Many experts recommend a life insurance policy with a face value of 8 to 10 times your annual salary to replace your income if you die. Obtaining this coverage at a reasonable rate, or at all, can be a challenge if you have pre-existing health conditions. Fortunately, you can take steps to secure this coverage, and possibly make yourself healthier through the process.
See a Doctor
It may not be the fact that you have a pre-existing condition that keeps you from getting life insurance, or from obtaining life insurance at a reasonable rate, it may have more to do with if the health condition is controlled. Some insurers cover people who have had high blood pressure at preferred rates, as long as the medication is doing a good job at controlling the condition. The same is true for type 2 diabetes, where your blood sugar is well controlled with diet and medications. Checking with a doctor before you apply for a policy may give you time to get certain conditions under control, and qualify for better rates.
Shop for Insurers
Insurers have different underwriting requirements based on their own experiences. What one company considers a risk may not be as critical to another insurer. An example is obesity. Most companies will quote you a higher rate if you are heavier than average, but the threshold for rate increases or not issuing a policy varies depending on the company. Many companies will share their requirements for preferred policies if you ask, allowing you to apply with the company most likely to accept you, and at a reasonable rate.
If health conditions prohibit you from obtaining a policy requiring an underwriter's approval, you can look into other policies that do not require a health exam or health questions. Mortgage companies and their affiliates often offer life insurance policies intended to pay off your mortgage balance if you die, and car lenders may offer the same type of policies. The rates for these policies may be quite high compared to other policies, but it is a way to obtain at least some coverage if you cannot obtain it otherwise.
Lying about critical aspects of your health on a life insurance questionnaire will ensure that your policy is void if the company finds out that you lied. Often, a company will require a physical exam, complete with blood and urine tests, and possibly an EKG, before it issues a policy. Discrepancies with what the health exam findings show, compared to your physical exam, will cause an insurance company to investigate further before issuing a policy, or, even worse, before paying a claim. If your health changes when the policy is in effect, however, your coverage is safe as long as you were truthful on the application, and you continue to pay your premium.
Craig Woodman began writing professionally in 2007. Woodman's articles have been published in "Professional Distributor" magazine and in various online publications. He has written extensively on automotive issues, business, personal finance and recreational vehicles. Woodman is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in finance through online education.