Life Insurance and Health Conditions: A Deal Breaker?
by Erie Insurance
Whether you’re a young adult, stay-at-home parent or a retiree, you likely have a need for life insurance.
But wading through multiple policy options, benefit amounts, premiums and riders can be overwhelming. Does whole life or term life make more sense at this point in my life? Do I need $50,000 in coverage, $500,000 or even more? (Hint: visiting ERIE’s life insurance calculator may help.)
Combine that with concerns about health conditions you may have and it’s enough to deter a lot of folks from even exploring their options.
A 2021 study1 from Life Happens found that 7 in 10 Americans say they “personally need life coverage”, yet only 52% of American adults actually have some type of life insurance coverage. One of the reasons often cited for not having it is that people wrongly assume they won’t qualify. (Check out ERIE’s list of five more reasons why people hold off buying life insurance.)
HERE'S THE TRUTH ABOUT LIFE INSURANCE AND HEALTH CONDITIONS
In reality, many common and manageable conditions won’t disqualify you from being approved for a policy. It varies by insurer and may affect the cost of coverage, but many companies will grant coverage to people with:
- Health conditions a medical professional is helping them successfully manage: These conditions could include high cholesterol, hypertension, asthma, thyroid conditions, heart murmurs, diabetes, being overweight and more.
- More serious conditions in their past: This can include heart attack or heart surgery, cancer, stroke and other diseases. Though insurers’ pre-coverage medical exams and the individuals they choose to insure may differ, most will consider the type and severity of the illness, the time that’s elapsed since the diagnosis and the stability of their health and treatment regimen, before making a decision.
THREE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
If you’re interested in purchasing life insurance, you should consider the following:
- Never assume a health condition automatically disqualifies you from obtaining life insurance. Sure, maybe your health is less than perfect but you may be eligible for coverage, so always check with a licensed insurance agent to be sure.
- Always be honest about your medical history. Failing to mention a major surgery, serious diagnosis or knowingly misrepresenting your health history could compromise a future claim.
- The best time to get covered is when you’re young and healthy. The last, and quite possibly most important recommendation: don’t wait, the earlier you can apply the better — especially if you have a health condition. Down the road, if your medical status takes a turn, it could become significantly harder to obtain coverage.
Plus if you’re under 40, you likely qualify for (and should strongly consider) adding a Guaranteed Insurability Option (GIO) rider2 to your life policy. The GIO rider allows you to increase your life insurance coverage as you age and remain locked in at the healthier rate class secured by your younger (and wise beyond your years) self.
YOUR AGENT IS HERE TO HELP
Life insurance and health conditions might sound intimidating or confusing — but they don’t have to be. Your best course of action is to talk with a professional like your Bowers Insurance agent. They are knowledgeable and can give you guidance on which life insurance plans make sense for you and your family — and won’t break the bank.
Hollie Britten and Amanda Austin contributed to this story.
1Life Happens® & LIMRA. (2021). Insurance Barometer Study. Wood, S., Leyes, M. & Scanlon, J.
2Guaranteed Insurability Option rider is subject to underwriting approval. Not available on all plans. Issue ages 0-40. Talk to your agent for rider specifics option dates, availability, terms and conditions. Additional cost applies. The original purchase of GIO rider is subject to underwriting.