How to Get Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

Regardless of what you’ve heard, you may be able to get life insurance after you have had a heart attack. But you need to know where to look because all life insurance companies do not treat heart attack survivors the same when it comes to underwriting.

If you or someone you love has had a heart attack, there are several things you need to know before you start looking for coverage.  Once you read this article you will know everything you need to know to give yourself the best opportunity to get covered.

What is heart disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, with about 600,000 people dying each year in the United States. Every year, roughly 720,000 Americans suffer a heart attack.

Because any type of heart condition can pose risk to an insurance company, it can be more difficult to secure life insurance – but this type of coverage is extremely important because if the unthinkable occurs, your loved ones won’t have to suffer financially.

Heart disease underwriting guidelines

Any person with a heart condition will be required to apply for a fully underwritten life insurance policy, the underwriters will want to know some detailed information about you and your health before they make a decision on whether you’ll be approved.

Some primary risk factors for heart disease can include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Family history
  • Hyperlipidemia

So, in addition to general information, your date of birth, gender, height, and weight, there will be other questions, too, such as:

  • When was the date of your heart attack(s)?
  • How was your condition treated?
  • Have you had any recent surgeries?
  • Do you exercise regularly?
  • Do you take any medications for your heart condition? (And if so, what medication(s) do you take, and what is the dosage?)
  • When was your last EKG and stress test, and what were the results?
  • Have you experienced any chest discomfort since your heart attack(s)?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you smoke? (If so, how often and how much?)
  • Do you have any other health conditions?

The insurance underwriters will review your application for coverage, as well as other information such as:

  • Attending Physicians Statement (APS)
  • Prescription medication history
  • Medical Information Bureau (MIB) data
  • Motor Vehicle Records

It is also likely that you will have to undergo a medical examination as part of the life insurance underwriting process. This exam is typically conducted by a paramedical professional, or paramed. The paramed will take your blood pressure and get other vital statistics. They will also collect a blood and urine sample from you.

All of your information will then be evaluated by the underwriters and a decision will be made about your approval, as well as the cost of your coverage.

Cost of the coverage and possible outcomes

If you are approved for life insurance after a heart attack,  you could have to pay a higher amount of premium. This is to help cover the added risk the insurance company is taking on.

While all insurance carriers do not use the exact same underwriting classes, they will usually have one or more Preferred, Standard, and Sub-standard category. If you are approved in a Sub-standard rate class, you will pay more than another insured who does not have a heart condition, with all other factors being the same.

Although insurance carriers group insureds into various risk categories, in some cases, medical issues such as a heart condition can push the risk factors beyond just the basic underwriting classes. That is where table ratings come in.

Table ratings allow insurance companies to take added risk factors into account when determining the appropriate amount of premium to charge. For instance, applicants who are “table rated” are given a letter or a number which designates their rating – and depending on this table rating, the individual will pay an additional percentage on top of the standard premium rate.

After a certain period of time goes by, the additional premium amount may drop off, which will reduce the policy’s premium going forward.

Because table ratings can differ from one insurance company to another, it is important to compare the rates from different carriers in order to determine your best coverage option and price.

Best life insurance companies for applicants with past heart conditions

All life insurance carriers have their own underwriting standards. So, while some may be more strict, others will look more kindly on those who have heart-related issues.

When it comes to underwriting with a history of heart attack, some of the best insurers include:

  • Prudential – For more than 140 years, Prudential has helped individuals and businesses protect what’s important. The company offers some affordable policies, even for those who have heart issues. Policyholders can also benefit from the company’s money-saving features such as Age Last Birthday.
  • Lincoln – Lincoln has also been in the life insurance business for more than 100 years. The company is well trusted in the industry, and it offers a wide variety of both term and permanent life insurance coverage options. Lincoln is also known for its outstanding customer service.
  • Principal – Principal offers both term and permanent life insurance to fit a variety of budgets – even if you aren’t in perfect health.
  • Nationwide – Nationwide’s Intelligent Underwriting streamlines the life insurance application process by offering more speed and efficiency.

What are your options if you can’t medically qualify?

If you are unable to qualify for fully underwritten life insurance following a heart attack or other adverse heart conditions, you may still have other alternatives. For example, a guaranteed issue or a final expense policy may be options for you.

With a guaranteed issue policy, you cannot be declined for coverage – regardless of your health. While these policies will typically charge a higher premium and offer a lower amount of death benefit, the coverage can still provide your survivors with a financial cushion.

Final expense life insurance is typically purchased to cover the cost of burial and other related costs. The face amount of these policies usually ranges from $5,000 to $50,000 – although there are some carriers that provide coverage for $100,000 or more.

Because final expense life insurance policies do not generally require you to take a medical exam, it is possible for you to qualify for this type of coverage – even if you have a heart condition.

Where to go from here

It is possible to get life insurance if you have a heart condition. But the process can be difficult to tackle on your own. Therefore, the first step is working with an experienced agent or company that knows all of the necessary criteria and that is also an impaired risk specialist.

As an independent agency, Insurance Geek can go out into the marketplace and shop your life insurance application to more than 30 top-rated carriers. We know which companies are more likely to approve applicants who have a heart condition – so you don’t have to do all the legwork yourself.

Want to find out how much life insurance you could qualify for? By filling out our simple quote form, you can compare numerous carriers in a matter of seconds. You will also be assigned your own personal insurance “geek” who can answer any additional questions you have about coverage, price, and underwriting.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact Insurance Geek today!