Life Insurance

Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

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If you're one of the 800,000+ Americans who have a heart attack each year, you know how frightening an experience it can be. As you recover, you probably had the chance to reflect on what your health issues may mean for your family. Perhaps you've thought about life insurance after a heart attack. After all, what will your family do if you aren't there to support them financially?

Are you wondering, can I get life insurance after a heart attack? Many people think that getting life insurance after a heart attack isn't possible — but that isn't the case. Read on for some ways it may be possible. 

How life insurance works

When you apply for life insurance, you answer a few health-related questions about yourself. In some cases, you'll take a medical exam, though not with Ethos. All of this is so that the insurance underwriter can assign you to a place in a category. That category will determine the rate you pay for insurance. Here are the categories, from the best health possible to the lowest rating:

  • Preferred plus
  • Preferred
  • Standard plus
  • Standard
  • Preferred smoker
  • Standard smoker
  • Substandard

You'll be quoted the lowest possible insurance price if placed in the preferred plus category. On the other end, your rates will be high if you're substandard. Those who smoke are in the lower categories since this is a well-known health risk. 

This means that the underwriter is taking a gamble that if you're in a higher category, you're unlikely to die until you're quite old, and therefore you'll be paying into the policy for a longer time. If you have term insurance, a higher rank means they're banking on you not dying while the policy is in place. So what does that mean for heart disease life insurance?

Wonder how much coverage you need?
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Life insurance for heart patients

If you've had a heart attack or heart problems, you have a severe health concern. Your underwriter is probably not going to place you in a preferred category. But, if you meet other qualifications, you may be given standard classification, in which case your rates may be somewhat higher but still not unreasonable. 

However, keep in mind that every company has different qualifications for underwriting, so while you may be considered standard by one company if you're looking for life insurance with a heart condition, you could be considered substandard with another. The takeaway? Don't get discouraged if you're turned down by one company — another could say yes.

Better rates for life insurance after a heart attack

Is there anything you can do to help boost yourself into a higher insurance category if you want life insurance post-heart attack? Some factors, of course, are out of your control. You can't, for example, change your age, and that's one of the factors that play into determining your rate. But some things you can change:

  • If you're a smoker, now's the time to quit. It's better for your health, and it may help you move out of the smoker category when you're trying to get life insurance for heart attack survivors.
  • Eat healthily. Your doctor probably suggested changes to help you lower your cholesterol and improve your general health — pay attention to those changes and stick with them.
  • Lose weight. Obesity is a factor in many health conditions, from heart attacks to diabetes. Losing weight shows the underwriter that you're working to maintain or improve your health.
  • Take all medications exactly as indicated by your doctor. Don't assume that fewer medications mean a lower life insurance premium rate.
  • Exercise. This goes along with eating healthy and losing weight. It may help you achieve a lower rate, and it'll help you live a healthier life.

All these factors together play a role in your general health. Your insurance application may ask you about them, so if you can show how you've improved in some or all these measures, your underwriter will see that you're committed to living a long, healthy life.

Consider another factor when applying for life insurance for people with heart problems: although your instincts may nudge you to get a policy quickly, wait until at least six months have passed from your attack before you apply. Anything less than that is likely to be tabled until you've spent some time healing.

Consider guaranteed issue life insurance

If you're not having luck finding a policy, consider a type of insurance that doesn't exclude based on medical history. It's called guaranteed issue life insurance, available for older adults. As the name suggests, you can't be turned away for past health issues, and it's a type of permanent policy that stays with you for the rest of your life, so long as you pay the premiums. It may be the best type of life insurance after a heart attack. 

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Please note that all prices quoted are subject to change, including due to underwriting.