Have a Pre-Existing Condition? Buying Life Insurance Could Still Be Possible

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  • Life insurance providers typically assess health status before approving coverage.
  • Many people assume they won't be able to get protection with pre-existing conditions.
  • This isn't necessarily the case, and coverage is usually available in most circumstances.

Could life insurance provide important protection even with pre-existing medical issues?

Life insurance is not a type of coverage most people should go without. After all, no one wants to leave their dependents coping with a life of serious financial struggles in the event of an untimely death -- and that's exactly what can happen if the right insurance protection isn't in place.

Unfortunately, some people wait to buy life insurance and end up getting sick before they get around to purchasing a policy. And this can cause issues, because most life insurers consider medical status and health history when deciding whether to offer coverage and when setting premiums.

Since life insurance is widely known to be medically underwritten in most circumstances, many people assume they won't be able to buy coverage at all if they have a pre-existing medical condition. But that's not necessarily correct. Here's the reality.

Some standard life insurers offer policies even with pre-existing medical issues

While it is easier -- and cheaper -- to buy life insurance when young and in good health, it's not necessarily impossible to get covered after developing a medical issue. In fact, many standard insurance providers that consider medical status will still offer coverage even to individuals who have a pre-existing condition.

The key factors that determine if a person with a medical issue can still get standard coverage include:

  • The severity of the condition
  • Whether your medical condition is well-controlled
  • Whether your condition is likely to result in your death during the coverage term

Policies can also vary between insurers. For example, some companies will allow you to get covered with controlled diabetes or with HIV that's managed through medication, but others will not. This is why it's crucial for anyone with a pre-existing medical issue to shop carefully for insurance and explore all coverage options from different providers.

Guaranteed issue life insurance coverage should also be available

In some cases, a pre-existing condition will be serious enough that it becomes impossible to get standard issue life insurance coverage. But all hope of providing protection for family members isn't lost. That's because guaranteed issue coverage offers another solution.

Guaranteed issue life insurance works differently than standard policies. It is available to everyone regardless of their medical history. This means even people who are sick can still buy this type of life insurance.

There are some definite downsides to guaranteed issue coverage. It tends to be more expensive than insurance that is medically underwritten. There are usually much lower limits on the death benefit available, and other restrictions on when the death benefit pays out. For example, the full death benefit might not be paid out until the policy is in effect for several years.

Although most consumers are better off buying standard coverage rather than guaranteed issue plans, this does ensure that at least funeral costs can be covered and that surviving family members can get a little bit of help after a death. It's worth looking into if no other coverage is an option.

The bottom line is, no one should give up on buying life insurance without at least exploring these different solutions. Those with dependent loved ones should make sure they do all they can to ensure financial help is available after an untimely death occurs.

Our picks for best life insurance companies

Life insurance is essential if you have people depending on you. We’ve combed through the options and developed a best-in-class list for life insurance coverage. This guide will help you find the best life insurance companies and the right type of policy for your needs. Read our free review today.

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