What Health Conditions Affect Life Insurance

The best life insurance policy with pre-existing conditions will depend on several health factors. Wondering what health conditions affect life insurance? Obesity, anxiety, and heart disease are just a few. Life insurance rates with pre-existing conditions could be double depending on the status and type of condition, but affordable life insurance with pre-existing conditions is not impossible to find.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Written by D. Gilson, PhD
Professor & Published Author D. Gilson, PhD

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Nov 29, 2021

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The Highlights:

  • Finding life insurance with medical conditions may be expensive, but your health will not disqualify you.
  • Life insurance for someone with poor health or who have chronic medical conditions does exist.
  • Well-managed medical conditions or remission may allow you to receive standard rates.

Purchasing life insurance with health conditions can be expensive, and you may be wondering, can get life insurance with pre-existing conditions or can you get life insurance if you have a terminal illness? The answer is yes, though, depending on the medical condition, it may be more expensive.

Life insurance policies are contracts that award beneficiaries a lump sum at the time of the policyholder’s death. Life insurance, regardless of health, will cost you, but if you do your research, you can find affordable life insurance with medical conditions.

There are several types of life insurance, and most types are generally tax-free. Those with pre-existing medical conditions can still find affordable life insurance quotes, although they may be more expensive than quotes for those in perfect health. Use our FREE quote tool above to find life insurance quotes with pre-existing conditions now.

What medical conditions prevent you from getting life insurance?

Upon application for a life insurance policy, companies will ask for a disclosure of medical history and current health status. An individual’s overall health is crucial information in drawing up a policy. What medical conditions disqualify you for life insurance? In most cases, medical conditions will not disqualify you for life insurance.

Can a sick person get life insurance? What factors affect life insurance? Life insurance quotes may be impacted by pre-existing medical conditions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Cancer (learn more on how to manage this disease with the American Cancer Society)

There are some factors to consider if you do have a pre-existing condition when researching life insurance quotes.

Insurance companies may turn down individuals after a cancer diagnosis, after the disclosure of a chronic illness, or even after a heart attack. However, don’t lose hope.

If you’re considering buying a life insurance policy, keep documents that could serve as evidence that your condition is under control. If your medical records show that your medical conditions are being properly managed, life insurance rates may be lowered.

Smoking and Life Insurance

The best thing you can do for yourself and the cost of your life insurance if you have a medical condition is to take care of it. Take your prescribed medications, exercise often, maintain a healthy diet, do not smoke, and drink responsibly.

Smokers and alcoholics will have more expensive policies, as they are considered high-risk clients. For more information on how to quit smoking, visit the CDC website for guidelines and resources.

The table below looks at the average annual rates for male and female smokers with a $100,000/10-year policy.

Average Annual Term Life Insurance Rates for Smokers by Age
($100,000/10-Year Policy)
Smoker's AgeAverage Annual Rates for a MaleAverage Annual Rates for a Female
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The best option for anyone is to get started early. Individuals that are living a healthy lifestyle are more likely to lock in lower rates with less hassle. Just smoking, with no other medical condition, can cost men nearly 50 percent more than a nonsmoker. Women smokers, though slightly less risk than men, will still pay more than if they were to quit smoking.

For comparison, let’s take a look at the average annual rates on the same policy for male and female non-smokers.

Average Annual Term Life Insurance Rates for Non-Smokers by Age
($100,000/10-Year Policy)
Average Annual Rates for a MaleAverage Annual Rates for a Female
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

Now, what about purchasing life insurance during the global pandemic?

Does coronavirus impact life insurance?

As the pandemic still affects the globe, there is financial aid available, such as the COVID Paycheck Protection Program. If you’ve contracted the coronavirus during your search for life insurance, it’s likely insurers will ask you to wait until recovery before applying for a policy.

Unfortunately, if someone who has COVID-19 does not already have life insurance, it’s unlikely the application will be accepted.

Life insurance policies have changed due to the pandemic. Some have limited term life insurance policy applications, while others are denying applications due to an applicant’s travel history.

When applying for life insurance during the pandemic, be sure to work with the company, as their guidelines may change.

Keep up-to-date medical information and be aware that required medical exams may be postponed. Look up your region to see what your options are. During this time, travel should be limited, especially to those areas that are high risk for contraction.

For those with an existing policy, COVID-19 will not have any impact on life insurance payouts. In most cases, insurance companies are unable to alter a policy once it has been sold, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 

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Types of Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance can be broken down into several choices, depending on the needs of the policyholder. Term life insurance protects for a certain amount of time, whereas permanent options provide coverage for a lifetime.

Term life insurance – Typically the least expensive option, term life insurance fills the void of income during working years. These policies only pay out if a death occurs during the term limit, which is usually up to 30 years.

Whole life insurance – This type of insurance pays a death benefit at the time of death, with no time limitations. Generally, you can get whole life insurance without a medical exam upon application.

Take a look at this video for more on term vs. whole life insurance.

The cost per benefit of this type of insurance increases with the policyholder’s age, which can make it very expensive. However, companies usually charge higher premiums early in the policy to supplement later, more expensive costs.

What to do if you’re disqualified for life insurance?

Are there disqualifiers for life insurance? Generally, there are not many medical conditions that disqualify you for life insurance. Circumstances that prevent you from getting life insurance would be limited to high-risk behavior, i.e., thrill-seeking, heavy smoking, reckless driving, etc.

If you’ve found that you disqualify for life insurance at any company, you still have options. If none of these options work for you, do it yourself. Anyone can put funds into a savings account based on what a regular premium would generally cost.

  • Employer-based – Some employers may offer life insurance as part of their benefits package. In most cases, a medical exam is not needed. Generally, life insurance is offered, regardless of health.
  • Simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies – These policies do not require medical exams, but may be limited if an individual suffers from AIDS, HIV, etc. Also, these policies are more expensive and generally come with less coverage.

Though life insurance comes in many varieties, these are the more common options that individuals may find when shopping around. When speaking with an insurance agent, here’s how to be absolutely sure that your policy or savings options suit your needs:

Do Your Research and Start Early

When choosing which life insurance policy is right for you, it’s best to fully understand what companies can offer. Compare our list of best insurance companies for pre-existing conditions. However, the best option is to get life insurance at a younger age or when your medical conditions are well-managed.

Can you get life insurance with a pre-existing condition? Yes. If you have a pre-existing condition, get your records together and keep track of what you have and what your policy costs may be.

Ready to buy life insurance with pre-existing conditions? To get started, enter your ZIP code below and start comparing the best life insurance companies to get life insurance rates with medical conditions now.

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