Finding the best life insurance with cardiovascular disease (CVD) may feel like an uphill battle. However, cardiovascular disease is a wide-ranging term covering a large number of medical conditions. Getting approved for a life insurance policy will depend on your specific risk factors.
This article will help you find the life insurance that works best for you if you’ve had a heart attack, heart palpitations, or other cardiovascular complications.
Instead of stressing yourself by trying to figure out what type of life insurance you can get, read on to learn how to apply to a life insurance company that will provide the most coverage at the lowest rate.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death for Americans.
Because life insurance underwriters look at statistics when it comes to providing coverage for people with high-risk medical conditions, knowing 25% of deaths in the U.S. are caused by heart disease can leave life insurance seekers feeling hopeless.
However, all is not lost.
Your chances of being approved for life insurance depend greatly on what type of heart disease you have been diagnosed with, along with other factors, like severity of symptoms and overall health.
Types of Cardiovascular Disease and How They Affect Life Insurance
Coronary heart disease (CHD), often referred to as coronary artery disease (CAD), is the prevailing type of cardiovascular disease. However, there are several other types of heart disease.
According to the World Health Organization, the following is the global yearly death rate for each type of cardiovascular disease:
- Coronary Heart Disease: 2.3 million
- Stroke: 1.8 million
- Other Cardiovascular Diseases: 996,000
- Hypertensive Heart Disease: 290,000
- Inflammatory Heart Disease: 104,000
- Rheumatic Heart Disease: 66,500
Coronary heart disease is caused by damage to the blood vessels which supply the heart with blood. Plaque buildup and arterial wall damage can be symptoms of coronary heart disease.
Rheumatic heart disease is caused when streptococcal bacteria leads to rheumatic fever, which damages the heart muscle.
Strokes occur when blood is prevented from getting to the brain. This can be caused by blockages throughout the circulatory system.
Other medical conditions can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, including:
If you have several of these health conditions, your life insurance ratings may be negatively affected.
In fact, the combination of heart disease with any other medical condition or lifestyle risk, like tobacco use, may result in a decline.
Even if you have been declined by a life insurance company because of your cardiovascular disease, you may not be resigned to living without life insurance.
Oftentimes, the carriers you apply to make all the difference. And you’ll want to make sure you fill out your application accurately to get the best consideration.
When applying for life insurance, be prepared to answer questions such as:
What type of cardiovascular disease have you been diagnosed with?
Different conditions are associated with different risk factors. Heart disease is a wide-ranging category, so your specific diagnosis may not be as risky as you think.
When were you diagnosed?
If you have had few or no symptoms in several years and have changed your health with lifestyle alterations or a consistent medication regimen, you may be given a higher rating. The closer your diagnosis is to your application date, the harder it will be to get approved.
Have you had severe chest pains this year?
People with heart disease who have had recent intense chest pains may fall under the lowest rating. Current symptoms never look good to an underwriter, as they can mean either poor health maintenance or remaining issues.
What medications do you take?
Taking medication regularly can be an indication your condition is well controlled, but some medications are seen as indications of poor health. Being forced to take high doses, or being prescribed particularly aggressive medicines are looked down upon.
What other health conditions have you been diagnosed with?
Cardiovascular disease may not be your most severe health problem. If you have high cholesterol or diabetes in addition to heart disease, your rating may be reduced. Any time there are multiple issues of concern, each will be weighed on its own, as well as being coupled with the others.
Do you see a health professional regularly?
Showing the life insurance company you care about improving your health and preventing future complications can assure them you’re less risky than someone who doesn’t follow a healthy lifestyle.
Have you had any lab tests in the past year?
The results from certain tests can provide accurate data about the degree of damage to the heart muscle. Stress tests, EKG’s, or other types of tests help underwriters understand your true level of heart function.
Not everyone with cardiovascular disease qualifies for traditional life insurance.
Underwriters will want to assess your general health and lifestyle when determining your rating.
The best ratings will be given to individuals who:
- Eat healthy
- Exercise regularly
- Have a safe driving record
- Don’t engage in risky activities, such as skydiving
If you have had a heart attack which was caught early and didn’t cause severe damage, you’ll usually be assigned a Mild Substandard rating. People with this rating pay 50% more than those in average health, who get a Standard rating.
Timing is a major factor involved in assigning a health rating for cardiovascular disease.
If you have severe heart disease, you may have to wait up to five years after the initial occurrence of symptoms to apply for life insurance.
People with less severe heart issues may have to wait only two years before they can get traditional life insurance.
If the initial cardiovascular event was minor, you may not have to wait at all.
Are There Alternative Options for Coverage?
Poor cardiovascular health doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for life insurance at all, however.
A guaranteed issue policy doesn’t require you to take a medical exam or answer comprehensive questions about your medical history.
This type of policy is given to just about anyone, regardless of their health status.
You are guaranteed coverage, but you will pay more in premiums—in fact, it’s the most expensive type of life insurance on the market. Payout rules for coverage are different from those for traditional life insurance, too. Full benefits may not be available until the second or third year.
If you have a defibrillator or pacemaker, for example, you might need to look at alternative options for life insurance, too.
With a graded death benefit policy, you have access to more death benefit than a guaranteed policy at slightly lower rates.
You’ll be paid out a lower death benefit if you die in the first year after signing the policy, but benefits increase each year, up to the third year.
Life insurance is important for people with cardiovascular disease, just like anyone else.
If you’re confused about benefits, working with an experienced life insurance agent will ensure that all of your questions are answered and you get the best possible coverage.
An independent agent can also help you apply to several different carriers so you’ll have the highest chance of acceptance with the lowest possible rates.