Life Insurance with Ventricular Arrhythmia…What You Need to Know

Life Insurance with Ventricular Arrhythmia…What You Need to Know

Getting approved for life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia can be tricky. However, you have landed in the right spot to learn all you need to know to obtain the best possible deal on life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia.

Ventricular arrhythmia, which includes both ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation or VFib, is a dangerous condition that can be life threatening. Nonetheless, if the arrhythmia is well controlled with medication and follow up it, life insurance approvals may be  attainable.

Your rates will be dictated by your particular circumstance, the type, frequency and severity of your arrhythmia, as well as the carrier chosen. The carrier is an important part of this equation, as different insurance companies have very different appetites for coronary and cardiovascular risks.

With a history that includes ventricular arrhythmia, life insurance carriers will want to know as much as they can about the risk they are being asked to insure. This is no different than how the carriers deal with any other condition like history of heart attack and stroke, or even lifestyle choices like smoking and scuba diving.

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief description of the condition and answer any questions you may have about how to obtain life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia at the best price possible.

If you already know more than you ever wanted to about ventricular tachycardia, or you know exactly what you are looking for, you can use the quick navigation tool to skip around.

Fast Facts About Cardiac Arrhythmia

​Cardiac arrhythmia is a catch-all term for several types of irregular heartbeats and irregular heart rates.

When abnormal electrical activity causes the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or erratically, the condition is called an arrhythmia. Although most arrhythmia's are harmless, some can interfere with the heart's ability to pump blood.

The most common arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation or AFib. More than two million Americans suffer from an atrial fibrillation condition that causes the upper and lower heart chambers to beat "out of synch".

Less common arrhythmia's are atrial tachycardia & ventricular tachycardia, where the heart beats too fast, bradycardia-when the heart beats too slow and ventricular fibrillation, which causes the ventricles to quiver rather than beat. Source: National Institute of Health

A few of the well known people who suffer from cardiac arrhythmia are are: President George H.W. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden and singers Elton John and Miley Cirus.

life insurance with VFIB
life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia
life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia
life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia

Life Insurance with Ventricular Arrhythmia: What Carriers will Take into Consideration

Life insurance underwriters will generally be concerned with 5 general questions

  • Do you fit into the usual risk factors for the condition
  • What are/were your syptoms
  • What was the Diagnosis & Treatment
  • What is the aftercare (follow up & compliance)
  • What is your health like apart from the condition/history in question

While the outline above is general in form, the questions will require specific answers. These answers will be gathered from your application, a telephone interview, the Medical Information Bureau, a Script Check, and an Attending Physicians Statement (APS).

Lets look at the general areas of inquiry one at a time.

Do you "fit" into the usual risk factors for the Condition

Because ventricular arrhythmia is closely correlated with serious heart issues, underwriters will scrutinize symptoms more closely than most files.

Underwriters tend to be more comfortable with making offers when the applicant's condition fits into a common risk factor pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there is a concern that something else is at play. When this is the case, underwriters will try to allay their fears by taking a harder look at the file.

The Mayo Clinic list the following risk factors for ventricular arrhythmia:

  • lack of oxygen to the heart due to tissue damage from heart disease
  • Abnormal electrical pathways in the heart present at birth (congenital heart conditions, including long QT syndrome)
  • Structural heart disease (cardiomyopathy)
  • Medication side effects
  • An inflammatory disease affecting skin or other tissues (sarcoidosis)
  • Abuse of recreational drugs, such as cocaine
  • Imbalance of electrolytes, mineral-related substances necessary for conducting electrical impulses

What are/were your symptoms

When underwriting life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia, carriers will want to know the symptoms you had (if any) and how long you had them before the diagnosis.

Ventricular arrhythmia can range from insignificant to life-threatening. The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms as the most common:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling as if your heart is racing (palpitations)
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Seizures

Sustained or more serious episodes of ventricular arrhythmia may cause:

  • Loss of consciousness or fainting
  • Cardiac arrest (sudden death)

Your Diagnosis and Treatments

​Life insurance underwriters will want to know the diagnosis of your ventricular arrhythmia and the date of the initial diagnosis. They will also need to know about any any subsequent episodes. Underwriting will additionally want to know what medications you have been prescribed for your ventricular arrhythmia.

With the help of your application, interview, and attending physician's report, underwriters will review any heart imaging, ECG results - including from event recorders or Holter monitors. Underwriters will need to know if your diagnosis is paroxysmal (less than 12 times/yr) or persistent (needs treatment to return to normal function) or permanent.

Underwriting will need to know if you have undergone a surical catheter ablation,or have had implantable cardioverter-defibrillator surgery.

Anti arrhythmia drugs are often prescribed for ventricular arrhythmia as well as atrial arrhythmia. The list of most common pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter maintenance the follows:

  • Dofetilide (Tikosyn)
  • Flecainide
  • Propafenone (Rythmol)
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • Sotalol (Betapace, Sorine)
  • Source: Mayo Clinic

While information that is "foggy" will be taken from your medical records, knowing the dates of diagnosis and treatments is necessary to get an accurate quote.

Your Follow Up Care

When evaluating life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia applications, underwriting will want to see compliance with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.

​Are you going to the doctor regularly? Are you have ECG's done?​ Follow up compliance is a huge selling point to underwriter sitting on the fence about a rating.

Your Over all Health (and related conditions)

While any application for life insurance will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters in cardiac arrhythmia cases will specifically look for both risk factors and certain complicating conditions. The serious complications associated with cardiac arrhythmia are heart failure and stroke.

Obtaining Life Insurance with Ventricular Arrhythmia


With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.


The primary caveats with ventricular arrhythmia are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies will only be available in very small face amounts and an attending physician's statement (APS) is guaranteed to be requested.


The APS can slow the process as doctors are in no hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.


The information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:


  1. Date of Diagnosis

  2. Age at Diagnosis

  3. Affected Systems

  4. Treatments Undergone (medicines,surgeries, treatments)

  5. Dates of Treatments (and follow up history)

  6. Severity of Symptoms (frequency and length of arrhythmia)

  7. Other Health Issues

Possible Underwriting Ratings for Life Insurance with Ventricular Arrhythmia


Because applications for life insurance with ventricular  arrhythmia are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story matters. That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get vastly different offers from the same carrier based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance.

Because ventricular arrhythmia can be so dangerous, it is difficult to provide underwriting scenarios for all the possibilities. That being said, be aware that if your paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia is well controlled and monitored, and you are in excellent physical condition, you may qualify for standard/preferred rates.

However, even well controlled ventricular fibrillation or V-fib is a sign of a very weak heart and will likely get no better than a severe substandard rate.

In fact, many arrhythmia cases result in substandard or "table rated" offers.To learn about how table ratings work click here.

Decline– For a severe case you may be declined for traditional coverage. If this is the case you may be eligible for a smaller face amount policy. These policies are referred to as Guaranteed issue or simplified issue. If you have been declined please contact us.

Why you Should Use an Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Ventricular Arrhythmia

Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.


What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.


For example Prudential may have more of an appetite for the risk that ventricular tachycardia presents than say Banner Life. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.


So, if your Agent only represented one insurer and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 30% or 40% better, how would you feel?


You’d probably be peeved either at the agent or yourself or both. So it’s important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.


A good independent agent will have access to over 60 carriers. This ensures the best chance at a the best rate.


Note that if he doesn’t, he may not be in a hurry to let you in on this information.

Case Study: Pricing Life Insurance with Ventricular Tachycardia

So, I have been carrying on about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds pretty self serving coming from an independent agent.

You are right, it is. However, it is also the (provable) truth.

Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance with ventricular tachycardia or any other impairment.

Gender: Male Age: 53

$250000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: No

Well controlled mild proximal ventricular arrhythmia Diagnosed Age 46

Atenolol for maintenance , No Other Health Concerns

This looks like a best case scenario would be either standard or Table 2/B depending on the insurers appetite for a ventricular arrhythmia risk. Let’s take a look at the rates.

Standard Rates Table 2/B Rates Table 4/D Rates

CARRIERMO. PYMTCARRIERMO. PYMTCARRIERMO. PYMT
banner$104.91banner129.31banner168.00
principal105.12principal154.39principal203.67
sbli express109.79sbli express161.55sbli express213.31
mutual omaha118.30mutual omaha174.74mutual omaha231.18
prudential logo121.73prudential logo185.61prudential logo250.63

This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available, illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is about 15% more expensive than Banner.

On it’s face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple.

This type of easy price comparison is particularly helpful for younger people in good health and shows why you want to use an independent Agent.

For people who suffer from a ventricular arrhythmia or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.

Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a standard risk and which ons will grade you as table 2-4.

In the case above Banner is best in either case. But, if your Agent can’t use Banner, Prudential (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 can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you obout 25% (the difference between Prudential @ standard and Principal @ Table 2).

Over the life of the policy that’s more than $7800 that would be better left in your wallet!

Your Next Step

Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with ventricular arrhythmia.

Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible, it’s time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand).

Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started.

We are committed to totally transparent pricing (we’ll even share our computer screen with you if you’d like), and making the application process as painless as possible.

If you have any questions, We’d like to hear them.

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James Tobin, CFP
 

Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on Google + 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..