If you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it’s going to be a problem for buying life insurance.
Don’t get discouraged though because many people with COPD are still able to get coverage.
If you’ve ever been told that you can’t get life insurance because of your COPD, don’t believe it. There are several ways that you can get affordable life insurance coverage.
Life insurance is one of the best safety nets that you can ever buy for your loved ones. It’s one of the only ways that you can ensure that you and your family have the money that they need. If you have a serious pre-existing condition, like COPD, then it can be difficult to get an affordable life insurance plan, but it’s not impossible.
Life Insurance Underwriting for COPD
To help you be prepared, let’s look at some of the questions you’re going to face:
- When were you diagnosed with COPD?
- Did you ever have to go to the hospital for your COPD? If so, what treatment did you receive?
- Do you have any other lung issues like asthma or bronchitis?
- Have you had any recent diagnostic tests like a chest X-ray or Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) to check the condition of your lungs?
- Do you smoke now? Did you smoke in the past?
- What medications are you taking for your disease?
Common medications for COPD include: Bronchodilators, inhaled and oral steroids, Theophylline, and antibiotics.
Include as much info as possible on your application. If life insurance underwriters feel like your application is missing information or doesn’t clearly explain your condition, there’s a good chance your policy will be rejected or receive a bad rating.
Life Insurance Quotes with COPD
When you have COPD, life insurance companies will want to know the severity of your condition. Typically, they do this by giving you a PFT to test your FEV1% (Forced Expiratory Volume per second). A healthy person has a FEV1% between 80 and 120% whereas someone with COPD is below 80%. The further below 80% you are, the more severe your COPD is.
Aside from your COPD diagnosis, the company is going to ask you a lot of general questions. After they’ve gotten all the info, they are going to put you in a rate class depending on how much risk you are.
- Preferred Plus: Impossible for someone with COPD. The health impact of this disease plus its risk of future lung problems is just too great.
- Preferred: Also generally impossible for someone with COPD. This disease is just too serious, especially since it’s a chronic condition.
- Standard: Best possible rating for someone with mild COPD, so an FEV1% very close to 80%. This is someone that only has a mild, chronic cough and only has minor shortages of breath after exercise. The applicant should also not be smoking and have no other health issues.
- Table Rating (substandard): Most applicants with COPD. Your table rating depends on the severity of COPD, whether you have any other lung complications, how often you need to use inhalers and other treatments for your COPD, and if you have other pre-existing conditions.
- Declines: Applicants with extremely severe COPD, usually a FEV1% below 40%. In addition, applicants that continue to smoke could also be rejected as this increases the chance of more problems. Lastly, applicants with other serious health problems like heart disease on top of their COPD.
COPD Insurance Case Studies
If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, your odds of a fair life insurance rate go up significantly by doing some prep work. To show you, here are some stories over previous clients we’ve worked with who had COPD.
Case Study: Male, 57 y/o, diagnosed with COPD at 54, former smoker but quit after diagnosis, using an inhaler occasionally
This applicant used to be a fairly heavy smoker and this caused his COPD. After his diagnosis, and was rejected because tobacco still showed up in his blood stream. The applicant decided to quit smoking immediately after
We recommended this applicant take another PFT to see whether quitting smoking made an impact. His COPD appeared less severe than when he first appeared so we recommended he reapply with his new PFT results. Since it had been several years since he last smoked, the applicant did not test positive for smoking this time around. As a result, he received substandard level-2 policy. This was more expensive than a regular policy but not a bad rating for someone with COPD.
Case Study #2: Female, 50 y/o, former smoker, diagnosed with COPD at 47, very mild case, applicant otherwise in perfect health
Besides smoking, this applicant was in perfect health. However, her smoking led to a mild case of COPD which scared her into quitting right away. When she applied for insurance, she would only qualify for rated policies. We thought she could do better.
We suggested she go to her doctor for a full checkup and to ask for a letter vouching for her good health. She asked that the doctor also mention that her smoking had not caused any other health problems and she looked in good shape now that she quit. After this, she got a standard rating.
Getting Better Life Insurance Rates with COPD
As we mentioned, with COPD, you’re going to pay more for your insurance coverage. You already have a red flag on your application, which means you should polish up the rest of your application.
As a person with COPD, you should always avoid smoking, but if you use chewing tobacco or any other form of tobacco, you’re going to face much higher insurance rates. You have to cut the tobacco if you want affordable protection, it’s as simple as that.
Aside from quitting smoking or chewing tobacco, the best way you can save money is to compare companies. Some companies are going to crack down on your COPD diagnosis, while others are will give you favorable rates. Find the one who gives you the lowest rates.
There are hundreds of life insurance companies on the market that you can choose from. Some of them are going to be more favorable towards your COPD diagnosis than other companies are going to be. Our agents have worked with countless applicants with COPD and we know the ones who give the best plans.
Getting life insurance with COPD can get challenging, but it’s very doable. For the best chance of success, it helps to work with someone that understands this market.