Life Insurance

Can I Get Life Insurance With A Pre-Existing Condition?

Oct 21, 2021
Even if you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get life insurance—there are options out there.

Once you start exploring your life insurance options, you'll probably come away with one big realization: your health matters. There are many factors that life insurance companies use to determine your premium costs and if you'll be insured at all. One of the biggest is your overall health.

Millions of Americans have pre-existing medical conditions. Estimates are that up to half of all Americans under the age of 65 have a pre-existing condition. These are health issues you had before you applied for coverage. Pre-existing conditions can range from being a childhood cancer survivor to high blood pressure.

Since health plays a significant role and pre-existing conditions are so common, it's natural to have questions and anxiety about how it can affect your ability to get life insurance.

Here's what you need to know.

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Which common pre-existing conditions affect life insurance eligibility and rates?

When it comes to shopping for life insurance, a general rule of thumb is that policies are usually more affordable for younger and healthier people.

A variety of factors influence your life insurance rate. These typically include your health history, tobacco use, age, weight, family health, and even your driving record. Combined, these factors help insurance companies determine your risk level.

Once a carrier has this information, you are put into a risk classification group. In general, the lower your risk, the less you might have to pay in premiums.

For example, a healthy 30-year-old could be classified in the lowest risk group, while a 66-year-old with a history of high blood pressure could be put into a higher risk group. Because they are deemed riskier, the 66-year old's premiums are likely higher, even for the same type of coverage.

Every life insurance provider has a list of pre-existing medical conditions, which can include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Nicotine use (including smoking)
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Depending on the carrier, as well as the severity of your pre-existing condition, you may still qualify for life insurance. In fact, many people with pre-existing conditions can get at least some of the coverage they need.

Life insurance applications get evaluated on an individual basis because everyone is different. So, when it comes to getting a life insurance policy, it's important to remember that just because you have a certain pre-existing condition, it doesn't mean you may never qualify for coverage.

That's why it's so important to do your research. Many people who have pre-existing conditions are surprised to find that there are options for them. Spend some time shopping around, and you'll likely find a carrier that offers a life insurance policy for your situation.

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Options for people with pre-existing conditions

If you have a pre-existing condition, you still likely have options. Ethos offers products designed to provide coverage for those who are often unable to get it due to their pre-existing conditions.

Guaranteed Issue whole life insurance

Guaranteed Issue (GI) whole life insurance is a type of whole life policy with a guaranteed death benefit for your beneficiaries. Policies offered through Ethos are available to all applicants aged 66-85, regardless of credit or health status.

With a GI policy, most applicants are offered guaranteed coverage, and don’t have to undergo medical exams.

Learn more about Guaranteed Issue coverage with Ethos.

Simplified Issue term life insurance

Ethos also offers Simplified Issue (SI) (or a simplified underwriting process) life insurance. This coverage is designed for people who have age or health issues that may make it more difficult to get life insurance, or who prefer a simpler way to apply for insurance. While some health questions are asked, you can receive a policy for life insurance without a medical exam.

This coverage is available for applicants between the ages of 20-70. Terms range from 10 to 30 years. Applicants between 20-45 can get a death benefit of up to $500,000, and applicants who are 61-65 can have a death benefit of up to $350,000.

Learn more about the simplified underwriting process available through Ethos.

Tips and best practices for obtaining life insurance with a pre-existing condition

For many, pre-existing conditions are a fact of life. So, when you're shopping for life insurance, keep these best practices in mind to help you find the best coverage for your needs.

  • Honesty is the best policy: While it might seem tempting to leave something out, the truth is always your best option. There are many available policies to cover a range of ages, risk categories, and pre-existing conditions. Plus, if your carrier finds out you lied on your policy, they can rescind it, leaving your family with less financial protection.
  • Sooner is often better than later: While many people think they don't need life insurance until later, there are many different life stages where life insurance makes a lot of sense. It's also important to keep in mind waiting means you could develop a more significant health condition that could impact your premiums.
  • Consider your current situation: In some cases, it does make sense to wait to apply for coverage. For instance, if you've recently quit smoking or you're about to start treatment for a condition, it might make sense to wait for your condition to improve so you could get better coverage.
  • Take care of your health: One of the most important things you can do is take care of yourself. Building a lifestyle where you focus on eating healthy, exercising, and getting preventative checkups can go a long way toward staying healthy, and getting the life insurance you need at a more favorable rate.

Considering COVID-19

Something else important to consider, especially during this time, is COVID-19. The long-lasting impact of COVID-19 remains a fluid situation; because of that, it's difficult to predict the effect the pandemic will have on life insurance.

Currently, COVID-19 is not having an impact on life insurance policies. Yet, there is increasing evidence of potential long-term health implications from some of those who have contracted the virus. It's possible these effects could become pre-existing conditions in the future. If you are considering life insurance now, that's something to consider. You are more likely to get the coverage you want to help protect your family over the long term if you do not have COVID-19.

What is important, especially in uncertain times, is to protect yourself and your family as best you can. That means following Federal, State, and local guidelines, as well as practicing social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and wearing a mask, as recommended. While it might not be guaranteed you won't contract COVID-19, these steps can help you mitigate your risk over the short-term, which can pay off later.

Pre-existing conditions don’t have to hold you back

If you have questions about life insurance, Ethos has experienced life insurance agents ready to help. In just a few minutes, they can help you get a sense of your options based on your unique situation.

You might think that a life insurance agent may not have your best interests at heart. However, our agents are non-commissioned, meaning they won't pressure you to buy more coverage than you need. Their job is to help you find the right policy for your unique needs and to help talk you through any questions or concerns you have. You can contact them by phone at: (415) 915-0665 or via text at (415) 702-1844.

Once you're ready to explore your options, you can get a free, personalized online quote today.

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Nicotine use?
Used for estimate only.

The estimated monthly rate for this policy is:

Coverage amount
Term length
10 years
Please note that all prices quoted are subject to change, including due to underwriting.