Life Insurance After Stroke…Everything You Need to Know
Yes, obtaining life insurance after a stroke is possible. However, it may be difficult and/or expensive.
A stroke is a medical emergency where the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted and within minutes brain cells begin to die. The good news, according to the Mayo Clinic, is that far fewer Americans are dying from stroke as compared to previous years.
While a stroke is a very serious medical event, it is evaluated by insurance carrier the same way as all preexisting conditions are evaluated. That is, insurers must decide 'how much risk to the company does this condition represent?".
Because different life insurance carriers have different appetites for certain serious risks, it is important that your application be sent to an insurer that is most likely to view your situation in the most favorable light.
What Insurers Will Want to Know
In order to evaluate the risk your condition poses to the carrier, underwriters will need to know the following Information:
- What was the date of your stroke?
- Was the stroke a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or a full CVA (cerebrovascular accident) stroke?
- What studies or test were conducted after the stroke? This would include MRI,CT Scan, ultrasound.
- Symptoms at time of stroke.
- Do you have any residual effects from the stroke?
- What Medications are you taking as a result of the stroke?
- How is your health other than the stroke history? This will particularly be concerned with related condition to stroke such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.
Underwriting Classes for Stroke Victims
It is important that your application be accurate about the information provided because you are more likely to "get a break" from a n underwriter on a close classification decision if you're honest. Rest assured, they will find the information anyway.
The best possible underwriting classes for stroke victims generally start at standard rate class. TIA events, while extremely serious, are viewed far more favorably than CVA events.
If the stroke was more than six years ago and was a TIA , and ALL other underwriting criteria are good , you will likely qualify for standard rates. If the event was a CVA and there are no lasting effects standard is possible but not as likely.
Applications for life insurance after a stroke that take place less than 6 years from the incident (but more than 6 months) are offered substandard , or so called table rates (see description below). The severity of the table rating is dependent on the amount of time elapsed and any residual symptoms. Here again TIA events are viewed far more favorably than CVA events.
Applications that don't qualify for standard rates are often offered a table rated or substandard policy. Each table represents a 25% increase in the cost of the policy over the standard price. So table 2/B would cost 1.5 times the standard rate. in extreme cases, tables can go as high as 16 or 4 times the standard rates.
Applications that take place less than 6 months from a TIA event will be postponed. applications that are received less than one year from a full CVA event will also be postponed.
In cases where the applicant's related conditions are serious such as blood pressure, Cholesterol and/or smoking, the case may be declined outright. In the case of a declination, there are guaranteed and simplified issue policies available for smaller face amounts.
If you have been declined for life insurance, do not reapply without speaking to an experienced independent agent. Any declination information will be accessible by future underwriters through the Medical Information Bureau. The less info you have at MIB the better off your application will be.
Sample Rates for Life Insurance After Stroke
Gender: Male Age: 50
$250000 20 Year Term
Standard Rates - Table 2 Rates - Table 4 Rates
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The Importance of Using an Independent Agent
This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is 20% more expensive than Lincoln.
It would seem this is a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is consistent , it really is that straight forward.
This is the kind of easy price shopping that is super useful for folks in good health and shows one reason you should always use an independent agent.
For people who are survivors of a stroke, or any other serious condition, it gets much more complicated.
Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more or less strict with underwriting classifications, you need to know which carrier will grade you a standard risk and which ones will grade you as table 4/D.
In the example cited above, Prudential Financial (the most expensive standard rate) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk Table 2 while Pru might well go Standard.
This is something you won't know by only looking at the lowest rate. Looking at the rates above, an independent agent could save you 50% (the difference between Prudential @ Standard and Lincoln @ Table 2 ). Note that the table 2 Lincoln rate did not even make the the chart - it is $170.29/mo.
If you paid 50% more than you needed to, it would cost you $18,134 over the life of a 20 year policy. If that happened and you found out too late you might look like tghis baby.
Good independent agents will have access to 50+ highly rated carriers and help you choose the best one for your particular situation.