How To Get Life Insurance For A Child With Autism

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Updated: 17 May 2024
Written by Bob Phillips
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If you are a parent with an autistic child, and wondering about life insurance options for your child, you’ve come to the right place. The world of insurance can be mystifying, but don’t worry, we’ve researched thoroughly on this subject and are sharing our knowledge with you. The information and data in this article should help you make an informed decision about securing life insurance for an autistic child.

Medical advancements plus a more extensive understanding of autism and an autistic child have changed the insurance landscape for the better. These days, many insurers provide term insurance along with whole life options for people who need life insurance for an autistic child.

We’ll explore these options, as well as tips about coverage details and how to qualify for life insurance with this condition, and more. Our goal is to offer assistance to anyone who needs a helping hand choosing the right policy.

Key Takeaways

  • Underwriting for an autistic child might be complicated and more extensive

  • Life insurance premiums are usually higher for an autistic child

  • Life insurance for individuals with an autistic child is available

Can I Get Life Insurance For An Autistic Child?

Yes, you can get life insurance for your autistic child, in most cases. This wasn’t always true, but due to modern medical progress, the insurance industry has altered its position. Numerous top name providers these days (detailed below) offer both term and whole life insurance coverage for an autistic child.

While it’s heartening that life insurance is now available for an autistic child, the fact is that not all insurers offer this coverage, and some may actually deny it. Still, this does not mean that life insurance for an autistic child is impossible. Many insurers have seen the need for life insurance for an autistic child, and are providing policies specifically designed for those children with autism.

Important: Life insurance for autistic children is available, though the coverage might be limited and potentially more expensive.

How Does Life Insurance Eligibility Affect An Autistic Child?

Traditional life insurance might not be completely accessible to every autistic child, but there are insurance providers that offer specialized products for this condition. Such companies might offer traditional life insurance for an autistic child.

Also, some applicants might also qualify for group or guaranteed issue life insurance. For example, if you have group insurance through your employer or other organization, you can probably add life insurance for your autistic child to your coverage.

People who  have an autistic child should do a bit of fact finding and understand at least the basics of looking for life insurance coverage for a child with autism. It might be a challenge to understand all of the unfamiliar terms and phrases of the insurance world, but the security, peace of mind and financial protection these policies provide is invaluable.

If you have a child diagnosed with autism after already taking out a life insurance policy on him/her, your policy cannot be canceled due to that diagnosis. This underlines how important it is to secure a life insurance policy for anyone in your family as soon as possible.

Important: A life insurance policy can’t be rescinded or have the rates raised if your  autistic child is diagnosed after the policy has been issued.

Life Insurance Underwriting Process For An Autistic Child

A fundamental understanding of the underwriting process can be beneficial when you’re shopping around to purchase a life insurance policy for your autistic child. Here are five simple yet effective steps in the underwriting process for an autistic child:

  1. Medical Examination: This exam is the first step in underwriting, so that someone can be approved for coverage, or not. Your child will undergo a medical examination and then the insurance underwriter will make an assessment of your child’s overall health condition with the spotlight on the overall health of your autistic child.
  2. Review of Medical History: The underwriter for the insurance company will want access to your child’s medical records. They’ll be especially interested in the type of medical treatment your autistic child is receiving, if any.
  3. Lifestyle Evaluation: The underwriter will review your child’s lifestyle, including habits such as smoking, drug use, and alcohol consumption. The sad truth is that all too many children nowadays have a lifestyle that includes these things, so the company will want to know either way. A healthy lifestyle can have a favorable influence on your child’s application being approved.
  4. Risk Assessment: Depending on the information collected, the insurance underwriters will make a risk assessment of insuring your autistic child. This assessment will impact rates if your child is approved for coverage.
  5. Policy Issuance: If your child passes the underwriting process, the insurer will offer life insurance coverage. Based on the results of the risk assessment, this coverage could have higher premiums or even certain exclusions.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Consider When You’re Applying For An  Autistic Child?

When you’re applying for life insurance for an autistic child, you need to bear in mind that providers will take an in-depth look at several critical factors.

There are many symptoms associated with autism, and not only those symptoms but how much they impact the life of your autistic child is variable. Some children with autism may have problems getting life insurance coverage, but it just depends on the specifics of your child’s condition.

First, the insurer will want to see evidence that your child’s condition is well managed. They’ll ask for access to your child’s medical records to review symptoms and treatment, as well as the severity of the autism. If the medical history shows that your autistic child’s condition is stable and well managed, it might affect approval for life insurance.

Also, lifestyle plays an important role in underwriting. Insurers will assess overall health and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use. Naturally, if your autistic child is a toddler or very young, this won’t be an issue.

But, it might well be an issue with an older child, so it will be looked at. A healthy lifestyle has a positive bearing on the insurance application. Your child’s age, gender, and family medical history will be considered, as well.

What it all boils down to in many cases is where your autistic child is on the Autism Spectrum. If they are mildly autistic, as with Asperger’s Syndrome, they shouldn’t have any problem securing traditional life insurance.

Best Type Of Life Insurance For An Autistic Child

What types of life insurance are available if you want to insure an autistic child? Here are five types of policies to consider:

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance provides life-long coverage and builds a cash value that builds over time. For parents or caregivers looking to insure an autistic child, whole life insurance can be a good choice because it has a guaranteed death benefit and never expires. This type of life insurance usually comes with a higher price tag than term life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is for a specific period of time, usually between 10-35 years. This type of life insurance is almost always less costly than whole life, making it a viable option for someone who wants to purchase life insurance for an autistic child. If you’re on a no-frills budget but want adequate coverage for your autistic child, term life might be your best bet.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Final expense life insurance, often referred to as burial or funeral insurance, is designed to take care of end-of-life expenses. Final expense policies typically have more lenient underwriting requirements, which might be helpful to individuals with an autistic child who may run into problems qualifying for other types of life insurance.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance offers coverage to almost everyone, no matter their health condition. It might be a wise choice for people with an autistic child who has been denied coverage from other insurers. It’s usually more expensive than some other types of life insurance, but if your child has been declined by several companies, it could be well worth the extra premium.

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is usually provided by employers or another group or organization as part of an employee or members benefits package. For people with an autistic child they wish to insure, this can be a great way to secure life insurance coverage without the in-depth underwriting process commonly encountered with private policies.

Another thing you may want to consider if you are having difficulties insuring an autistic child is adding the child to your life insurance policy as a rider.

Tip: “Living benefit riders can also be a lifeline for individuals living with autistic children. These optional additions to your policy can allow you to access a portion of your death benefit while still alive to help cover treatment expenses.”

How To Buy Life Insurance For An Autistic Child

Following these 4 steps will help simplify buying life insurance for an autistic child:

Research Your Options

Begin by researching insurers that offer policies for an autistic child. Some companies offer both term and whole life insurance coverage, so it’s important for you to know and understand the differences, before deciding which is best for your autistic child.


Understand the Underwriting Process

Most insurance applications will require that you fully disclose all details of the health condition of an autistic child you want to insure. The underwriting process may be more extensive and could mean paying higher premiums for coverage.


Consider Employer or Group Coverage

If it’s available to you, group life insurance  is a boon to anyone with an autistic child. These policies normally provide insurance coverage regardless of any health conditions, autistic children included. In many or most cases, your child won’t have to undergo a physical examination.


Apply for Coverage

Once you’ve found an insurer and policy that suits the needs of your autistic child, go ahead and complete the application process. This might include filling out detailed health questionnaires as well as a medical exam.


How Much Does Life Insurance Cost For An Autistic Child?

The cost of life insurance for an autistic child largely depends on the level of autism. For example, if the child is able to perform ADL, (Activities of Daily Living) employed at a job or go to school, and doesn’t have any serious health conditions, he or she will almost definitely be approved for traditional life insurance at a standard rate.

On the other hand, if the child ranks lower on the Autism Spectrum and is unable to perform routine self care, or is non-verbal, unable to attend school or work at a job, among other criteria….approval for traditional life insurance will probably be denied.

Here are some monthly rates for an autistic child from leading insurers:

Insurance Company Monthly Rates A.M. Best Rating
Allstate $15.00 A+
Banner Life $9.00 A+
Guardian Life $10.00 A++
Haven Life $11.00 A++
John Hancock $11.00 A+
MassMutual $10.00 A++
Mutual of Omaha $12.00 A+
Nationwide $13.00 A+
New York Life $12.00 A++
Principal $9.00 A+

How An Autistic Child Can Qualify For Life Insurance

In order for an autistic child to qualify for life insurance, a provider will usually need proof that the autism is being managed effectively. This will involve providing medical records that show evidence of regular checkups with a doctor, as well as adherence to any prescribed therapy.

Other factors such as overall health status, age, lifestyle choices such as smoking, and a family medical history will also be taken into consideration.

Submitting a positive-toned application can help when you’re attempting to secure life insurance for an autistic child. Show the provider that the child may be living with autism, but is thriving. Put the emphasis on the child’s adherence to a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and abstaining from habits such as  smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or drug use.

Can Insurance Companies Deny An Autistic Child Coverage?

Yes, insurance providers can deny the application for coverage. This can happen when someone has been less than truthful about their child’s autism, and failed to disclose the  diagnosis during the application process.

Please note that medical progress has improved the treatment for autism. This has led to a somewhat improved life expectancy as well as a change in how insurance providers look at the insurability of an autistic child. Statistically, those with autism still have shortened life spans compared to the rest of the general population. This is one major reason why some insurers are reluctant to issue coverage to children or adults with this condition.

It may be that the most important element in whether an insurance company will approve the application for coverage or not, as well as how much you’ll have to pay for that coverage, is whether or not your autistic child ranks high or low on the Autism Spectrum. The higher the ranking, the more likely your autistic child will be approved for life insurance.

What Will Insurers Ask About The Condition Of Your Autistic Child?

Here are some questions that will probably be asked by the insurer when you apply for life insurance coverage for your autistic child:

  • Do they have other pre-existing conditions?
  • Where do they place on the autism spectrum?
  • What medications are they taking?
  • Are they in a mainstream classroom?
  • Do they need an aide?
  • Are they able to communicate in spoken language?
  • Can they perform ADLs independently?
  • Do they have relationships with peers?
  • How does their autism affect daily life?
  • What is their height and weight?
  • Do they have documented IQ tests?
  • Have they had previous moderate to severe injuries?
  • Have they had neuropsychological evaluations including IQ tests?

Always be honest when answering these and other questions from an insurance provider. Not being truthful about your child’s health condition is one of the only 2 reasons an insurer can cancel coverage.

Life Insurance Options If You Are Denied Coverage

There are probably two reasons why an insurance carrier declined your autistic child for coverage:

  • Your child is too young to apply
  • Your child has moderate or severe autism

Insurers might decline coverage for your autistic child according to the severity of the autism. If you apply for life insurance for your nine year old autistic child with severe autism, the carrier will almost certainly decline coverage.

Even if your child is otherwise healthy, if they have poor communication, need assistive devices, and help with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, and so on…. carriers will decline the application.

If your autistic child is ranked as severe, and you have tried and failed to secure traditional life insurance, you still have options. For instance, you might consider other types of coverage. One option is the Graded Death Benefit policy. This type of life insurance increases the death benefit gradually, over time.

So, the longer you have it in effect, the more the death benefit will be until it maxes out at a specified time. Guaranteed Issue policies are yet another option if traditional life insurance isn’t available to your autistic child, and is offered by quite a few companies.

Group life insurance, through an employer or other group or organization, offers coverage regardless of health problems or whatever diagnosis your child might have. There are also specialized services such as Insuranceopedia, which can help find life insurance for your autistic child.

Important: “Guaranteed issue policies are an excellent option if other companies have denied your application for whole, universal, or term life insurance policies.”

Tips For Choosing The Right Policy

Here are three helpful tips that may facilitate your search for life insurance:

Know Your Needs

You need more than a vague idea of how much coverage you need.  This isn’t something to guess about. Sit down and figure out as closely as you can exactly how much insurance it will take to replace your income, educate your children, provide maintenance on your home, and more along those lines if you weren’t around.

Explore Policy Types

Check out Graded Death Benefit policies along with Guaranteed Issue life insurance. Both of these have been designed for people living with autistic children or other chronic health conditions. Group life insurance will usually cover you regardless of any health conditions you might have.

Use Specialized Services

Avail yourself of services such as Insuranceopedia, that provides quotes from multiple insurers, to assist you in comparing rates and also finding a life insurance policy that is not only affordable, but suitable for your needs, as well.

What Is An Autistic Child?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a mental condition that affects the nervous system. It changes the way the brain functions, and although called a neurodevelopmental disorder and the most common diagnosis of autism in children, it is not a mental illness in the true sense of the term.

Autism affects how people interact and view the world around them. It can make social communication and interaction quite difficult, It may also cause repetitive behaviors.

While autism is a health condition, it is not considered an illness or disease. And although it affects the brain, it’s not considered a mental illness. ASD is called a spectrum disorder because it encompasses a wide variety of abilities and symptoms.

Each person with autism is unique and experiences it differently. Currently, there isn’t a cure for autism, making it a life-long condition. But there are many ways that people on the autism spectrum can manage their condition and live a basically normal life.

ASD doesn’t shorten someone’s lifespan by itself, but it may lead to more serious health concerns such as physical or mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, seizures and epilepsy.

What are the 5 types of autism?

The five most common types of autism spectrum disorder are:

  1.  Autistic Disorder: This type of autism is the most well known. It’s also referred to as Kanner’s Syndrome. Those with Autistic Disorder may have difficulties communicating, and be especially sensitive or reactive to specific senses.
  2.  Asperger Syndrome: Individuals with Asperger’s might be able to speak and function normally but often have problems with social interactions.
  3.  Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: This type of autism is rare. It involves a major loss of previously acquired skills, such as language and social skills.
  4.  Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): Describes individuals who manifest some autism symptoms but don’t quite fit into any of the other types.
  5.  Rett Syndrome: Affects mostly girls with severe physical and mental impairments. Since 2013, Rett is not technically speaking considered an autism disorder in a medical sense. However, it still comes up frequently in discussions about autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects over three million people in the United States. Statistically, 1 in every 54 American children will be diagnosed with a form of autism.

Studies show that prevalence rates have increased 10% to 17% annually in recent years. But, this high percentage may be at least partially due to the fact that the diagnosis of autism has improved over time. Autism costs a family an average of $60,000 a year.

Other Health Concerns That Can Affect Your Life Insurance

When you make an application to purchase life insurance, providers will evaluate your health status to determine the risk they’ll incur if they issue coverage to you. Below is a list of seventeen health conditions that could impact your approval or rates for life insurance:

  • Diabetes: Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes may increase premium rates
  • AIDS: With modern strides in medical treatments, a lot of providers will now offer life insurance policies to people with HIV
  • Cancer: Dependent on the stage and type of cancer, it can affect insurability
  • Heart Disease: A  very common but serious health condition that may cause higher premiums or outright denial of coverage
  • High Cholesterol: A level over 200 could mean higher premiums
  • High Blood Pressure: Well managed hypertension might have a slight impact on your life insurance policy
  • Asthma: Depending on the severity, asthma may influence insurance rates
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia: These conditions can have a significant effect on insurability
  • Stroke: A history of stroke may increase premium rates
  • Liver Disease: Conditions such as cirrhosis might affect your life insurance policy
  • Depression: Mental health conditions such as depression may impact coverage
  • Substance Use Disorders: A history of drug or alcohol abuse can affect insurability
  • Lung Disease: Chronic conditions such as COPD can mean higher premiums
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This chronic condition can lead to higher premiums
  • Obesity: A higher BMI may cause higher insurance costs
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This chronic condition can lead to higher premiums
  • Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease may lead to increased insurance costs
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Bipolar


Can An Autistic Child Qualify For Life Insurance?

This is dependent to a large degree on the company. Some insurers will issue coverage to an autistic child, and others won’t. If the autism is mild to moderate and well controlled, a lot of providers will be willing to offer life insurance to an autistic child.

What Insurance Is Best For An Autistic Child?

In many cases, a Guaranteed Issue policy is perhaps the best life insurance for an autistic child, especially if the autism is severe or if they have comorbidities.

Is An Autistic Child Classed As Having a Critical Illness In Insurance?

No, it isn’t. Autism by itself isn’t fatal. So it is not classed as a critical illness. Still, since it can be accompanied by other health problems, it is a serious condition.

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