Life Insurance for Chronic Illness

Having a pre-existing condition doesn't mean you can't get life insurance. In fact, there are multiple options when it comes to life insurance for chronic illnesses. This article examines what's available to those who need the best life insurance policy for pre-existing conditions and how to find life insurance for chronic illness that works for you.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Quick Facts

  • Those with chronic illnesses have multiple options when it comes to finding life insurance
  • The type, length and severity of your illness can affect how much and what type of coverage you qualify for
  • Purchasing life insurance before a chronic illness can create significant savings 

Trying to decide on the best type of life insurance can be difficult even for those who are young and healthy. It may seem like an even more daunting task to find term life insurance for people with medical conditions. 

Luckily, there are multiple types of life insurance that can work for those who are hard to insure. What’s important to keep in mind is that there is no one size fits all approach for those who need life insurance for chronic illnesses.

It’s important to compare policy coverage, benefits and premiums in order to find the best policy for your needs. Use our quote tool to get started and find a policy today. 

Term Life Insurance for Hard to Insure Individuals

Term life insurance often offers the best premium versus benefit ratio when it comes to different types of life insurance. Many people with chronic illnesses may be surprised to find that they do qualify for term life insurance even though they have a pre-existing condition. 

Term life insurance premiums are decided by underwriters who look at different factors like age, lifestyle and pre-existing conditions. The following are some of the most common pre-existing conditions that can affect premium prices and coverage:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Depression

It’s important to remember that this is not an exhaustive list and underwriters also look at other aspects of your life like age and lifestyle when making a determination on coverage. 

Even if you have one of the above, it’s still possible to get life insurance with a pre-existing condition. Underwriters will sort you into a rate class depending on the severity of your illness and other risk factors.

Your rate class determines how much of a risk you are to insure and your premium price will reflect that. 

Typically, those with chronic illnesses who do qualify for term life insurance will pay more in premiums than those who have fewer risk factors. 

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Types of Life Insurance for People with Medical Conditions

In addition to term life insurance, people with critical conditions may also qualify for the following types of insurance policies for pre-existing conditions. 

  • Guaranteed Life InsuranceGuaranteed life insurance works nearly exactly how it sounds.  It guarantees benefits to those who qualify, and generally you don’t need to have a medical exam to qualify, though you do need to be in a particular age range. 
  • No Medical Exam Life Insurance- No exam life insurance is a quick way to get insured without having to have an exam. However, insurance carriers will typically look at your overall health when determining whether you qualify. 
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance- Accidental death life insurance doesn’t cover death benefits from chronic illnesses but pays death benefits in the event of an accident. 
  • Group Life Insurance- Some employers include group life insurance in employee benefit packages. While it’s a good supplementary policy, the problem with employer provided life insurance is it typically does not follow you when you quit or retire. 
  • Chronic Illness Rider- If you don’t have a chronic illness but are thinking about the future, adding a chronic illness rider to an existing policy is an excellent way to plan ahead. 

Now on to how much.

How much is critical illness insurance?

The cost of critical illness insurance can vary depending on your risk factors and what type of insurance you choose. Take a look at the following table to compare accidental versus term life insurance rates. 

Accidental Death vs Term Life Insurance Average Monthly Rates
Coverage AmountAccidental Death Insurance Average Monthly RatesTerm Life Insurance Average Monthly Rates
$100,000$7.00$8.27
$200,000$14.00$10.78
$500,000$35.00$14.52
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Premium rates for term life insurance rise proportionally to coverage amounts, while rates for accidental coverage jump significantly. Term life insurance is often the most economical choice, even for those with pre-existing conditions. 

Not all coverage is created equally, either. See the following table to compare coverage benefits between accidental and term life insurance.  

Accidental Death Vs Term Life Feature Comparison
Accidental DeathTerm Life
Most affordableAffordable
Can be added as a rider to an existing term life or group life policyBetter rates for better health
Can add spouse and family to policyCan add riders like Return of Premium
Can provide additional benefits to beneficiaries depending on deathMedical exam may be required
No medical exam requiredNo-exam available for eligible, low-risk individuals
No medical questionsCovers deaths due to accidents and natural causes
Insures up to age 70Generally excludes death from military service and other high-risk activities
Only covers deaths due to accidentsAdditional exclusions may apply during contestable period
May also include work accidentsApplication can take anywhere from one day to several weeks
Also excludes death from suicide, military, illegal activities, drugs, alcohol, private aviation
Can be approved and covered within a day
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How to Find the Best Life Insurance Policy for Pre-Existing Conditions

Ensuring your family is covered in the case of your death is always important, even more so if you have dependents. In the unlikely event that you’re denied critical illness life insurance, knowing the next steps is crucial.

In order to find the best life insurance for medical conditions, you have to understand the different types of insurance available to you. Using our free quote tool is a great way to research and compare policies for affordable life insurance for chronic illnesses.

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