If you have become a victim of a heart attack and need life insurance, you’re far from alone. The shock is certainly a frightening experience that probably got you thinking about your own mortality. Maybe even about the life insurance that you may have put off? Are really wondering if you can get affordable coverage after a heart attack? Maybe you have heard rumors about how expensive life insurance would be or no one would take you?
That does not have to be your story, especially if you are educated on how to obtain affordable coverage with a preexisting condition.
Can You Get Life Insurance With a Heart Condition?
Well, like anyone who has heart disease, you will have a tougher time finding coverage. Your heart condition will impact your rates. There is no way around it now or in the future.
The good news is, you still may obtain affordable coverage. After your recovery, if you do not already have enough life insurance, it is time to take action to protect those most important to you.
There will never be a better time. The key is to find an independent agent/broker who works higher risk cases like yours. Certain insurers will be difficult to qualify for. Many will not accept your condition. Many other insurance companies will rate you up sky high.
Be sure you have the right advocate, an independent agent who can sort it out for you and has dozens of companies to work with. That is tip number one to obtain coverage that is affordable.
Next, be sure you are following your doctors guidance, by taking all medications, following a good, healthy diet and the appropriate exercise regimen. Your goal is to first better yourself personally as you want to be able to show progress to any insurance company you may apply to. Convincing them of your personal commitment to becoming a healthier person can gather you the best offer.
Mentally, make sure you know what to expect during your application. The best rates you may obtain will not be an instant decision. The instant quote tools on any website, whether here on this site or anywhere else…forget it. They aren’t questioning you enough to know the details that will matter to any underwriter. The insurance company’s underwriter will determine your actual premium. Therefore, with a instant quote tool, you will probably not get a very accurate quote with your condition.
On the other hand, your patience in working thru the process can pay off in spades and allow you to get the best offer for your needs.
Heart Condition Life Insurance and Instant Quotes
If you are a senior citizen and looking into life insurance after a heart attack, I’m going to suggest you look into life insurance coverage designed for seniors.
If you would like to experiment with the quoting tool on the right, you’re welcome to. My best suggestion other than contacting us is to go to our health classifications page and following the instructions there. There is a quote tool there as well. It will be the best ballpark estimate without a conversation with us.
Just make sure you set your health class at standard/regular and don’t set your personal expectations too high. This will be just a rough idea.
There are no specific questions in the tool to zero in what an insurance company underwriter will want to know when you have known heart issues. The underwriter will be determining the cost of insurance after your formal application and medical records are received.
Actually, this is standard stuff, so don’t be alarmed or take it personally. It is how the life insurance companies make decisions to guarantee their ability to cover death claims.
The difference here is the medical condition (heart attack) that the “healthy” person does not have on record.
All applicants who apply for medically underwritten coverage have identical requirements. Sometimes during the paramedical exam, even the “healthy” people are found to be not as healthy as they believed and are rated up as well.
The fact is, very, very few people qualify for the best rates you could find in the instant quoter. Those are the ultra low rates we hear about on the TV radio or may have seen on Facebook etc.
Anyway back to you…
Of the many companies in the quoting tool, there will be a couple that will be better for heart issues, period. There may be a suggestion or two that is not in there. We have access to many companies not in the database of the instant quoter as well.
The quote will not reflect that as it does not ask your specific medical condition. Just another reason you should speak to a seasoned professional and where many folks make their first mistake…trying to go it alone.
What Will Each Life Insurance Underwriter Want to Know?
For starter, expect that you will be looked at under a microscope. Gone is the bill of perfect health. It is vitally important that you are perfectly honest when applying. You’re trying to obtain life insurance for a heart condition!!
Health questions will vary from insurance company to insurance company. Life insurance companies will all see you a bit differently. A good advocate will be lining you up with a carrier in which you are likely to get the best offer (lowest premium). They won’t put you thru questioning unless they feel you can be qualified for coverage.
Don’t sugarcoat anything. Do not sandbag and withhold information you feel is none of the insurance company’s business. Heart attack life insurance will require full disclosure on your part.
The more information the insurance company has, the more likely they are to extend an affordable offer to you.
Insurance companies get nervous when an evasive or resistant applicant presents themselves. The typical response is…decline or additional premiums.
Not good for your insurance record if you are declined.
The reality is, there is a good chance you will be taking a medical exam at the insurance companies expense to obtain the best rates. It all tends to come out anyway.
What Factors Do Insurers Consider?
After a traumatic event like a heart attack, it is only natural to feel the reality and shock of how frail life can really be.
For many life insurance consumers, the temptation will be to apply immediately after a heart attack crisis. A piece of advice I will give you here… wait until you are fully or at least reasonably recovered from your heart attack.
Three to six months is the general rule of thumb.
When reviewing your application for heart attack life insurance, underwriters will look at several different factors:
- Your Age
The older you were when you had your heart attack, the better off you are. That’s within reason, of course…getting life insurance as a senior citzen can be challenging even without a serious health issue, although some insurers do offer excellent rates to heart attack victims in their 70s.
If you’re in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, age is in your favor. Life insurance companies will usually steer clear of those who have suffered a heart attack in their 30s, because the sad reality is that cardiovascular issues at such an early age are usually a sign of future ailments. Sad, but true. It these cases, a guaranteed issue whole life policy may be required.
- Severity Of Your Heart Attack
Insurers don’t discriminate based on the type of surgery you had. However they do want to know how serious your heart attack was. Blockage of one or two vessels makes you a lower risk than those who have suffered a major heart attack that damaged four vessels.
- Your Build
Since heart disease is largely considered to be a “lifestyle disease,” insurers prefer applicants who have a relatively healthy physique. Being considerably overweight raises your risk to the insurer.
Age 40 + more than 2 vessels affected + 100 pounds overweight = Extremely difficult to get approved for life insurance.
Age 60 + 1 vessel affected + 25 pounds overweight = Very possible to get approved for life insurance.
As you can see, even with 20 more years of age under the belt, the insurance company is more likely to insure the 60 year old than the 40 year old. Unfortunately, the heart attack affected 2 vessels in the first candidate and being very overweight at age 40 is a major obstacle.
- Any Compounding Health Issues
Adding a complicating medical condition such as Diabetes makes it much more challenging to insure than with just a record of a heart attack. It will inevitably raise the rate considerably and could end up requiring high risk life insurance or even guaranteed issue coverage. Guaranteed issue coverage should be used when all other options have been tried.
- Be Sure You Are Following Your Doctors Orders
Mentioned previously, but the insurance company will be getting your medical records to see that you are following up with the doctors treatment and management plan. It looks good to them if the plan does not need a lot of oversight and if you are actively following it. The insurance company will also be reviewing your stress tests and any echo cardiogram to verify you are free of blockages.
Some insurance companies will give you a credit for yearly stress testing. This can reduce your “health” or rate class resulting in 25 to 50% lower insurance premiums in the future.
Medication and Usage
It is typical that those recovering from a heart attack are prescribed blood thinners. Ideally, being off blood thinners within 6 months (with the guidance of the doctor) is going to show better than someone who must take blood thinners for life.
You can expect a 20% rate up if you must be permanently medicated. Never try to change your doctors regimen for the purposes of application. The insurance company will likely decline you.
Other Tips To Better Your Chances of Approval
You didn’t plan on having a heart attack for sure, but there are things we can do to improve the odds of it not reoccurring.
- Change your Lifestyle. Be prepared make better dietary choices and keep exercise in the to do list, regularly.
- Lock in life insurance for as long as possible.
- Continue to visit your doctor to update him/her. Follow their guidance.
- Minimize the need for medications by making the hard choices. Become that man or woman. Take control of your health.
Preparing for Application
You should be ready to answer all of the following
- When were you medically diagnosed?
- Do you visit your doctor on a regular basis? When was your last visit?
- What treatment(s) were recommended to you?
- What treatment(s) have you had? Be specific as to all.
- Are you aware of any underlying conditions that may have caused the heart attack?
- Has your condition improved since you were first diagnosed?
Now you don’t have to memorize your medical records, but insurers have more confidence in applicants that seem on top of their health condition.
What if I Have Another Medical Condition or Had More Than 1 Heart Attack?
Be sure to disclose that information to your independent agent. It’s still possible to get coverage.
There may be limitations on how large of a policy you can get or even require you to take out a graded death benefit policy or a high risk life insurance policy. Then again, depending on your current situation, there may be some companies who view you as a very acceptable risk and make much better offers than others. The specifics to each case do make a considerable difference.
What Kind of Premiums Should You Expect?
It would be nice if I could just put a number in here to answer that question. Remember, the instant quoter is not going to reflect your actual premium under your circumstances.
Truth is your age, your interview, medical exam and doctors records are going to have a big effect on where you land with your offer.
Further, it depends on what type of life insurance coverage you are purchasing. 20 year term insurance is less expensive than permanent life insurance such as guaranteed universal life which is must less expensive than whole life insurance.
For illustrative purposes only we will use 20 year term life insurance as the product. This is not a recommendation at this point and fictitious.
John is a 45 year old male, slightly overweight. He does not smoke or use any tobacco. John had a heart attack a couple years ago and now wants more term life insurance to get his youngest age 3 to her adulthood… which includes college planning. John is a non smoker and has recently taken up a good exercise routine. He is able to apply for coverage and be approved at regular rates because he had taken corrective action to improve his situation and the the insurance company selected was more liberal to heart disease than many others. John was not on blood thinners at application. His coverage was $42/mo but could have easily been $108 or table rated (up charged) with other insurers pushing the premium up much more.
What If I Have Been Previously Declined
This happens very frequently to those applying for life insurance after a heart attack experience. A lot of carriers will not want the business. Those life insurance companies are “cherry pickers.” Many applicants will rush out to a State Farm office or the like. Wrong place to go folks!!
You need a high risk life insurance specialist that works with carriers that want your business. That is step number one.
Aside of having the knowledge and experience with life insurance carriers, there is an art to presenting your case to an insurance company as well. You need a seasoned office that has the time to dig in and work thru the red tape.
If your case is complicated due to a decline, we will often send out anonymous case requests to several of our top heart condition life insurers. This anonymous offer is based on your situation. The underwriters will come back with an answer so you can move forward in confidence you have the best price for the product you want.
This is a specialty that you don’t discuss with a auto and homeowners agent on the corner or the big box sales office that doesn’t have the time to commit, due to high sales quotas.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to call a big insurance company thinking they will help you obtain the best life insurance after a heart attack. The size or the name of the carrier has nothing to do with how their underwriters determine who they will accept and how much it will cost.
Some of the biggest names want nothing to do with this type of risk and declination is the norm. The person on the phone is just a sales agent for that company. You will not be told that you should apply elsewhere and they will overcharge you or decline you. You will be speaking with a company salesperson that works for that particular company.
I know I have said it before…
An independent agent or broker is going to be your best chance at approval and savings. Find an advocate that will put the time it demands into your case. This is where personalized service will get you get the best treatment and protection possible. It does not cost you a penny for good service.
Let Special Risk Life shop the coverage out and get you a good offer. As your specialist, we can speak on your behalf to get you approved at the best possible price.
Having your history presented in the best light to an underwriter can make all the difference in your offer. It costs you nothing more to have this help. You have everything to lose here but a lot to gain by securing a licensed and seasoned negotiator on your side.
“Declines” are not easy to overcome. They are posted to the Medical Information Bureau (MIB).
All insurance companies will check these reports and do we see a “decline” as well.
Here is an important tip to remember… Avoid insurance company home offices, big box sales offices, captive insurance agents (work for 1 insurer such as State Farm, Farmers, Allstate). These are not good places to buy heart attack or any medical condition life insurance, period.
There are a number of reasons why this is true, but beyond the scope of this article.
Can I Get Life Insurance After a Heart Attack And Conclusion
Yes, you can still get life insurance after a heart attack. The key is having a seasoned specialist that has the knowledge as to whom the go to companies are and can work with the underwriters on your behalf to get you the lowest possible offer.
No, not every insurance company will be willing to cover you, just know there are options for you out there.
Thinking about calling an insurance company or big call center and just buying a policy?
Don’t do it.
It does not cost you a nickel.
We know which companies will give you the best offer. Your case needs dedicated attention, not someone that has a sales quota.
The only savings you can get is by picking the right independent insurance agent/broker to work with. With their expertise working with underwriters to get the best possible rating…that is the best possible outcome for you or anyone applying for heart attack life insurance.
Focus on changing your lifestyle around to include a very good diet and solid exercise routine. It’s not only good for you but necessary for getting the best life insurance rates.
How you are going to be rated will depend upon where you were at the point of your heart attack, to where you are now. The insurance company underwriters essentially want to know the before and after.
If you cannot be medically underwritten for your coverage do to serious medical complications with your heart attack, we will have to start looking at Simplified Issue Whole Life or even Graded coverage.
A Graded benefit policy will insert a waiting period of 2 years for full, natural death benefit coverage. This is not where you want to go unless all else is ruled out first. It just costs more money for less coverage and for those looking for larger policies, there will be difficulty obtaining “enough.”
This is not the common outcome however. Just showing you the next step if you have a true high risk life insurance condition.
Quality coverage does not have to cost an arm and a leg. If you have been thinking about this for months – take action now. Rarely will you be better off down the road. Protect what is important to you now!
Trying to get life insurance after a heart attack doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to find the right advocate with access to companies who see you and your recovery in the best light.
Hopefully this article has give you some confidence to reach out for help. Life insurance for heart conditions doesn’t have to be difficult. Reach out to a pro. We’re always here to help if you need our assistance. 800-598-6445
Michael is a licensed, veteran independent life and health insurance agent who specializes in guiding people with health conditions thru the insurance process. He is passionate about helping individuals and families get their unique financial protection needs met, providing his experienced based advise and delivering affordable and dependable coverage people can count on.