How to Get Term Life Insurance With Lupus

How to Get Term Life Insurance With Lupus

Purchasing term life insurance can be difficult if you have a history of lupus due to the increased risks associated with the disease. It does not, however, mean someone with lupus has to go without coverage. It is important to realize that purchasing term life insurance with the disease will likely be more costly than buying a term life insurance policy for someone who is in good health. If you have been diagnosed or are currently being treated for lupus, there is a good chance that you will pay a slightly higher rate for life insurance.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t get approved for the best rating class with the lowest premium possible. How? You first need to understand how life insurance companies handle applicants with lupus. What do they look for? How can you prepare? What is the likely outcome?

Read on to find the answers and get started with your term life insurance application.

Types of Lupus

Discoid Lupus

This form of lupus affects only the skin, causing thick, red, scaly rashes on the face, neck, and scalp. After the rash goes away, it can leave scarring and can cause hair loss in the scalp area. The rash of discoid lupus may last for a few days or a few years. It can go away for a long time and then come back. Discoid lupus is much more common in women than men and usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 45. In about 10 percent of people with discoid lupus, the condition progresses to systemic lupus.

Systematic Lupus

This kind of lupus can affect almost any part of the body. Symptoms of systemic lupus can be mild or severe and tend to come and go over time. Systematic lupus is more common in women in their child-bearing years. Common symptoms include painful joints, rash, fever, hair loss, loss of circulation, ulcers and extreme fatigue. 

Lupus Statistics

As of 2011, the following numbers show the significance of lupus:

  • 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus
  • About 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year.
  • About 90% of those with lupus are women.
  • African Americans are three times as likely to be affected by lupus.
  • 80% of those with lupus develop it between the ages of 15-45.
  • Discoid lupus accounts for about 10% of Lupus cases.

The Impact on Your Life Insurance Policy

When you apply for a life insurance policy, you will have to take a medical exam. During this exam, you will be asked questions about your family history, medical history, lifestyle, and smoking and alcohol usage. The person administering the exam will measure your height, weight, pulse and blood pressure.

What Life Insurance Companies Look For

Life insurance companies are concerned that those who have lupus are taking the proper precautions to keep it under control. A medical history of regular physician checkups is important to the company.

The life insurance company you apply with will be looking specifically at:

  • When you were diagnosed
  • What your diagnosis was
  • Age at diagnosis
  • Course of disease
  • Response to treatment
  • What steps you have taken since your diagnosis
  • The degree of control as illustrated by medical records, height/weight and lab test results
  • What type of treatment
  • Any other medical conditions present
  • Whether you are a tobacco user

How To Get Term Life Insurance With Lupus


How to Prepare for Your Term Life Insurance Application

There are important measures you can take to prepare yourself before applying for term life insurance. Doing so will help your chances of getting approved for the best rating class possible. Use the following tips to put yourself in the best position to win:

  • Have all doctors’ name/address/phone available.
  • Make sure your doctor(s) has copies of all records regarding the cancer treatment, pathology reports, and follow-up reports.
  • Have a list of all medications and their dosages available.
  • Do not skip any follow-up visits with your doctor. 

Our Experience Has Shown

We’ve helped thousands of people apply for term life insurance, and many of those people had lupus. Here are a few things we’ve learned:

  • Premiums are lower for those who diet and exercise or keep their blood pressure down with medication
  • Premiums are higher for those who do not follow up with a doctor regularly.
  • We recommend getting a policy in force first at a premium rate you can afford. You can then focus on improving the rating class through better control or lab results.

Real Examples from Actual Customers

Good Outcome

Samantha applied for term life insurance when he was 46 years old.

  • Diagnosed at age 32
  • Diagnosed with discoid lupus
  • In remission for over six months
  • Positive results from follow-up appointments with doctor
  • No other medical conditions
  • Outcome: Approved at a Standard rating class
  • Premium: $224 annually

Not So Good Outcome

Katharine applied for term life insurance when she was 45 years old.

  • Diagnosed at age 42
  • Diagnosed with systematic lupus
  • Condition affects multiple organs
  • Positive results from follow-up appointments with doctor
  • No other medical conditions
  • Outcome:  Declined

You can see Samantha had the best outcome, due to a mild case of discoid lupus. Being over age forty and having regular follow-up appointments with her doctor also helped. Katharine’s lupus is more severe and, although she had no other medical conditions and good follow up appointments, her disease being less under control and affecting multiple organs gave her a worse prognosis. This resulted in her application being declined. 

What This All Means to You

The good news about applying for term life insurance when you have lupus is — yes, you can qualify for coverage! The bad news is the approval, and rating class can be very unpredictable and subjective. However, if you follow the advice we’ve provided and, more importantly, discuss your situation with your life insurance agent or broker, you can have a positive outcome.

And remember, if you are not pleased with the offer you receive, you can always try with another company or put the policy in force and work on improving the rating class through better control and lab results.

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