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Life Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions

Having a pre-existing condition doesn’t mean you don’t have options. We’re dedicated to finding life insurance for everyone and at the best price.

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Getting Affordable Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition

Do you have a medical condition and wondering if you’ll be able to qualify for life insurance? Or maybe you had a medical issue in the past and you’re wondering if it’ll affect your pricing?

Pre-existing conditions do not automatically mean you won’t be able to buy life insurance. It also doesn’t mean life insurance can’t be affordable.

What is a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is a medical illness or injury that you were diagnosed with before buying insurance. Common examples of pre-existing conditions include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, mental health issues, and cancer.

There are many factors considered with a pre-existing condition, such as:

  • The type of medical condition
  • When you were diagnosed
  • If it’s chronic or recurring
  • How it’s managed
  • When treatment ended

Pre-existing conditions take many forms and there are a number of variables that can affect buying life insurance.

How do I buy life insurance with a pre-existing condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, the best place to buy life insurance is through an independent broker. 

An independent life insurance broker doesn’t just work with one insurance company. A broker can have contracts with multiple top-rated life insurance companies and provide you with more than one option.

Quotacy is an independent life insurance broker with access to over 25 of the nation’s top life insurance providers. If you have a pre-existing condition, we will shop around advocating on your behalf to find you the best possible price.

Inside Look: Finding the Right Carrier for a Pre-Existing Condition

Every person is unique, just like the carriers we work with. Here’s how we find the perfect match.

Why does a pre-existing condition matter to life insurance companies?

The approval and pricing of a life insurance policy is determined by the amount of risk the insurance company takes by covering you. To a life insurance company, risk is the probability of them paying out a death benefit claim. The insurance company pays out typically hundreds of thousands of dollars to a beneficiary if/when an insured person dies. 

Medical conditions can affect longevity. The risk of you dying sooner rather than later compared to someone without a pre-existing condition is higher. In the eyes of the insurance company, this means they are more than likely paying out a large sum of cash sooner. To make up for this higher risk, individuals with pre-existing conditions may pay higher premiums.

Not all life insurance companies will rate a pre-existing condition the same way, however. For example, while one insurer may offer a breast cancer survivor standard pricing a different insurer may decline the applicant. If you have a pre-existing condition, the cost for you to buy life insurance can vary greatly across life insurance companies.

How do pre-existing medical conditions affect life insurance?

When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company reviews your full application. This includes the information you provided on the application and during the verification call.

They will also review medical records, prescription history, and medical exam results (if the insurance company required one). Lifestyle aspects like criminal history and driving record are also reviewed. This process is called underwriting.

The underwriter determines your specific level of risk, based on their evaluation, and will either approve or decline your application. You may be approved as applied or they may change your initial risk class, which means your final price will be different than your initial quote. 

The risk class you’re placed in determines what your premium will be. Within every age group, the probability of death is greater for some more than for others. There are also separate risk classes for non-smokers and smokers.

If you’re higher risk than an average person, then you may receive a substandard rating, also referred to as a table rating, or required to pay an additional fee, called a flat extra. See below for more in-depth explanations.

Standard Risk Classes

The standard set of risk classes group people with similar risks together from the very healthy (preferred plus), to those with average health (standard). Anything below average health will drop down to substandard (table) ratings.

These risk classes are typically organized as follows, though some carriers may use different names.

Preferred Plus – This is the best risk class you can get. You need to be in overall good health to qualify. 

Preferred – Generally healthy applicants with a few minor issues can qualify for a Preferred risk class.

Standard Plus – Applicants with significant health or lifestyle issues, but are well-managed, can qualify for Standard Plus.

Standard – This risk class encompasses applicants of average risk compared to others in their age group. An individual with higher risk than average will be considered substandard.

Preferred Tobacco – All life insurers will give an applicant who smokes cigarettes a Tobacco rating. If you have enough positive factors, such as good cholesterol and no poor family health history, you may qualify for Preferred Tobacco.

Standard Tobacco – Applicants who smoke cigarettes and are average in health will be given a Standard Tobacco rating.

Quotacy term life insurance

Table (Substandard) Ratings

If you have a higher mortality risk than the average person in your age group, life insurance companies, instead of declining you, may give you a substandard rating. Substandard is often referred to as table ratings and they are listed as letters (for example, Table A to Table P) or as numbers (Table 1 to Table 16) depending on the insurer. 

Lower ratings like Table 2 and Table B are the least costly and higher ratings like Table 10 and Table J are riskier to insure, and therefore more costly. While some insurers treat table ratings a little differently, for the most part, each table rating adds an extra 25% to the final cost of the policy.

Flat Extras for Pre-Existing Conditions

Quotacy term life insurance

A flat extra is an additional fee you pay that cushions the risk that the life insurance company takes by insuring you. These flat extras typically range from $3-10 per every $1000 of coverage.

Flat extras are assigned on top of a person’s policy premium typically in cases of hazardous jobs or hobbies (for example, deep sea scuba diving). Or if there is a risk that is likely to decrease (for example, recent completion of cancer treatment). The flat extra can either be assigned for a specific amount of years or it can be permanent. The flat extra can be removed if the risk is no longer a factor, for example if you had a dangerous job and then changed occupations.

Example of a flat extra fee:

Jane Smith is a healthy, 32-year-old woman applying for a $500,000 30-year term policy. By day Jane is a paralegal but on the occasional weekend she climbs mountains. While Jane doesn’t hike mountains with elevations of over 20,000 feet, she occasionally will need to use an ice axe and crampons to combat icy conditions.

The life insurer approves Jane at Preferred with a permanent $3 flat extra per thousand.

Price-wise, here’s what that means:

If Jane didn’t climb mountains, her 30-year $500,000 policy with a Preferred risk class would cost about $36 per month. 

But because she does climb and was given a permanent $3 flat extra, to calculate her premiums you have to multiply 3 by 500 and add this to the annual total.

3 x 500 = 1500 which means Jane needs to pay an extra $1500 per year, so instead of $36 per month Jane will be paying about $161 per month.

If Jane stopped climbing mountains, she could contact the insurer and ask them to remove the flat extra which would bring her premium down to $36 monthly.

What pre-existing conditions affect buying life insurance?

All pre-existing medical conditions will likely affect life insurance is some manner, but we’ll focus on some of the most common pre-existing conditions.

Can I get life insurance if I have depression or anxiety?

Yes, even if you have been diagnosed with depression or an anxiety disorder, life insurance coverage is possible. Life insurance underwriters look at applicants with depression and/or anxiety on a case-by-case basis.

The severity of the disorder and how it is being managed will be taken into consideration. If the depression or anxiety is well-managed and you are otherwise healthy, you can still get affordable life insurance coverage.

Learn more: How Does Depression Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Learn more: How Does Anxiety Affect Buying Life Insurance?

Can I get life insurance if I have cancer?

If you are a cancer survivor, depending on the type of cancer and treatment outcome, you may be able to obtain life insurance coverage. Some cancer survivors qualify for preferred ratings. If you have been diagnosed, don’t give up. Connect with our advisors to help you.

If you are currently going through cancer treatments, life insurance coverage will be hard to find. Typically, the only type of life insurance you could be approved for would be guaranteed issue life insurance. These policies don’t require any medical exams and you’re instantly approved, but the premiums are very high and the death benefit is low.

Learn more: Cancer and Life Insurance

Learn more: Is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance a Good Option?

Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?

It is possible to obtain life insurance coverage whether you have Type 1, Type 2, or Gestational Diabetes. Underwriting diabetes is a complex process and there are many factors involved. It will be harder to be approved for coverage if your diabetes is not well-managed or if there are any other complications.

Many applicants with diabetes will be Table Rated (although individuals with diet-controlled diabetes may qualify for standard rates), which means you’ll pay a higher premium because the insurance companies carry more risk by insuring you.

Learn more: How Does Diabetes Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Can I get life insurance if I have high cholesterol?

You can still buy affordable life insurance if you have well-managed high cholesterol. Poorly managed high cholesterol, however, puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease and in this case it will be more difficult to be approved for life insurance, or will be required to pay significantly higher rates.

Learn more: Life Insurance and High Cholesterol

Can I get life insurance if I have heart disease?

You can still get life insurance with a history of heart disease if it’s well-managed and you have favorable test results. Life insurance underwriters will review your life insurance medical exam results and personal health records such as echocardiogram reports.

It’s important to work with a life insurance broker because not all life insurance companies evaluate and rate heart disease the same way, but prepare yourself to have higher premiums because of this health concern.

Can I get life insurance if I have high blood pressure?

Having high blood pressure does not exclude you from getting life insurance. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is one of the most powerful predictors of mortality. This is why life insurance underwriters will always take a hard look at this diagnosis.

However, if your HBP is well-managed, there is no negative family health history, and your lab test history (electrocardiogram or echocardiogram) is normal, you may even qualify for preferred ratings.

Learn more: Life Insurance and Hypertension: Buyer’s Guide

Can I get life insurance if I am obese?

Obesity doesn’t always mean you’ll be declined life insurance coverage, but the cost of your life insurance will reflect the health risks. The relationship between your height and weight is one of the most important factors when determining the cost of your life insurance policy.

Obesity is more than just about being overweight. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer, stroke, and numerous other impairments.

Learn more: Life Insurance and Obesity

Can I get life insurance if I have sleep apnea?

If your sleep apnea is well-managed, you can be approved for life insurance. If you have mild or moderate sleep apnea and you undergo effective treatment, such as using a CPAP device, and have no other risk factors, many insurance companies would even consider offering you the best classification rating. However, if your sleep apnea is severe or you are not compliant with your doctor’s recommendations, your life insurance premiums will reflect this.

Learn more: How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Can I get life insurance if I have ADHD?

An ADHD diagnosis does not mean you cannot get life insurance. In fact, preferred ratings are not out of the question. Because ADHD affects individuals quite differently, underwriters will evaluate a number of factors.

Learn more: How Does ADHD Affect Buying Life Insurance?

Can I get life insurance if I am pregnant?

Most pregnant women can still qualify for life insurance even while pregnant. Quotacy has successfully worked with many pregnant applicants getting them approved for life insurance coverage.

Learn more: How Can I Get the Best Life Insurance During Pregnancy?

Additional pre-existing conditions that may affect buying life insurance

If you have a pre-existing condition that wasn’t covered above, click on the medical condition(s) that applies for more information.

Non-medical related pre-existing conditions:

Driving Record

Tobacco Use

Substance Use/Abuse

Felony or Misdemeanors

Whether you’re incredibly healthy or have pre-existing conditions, we are dedicated to helping you protect your loved ones with life insurance.

Our in-house underwriters know how each life insurance company evaluates pre-existing conditions. After you apply, they’ll review your information and know which company will give you the best chance at not only getting approved, but also getting the best price possible.

If you have questions or need further advice, contact us at any time or call customer support at (844) 786-8229 or text us at (612) 260-4575.

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