partnered insurers. Instead, it’s our responsibility to act in your best interest. Our agents don’t earn commission, so you’ll never get a sales pitch, just unbiased advice to help you get the right policy at the best price.

Our agents know how each insurer evaluates risk and which will give you the most favorable price.

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 lupus.

Try our term life insurance calculator to understand how much coverage you should have and how long it should last. 

See what you’d pay for life insurance

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

How Does a Lupus Diagnosis Impact Life Insurance Rates?

Life insurance companies decide whether or not to approve an applicant based on their risk of premature death. Your health isn’t the only factor taken into account, others include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Drug use
  • Driving record
  • Height and Weight (BMI)
  • Occupation
  • Avocations (hobbies)
  • Health
  • Family’s medical history
  • Criminal history
  • Citizenship

When you apply for life insurance, the insurers use a process called “underwriting” to evaluate your health and other risk factors. They will ask about your medical history, conduct a short physical examination, and may even request additional tests or records.

Through this underwriting process, you’re assigned a risk class, which determines costs. Higher risk means more expensive rates, unless your risk level is too high, then you may be denied coverage.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes a person’s immune system to fight healthy tissues and organs in their body, which creates inflammation, swelling, and pain. It can cause severe complications regarding major organs like the lungs, heart, kidneys, or brain, so insurers may be hesitant to offer approval.

Risk Class Assignment

Life insurance risk classes range from Preferred Plus (the best possible offer) to Standard. If you have risk factors that place you outside of these risk classifications, you will be table rated.

Companies want to insure as many people as possible and table ratings are used to help offset the costs of insuring someone who is considered risky.

See the tables below for reference.

Risk Classes for Non-Tobacco Users
Preferred Plus
Standard Plus
Table Rating (alphabetical)Table Rating (numerical)Pricing
A1Standard + 25%
B2Standard + 50%
C3Standard + 75%
D4Standard + 100%
E5Standard + 125%
F6Standard + 150%
G7Standard + 175%
H8Standard + 200%
I9Standard + 225%
J10Standard + 250%

Learn about other pre-existing conditions, how they impact rates, and what your alternatives are.

Underwriting Applicants Who Have Lupus

When life insurance underwriters are evaluating the application of an individual with lupus, they take the following into consideration:

  • Disease duration
  • Duration in remission
  • Symptoms
  • Medication history
  • Response to therapy
  • If there is any renal or cerebral involvement
  • If there is any presence of cardiovascular or respiratory impairment

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Example #1

Jane Smith is 30 years old and was diagnosed with lupus four years ago. No serious organs have been affected and she currently takes a small prednisone dose daily as treatment.

Jane applies for a 20-year $500,000 term life insurance policy. She is table rated at Table D.

The cost of this policy at a Standard rate is $29 per month, but because she is rated Table D, the life insurance company adds 100% to her monthly premium. Therefore, she pays $58 per month.

Example #2

Liz Jones is 40 years old and was diagnosed with lupus five years ago, but currently has no symptoms and it has been over three years since she has had to partake in any treatment plan.

Liz applies for a 25-year $250,000 term life insurance policy. She is given the Standard risk classification. The cost of her policy is approximately $37 per month.

Example #3

Teresa Johnson is 35 years old and was diagnosed with lupus over ten years ago. She currently is being treated with an immunosuppressant and her lab tests show signs of kidney disease.

Unfortunately, Teresa would likely be declined for life insurance.

With certain medical conditions, like lupus, it’s advisable to apply for life insurance sooner rather than later.

With situations like Jane Smith, she was able to be approved at Table D. While her premiums may be higher than Standard, at least she has coverage in place in case her condition gets worse. However, if her condition improves, like it did with Liz Jones, Jane can opt to apply for a new policy later in life and see if she can lower her premiums.

Best Life Insurance for Those With a History of Lupus

If you have a history of lupus, finding coverage isn’t impossible, although the process may be more complicated and the premiums higher compared to those without lupus.

Let’s explore your coverage options.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is the most popular choice for families due to its simplicity and affordability.

  • Duration: You can select a specific term length, usually between 10-40 years. This timeline ideally should align with the period when financial support for your dependents is most needed.
  • Purpose: Primarily designed for income replacement, this policy doesn’t offer lifelong coverage, making it a cost-effective option.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage and can include additional features that might increase the cost. Here’s a breakdown of the different types:

  • Whole Life Insurance: This offers guaranteed death benefits, cash value growth, and fixed rates, making it one of the pricier options. Participating whole life policies may even earn dividends.
  • Universal Life Insurance (UL): UL offers flexibility, allowing adjustments to both death benefits and premiums to accommodate life changes. While it may have fewer guarantees, this adaptability can be attractive to many.
  • Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance (GUL): For those seeking lifelong coverage without the extra features and associated costs, GUL is an appealing choice. It provides essential permanent coverage at a more budget-friendly price point.

What to Do if You’re Denied Coverage

If you’ve been denied coverage, you may still have some options. Don’t get discouraged.

Try Other Life Insurance Options

If you applied for traditional life insurance, like term or whole life, and were denied due to your medical condition, you may still have coverage options, such as guaranteed issue life insurance or accidental death insurance.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

If you’re between 50 and 80, final expense life insurance (also referred to as guaranteed issue life insurance) may be available. Final expense insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that will last your entire life.

If you were declined due to a health issue, look into final expense life insurance because no medical underwriting is involved.

It’s important to know that final expense life insurance has lower coverage amounts than traditional life insurance. The premiums are also higher.

The Cost of Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance - Male Applicant
Coverage AmountMonthly Premium
(Age 50)
Monthly Premium
(Age 60)
Monthly Premium
(Age 70)

Consider Accidental Death Insurance

Accidental death insurance is likely an option if you can’t get traditional life insurance. This policy provides a death benefit if you die due to an accident.

This policy doesn’t provide complete protection. If you die due to illness, such as a heart attack or cancer complications, it won’t pay a death benefit. But it still provides some peace of mind and is very affordable.

Consider Life Insurance Through Your Employer

Many employers offer a small amount of group life insurance for very cheap or free. Take advantage of this.

Typically, you can buy additional life insurance coverage on top of the free group insurance without going through any underwriting. This is called voluntary life insurance; you can often buy up to 3-5 times your salary.

If you were denied traditional life insurance, we recommend accepting the group life insurance coverage and buying as much voluntary supplement coverage as you can comfortably afford.

Try Applying Again Through a Broker

If you applied through a captive agent, it might benefit you to apply to a broker. Captive agents only have access to the life insurance company that employs them, while independent brokers have access to many.

Not all life insurance companies underwrite the same way. The reason for your denial at one company may not necessarily result in a denial at another. Working with a broker is the best way to determine if you can get approved for life insurance.

Discover how agents and brokers differ and which is best for you.

Compare Life Insurance Quotes & Apply Today

As an independent broker, Quotacy has access to the policy and pricing of many different top-rated insurance companies. This means if you have a health issue, such as lupus, we won’t just look at one option. We’ll comparison shop across our network to make sure you’re getting matched with the insurer that will treat you most favorably.

In addition, as a broker, we have a fiduciary responsibility to you, the client, before the insurance company. We’re in your corner, doing all we can to find you the best coverage possible.

Are you ready to take the next step? Get a term life insurance quote now and begin the process.

Note: Life insurance quotes used in this article are accurate as of December 11, 2023. These are only estimates and your life insurance costs may be higher or lower.

Watch the Lupus and Life Insurance Video


  1. Dyan Mcgreggor

    What will it take for someone with Hepatitis C to get this life coverage?

    • Natasha Cornelius

      For proposed insureds that have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, insurance companies will take a close look at: age at infection, extent of liver damage, complications, alcohol use, laboratory results, and results of any treatment administered. Coverage approval will depend on how treatments have gone and how well the hepatitis is managed. You may want to take a look at this blog post: Life Insurance and Hepatitis: Buyer’s Guide


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