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How to get life insurance with asthma

You can get coverage — but be prepared to answer a string of questions about your condition.

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In the US, 15.4 million people are treated for asthma each year, according to the American Thoracic Society. It’s an incredibly common condition, but it shouldn’t affect your ability to purchase a life insurance policy. The amount of coverage you can buy comes down to the severity of your asthma and other health and lifestyle factors — but it’s still possible to get a good rate.

Can I get life insurance if I have asthma?

Yes — you can get life insurance with asthma. Insurers look at applicants holistically, not just at a specific condition, so your insurer will assess the severity of your asthma as well as your overall health to determine your premiums.

For example, if your asthma was sports-induced and you haven’t had an attack since you were a child, your insurer may not see your asthma as a legitimate risk and assign you a low risk class, which means cheaper premiums for you. However, if any of these situations apply to you, expect to pay higher rates due to the increased risk of your asthma affecting your health:

  • You’ve been hospitalized multiple times for asthma.
  • You’re on a steroid regimen to treat asthma.
  • You suffer from chronic asthma.

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How does my asthma affect my insurance rate?

When you apply for life insurance, you can expect to be asked the following questions about your asthma:

  • When were you first diagnosed with asthma? Knowing how long you’ve had a condition will give the insurer a better understanding of how your body has reacted to treatment and how much risk you pose.
  • When was your last asthma attack? Similarly, knowing when your last asthma attack was provides your insurer with valuable insight into the severity of your condition.
  • How often do you experience these attacks? If you get attacks once a week, once a month or if they’re seasonal gives the insurer an idea how severe your asthma is.
  • What medications are you currently taking for your asthma? Some insurers may consider you to be a higher risk if you need multiple controller medications or if you use certain medications with known side effects.
  • How often do you take medication? Following all of your doctor’s orders when it comes to taking your medications can help show an insurer that you’re being proactive and keeping your lungs healthy.
  • How many times have you visited the hospital because of your asthma?. Have you ever been hospitalized or visited the emergency room because of your condition? If so, this will affect your risk rating.
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What other factors will my insurer consider?

During the underwriting process, your insurance company will weigh up the following factors to determine how risky you are to insure:

  • Age. Young applicants often score the lowest rates.
  • Gender. Women have a higher life expectancy than men, so they tend to pay less for life insurance.
  • Health. If you’re dealing with other chronic health conditions, or have a family history of serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease or stroke, you may be charged a higher premium.
  • Alcohol or tobacco use. To reach the highest rate class with most insurers, you’ll need to prove you haven’t touched tobacco in at least a year or abused alcohol in the last decade.
  • Driving record. If your recent driving record is free from major traffic violations, DUIs and DWIs, you may be able to access better rates.
  • Occupation. People in dangerous professions can expect to pay more for coverage than those who work office jobs.
  • Lifestyle. Likewise, dangerous hobbies — like skydiving, race car driving or bungee jumping — can drive up your rates.

What kind of life insurance should I consider?

The good news is that for most people, the full range of life insurance policies are available for you. These include:

Term life insurance

This policy offers temporary coverage for a set period of years. The benefits of getting a traditionally underwritten term life insurance policy is that your rates reflect exactly how much of a risk you pose to the insurer.

So, if you’re in good health — aside from the occasional asthma attack — this could be a good option for you. However, you’ll likely have to undergo a medical exam.

Permanent life insurance

For lifelong coverage, look into permanent life insurance. These policies last your entire life and build cash value over time, so they double as an investment product. But permanent policies cost six to 10 times more than term life insurance, and you may face even higher premiums if your asthma is severe.

No-medical exam life insurance

If you’d prefer not to take a medical exam, you have options. Just keep in mind that these policies tend to be expensive and capped at smaller amounts than a standard term life insurance policy.

  • Simplified issue life insurance. This policy skips the medical exam in favor of a health questionnaire — but asthma shouldn’t disqualify you for coverage.
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance. This “no questions asked” policy forgoes both the medical exam and health questionnaire. Coverage is guaranteed, but because the insurer knows virtually nothing about you, your rates will be much higher than they would for a traditional life insurance policy.
  • Instant-approval insurance with accelerated underwriting. Some newer insurers — like Ethos and Ladder Life — only require you to answer a few basic medical questions before issuing policies instantly online. However, you may be asked undergo a medical exam if the insurer feels it’s necessary.

What are the odds of dying from asthma?

Asthma is linked to 3,168 deaths per year, according to the American Thoracic Society. And the latest CDC data confirms that chronic lower respiratory diseases (CLRDs) are the fourth leading cause of death in the US for both men and women. Along with asthma, this category includes emphysema, pulmonary hypertension and lung disease.

While asthma is common, it can be risky. If you’re thinking of buying life insurance coverage, it’s a good idea to purchase it sooner rather than later to get the best possible rate. A policy can provide peace of mind for you, and a sense of financial security for your beneficiaries if you die prematurely.

Compare life insurance for people with asthma

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
Prudential
18 - 75 years old
$100,000
$10,000,000
10, 15, 20, 30 years
Yes
Customize your term life insurance with a long list of life and disability riders. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
Transamerica
18 - 75 years old
$25,000
$10,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on policy
Purchase a policy worth anywhere from $25,000 to $10 million, with the option to skip the medical exam. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
MassMutual
18 - 80 years old
$2,000
$10,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on policy
Purchase term life insurance up to age 80 with Finder's #1 ranked company. Get a free quote from this A+ rated insurer on Policygenius.
AIG
AIG
20 - 85 years old
$5,000
$2,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years
Yes
Buy term life insurance all the way up to age 85, and choose a policy that lasts up to an incredible 35 years. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
John Hancock
18 - 65 years old
$25,000
$1,000,000
10, 15, 20 years
Depends on policy
Score a low rate on term life insurance with discounts and rewards for your healthy habits. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
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Bottom line

It’s possible to get life insurance with asthma — and in many cases, the condition won’t affect your life insurance rates at all. As always, it pays to do your homework and compare life insurance companies for the best possible rate..

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