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How Does My Health Affect My Ability to Get a Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance rates are determined not just by an individual’s health but also by his or her age, occupation, sex, lifestyle factors and financial status. Insurance underwriters use these risk factors to place each applicant into a risk class. If an applicant dies before his or her policy matures, the company will take a loss on the policy, so those who are applying for policies with higher face values will be more likely to have their health scrutinized more closely.

What Kind of Health Conditions Can Affect Insurance Rates?

Such health conditions as high blood pressure, poorly managed Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, coronary artery disease, poorly controlled asthma, high cholesterol, depression and morbid obesity or anorexia nervosa can all have a negative impact on an applicant’s risk. However, the better controlled each of these health conditions is, the less of an impact they will have on the rates an individual will pay.

Getting the Best Insurance Rates

Those who are in good health and have a family history free of serious health problems are most likely to receive preferred or select rates for their insurance policies. These are the best possible rates, which are reserved for those individuals who are considered to be the lowest risk to the insurance company. While serious health conditions can affect health insurance rates, if an individual is treated for those health conditions and his or her health is under good control, the insurance company will take that under consideration at the time of application. Medical records, lab work and other information will be gathered to more accurately assess the current and potential future state of the applicant’s health so that he or she can be placed in the proper risk category.

Avoiding the Higher Rates Associated with High-Risk Categories

Smokers, those with high-risk occupations and those who engage in certain sports or hobbies will occupy the highest risk tier, which means they will generally pay the highest rates. Immediately below them will be those who have heart disease or who are morbidly obese. These individuals are likely to pay as much as 50 percent more than the preferred rates. Other serious health conditions or advanced age may also lead to increased insurance rates or placement in a high-risk tier.

What Should I do if I’m assigned to a High-Risk Category?

Anyone placed in a high-risk category may need to comparison shop in order to find the best rates for nonstandard policies. A combination of factors may even lead to an applicant being declared uninsurable. Those who are declared uninsurable or who cannot afford or do not want to pay the higher rates associated with a higher risk status can opt for no-medical exam coverage, or guaranteed issue life insurance. Guaranteed issue coverage policies generally have a lower face value, but they provide coverage to all applicants without requiring a medical exam or medical history.

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Liran Hirschkorn

Liran Hirschkorn is the founder of His mission is to help individuals across the country in finding the best rates on life insurance as well as helping individuals with high risk life insurance.

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