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Herpes Zoster

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Curious to know what is going to change when buying life insurance after shingles in regards to underwriting? Luckily, it may not be much, if anything, at all.

The premium you pay for life insurance is strictly based on your age and health, so any issue on your medical record can be a red flag for a life insurance carrier to take a deeper look.

Shingles, however, is much simpler.

Continue reading below to learn more about shingles, how it impacts the underwriting process, what premiums  you can expect to pay and more.

Life Insurance After Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Depending on your age (and even other health issues), you could have a pretty wide range of signs and symptoms of shingles. While most cases dissipate within a few weeks, some can get complicated with more major concerns. The great news is, once it’s over you can apply for some of the top tier rates in the industry as long as the rest of your health profile allows it.

What is shingles (herpes zoster) and why does it impact life insurance? The U.S. National Library of Medicine says:

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, blistering skin rash. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the virus that also causes chickenpox.

After you get chickenpox, the virus remains inactive (becomes dormant) in certain nerves in the body. Shingles occurs after the virus becomes active again in these nerves after many years.

The reason the virus suddenly becomes active again is not clear. Often only one attack occurs.

Shingles can develop in any age group. You are more likely to develop the condition if:

  • You are older than 60
  • You had chickenpox before age 1
  • Your immune system is weakened by medications or disease

If an adult or child has direct contact with the shingles rash and did not have chickenpox as a child or the chickenpox vaccine, they can develop chickenpox, not shingles.

Finding life insurance after shingles comes down to a few very finite details:

  • Time Frame
  • Severity
  • Long-Term Risk
  • Treatments
  • Recurrences

These five factors will ultimately determine how much of a risk you are to the life insurance company who will be offering you a policy. Your approval rating depends on these, in addition to your overall health and also the company you choose to place your business. Not all companies approve shingles at top notch prices.

Time Frame

When discussing time frame of shingles, there are really two things which matter; age at diagnosis and how long from the first sign of shingles until it’s symptom free. Young adults who get shingles tend to have more mild cases with fewer symptoms. Because they usually have a good immune system, it may be just a couple weeks of minor symptoms and it’s gone. With the older population, the severity can get much worse and last significantly longer. When the immune system isn’t as strong, it could last many weeks or even a couple months before all symptoms are eradicated.

Most people with quick recoveries are eligible for Preferred Best rates.


Everyone experiences most of the same symptoms, like itching, burning, painful blistering and fevers or chills. However, more complicated cases can be severe for a number of reasons: location(s) of the shingles, spread of the shingles, pain level, scarring, and even chronic symptoms.

The location of shingles is on one half of the body, but it can start anywhere from the legs all the way up to the back, neck and face. If the shingles nears orifices like eyes, ears, nose, or other sensitive areas, complications can arise quickly causing issues with breathing, seeing or hearing.

Other severe cases may cause chronic pain, like burning and itching of the skin which comes and goes. While complicated cases can go below standard rates, it is somewhat unusual. Mostly, Standard rates will apply.

Long-Term Risk

When an underwriter is looking to approve life insurance after shingles, long-term risk needs to be minimal in order to get the best rating. Long-term risk with shingles is a very low percentage, and is most frequent in those of older age. Typically, only the most severe cases have a chronic risk of symptoms, and even a smaller percentage have a second bout of shingles (recurrences). If the underwriter has no evidence of a possible health concern in the future directly resulting from having shingles, you can be approved at Preferred Best.


The treatments you undergo or the medications you take will rarely have an impact for most cases. Anti-viral medications, skin creams, and topical solutions are typical. Steroid use is one type of medication which can have an impact, especially if you have any other medical conditions where steroid use is a threat. With high complications, treatments can be more advanced, especially when eyes, ears and sensitive areas are of concern. These cases are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

If you have more questions about how shingles can impact life insurance, contact us. We’ll walk you through our quick interview to determine if you’re eligible for top tier rates, and with which company. Finding affordable life insurance after shingles isn’t difficult, but we can help make the process even easier and faster.


Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the founder and CEO of, LLC. and a multi-state licensed life insurance agent who has helped over a million Americans seek out affordable coverage, compare quotes, or get their family and businesses covered.

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