Life Insurance for Dialysis Patients

If you’re one of the 468,000 Americans on dialysis, you know securing life insurance for dialysis patients is a challenge. Because of the medical complications associated with a failing kidney, dialysis patients will not qualify for a traditional policy. However, you can purchase guaranteed issue life insurance policies for dialysis patients, or an accidental death policy. Read through our guide to learn all of your options and how to find the best life insurance quotes for dialysis patients.

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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

  • If you are a dialysis patient, you will not qualify for a traditional life insurance policy.
  • Dialysis patients can purchase a whole guaranteed issue life insurance policy, however these policies tend to be on the pricey side.
  • An accidental death policy is sometimes a good alternative to life insurance for dialysis patients.

Securing life insurance for dialysis patients is a difficult task. You are only put on dialysis when your kidney starts to fail, which is a pretty major health concern that life insurance providers take note of. Because dialysis treatments last a lifetime unless you’re approved of a kidney transplant, most providers will deny you coverage for a traditional life insurance policy.

If you’re one of the 468,000 Americans on dialysis, read through our complete guide to learn what options you do have. From guaranteed issue life insurance policies to accidental death life insurance, discover the best life insurance policies for dialysis patients.

If you’re looking for life insurance for kidney dialysis patients, enter your five-digit ZIP code into our FREE quote tool above to start immediately comparing life insurance companies for dialysis patients.

Life Insurance for Dialysis Patients

When you apply for a life insurance policy, an underwriter will look into your background and medical information to assess your risk and place you in a specific rating class. Understanding term life insurance rating classes will help you conceptualize why you might be denied coverage as a dialysis patient.

The most common life insurance rating classes are preferred, standard, and substandard, with some variations in between. Preferred clients receive the best possible rates. Usually, healthy younger people qualify for this class.

Standard clients are considered to be an average example of health and receive the base rates for life insurance. Substandard clients usually have multiple health concerns and receive the highest possible life insurance rates. In some cases, you could be fully denied coverage.

If you are in the substandard risk class, you will pay, at the least, 25 percent more than the standard rates. Unfortunately, dialysis patients will most likely be denied coverage for a traditional policy.

However, if you were approved for a kidney transplant, eventually you should be able to stop the dialysis treatments. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, only 193,000 Americans are living with a fully functioning kidney transplant.

If you do get approved for a kidney transplant, and if your health improves and remains under control for about three years, you’ll be able to apply for a traditional life insurance policy. You may even land in the standard rating class. However, your class will likely remain substandard for multiple years.

In the table below, we gathered preferred and substandard rates from State Farm for a $100,000 whole length life insurance policy. Take a look at how the standard rates compare to the substandard rates in the table below.

Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates: Standard versus Substandard Rates
AgeAverage Standard Monthly RatesAverage Substandard Monthly Rates (25% increase)
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While these rates are applicable for some recovered dialysis patients, obviously not every person will get a kidney transplant, let alone a successful one. In the next sections, we analyze why life insurance is so difficult for dialysis patients to attain, and discuss some available alternative policy options.

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What is dialysis and why does it affect life insurance?

Insurance rates are all based on risk. The higher-risk you are, the higher your rates will be. If you have a pre-existing condition that insurance providers consider to be problematic, your rates for life insurance will be much higher than average, or your coverage will be fully denied.

Patients are put on dialysis because of a failing kidney. A failing kidney is usually a symptom of a pretty extreme health concern. When the life insurance underwriter assesses your health risk, he or she will see that you have some other medical condition that has caused you to go on dialysis.

Some common health conditions associated with dialysis treatments include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Autoimmune disease, such as lupus
  • Genetic disease, such as polycystic kidney disease
  • Urinary tract problems

Some of these medical conditions are considered to be severe pre-existing conditions, and many providers aren’t willing to take on the risk of insuring you with a traditional policy.

Remember, dialysis treatments are ongoing and will last for the rest of your life unless you get approved for a kidney transplant. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the average life expectancy for dialysis patients is 5 to 10 years.

While some people do live as long as 20 to 30 years on dialysis, insurance providers know how rare kidney transplants are compared to how fatal kidney diseases can be. This is why coverage for dialysis patients is often denied.

The Best Life Insurance Policies for Dialysis Patients

If you’re on active dialysis, you will not find a life insurance provider willing to sell you a traditional policy. In fact, you will also struggle to qualify for no-medical-exam life insurance.

Because the underwriter does not have information from a medical exam to use when analyzing your application, you may be denied coverage if you have certain pre-existing conditions. Instead, you’ll have to be a little more creative.

You might consider working with an agent who specializes in high-risk life insurance policies for more personalized service.

There are a couple of options available for dialysis patients, but your premiums and your chances of approval depend on your age, your unique medical history, and the results of your background check. Keep reading to learn more.

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Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance and Dialysis Patients

There are some life insurance policies that do not require any medical examination and are available to anyone who can afford them. These policies are known as guaranteed issue life insurance coverage and are often much pricier than average.

If you are a dialysis patient, investing in a guaranteed issue life insurance policy is a smart option. You will not be denied coverage and your policy will remain for your lifetime as long as you continue to pay your premiums on time.

Watch the video below frmo eHowFinance for more details about why you might choose to purchase a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

Commonly, this type of policy includes a graded death benefit. This means that there is a waiting period associated with your guaranteed issue life insurance policy of up to 24 months.

If you were to pass away before the waiting period is over, your beneficiary will only receive the premiums you’ve paid up until that point. After the waiting period has passed, your beneficiaries will receive the full death benefit.

The death benefits policies are also often rather small, sometimes only as much as $25,000. While the amount may be small, at the very least it will help with the funeral and other end-of-life expenses.

Accidental Death Policy and Dialysis Patients

Another great alternative to traditional life insurance is an accidental death policy. Accidental death policies are less expensive than life insurance policies and are available to almost everyone.

However, unlike life insurance, which pays out for natural death causes, an accidental death policy will only pay out for accidental death. This does not include disease or illness. What does it include? Take a look at the following list.

  • Car or motorcycle accident
  • Slip and fall accident
  • Victim of a violent crime

Most people who want life insurance rely on the fact that it covers natural death or death caused by an illness or a disease. Therefore, an accidental death policy is not right for everyone.

However, if you are a dialysis patient on a tight budget, this type of alternative policy can still help provide a little extra protection for a more affordable cost.

You are now an expert on securing affordable life insurance for dialysis patients. If you are on track for a kidney transplant, you may eventually be healthy enough to qualify for standard life insurance rates. Otherwise, a guaranteed issue life insurance policy or the alternative accidental death policy will be your best option.

Ready to buy life insurance for dialysis patients? If you’re a dialysis patient, don’t wait to find the right life insurance policy; simply enter your five-digit ZIP code into our FREE quote tool below to start comparing life insurance rates for dialysis patients.

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