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By James Tobin
LIHD Difficulty Rating
While there is a lot to know about getting approved for life insurance after a stroke, the seven questions below are a good start. For more in-depth discussion just follow the links in the answer sections and keep reading.
Every applicant for life insurance after a stroke can be approved for a policy.
However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the nature of your stroke (TIA or CVA), how long ago it happened, and your overall health.
Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of life insurance options after a stroke is broken into three sections: (click link to go directly to section)
In order to underwrite your application life insurance carriers will need to know the symptoms that you have experienced, the treatment undergone, including prescription drugs used, and any medical follow up. For a more exhaustive discussion of the underwriting of stroke applications please scroll to What Insurers Will Want to Know After a Stroke
In order to get the best rates possible you will need to take an exam. However, if it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required. See How Term Life Insurance Works for more on the exam.
The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. Stroke applications are generally going to be rated as standard (rare) or lower. This issue is discussed using pricing samples here. Sample pricing for simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies is provided in the corresponding links.
The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.
If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and three of the better known term carriers for dealing with TIA strokes are Prudential, American General (AIG), and Banner.
However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.
The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam, and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here.
While it is extremely rare to see an offer for life insurance after afull CVA stroke that is not substandard or "table rated", the severity of the rating can vary significantly. Therefore it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with cardiac cases and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.
Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.
Applications for life insurance after having a stroke are evaluated on a case by case basis. As such, your story matters. That is to say two people with the same age and underlying condition may get different offers from the same carrier based on the time elapsed since the event and patient compliance.
Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience. Note that the preferred plus and preferred categories are not available after a stroke is suffered.
Standard class-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 far less likely.
Sub-Standard Rate- 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. * while expensive this may still be a very good outcome for the circumstances
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.
Decline- In cases where the applicant's related conditions are serious such as blood pressure, Cholesterol and/or smoking, the case may be declined for traditional coverage. 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.
At the top of this article we stated that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance after a stroke Note, however, we mention “affordable” rather than inexpensive or “low cost’. The reason for the distinction is that life insurance with a stroke history is not cheap life insurance.
Often times, because the coverage can be expensive on a per benefit dollar basis, the benefit is reduced to make the life insurance affordable. While this is often not an ideal situation, the truth is we all have to live within our budgets, and sometimes the way to make life insurance after a stroke affordable is to reduce either the term of coverage or the benefit amount.
The difficult part of term life insurance with a stroke history is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As a result navigating this process
is not as easy as using a quote tool and picking the lowest price. This is discussed in detail in the case study below.
$500000 20 Year Term
$250000 10 Year Term
$100000 10 Year Term
$200000 20 Year Term
The term life insurance market is quickly adopting accelerated underwriting programs that do not require a medical exam as part of the application process. However, these no exam or non-med policies will not be available if you have had a stroke.
Without the no exam option, you will be required to take a para-medical exam. The exam is usually a 15-20 minute meeting with a nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded.
In order to evaluate the risk your stroke history poses to the carrier, underwriters will need to know the following Information:
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?"
During the application process make sure your agent is aware of any medications and the respective dosages. Common pharmaceuticals include nitrates,beta blockers and statins for cholesterol control.
If your recall of any of the required information is foggy, rest assured the underwriter will get it before making the best offer. So, in order to get as accurate a quote from the agent as possible and so as not to inconvenience the underwriter, make sure you have the information together. Making the process harder for the underwriter won't help.
Most term carriers will have the underwriting department do a telephone interview with you. The In the case of previous stroke the conversation will be wide-ranging, and last about 20 minutes.
The purpose of the interview will be to flesh out the information that it has from your exam, medical information, and driving history. Questions will often revolve around diet and lifestyle. Answer as honestly as possible, but never "offer" unrequested information.
In addition to the period of insurance, it is essential to understand the available policy riders. Riders are additional benefits that, often for an additional cost, are included in your policy.
The five most prominent riders are listed below with links to in-depth descriptions.
While there is no waiting period for the insurance to go into effect, the insurance company has a two-year window from the policy start in which they can contest a benefit for material misrepresentation on the initial application. So, honesty is the best policy.
You can dive deep into the ins and outs of term life insurance, learning about available term lengths, riders, financial ratings, and rates. The Life Insurance Help Desk works with the top term life insurance carriers.
With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.
The primary caveats with cardiac arrest cases are that in addition to no exam policies not being available, an attending physician's statement (APS) is guaranteed to be requested.
The APS may slow the process as doctors are in no hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.
Much the same as the information that underwriting will require, the information that you will need to provide to an agent in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:
Enter your text here...
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 possibly 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 this baby.
Good independent agents will have access to 50+ highly rated carriers and help you choose the best one for your particular situation.
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate post stroke term life insurance quote possible, it's time to begin the application process. The term process is outlined "step by step for you in the Life Insurance Buying Guide.
The Help Desk is committed to transparent pricing (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like) and making the application process as painless as possible.
Final expense or "burial insurance carriers are definitely concerned with strokes. Like term carriers, final expense insurance companies distinguish between full stroke CVA and TIA mini stroke. With mini stroke TIA , the options are better and more likely to end in day 1 coverage (no waiting period).
Regardless of the nature of the stroke, if it happened more than 2 years ago (and in some cases just 1 year), there is no issue assuming there were no physical impairments as a result of the stroke.
These "no-exam needed" burial policies are the next best choice for anyone who will not get through traditional underwriting.
The "final expense" market serves differing consumer needs. There is the need that is made obvious by the name "final expense". This term refers to a funeral, burial and miscellaneous cost tied to the rituals surrounding life's end.
Many of the buyers of these end of life policies simply want to remove any financial burden their funeral and burial would cause to their loved ones, while others want to leave a legacy.
Alternatively, the simplified issue marketplace serves as a safe harbor for people who need some life insurance, but cannot qualify for traditional term underwriting. The lenient underwriting standards of this market allow for people with a history of stroke events to get coverage.
How the policy works will be dictated by the type of final expense or burial policy it is:
With death benefit face amounts that top range from $5000-$100000, the simplified issue or "final expense " life insurance market is mostly made up of whole life insurance products. However, there several policies that have components of term policies starting to emerge. Make sure you know what you are buying!
Whether term or whole life, the calculation of the death benefit depends on if the policy is first-day coverage or graded
First day policies are straightforward, and provide a full death benefit from day 1 of the policy.
Graded policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period.
These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die in the first year of the policy; 30-50% if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
The carriers offer graded policies based on the applicant's health. These provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
Graded or not, a whole life policy has a fixed premium that cannot increase and the policy stays in force until the premiums stop being paid or the insured dies.
In addition to different underwriting standards, final expense pricing is complicated by the fact that a lot of providers only operate in certain states.
As a result the samples below are of limited value. You should use the final expense quote tool found here.
$25000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
$10000 "Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
Many burial policy insurers will have 10-15 minute home office interviews using the telephone. They are looking for the use of prescriptions that do not come up on their prescription check and assessing cognitive function. Be alert!
There are fewer riders associated with simplified issue policies than traditional term, but living benefits such as the accelerated benefit for terminal illness, and chronic illness are fairly common. Additionally, some final expense policies have a small cash component and have loan provisions.
The contestability laws are the same for all types of life insurance policies. That is, the carrier has two years from the origination of the policy to contest the benefit payout on policy where the application contained material misstatements.
As stated before, simplified underwriting is concerned with strokes. Unlike traditional underwriting that grades on a scale, "final expense" is a yes or no proposition.
Note that "yes" is divided into first-day coverage and "graded" categories. Stroke offers are generally "graded" if your stroke is less than 2 years old or you are taking known stroke medications within the last 2 years.
Additionally, underwriting will want to know if there are any physical impairments resulting from the stroke. Such impairments that limit activities of daily living or ADL's ( eating,bathing, dressing, and toileting, transferring & continence), require home health care or nursing rehab. These issues may force a waiting period or outright decline.
Incases where your stroke is more than 2 years old cases are not "graded" and full coverage would begin on day 1.
Final expense policies contain "knockout" questions and prescriptions. Stroke & stroke medications under 1 year old (and 2 years in most cases) will knock you out of 1st day coverage.
Because most final expense underwriting rules differ wildly, it's unusual that you can just go to the final expense quote tool and start. However, unless you have other serious conditions, that is exactly how to start.
Because stroke history is usually a matter of how long ago it happened,with cases where the event happened over 2 years ago and no resulting impairment, the best price may win. Remember to use the quote tool on the "final expense" page. The quote tool on this page is limited to term quotes.
Upon receiving your quote request, we will be in touch as soon as possible (often in minutes), and we will help you through the process. The whole process shouldn't take more than 30-40 minutes.
We are committed to a transparent pricing process and are happy to share a computer screen with you or send a video of the method used to get your rate. If you have any questions, please contact us.
As a stand-alone condition, Stroke less than a year old does not require the use of guaranteed life insurance. However, if the only offers are "graded", it may make sense to use a guaranteed policy until the 1 or 2 year period passes and you become eligible for day one coverage.
Additionally, if you are physically impaired due to the stroke and require home health care, or nursing facility, you will likely require guaranteed life insurance
If this describes your situation, keep reading.
Guaranteed policies should only be used as a last resort. In addition to the benefit grading provisions that make the policies toothless during the two or three year grading period, they are the most expensive policies sold.
Male Monthly Rates
Female Monthly rates
With only the requirement of age (depends on the carrier) and citizenship, guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a death benefit that ranges from $5000-$50000. Such plans are exclusively whole life insurance.
However, all guaranteed issue policies are "graded". Generally, the grading represents a 2 or 3 year period that the policy must be in force before a full death benefit will be paid.
Like "final expense" policies, guaranteed policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period. These policies commonly pay only premiums plus interest if you die if you die before the end of the "grading" period. (2-3 years depending on carrier). After the grading period ends, the carrier would pay the full face amount.
Also, like the "final expense" write up says, these provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
There is no exam for guaranteed life insurance. After all, it's guaranteed to be issued regardless of your health.
Although the contestability laws are the same as other policies, beyond age and citizenship, it's difficult to see where contestability may arise in a guaranteed issue case.
The guaranteed issue process is lightning fast and can be handled over the telephone in a matter of minutes. Give us a call or email us.
In addition to reassuring you that life insurance is attainable with a stroke history, this article pointed out that insurance companies have different pricing and underwriting standards from one another.
Furthermore, these underwriting differences are a reflection of the company's appetite for a specific health risk. For example, Prudential Financial may have more of an appetite for the risk that a stroke history presents than say, Banner.
In this case, the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel? You'd probably be sad like the puppy or mad at the agent or yourself or both.
So it's crucial that your Agent represent multiple carriers. In fact, most good independent agents will have access to over 40 or 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at the best rate.
Key Take Aways
Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance after a heart attack. We are committed to a totally transparent process (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us via email.
Keywords & related questions
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Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..
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