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How to get life insurance with coronary heart disease

The right policy can provide peace of mind for you and your family.


Fact checked

Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease (CAD), won’t automatically disqualify you for life insurance, but your options will depend on your unique situation.

Can I get life insurance if I have coronary heart disease?

It depends on the extent of the disease and your current health. An active person with early-stage CAD and no other risk factors may qualify for life insurance at competitive rates, while someone who has a more advanced case or is also overweight or diabetic may be denied coverage.

Many people with CAD fall somewhere in the middle, which means that you may be offered coverage — but at a higher cost.

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What options do I have if I’m denied coverage?

Start by talking with the insurer to learn more about why your application was denied. If you were recently diagnosed or hospitalized, the insurer may have a waiting period before you’re able to qualify.

If you were denied because the insurer thinks that you’re too high of a risk, you may have better luck with a different insurer. Each company underwrites customers with heart disease differently.

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Other types of insurance to consider

If you’ve been denied by multiple companies, you may need to consider taking out a guaranteed-issue policy or other policies instead:

  • Guaranteed issue policies. Also known as guaranteed acceptance policies, these don’t require medical underwriting — so you can qualify for a policy even if you have health problems. But these policies generally have lower coverage caps — around $10,000 to $25,000, depending on the company — and higher premiums than you’d see on a medically underwritten policy.
  • Critical illness insurance. Critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum after a serious medical event, such as a stroke or heart attack. Your ability to qualify depends on your current health, and some providers may exclude heart conditions from coverage, so carefully read the fine print.
  • Income protection insurance. Also known as disability insurance, pays a percentage of your income if an illness or injury leaves you unable to work.
  • AD&D insurance. Also known as accident insurance, this pays out a lump sum if you’re killed or lose a limb in an accident. Because it doesn’t pay out if something happens due to a medical condition, it often requires little or no underwriting.

What type of information will I need to provide?

If you’re applying for anything other than a guaranteed-issue policy, you’ll need to provide the insurer with the name and phone number of your doctor, and potentially your full medical records. Your most recent tests, hospitalization and/or surgery records, medications, blood pressure, weight and history of complying with your doctor’s orders can all be factored in when an insurer is deciding whether to offer coverage.

Depending on the insurance provider, you may also need to have a medical exam.

For some, confronting invasive questions about your diagnosis and current health can stir up fear and anxiety. Consider leaning on a friend or family member for support when going through the application process.

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How can I increase my chances of qualifying?

The healthier you are, the more likely you are to qualify for a policy with competitive rates. The most important step you can take is to follow all of your doctor’s orders, including taking medications and scheduling regular follow-up appointments. Life insurers will also consider your weight when reviewing your application, so talking with a doctor about how your weight affects your CAD and what steps you can take to manage it can help.

Taking proactive steps to get healthier like quitting smoking, cutting back on drinking, staying active and eating heart-healthy foods can also help you when applying for life insurance.

Taking precautions with your heart

Some diseases can be prevented while others cannot. However, there are always precautions you can take to try and stay ahead of the curve. When it comes to your heart, maintaining a low blood pressure can prevent disease — cutting down on cholesterol can majorly help as well.

You should also exercise regularly and cut back on sodium and refined sugars. Foods that are very fatty can put you at risk, so don’t be shy when it comes to taking an extra plate of fruit and veggies. If you don’t smoke, don’t start — it’s not going to positively impact your health or your wallet. And for you mental and physical health, keep the stress levels low.

Bottom line

A coronary heart disease diagnosis doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting life insurance, but what options are available will depend on your history and current health. To get the best deal, compare life insurance providers to find one that fits your needs.

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