5 Tips for Buying Life Insurance When You Have a Chronic Illness

According to stats released by the CDC, a surprising number of adults have a chronic illness in the United States. More than half of all adults suffer from at least one chronic illness, and then around 40% of adults suffer from two or more chronic illnesses. That means a large portion of the United States are shopping for both health insurance and life insurance with pre-existing chronic illnesses. 

If you fall into this category – and chances are that you do – you may be feeling anxious about what it means for you in terms of life insurance. But don’t worry, where there’s a will there’s a way but there are a few things you should keep in mind when buying life insurance with a chronic illness. Keep reading to learn my top 5 tips for buying life insurance with pre-existing conditions.

1. Be Realistic About Your Coverage
You may find it harder to get the exact kind of policy you want compared to someone who doesn’t have pre-existing conditions. The amount of coverage might be unaffordable for you based on what health issues you’re dealing with. For this reason it’s a good idea to be realistic about how much coverage you expect to get and what you’re prepared to pay. You may have to reduce your overall coverage goals, or increase your monthly payment, to find a middle ground that feels comfortable for you and your family. 

Chris Stock with Diabetes Life Solutions notes “9 out of 10 times life insurance with a chronic illness will be more expensive.  The higher a risk you are to the insurance company, the more expensive your premiums will be.  Because of this, you may discover that you cannot financially afford the amount of life insurance you need.”

2. Shop Around
There are so many different life insurance policies out there, not all are created equal. It is definitely a good idea to shop around and check out whether there are more competitive options. Small savings each month can add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars depending on the length of your premium. Some insurance policies also may not require a medical exam which could work in your favor, however it’s a good idea to compare the different companies that you’re eligible for. 

Chris Riley of Diabetes 365 mentions “all life insurance companies will review your profile differently.  One company may charge 40% to 50% higher in premiums compared to other carriers.  Because of this, it’s extremely important to shop around for life insurance for type 1 diabetics.”

3. Get Healthier
If you can improve your health before applying for a life insurance policy that requires a medical exam, you could dramatically improve your coverage or insurance price. This is something you should be motivated to do for obvious reasons, such as improving your health, but it can be a great way to ensure you’re the best you can be healthwise when you start your life insurance policy. Things such as your BMI can impact your life insurance policy, so be sure to focus on your overall health. 

4. Be Open to the Type of Life Insurance
Did you know there are quite a few different types of life insurance that all have different benefits and limitations. A traditional life insurance policy will be possible if your illness is well managed. In this circumstance the beneficiaries are paid a set sum at the time of the policy holders passing. A simplified issue insurance will work well for those of us who are mostly healthy but have a small issue and often these policies do not require medical exams. If you’re apprehensive about whether you’d be eligible for life insurance, a guaranteed issue life insurance plan could be a great fit for you. 
It’s a lot more expensive than other types of life insurance but can be a great option if you’re worried you wouldn’t be accepted. Final expense life insurance is a good option for older policyholders who want a lump sum to help with end of life costs like funerals etc. The more flexible you are with the type of life insurance policy you’d be happy with, the more options you’ll have available.

5. The Sooner the Better
Most life insurance policies increase significantly as you age, so it’s one of those things that is better to get as soon as possible as you’ll be able to get a lower rate. The sooner you’re able to sign your life insurance policy, the more likely you are to lock in a competitive rate you’ll be happier with. One thing I like to do is compare the annual cost across the board with how much longer I expect to live. This can make it easy to see how much your policy will cost and what you think you’ll get in return for it.

Buying life insurance is a good investment into the financial security of your loved ones. It’s important to shop around, to be flexible with what kind of life insurance you want, and to know what kind of policies could work best in your circumstance. I hope these tips help you feel empowered and inspired to take the leap to investing in the financial future and security of your family.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.