If you have a heart murmur, it’s going to be an issue when you apply for life insurance.
Applying for life insurance can be a stressful event. When you apply for coverage, the insurance company is going to review dozens of different areas of your life to determine how much they are going to charge you for coverage or if they will even accept your plan. One of the most important factors that they are going to look at is your health and any pre-existing conditions that you may have.
Insurance companies are going to be worried your heart murmur is a sign of more serious health problems. Your insurance outcome really depends on the specifics of your condition.
While you can’t change your health status, you can control how you fill out your application. A well planned application can minimize the impact of your heart murmur on your rating.
In this article, we’re going to examine the underwriting standards for someone with a heart murmur so you’ll know what to expect going forward.
Life insurance is one of the most important safety nets that you can ever buy for your loved ones. It’s one of the only ways that you can ensure that your family will have the money that they need, even if something tragic were to happen to you. We know that shopping for life insurance is not fun, especially if you have a serious condition, like a heart mummer, but that’s why we are here to help.
Life Insurance Underwriting with a Heart Murmur
When you meet with your life insurance agent, he should ask you a number of questions about your heart murmur. You should expect to answer:
- When were you diagnosed with a heart murmur?
- What is the cause of your heart murmur?
- Have you had any surgeries in the past to treat your heart murmur?
- Do you have any other issues with your heart like coronary artery disease or ventricular hypertrophy?
- Have you had any diagnostic tests in the past 6 months to measure the condition of your heart?
- General heart health questions like what is your cholesterol level, blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and do you smoke?
- Are you taking any medications because of your heart murmur?
Common medications for a heart murmur include: Digoxin, anticoagulants, diuretics, statins, ACE inhibitors, and beta blockers. All of these medications could be insurable depending on the condition of your heart murmur.
As you apply, be sure to include as much information as possible about your heart murmur. An incomplete description of your condition could worry life insurance underwriters and make them more likely to give you a poor insurance rating.
Life Insurance Quotes with a Heart Murmur
When you apply for life insurance with a heart murmur, your rating comes down to the cause of your condition. Functional/innocent heart murmurs like physiologic, cardio-respiratory, and aortic sclerosis heart murmurs won’t hurt your rating too badly provided you don’t have any other heart issues. Organic heart murmurs that came from actual heart problems are a more serious issue.
No matter what is causing your heart murmur, your odds of getting a fair rating go up if you are otherwise in good health, are at a healthy weight, and don’t smoke. While every company has a different underwriting process, here are some general guidelines to give you an idea what rating to expect.
- Preferred Plus: Possible in very cases for applicants with functional heart murmurs. Applicant must otherwise be in perfect health and had a recent diagnostic test that showed the heart murmur was not from any health problem.
- Preferred: A more likely rating for very healthy applicants with only functional heart murmurs. Life insurance companies are reluctant to give the best possible rating to anyone with a sign of a health problem like a heart murmur.
- Standard: Best possible rating for most applicants with a functional heart murmur. Applicants shouldn’t have any heart problems and must be in reasonable health otherwise. Possible in rare cases for applicants with organic heart murmurs, provided their heart condition has been under control for several years.
- Table Rating (substandard): Most applicants with organic heart murmurs. The rating depends on the severity of a person’s heart issue that is causing the heart murmur. Underwriters also consider whether the applicant needed surgery, has any other heart problems, the applicant’s general health, and family history of heart disease. Unhealthy applicants with a functional heart murmur could also get a rated policy.
- Declines: Applicants with organic heart murmurs caused by serious heart conditions. Also, applicants that applied within a year or two of a heart surgery, have a family history of heart disease, or have other high risk factors like high blood pressure or smoking.
Heart Murmur Life Insurance Case Studies
If you have a heart murmur, you need to plan your application properly. A good application can make a significant difference. Here are a couple real life case studies that demonstrate why your application matters:
Case Study #1: Male, 42 y/o, non-smoker, functional heart murmur, no other heart issues, in very good health
Besides his health murmur, this applicant was in perfect health. His heart murmur was a physiologic murmur and didn’t have any impact on his overall health. However, when he applied for life insurance, he only received a standard rating; not bad but we thought he could do better. We recommended this applicant go for an EKG as he had not had one in several years. This test showed his heart was in great shape and he submitted this result with a new application. With this extra information, the applicant was able to receive a discounted preferred policy.
Case Study #2: Female, 56 y/o, organic heart murmur due to mild aortic stenosis, taking statins and Ace Inhibitors, lost weight and quit smoking after heart murmur diagnosis
Before discovering her heart murmur, this applicant had poor health habits. She was overweight and smoked. At 50, she discovered she had a heart murmur due to mild aortic stenosis. This scared her into taking measures to improve her health. She quit smoking, lost weight, and started taking medication to reduce her cholesterol and high blood pressure. When she applied for life insurance though, she only received very expensive, rated policies. We thought that insurance companies weren’t giving enough credit to her recent life improvements. We recommended she see her doctor and ask for a note vouching for her improved lifestyle. By reapplying with this letter, the applicant received a substandard level-2 policy, a decent rating for someone with her past health problems.
Getting Better Insurance Rates with a Heart Murmur
Getting life insurance with a heart murmur is going to be more difficult, but it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s easy to get an affordable plan, regardless of your health or any complications that you have. There are a few changes that you can make that will improve your chances of being approved for a cheap life insurance plan.
The first thing that you should do is cut out any tobacco that you currently use. If you’re listed as a smoker, or you use chewing tobacco, you’re at a higher risk for other health problems, like cancer, which means you’re going to be a larger risk to the insurance company. They are going to offset that risk by charging you higher premiums. Cutting out that tobacco can save you thousands of dollars on your life insurance plan.
Another way to save money, regardless if you have a heart murmur, is by improving your overall health. Getting better results on the medical exam are going to lower your insurance premiums. Starting an exercise program and sticking to a healthy diet. Both of these can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol. This will help you lower your rates by as much as 50%.
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the best premiums is to compare dozens of quotes before you decide which company is going to work best for you. All of them are different and they will all have different medical underwriting, which means that you’ll get drastically varying rates depending on which company that you get the quote from.
Don’t let Your Heart Murmur Get in The Way of Insurance Coverage
With a smart application, you have a great chance of finding a policy. To improve your odds, it helps to work with a broker that understands this health condition.