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If you were in a coma after an accident or illness, it won’t automatically disqualify you for a life insurance policy.
But depending on the cause of your coma and any complications, you may have to pay higher premiums. And you could be denied coverage if an insurance company thinks you’re too high of a risk.
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Can I get life insurance if I’ve been in a coma?
Possibly. Your ability to qualify for insurance depends on how high of a risk you are based on what caused your coma and whether there were any complications.
For example, if you were in a short coma after a car accident and you’re now completely back to normal, most insurers will offer you a policy with competitive premium rates. But if your coma was caused by an underlying health condition, or if you have complications like a traumatic brain injury or lung injury that put you at risk for long-term health problems, it’ll be more difficult to get insurance.
Questions you might be asked
When determining whether your health history makes you a higher risk to insure, you may be asked questions such as:
- What caused your coma?
- How long were you in a coma?
- When did you wake up from your coma?
- Did you sustain any sort of lasting brain damage?
- Did you sustain any sort of organ damage?
- If your coma was caused by a high-risk activity like skiing or base jumping, do you still participate in that activity?
- What was your number on the Glasglow Coma Scale?
- Have you been in a coma more than once?
- Do you have any history of drug use? If so, how long have you been clean?
- Are you on any medications?
- Do you have any other health conditions?
- Do you smoke?
- When is the last time you were hospitalized?
Will I have to pay higher premiums?
Possibly. If an insurer decides that your medical history means you’re a higher risk, you’ll have to pay higher premiums. This is more likely if your coma was caused by an underlying condition, you participate in a high-risk that caused your coma or you have complications that currently affect your health.
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What is a coma?
A coma is a state of unconsciousness where you’re incapable of sensing or responding to external stimuli or internal need for a continuous period of at least 72 hours. Unlike someone who’s sleeping, a coma patient can’t be wakened through physical or auditory stimulation.
The depth of the coma is measured by what is known as the Glasgow Coma Scale, which assigns points based on how responsive a patient is based on their verbal, motor and eye-opening responses.
For example, patients in a lighter coma may open their eyes in response to pain, while patients in a deep coma generally won’t. Some patients in a light coma may even appear to be awake at first glance, but are unable to respond to their environment.
How does a coma occur?
The cause of your coma will have an effect on how easy it is for you to get life insurance. Comas are generally caused by a physical or medical trauma or event, including:
- A traumatic brain injury
- High fever
- Inadequate oxygen to the brain
- A toxin or infection that affects brain tissue
- Bleeding or swelling in the brain from any other cause
Having been in a coma won’t automatically disqualify you for life insurance or drive up your premiums — but the cause of the coma might. Schedule a doctor’s appointment to find out if you face any ongoing risks and compare life insurance companies that offer coverage for customers with pre-existing conditions.
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