Having a pre-existing condition is very common; in fact, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), half of Americans under the age of 65 have at least one pre-existing condition. Unfortunately, when it comes to life insurance, pre-existing conditions can affect your coverage options. It’s no secret that the healthier you are, the less expensive a policy will be. But the good news is that having a pre-existing condition will not disqualify you from getting a plan. With a little bit of knowledge about how getting life insurance with a pre-existing condition works, and some help from a qualified agent, you can find a plan that will work for you.
What Is A Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is a health issue that you were diagnosed with or treated for before applying for insurance. Each insurance company has its own set of rules when it comes to these conditions. Some of the most common pre-existing conditions in the U.S. include:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lower respiratory disease
Generally, if you have one or more of the conditions mentioned above, you will raise a red flag with life insurance companies. Don’t lose hope though – having one of these conditions does not mean you can’t find a great affordable plan.
How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Life Insurance Costs
When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company’s underwriters will collect your medical history, and some will require you to undergo a medical exam. They do this to get a good idea of your lifestyle (such as if you’re a smoker or drinker) and current health before they agree to take you on as a risk. Depending on any pre-existing conditions that you have, they might raise your premiums. Your rates will be based on the following scale:
- Super Preferred, or Preferred Plus- These are the lowest rates
- Standard, or Regular
- Substandard- These are the highest rates
Many people will qualify for super preferred, but if you have a serious health condition that could be considered life threatening, you will most likely qualify for substandard rates. The higher a risk you are considered by your insurance company, the more you will have to pay, since your life expectancy would be presumed to be shorter than that of a healthy individual. For example, health issues including Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics can lead to substandard rates. Other conditions that can trigger a substandard rate are Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, history of cancer or stroke, or Hepatitis C.
It is important to note that not all insurance companies rate conditions the same; for example, one company might see asthma as a serious condition, while another company might not increase your rates if you have it. If you have any preexisting conditions, working with a licensed agent who knows which insurance companies will cover you at an affordable rate is definitely the way to go.
How To Lower Your Rate
Even if you have a pre-existing condition, there are things you can do to increase your chances of getting life insurance, and to lower your rates. The best things you can do are making lifestyle changes and trying to manage your condition. Consider doing the following:
- Improve your health by following the treatment plan issued by your doctor for any medical conditions.
- Exercise, which can help lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure, among other benefits.
- Lose weight, especially if you are obese, which can affect your health and life expectancy.
The Best Life Insurance For Pre-Existing Conditions
Don’t assume you will be turned down for life insurance just because you have pre-existing conditions. Some insurance companies offer policies that cater to individuals with specific health conditions. In addition, there are many different kinds of life insurance policies that you can qualify for. For example, if you cannot get a permanent life insurance policy (which builds cash value over time), you can opt for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, which was designed for people with severe or multiple health conditions. Unlike whole life, guaranteed issue life insurance does not build cash value over time, you simply make monthly payments in exchange for a fixed amount to be paid out upon your passing.
You can also choose to purchase a term life insurance policy for anywhere from 10 to 30 years and lock in the rates for that term. These policies are a more affordable option that you can get even with pre-existing conditions, as long as you are receiving treatment for your conditions and have them under control.
When looking for a life insurance policy, it’s best to work with an agent who is familiar with the underwriting process and standards for each medical condition that you might have. They will advocate on your behalf and will find you the best plan for you and your budget.
Remember, life insurance is an important financial security blanket for your family. And just because you have a pre-existing condition does not mean you can’t find a great plan that will help secure their future. We have listed some of the top-rated insurance companies below, so check your rates today and find out what you can do to get approved or lower your current rates!