If you’ve had a heart attack, you might think life insurance is out of reach.
While your heart attack will make qualifying more complex, many companies would still consider your application.
The key to getting insured is an intelligent application. Good preparation gives you a much better chance of getting a policy at a fair rate.
Finding life insurance can be a long journey. It will be even more difficult if you’ve had a heart attack, but we are here to help.
This article will look at the underwriting standards for someone with a heart attack.
Table of Contents
- Life Insurance Underwriting After a Heart Attack
- Factors That Influence Your Premiums After a Heart Attack
- Life Insurance Quotes After a Heart Attack
- The Importance of Full Disclosure
- Life Insurance Case Studies After a Heart Attack
- Before You Apply
- The Bottom Line – Life Insurance After a Heart Attack
Life Insurance Underwriting After a Heart Attack
Your insurance agent should ask several questions about your heart attack:
- When was your heart attack?
- What health problems led to your heart attack?
- Did you have any procedures to prevent future issues like coronary angioplasty or a bypass?
- Has your condition and health improved since the heart attack?
- Do you have a family history of heart disease, and have any close family members died of heart disease?
- Are you a smoker?
- What medications are you taking for your condition?
Common medications for after a heart attack include:
- Beta Blockers
- Cholesterol medication such as statins
None of these prescriptions will cause you to be declined depending on the rest of your health.
You want the insurance underwriter to get as clear a picture of your current health situation as possible.
If you don’t give them all the info, the underwriter is much more likely to reject giving you a policy, provided you have past health problems.
Factors That Influence Your Premiums After a Heart Attack
Life insurance premiums aren’t just based on a past heart attack. There are multiple factors that insurers consider when determining your rates after a heart attack.
1. The Severity of the Heart Attack: Not all heart attacks are created equal. A minor heart attack that requires minimal treatment may not influence your premiums as much as a major one would.
2. Post-Heart Attack Lifestyle: Insurers will look at how you’ve adjusted your lifestyle after the heart attack. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and abstinence from smoking can show the insurance company that you’re committed to maintaining your health.
3. Follow-Up Medical Tests: Regular check-ups and medical tests like EKGs, stress tests, and cholesterol checks can provide the insurer with a clearer picture of your current health status. Consistently good results can work in your favor.
Life Insurance Quotes After a Heart Attack
When you apply for life insurance after a heart attack, insurance companies will want to research your current health thoroughly. This is because they want to determine whether you will likely have another heart attack.
It’s a good idea to wait a couple of years after your heart attack before applying for coverage. This gives your condition time to stabilize, plus it gives you a chance to improve your lifestyle. Each company has their rating categories, but here are some basic types you’ll see:
- Preferred Plus: Impossible. A heart attack is just too severe a health problem for you to qualify for this rating.
- Preferred: Also likely impossible. Regardless of how much your health improves, insurance companies will still be too worried about your past heart attack.
- Standard: In rare cases, you might get this standard policy. To get this rating, your heart attack must have been very mild; it must have been several years since the attack.
- Table Rating (substandard): Your most likely rating. The rating you receive will depend on the time since your heart attack, your current health at the time of your application, the treatments you took for the heart attack, and whether you have a family history of heart disease.
- Declines: You should expect a reduction if you’re a year or two from a heart attack. Also, applicants with a poor lifestyle, other health issues, or a family history of heart disease could be declined because of the high chance of future heart attacks.
The Importance of Full Disclosure
After a significant health event like a heart attack, it’s crucial to provide as much information as possible when applying for life insurance.
Here’s why full disclosure is vital:
- Building Trust: By being transparent about your health history, you’re establishing trust with the insurance company. It reassures them that you’re not withholding any critical information.
- Accurate Premium Assessment: Providing detailed information allows the insurer to calculate your premiums based on an accurate assessment of your risk profile.
- Avoiding Future Complications: If you withhold information and the insurance company finds out later, it could lead to complications like policy cancellations or non-payment of claims.
It’s also essential to remember that not all insurance companies view heart attack history the same way. Some may have more lenient underwriting guidelines for heart attack survivors, while others might be more strict.
That’s why shopping around with the help of an experienced broker can make a significant difference in the premiums you’re quoted.
Life Insurance Case Studies After a Heart Attack
While your life insurance application always matters, it becomes essential after a heart attack. To help hammer this home, here are some stories of clients we’ve worked with.
Case Study #1: Female, 66 years old, does not smoke, had a heart attack at 63, taking Beta Blockers and Statins, and no other pre-existing conditions.
She had a mild heart attack when she was 59. As soon as she left the hospital, she tried to buy a life insurance policy. She was denied because she applied too soon.
The agent didn’t’ clearly explain why she was rejected, so she just assumed she couldn’t get life insurance.
When she contacted us, we suggested she should try again, as more than enough time had passed since her previous attack.
We also recommended she should request an EKG to test the current state of her heart as the applicant was in reasonably good health. By trying again, this applicant received a rated level 1 policy, the best level before a standard rating.
Case Study #2: Male, 64 years old, had a heart attack at 55 years old, former smoker, improved weight and overall health since the diagnosis, started regularly seeing his doctor at age 60.
After his heart attack, the applicant continued his bad habits for a few years. However, at age 60, he quit smoking, started seeing his doctor regularly, and dramatically improved his health.
His applications were rejected. We thought this was because insurers weren’t accounting for his better health.
He was devastated, but we need the following steps to take. We told him to go to his doctor and ask him to write a note that described his improved health. We included the message with his application and got a rated policy.
Before You Apply
While getting life insurance after a heart attack isn’t easy, it’s possible. It all starts with a good application. You can work with a qualified broker who understands your medical condition to ensure you handle this process correctly.
You already have a red flag if you’ve suffered a heart attack. The life insurance company will scour your application for any other risk factors. You want to clean up your application.
Before you apply for life insurance, you need to get in shape. If you carry any extra weight, the insurance company sees you as a risk for another heart attack.
They are going to jack up your premiums because of your weight. The lower the weight on your scale, the lower your premiums can be.
Another thing to do before you apply is to find a company that favors applicants with a heart attack. There are companies out there that offer lower premiums than other companies.
The Bottom Line – Life Insurance After a Heart Attack
Securing life insurance after experiencing a heart attack may initially seem daunting. However, with diligent preparation, honest disclosure, and the right approach, many find it’s within reach.
It’s essential to remember that every insurance company has its own criteria and underwriting standards. Applicants can position themselves more favorably by understanding the factors that influence premiums, such as heart attack severity and lifestyle changes post-event.
Collaborating with an experienced broker can further streamline the process and match you with insurers more lenient or understanding of heart attack histories.
Your commitment to maintaining and improving your health benefits your well-being and increases your chances of obtaining a life insurance policy at a reasonable rate.
Your heart attack isn’t the end of your life insurance journey; with the proper steps, it’s just a detour.