How to Get Term Life Insurance With Asthma

Getting term life insurance with asthma is possible for the more than 24 million adults in the U.S. suffering from the condition. How to get term life insurance with asthma starts by comparison shopping online with free life insurance quotes. Start comparing quotes now with our free tool below and find term life insurance for as low as $18/month.

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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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Shopping for life insurance can be overwhelming, and it can be even more stressful if you have asthma. There are many kinds of life insurance, even no medical exam term life insurance. Our guide on how to get term life insurance with asthma will walk you through everything you need to know.

When shopping for life insurance with asthma, you should always compare the top life insurance companies against each other. You want to find the best coverage for you and your family and get the best rate especially if you have a medical condition like asthma.

Every life insurance company offers its own life insurance coverage and rates. It can become a tiring and daunting task to check each company individually and then compare it to others. This comprehensive review of life insurance for people with asthma will help you decide how to find the right company for your situation.

Let’s get started — Click above for our FREE life insurance quote tool on how to get life insurance with asthma at the most affordable rates while comparing companies. Find quotes now.

Does asthma affect life insurance?

Asthma is a condition in which the tubes that carry air to and from the lungs narrow or swell. This makes it very hard for a person to breathe.

Symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Tight chest
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath

Genetics is a trigger that is attributed to asthma. Some external triggers include:

  • Animal fur
  • Pollen
  • House dust mites
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pollution
  • Chemical irritants

Asthma can also be triggered by emotional distress, medicines, and exercise.

Can you get life insurance if you have asthma, and will the rates be high? The answers are yes and no. Yes, you can get life insurance with asthma, and no, you don’t have to have high rates. It’s possible to get affordable rates with asthma.

How much should I be paying for life insurance?

Most people don’t know how much they should be paying for life insurance. This term life insurance calculator will help you calculate how much coverage you’ll want to purchase. Check out the table below for sample monthly rates for a 30-year, $150,000 term life policy for a non-smoker.

Sample Monthly Life Insurance Rates for Asthma Sufferers

Policyholder Health Class Average Monthly Non-Smoker Rate
Preferred Plus$18
Standard Plus$25
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As you can see, the more of a health risk you are, the more you will likely pay for a policy. Additional factors like demographics, occupation, medical history, and habits will also play a role as well. However, this will give you a ballpark idea of what to expect.

Which life insurance providers are better for people with asthma?

While you can use a life insurance agent to find a life insurance policy, it’s actually more beneficial, especially if you suffer from asthma, to use an independent insurance broker. This is because an independent insurance agent doesn’t work for one company.

These agents work to find you the best life insurance coverage for your situation and look for your coverage across many different companies.

A life insurance agent works for a company, and they can only tell you the policies that the company they represent offers. Many companies are reputed to have more asthma-tolerant views. Some of these companies include:

  • Prudential
  • Banner
  • Haven Life
  • Mutual of Omaha

Prudential is a well-rated company. A.M. Best rated the company an A+, which is superior. Standard & Poor’s rating for the company was an AA-, which is very strong. Fitch’s rating was an AA-, which is also very strong. Moody’s gave the company an A1 rating, which stands for good. J.D. Power gave the company three power circles, which is above average.

Banner has many good ratings. A.M. Best awarded the company with an A+, or superior, rating and Standard & Poor’s rated the company an A for excellent.

Haven Life does not have many ratings from the large credit rating companies. A.M. Best did rate the company and awarded it with an A++ rating, which stands for superior.

Mutual of Omaha is also very highly ranked. A.M. Best rated the company with an A+ for superior. Standard & Poor’s rated the company an AA-, which is very strong. Moody’s gave the company a rating of A1, which represents good. J.D. Power rated the company with four power circles and this stands for better than the most.

If you have asthma and also have other medical conditions, you may want to look into a guaranteed life insurance policy or a policy that doesn’t include a medical exam. This may save you money.

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What Life Insurance Companies Look for With Asthma Sufferers

The reason asthma matters to life insurance companies is because asthma increases your mortality risk. In 2015, asthma statistics showed that there 3,615 asthma-related deaths. Of these deaths, 219 were from children under the age of 18. Your quoted rate will depend to some extent on the management and severity of your asthma.

Factors that are specifically related to your asthma will be considered but the underwriter will also look at other medical history factors. All of this information will be reviewed and evaluated to affect your life insurance rates. Some risk factors that are extremely important are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Overall health

While being older does not necessarily eliminate you from qualifying for life insurance, it will make your premiums higher. Life insurance premiums rise for every year that you get older. It’s always cheaper to buy life insurance at a younger age.

I don’t know if you have heard but gender affects life insurance rate. Women have a longer life expectancy than men and therefore have lower life insurance premiums. Men have higher premiums. Since men have a lower life expectancy, they are seen as more of a risk to insure.

Your overall health and medical history are where your asthma diagnosis will be evaluated by the underwriter, but we will talk about that more later in the article.

Underwriting Asthma for Life Insurance

Most people looking for insurance with asthma wonder:

  • Can I get life insurance if I have mild asthma?
  • Can I get life insurance if I have severe asthma?
  • Will my rates be high because I have asthma?

Underwriters will want to know many answers to questions about your health.

What information do I need to get life insurance with health issues?

They’ll also want specific information about your asthma. Underwriters will want to know what kind of asthma you have and how severe it is. There are multiple types of asthma, which include:

  • Adult-onset asthma
  • Asthma-COPD overlap
  • Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)
  • Nonallergic asthma
  • Occupational asthma

This video explains the levels of severity of asthma.

Adult-onset asthma is asthma that develops in adulthood. Asthma-COPD overlap is diagnosed when symptoms are indicative of both asthma and COPD. COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) is a narrowing of the airways that are triggered by exercise. Nonallergic asthma is a type of asthma that is not triggered by allergies. Climate and allergies do have an effect on many individuals and their asthma each year.

Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling environmental substances like:

  • Chemical fumes
  • Gases
  • Dust

There are also four categories or severities of asthma. These severities include:

  • Intermittent asthma
  • Persistent-mild asthma
  • Persistent-moderate asthma
  • Persistent-severe asthma

Intermittent asthma occurs when your asthma symptoms don’t appear for more than two days a week. There can be no more than two nighttime asthma flare-ups a month.

Persistent-mild asthma occurs when lung function is 80 percent or greater and symptoms occur more than twice a day. These symptoms occur less than once a day and asthmatic flare-ups may affect activity. Nighttime flare-ups can occur up to twice a month but must occur less than once a week.

Persistent-moderate asthma is also called moderate persistent asthma as the symptoms occur daily. Asthmatic flare-ups last for several days, and normal activities may be affected due to wheezing and coughing. There may be nighttime flare-ups, and they may occur more than once a week.

Persistent-severe asthma is advanced asthma. Those who suffer from persistent severe asthma experience symptoms every day. Their symptoms flare up at least once a week at night and they can last for days.

When you are shopping for life insurance with asthma, you will be assessed and put in a rate class. Most life insurance companies have numerous rate classes that are based on your individual situation. The rate class that you are determined to fit in will be the determining factor for your cost of insurance.

Your rate class will be determined by assessing multiple factors such as:

  • Is your asthma controlled?
  • Is your asthma year-round or seasonal?
  • What severity is your asthma?
  • Are you on treatment?
  • Have you been hospitalized recently?

If you are on medications and your asthma is under control, it is possible that your life insurance premium will not be much higher than a rate for someone without asthma. The company will also want to know if your asthma is year-round or seasonal because they want to know how often you suffer. The more often you struggle, the more of a risk you are to the insurance company.

The severity of your asthma will also impact your rates and coverage you are eligible for.

If you have severe asthma then you will be more of a risk to the life insurance company than if you had mild asthma. Also, whether or not your asthma has been severe enough to hospitalized you recently will be considered.

If your life insurance application is declined, then you’ll probably need to apply for a guaranteed issue policy.

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What will underwriters look at if you have a history of asthma?

Underwriters will be looking at many things to assess how much of a risk you will be to insure. Underwriters will consider your:

  • Medical records (MIB)
  • Demographics
  • Application
  • Medical exam

Medical Information Bureau (MIB) records are considered gathered information. The MIB database holds underwriting information about insurance applicants. The information is coded. Other members who are searching the database, with authorization of an insurance agent, can access the information of the applicant.

As mentioned earlier, basic demographics about you will be assessed. These are the demographics that include your age and gender.

Remember, men have a lower life expectancy and are considered more of a risk to insure. Females have a lower rate based on their gender alone.

A 30-year-old male will have higher premiums than a 30-year-old female based on gender alone.

Rates are affected by age as well. Older people have higher premiums while those who are younger have lower premiums. It’s a higher risk for the life insurance company to cover older people. A 60-year-old female will be quoted a higher rate than a 45-year-old female based on age alone.

Most life insurance policies require you to take a medical exam.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Test for in Underwriting Infographic

Your life insurance application will ask you basic questions that all life insurance applications ask. These questions include information about:

  • Current health and medical history
  • Veteran or military status
  • High-risk occupation
  • High-risk habits

The life insurance application will ask about your current health and your family history to see how much of a risk you are to insure. Some medical conditions decrease your life expectancy, and those are the conditions that will increase your rates. Learn more about how family history affects your life insurance rates here.

Any time there’s a factor that the life insurance company believes will cause you to have a higher risk of mortality or serious injury, they’ll want to make sure that it’s a smart decision for the company to take a risk and insure you. That’s why they ask if you have a high-risk occupation or if you’re in the military.

This commercial from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs discusses the insurance that the government gives to servicemembers, although they can seek personal insurance to purchase as well.

Other than the military, high-risk occupations include pilots, racecar drivers, construction workers, and loggers. Those in the military are automatically issued the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SMLI), but many members of the military don’t know that they can still buy individual life insurance too.

High-risk habits such as smoking cigarettes, excessive drinking, reckless driving, and overall below-average health can also affect life insurance premiums. People who have high-risk habits are considered a higher risk to life insurance companies. There will also be specific questions related to your asthma. Asthma-related questions include:

  • Type of asthma
  • Severity of asthma
  • Asthma management
  • Asthma diagnosis
  • Last asthma attack
  • Asthma medications
  • Visits to the hospital

All other aspects of getting good rates still apply and can dilute the effect of asthma on the life insurance application. The underwriter will classify you in a certain risk class to decide your rates. The risk classes include:

The Preferred Plus / Preferred Elite class is for people who are in superior health. These people have no chronic illnesses, and their immediate family members did not die before the age of 60 from cancer or heart disease.

Their lab results are within the normal range. Their weight and height profiles are also within the average range.

The Preferred class is for non-smoking individuals who are in outstanding health. Treatment for high blood pressure or high cholesterol is acceptable in the Preferred Class ranking.

Height and weight may be slightly over average. Lab results may also be slightly abnormal.

The Standard Plus ranking is for non-smokers who are of average health. The height and weight of the individual may be higher than normal.

The Standard ranking is for those who have a normal life expectancy and average health. The individual may be receiving treatment for minor conditions. One or more of the applicant’s parents may have died from heart disease or cancer before the age of 60.

Height and weight can be above average. Elevated lab results for blood pressure and cholesterol are accepted.

The Substandard class ranking is for those who need high-risk life insurance. Those with a below-average life expectancy, are obese, or have major health conditions will be covered in this ranking.

It also covers sufferers of major health conditions like diabetes and cancer and is the classification for those with abnormal lab results.

Smokers are often offered a specific ranking but with a smoker classification. The Smoker class is not always reserved for smoking cigarettes but also can include many kinds of tobacco use.

Management of your asthma is crucial to get the best premiums and coverage. Asthma management has a goal of achieving control with an asthma action plan.

Asthma is different for each person who suffers. There are factors you can watch and record the results and share with your doctor to find the right asthma management plan for you. Here are some tips for developing an asthma care plan:

  • Track asthma symptoms
  • Record peak flow readings
  • Access asthma control
  • Collect Information about medicines and whether you need to adjust
  • Recognize and treat the asthma attack
  • Know when to go for emergency care
  • Avoid triggers

Some asthma plans include a questionnaire. This questionnaire includes the ACT (Asthma Control Test), and it measures your asthma severity over a month.

So, if you are asking yourself, I am a smoker with asthma, can I get life insurance?

The answer is yes. Smokers can pay as much as $83 for the same 30-year, $150,000 term life policy in which a non-smoker with a preferred plus health class rating could pay as low as $21.

How the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Affects Life Insurance With Asthma

This new pandemic has many people wondering, does life insurance cover Coronavirus?

Many life insurance companies have started adjusting their company policies due to the pandemic and they are reacting to the pandemic in a variety of ways.

Some companies like Prudential Financial and Protective Life have halted applications from individuals 80 years old and older. Other companies, such as Lincoln National, have paused applications on the same demographic.

Companies such as Mutual of Omaha and Penn Mutual have temporarily suspended applications from those who are 70 years of age and older. Until June 15th, 2020, Securian Financial will not accept applications for those who are 71 years and older.

Some companies have suspended applications for those who are over 60. While age is a big factor that goes into accessing your mortality rate, there are health conditions that also increase those risks.

During this time, conditions that previously were easier to get life insurance such as diabetes and asthma are proving to be more difficult.

Some life insurance policies exclude events like coronavirus. Some life insurance policies are also adding in exclusion riders in the event of contracting COVID-19, respiratory illnesses from COVID-19, or a mutation.

How to Pass a Life Insurance Exam

When you prepare for your term life insurance application, you will want to:

  • Get healthy
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Stop any high-risk behavior
  • Switch from a high-risk occupation

When trying to get the best life insurance rates, you want to try to reduce your risk of mortality as much as possible. The first thing for you to do is to get healthy.

Much like applying for health insurance for asthma, the more steps you take toward good health, the better. So, if you’re overweight, try to lose weight, and stop any smoking or excessive drinking. T

he same roadblocks in applying for health insurance for asthma patients apply with life insurance as well. So, high-risk behavior such as reckless driving or skydiving will also need to stop. The only way to lower your risk if you have a high-risk occupation is to switch to a job that’s considered less of a risk.

Life insurance rates for people with asthma are generally lower for those who diet and exercise or keep their blood pressure down with medication. The premiums are generally higher for those who don’t follow up with a doctor regularly.

Best Life Insurance Companies for Asthma Sufferers

It’s estimated that 300 million people suffer from asthma worldwide, but spring allergies won’t wash out your term life insurance (learn more about allergies and life insurance here). Many life insurance companies are tolerant of people with asthma.

While asthma does not normally exclude you from coverage, it does increase your rates. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find affordable life insurance coverage for people with asthma. This commercial from AAA will discuss some of the reasons why you’d want to buy life insurance.

The most common chronic childhood disease worldwide is asthma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that 19 million Americans over 18 years old suffer from asthma.

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Life Insurance With Asthma: The Bottom Line

Having asthma is an inconvenience, but it doesn’t have to be an inconvenience when shopping for life insurance. Your asthma, factors related to your asthma, and factors regarding your lifestyle and health will be accessed during the underwriting process.

This risk assessment will then decide how much coverage you are eligible for and how high or low your rates will be. Each company offers different life insurance products and to get the best coverage and rates, you need to compare them all.

Don’t wait — Click here for our FREE life insurance quote tool that will compare life insurance companies and help you find out how to get life insurance for asthma affordably. Get started now.

Frequently Asked Questions: Life Insurance With Asthma

Now, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about life insurance with asthma.

#1 – I am a smoker with asthma, can I still get life insurance?

Having asthma will not keep you from qualifying for at least some form of life insurance, neither will being a smoker. Having asthma and being a smoker will raise your life insurance rates.

When you are evaluated during the underwriting process, your smoking habits and asthma diagnosis will put you in higher risk classification. Classifications with the highest risks also have higher premiums. The average rates for life insurance for smokers are listed above.

#2 – I am young, healthy, and financially stable. Should I buy life insurance?

It is suggested to at least buy burial expense insurance. If you are young, healthy, and financially stable, then the amount of life insurance coverage that you want to purchase will probably be lower.

Regardless, the average funeral is close to $10,000. A life insurance policy dedicated to the end of life costs will keep your family from having to face the burden of coming up with and paying those costs when you are gone.

#3 – Can I bundle my life insurance and health insurance when I suffer from asthma?

This will really depend on the company you are interested in. Many companies offer multiple types of insurance and will offer bundles. Bundles can be great because they allow you to pay multiple insurance policies in one payment.

It is important to ask the insurance company you are interested in what the quotes are for each policy individually. The policies may be called a bundle but that does not mean that bundling will save you any money. It may be more cost-efficient to buy multiple separate policies.

#4 – Why does asthma increase my life insurance premiums?

Asthma is comorbid with multiple other conditions that lower your life expectancy. You have a higher risk of developing other conditions that are life-threatening so the life insurance company will remember that during the underwriting process.

#5 – Is asthma considered a pre-existing condition?

Yes, asthma is considered a pre-existing condition.



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