High risk life insurance – get approved if you have pre-existing conditions.

If you’re worried that you may not qualify for a life insurance policy because of pre-existing conditions or because you think you are high risk, you’re in the right place.

If you have a pre-existing condition, there is nothing more important than working with an agent who understands underwriting and each companies underwriting guidelines and medical conditions.

At Insurance Geek, we know the underwriting process – and we also know that it may be more difficult for some people to qualify for the coverage they need. So we have put together a post to help high risk individuals understand what it will take to get the coverage they need if they are high risk.

High risk conditions and impairments

There are a number of health conditions that are considered “high risk” or “impaired risk” to life insurance companies: If you have any of these conditions in your medical history you will be considered high risk.

Each of these impairments may be underwritten differently – and, while all insurance companies have some parameters in place for policy approval, the underwriting requirements are not identical for each company.

Because of that, it is important that you work with an agent who knows which insurance company – or companies – are more prone to accept applicants with certain types of health conditions. As an example, Insurance Company A may be more apt to approve an applicant with diabetes as versus Company B.


In underwriting, you will be required to provide as much information as possible about your condition. For instance, you may be asked some or all of the following questions to understand the risk factors:

  • When were you diagnosed with the condition?
  • Do you have a family history of the condition?
  • Have you been hospitalized for your condition?
  • Which medications (if any) do you take for your condition?
  • Are there other ways that you are managing or controlling your condition (such as through diet and / or exercise)?

In addition, for certain health issues, such as diabetes, you may also be asked about your:

  • Most recent A1C level
  • Most recent blood glucose level

When a company is deciding whether or not to approve a high risk applicants, there are different rate classes that an insured may qualify for. These options include:

  • Standard Rate (average risk)
  • Flat Extra
  • Table Rating
  • Flat Extra plus Table Rating

Discovering the cost with a pre-existing condition

Because people with various health issues can present added risk to a high risk life insurance company, the insurer has to “make up” for this risk somehow. Oftentimes it is through a higher premium payment.

One of these methods for determining the life insurance premiums is to charge a flat extra. This refers to increasing the cost per thousand dollars of coverage for a certain period of time. With that in mind, the added flat extra amount is multiplied by the number of thousands (i.e., 100 thousands for a life insurnace policy with a $100,000 death benefit) you are insuring.

So, if the base life insurance premium for a $100,000 policy is $1,000 per year, and the flat extra cost is $1 per thousand, then the total yearly premium would be $1,100 ($1,000 base premium + [$1 x 100] = $1,100).

Note that after a certain amount of time has passed, the flat extra charge may disappear.

Alternatively, if a table rating is used, there are different rating levels by which the amount of premium will go up. As an example, based on the severity of an applicant’s health condition, a rating of 1 could signify a premium increase of 25%. Likewise, a rating of 2 could signify a 50% premium increase, and so on.

Therefore, if an applicant is rated as a 2, then the cost of the policy would be the base premium rate, plus an additional 50% of that amount.

In some cases, both a flat extra and a table rating may apply. Because any of these ratings or extra charges could increase the policy’s premium significantly, it is essential to have an agent who can go out into the market place and find the best alternative for you. N