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How to get life insurance with muscular dystrophy

Though options are limited, you can find coverage for this hereditary disease.


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When you have a pre-existing condition, you can face increased rates and limitations on coverage, depending on the severity of the condition. But it’s possible to get life insurance if you live with muscular dystrophy.

Can I get life insurance when I have muscular dystrophy?

Yes, signing up for life insurance with muscular dystrophy is possible with select insurers.

However, the coverage available to you depends on:

  • The type of disease you have.
    MD is a group of nine muscle diseases, rather than a specific condition. If your disease isn’t associated with a shortened lifespan, like oculopharyngeal or Becker muscular dystrophy, you’re more likely to see approval over others that are. For instance, Duchenne muscular dystrophy is seldom approved for life insurance.
  • How long you’ve had it.
    Your insurer will want to know the onset of your condition for underwriting. It helps them determine how your condition has progressed and whether treatment is working.
  • How your MD is treated.
    Underwriters consider how you manage your condition, including medications you might take. Treatment tends to become more complicated as the condition progresses.
  • Your hospitalization history.
    If you were recently admitted for treatment related to your MD, it could be considered a sign of decline. And it could affect your ability to get coverage.
  • Recent lab results.
    Insurers may ask for your labs to determine whether your condition is worsening.
  • Other ongoing medical conditions.
    Your insurer will review other conditions that can affect or exacerbate your MD.
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More general information that an insurer assesses in underwriting includes your:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height
  • Hobbies
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Alcohol or tobacco use
  • Weight

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Does muscular dystrophy affect my life insurance rates?

Yes. No matter which nine types of muscular dystrophy you have, your life insurance premiums will be more than that of someone without a pre-existing condition.

How much you’ll pay depends on the severity of your condition, your MD diagnosis and other factors typical of underwriting.

How do I get life insurance when I have muscular dystrophy?

You’ve typically have three options for life insurance: traditional life insurance, guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance or accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

Traditional life insurance

Approval for traditional term life insurance with muscular dystrophy is not impossible. If you’re turned down by an insurer, you may find another with more lenient acceptance criteria.

Traditional life insurance policies pay out a lump sum benefit when you die. It’s why pre-existing condition that affect life expectancy are more difficult to find coverage for.

Guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance

If you’re turned down for traditional life insurance, guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance is an alternative.

Also called guaranteed issue life insurance, these whole life policies are useful for those with MD because they don’t require a medical exam.

But these expensive policies don’t often provide the same high death benefits that a traditional policy can. Generally, it can help you pay off debts and funeral expenses after you die.

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

While not a life insurance product, AD&D offers financial protection for your family if you die as a result of an accident. Costs are generally comparable to those of a traditional life insurance policy. And like guaranteed acceptance, it generally doesn’t require medical underwriting.

But it’s typically issued as a rider on a traditional life insurance policy, which is why its coverage is limited to death by accident. It won’t cover you if you die as a result of natural causes or your ongoing muscular dystrophy.

Can I get a policy without a medical exam?

Yes. Guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance and AD&D insurance don’t require medical underwriting for you to get a policy.

Compare life insurance providers

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
18 - 75 years old
10, 15, 20, 30 years
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18 - 75 years old
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.
18 - 80 years old
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.
20 - 85 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years
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
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.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

While it may not be easy to get life insurance with muscular dystrophy, it’s by no means impossible. If you’re knocked back from coverage with one life insurer. contact another. If all else fails, guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance are other possible options.

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