Are you shopping for life insurance, but kidney disease seems to be stopping you in your tracks? It is perfectly understandable, because underwriters will often consider the condition a high risk factor.
Complicating the matter even further is the fact there is not just one, but several different types of kidney disease, and each one has a different level of severity.
If you’re looking for answers, you’re in the right place. This article lays out everything you need to know about getting life insurance with kidney disease.
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What Is Kidney Disease?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 4.5 million adults have been diagnosed with kidney disease in the United States. More than 47,000 people die from it every year, which makes kidney disease the ninth leading cause of death in this country.
It is those statistics which make life insurance and kidney disease a tricky combination.
The first order of business is to determine exactly which type of condition you have. The two main categories are congenital and acquired.
Congenital means you were born with the disease, and it includes the following conditions:
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
- Alport’s Syndrome
- Renal Dysplasia
Acquired kidney disease is one you develop later in life. It includes:
- Renal Failure
- Kidney Cancer
- Lupus Nephritis
- Kidney Stones
The more progressive types of kidney disease are obviously considered a significantly higher risk by insurance underwriters. Milder forms of the condition, such as kidney stones, are not generally life-threatening.
It is because of this wide range of risk that applicants are questioned so closely about their situation.
How Will Kidney Disease Affect Your Life Insurance Rates?
The two primary factors insurance companies will consider in determining the level of risk associated with your disease will be the type and severity of your condition.
These will determine not only the policies for which you qualify, but also the cost of your premiums.
Severity levels range from mild to moderate to severe.
Mild conditions, such as occasional bouts of kidney stones, are often assigned a Standard or better risk classification.
This means you are eligible for the same life insurance policies as those who do not have kidney disease—and at the same rates, but without any discounts.
You could be considered a moderate risk if the type of condition you have, and the degree to which you are affected, are both manageable.
In this case, there are companies which will approve coverage for you, but your premiums will likely cost more than the Standard rates. You’ll pay Sub-Standard rates, which means each tier is a percentage higher than the base premium.
Unfortunately, if your condition is severe, it can be almost impossible to find traditional life insurance.
However, there are some companies who will actually issue smaller, guaranteed policies even to patients who are undergoing kidney dialysis.
Beyond the type of condition you have and its severity, there are other factors regarding kidney disease about which insurance companies will question you closely.
- Complications: these bring risks of their own and can have a negative effect on your application, while being free from complications will be more favorably looked upon.
- Length of time: in general, the longer you have kidney disease, the more of a toll it takes on your overall health.
- Treatments, surgeries, medications: the number and success of these are all looked at closely.
- Condition Management: a huge part of what underwriters are interested in is how well-managed your specific condition is and how much effort you are willing to make to keep it under control.
As you can see, there are many variables involved. But there is no need to be intimidated.
If you are trying to find life insurance and having kidney disease is a factor, a qualified insurance agent can point you toward the policies which best fit your specific circumstances.
Other Considerations in Addition to Kidney Disease
Naturally, all of the information that applies to regular applications will be factored in, as well as those which are specific to kidney disease.
- Gender: women tend to live longer than men, so gender has always been a major factor in life insurance.
- Age: all things being equal, younger applicants pay less than older ones.
- Overall health: the absence of any serious health issues, aside from your kidney disease, will count for a lot. Insurance companies are also impressed by regular exercise, diet, and other positive lifestyle factors.
What Kind of Coverage You Can Expect
There are a few possible results you can anticipate from your application:
Full coverage will give you a regular policy at normal rates. This is most likely if your condition is mild enough to be assigned a Standard risk classification.
Higher premiums are often a possibility for those in higher risk categories in order to get the coverage they want.
Lower coverage is sometimes an option for patients in the highest risk categories. Companies who will not approve you for $500,000 in coverage may still be willing to give you $100,000 in coverage.
If you are declined for regular coverage, there are still alternative policies available. Some don’t even require physical exams, though you will still need to disclose your condition. These also tend to have certain restrictions, like reduced benefits in the first year or more.
Graded policies, for instance, usually have a 2 to 3 year waiting period before they go into effect and the maximum coverage generally falls between $25,000 and $150,000.
How to Get Approved for Life Insurance with Kidney Disease
While it can certainly be challenging to find a good life insurance policy when you’re suffering from kidney disease, you don’t need to give up hope.
In most cases, all you need is to have someone knowledgeable help you navigate the process, like us.
You should also be aware there is a significant difference between insurance companies in how they regard various health issues.
This is why our familiarity with different policies can be a great advantage in choosing which ones to approach.
Your specific condition will determine which life insurance policy is right for you, and only a professional insurance agent knows how to find out which company offers it.
We can help you get the best policy available, at the lowest possible rate.