Life Insurance For People With Disabilities In 2024

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Written by
Bob Phillips
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If you are living with disabilities, you might be wondering if you qualify for life insurance.

The answer is yes, you can. The world of insurance along with unfamiliar words and terms about the medical field, too, can be more than a little confusing. We’re here to help. We’ve conducted in-depth research on the subject of life insurance for individuals with disabilities, and assembled the results of our findings with data and information that should prove helpful to you.

Medical progress along with a better understanding of disabilities has changed the landscape of life insurance. These days, instead of being declined for insurance coverage, more people with disabilities can find insurance providers who are willing to issue the coverage they need.

In this article, we’ll give you pointers about how to qualify for life insurance with disabilities, a few tips about coverage details, and more. Our goal is to provide guidance to anyone who might need a helping hand in choosing the right life insurance coverage for their particular needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Life insurance rates are sometimes higher if you have disabilities

  • Underwriting for disabilities might be more complicated and extensive than for standard applicants

  • Life insurance for individuals with disabilities is available but might be more costly

Can You Get Life Insurance With disabilities?

Yes, you can. A lot depends on the severity of your disabilities. In the past, many people with disabilities were denied insurance coverage. But nowadays, because of the advancement of medical knowledge, people with disabilities are able to secure life insurance. Numerous insurance companies offer term life along with whole life insurance coverage for individuals with disabilities.

While it’s a positive note that life insurance is readily available now for most individuals with disabilities, the truth remains that not all insurers provide this coverage, and even some that do might not approve your application for coverage. That being said, a lot of insurance providers have identified the need for life insurance to cover individuals with disabilities.

Life insurance for those with disabilities might come with a higher price than standard issue, based on multiple factors such as: your lifestyle, your medical history, and your family medical history, too. Another element that will be scrutinized is how compliant you are with keeping doctor’s appointments and following your doctor’s orders and recommendations.

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

How Do Disabilities Affect Life Insurance Eligibility?

A diagnosis of disabilities does not mean that you won’t be able to secure life insurance.

Being disabled in some way is a lot like everything else in your life: Much of your future health is up to you and how well you follow your doctor’s advice about managing your disabilities.

For example, if you have physical disabilities such as paralysis of your lower limbs, your condition would be much better dealt with if you didn’t become obese. Being aware of this and other possible scenarios along that line might go a long way toward getting your life insurance application approved by the insurance company underwriter.

If the underwriter sees that you’re proactive about minimizing your disabilities by doing what you need to do in order to stay fit and healthy, it will be a point in your favor.

You should know that if you had life insurance in force before having disabilities, your premiums might be raised the next time you renew your policy.

Traditional life insurance could be unavailable to someone with disabilities, depending on the disability itself. However, providers are available that offer insurance products designed for special health conditions and disabilities. These  providers might offer traditional life insurance to applicants with disabilities, provided they’re well-managed and don’t prevent you from living a basically ordinary life.

You might get approval for group or guaranteed issue life insurance. For instance, if you have group health insurance through your employer or organization, you can almost certainly get life insurance, too.

You might consider doing a bit of research about how applying for life insurance works. It might be a hurdle to find your way through all of the terminology of insurance, but the  financial protection, security and peace of mind these policies provide is invaluable.

Those with disabilities who had a life insurance policy in effect before they were disabled cannot have their policy canceled because of the diagnosis. This illustrates how important it is to get life insurance coverage as soon as you can.

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

Life Insurance Underwriting Process For Disabilities

An elemental knowledge of insurance underwriting could be helpful if you’re shopping around for life insurance and have disabilities. Here are five steps in the underwriting process:

  1. Medical Examination: A medical examination is the first, initial step in underwriting. It will help the underwriter to determine whether or not your application for coverage will be approved. You’ll start the process with a physical examination, and then the underwriter will assess your condition, especially your disabilities, with the emphasis on your overall health.
  2. Review of Medical History: You’ll be requested to provide your medical records to the insurance underwriter. The underwriter will want to know what kind of  treatment you’re receiving or have received, as well as how your disabilities are responding to treatment, if applicable.
  3. Lifestyle Evaluation: Your lifestyle choices will be very important to the underwriter. This means that habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption and drug use will have to be disclosed. Please know that a healthy lifestyle may have a favorable influence on the approval of your application.
  4. Risk Assessment: The underwriter will review all of this information, including the results of your physical exam, and make a risk assessment based on all of this info together. The insurer wants to know how much risk they will be incurring if they issue life insurance to you. If you’re approved for coverage, a positive assessment by the underwriter may win you a better rate.
  5. Policy Issuance: Once you’re finished with the underwriting process and haven’t been declined for coverage, the insurer will probably offer you life insurance. Based on the assessment by the underwriter, your insurance policy might have higher rates or exclusions.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Consider When Someone With Disabilities Applies For Coverage?

Those with certain disabilities might not qualify for the absolute best coverage or lowest rates, but may still qualify for standard rates with some insurers. Standard rates are usually for people with a well-managed or moderate health condition, or those who have no significant family history of life threatening medical conditions like cancer or heart disease.

The following conditions are some that insurance companies deem disabilities:

  • Hearing and vision problems serious enough to impair sight or hearing
  • Cognitive conditions that impair communication, memory, and thought.
  • Medical issues that affect movement.
  • Mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You might pay higher premiums than someone without disabilities, but you should be able to secure competitive rates with a variety of insurance carriers, depending on the type of disabilities along with other factors.

When people with disabilities make an application for life insurance, there are several key factors that underwriters will take into consideration. Life insurance for applicants with disabilities is more complicated than for someone without any sort of disability.

In all probability, the first thing an insurance underwriter will ask about is how well your condition is being managed. The underwriter will also inquire about any symptoms you might be having related to the disabilities, and treatments, if any. If your medical history shows that your condition is stable, it may increase your chances of being approved for coverage.

Your daily lifestyle plays a big part in underwriting, also. Insurance providers will do an assessment of your health and lifestyle habits, such as alcohol consumption, drug use and smoking. A healthy lifestyle has a favorable effect on your application. Your gender, age, and family medical history will all be considered, too.

The most important factor if you have disabilities is that when it comes to purchasing life insurance, it must be well managed. Your future prognosis, current health conditions, and diagnostic tests all play a role in whether or not a company will approve life insurance for you.

As long as you’re coping well with your disabilities and they aren’t contributing to your overall good health in any way, or likely to become worse, you shouldn’t have a problem getting life insurance.

Best Type Of Life Insurance If You Have Disabilities

Which types of life insurance are open to someone with disabilities? Shown below are five types that are likely to be offered:

Whole Life Insurance

Coverage for your whole, entire lifetime is what you get with whole life insurance. This type of coverage includes the added benefit of accumulating a cash value that will grow as time goes by. Whole life insurance could be a good choice for anyone living with disabilities because it has a guaranteed death benefit.

Another plus is that your coverage never expires. Whole life insurance typically has higher premiums than term life insurance, but it may be best for your circumstances.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance provides insurance coverage for a specified length of time, usually between ten and thirty-five years. The rates are lower than whole life insurance, making it a possibly attractive option for someone with disabilities shopping for adequate, low cost life insurance coverage.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Final expense life insurance, often called funeral or burial insurance, is designed to provide benefits for end-of-life expenses. Final expense policies usually have more relaxed underwriting than most other types, which could be a plus to someone with disabilities who is having problems getting approval for traditional life insurance.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance provides coverage to any and everyone, no matter their health conditions. It could be a desirable option for someone with disabilities who has been declined by other insurers. This type of policy is usually more expensive than some types of life insurance, but if you’ve been denied coverage by other insurers, it might be worth the higher rates.

A guaranteed issue life insurance policy might come with a Graded Death Benefit. This means that if you have disabilities, your policy will not cover any health problems related to that condition for a specified period of time, usually 2 years. You could have coverage for accidental death with this type of insurance, also.

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is typically offered through employers or other groups or organizations. For those with disabilities that have this option available, you should probably jump on it. Group insurance is a way to get life insurance coverage without the extensive underwriting often involved in traditional issue policies. It’s possible that you won’t even have to undergo a physical examination.

Important: Living benefit riders can also be a lifeline for disabilities. 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 With Disabilities

Following these four simple yet effective steps will help you get life insurance if you have disabilities:

Research Your Options

Your first step should probably be finding a few leading insurance providers that provide coverage to people with disabilities. Some insurance providers offer term insurance plus whole life insurance. You need to understand the differences between the two types before making a buying decision.


Understand the Underwriting Process

Most life insurance applications will want access to your medical history and records. The underwriting process for disabilities might be more extensive than standard, and could also mean higher premiums.


Consider Employer or Group Coverage

If you have access to group life insurance, it is probably going to be your best option. Group policies generally provide insurance coverage no matter what health conditions a person has, disabilities included. You may not have to undergo a medical examination for group insurance.


Apply for Coverage

When you’ve decided which insurer and life insurance product seems suitable, it’s time to complete and submit your application. This could involve a thorough health questionnaire, along with a medical examination.


How Much Does Life Insurance Cost For Those With disabilities?

If you are living with disabilities the rates you pay may vary, depending on the type and location of your disabilities, as well as their severity.

20 year term life insurance rates for people with disabilities

Age Gender Non-Smoker Smoker
25 Female $11.87 $24.72
Male $14.16 $35.33
35 Female $15.52 $36.71
Male $17.24 $45.39
45 Female $27.09 $71.95
Male $17.22 $45.39
55 Female $52.83 $155.43
Male $70.32 $215.40

Your rates will depend to a significant extent on the information the underwriter collects about your medical history, family health history, your lifestyle and so on. It will probably expedite getting a decision about whether you’re approved or denied coverage if you take all of the information with you that the underwriter will want to review.

Here is a list of things you need to have ready when you see the underwriter:

  • All medical test results
  • Stability of the disabilities
  • The present condition of your disabilities
  • Description of treatment received
  • An APS (Attending Physician Statement)
  • Date your disabilities were first diagnosed
  • Smoking history

If you have disabilities, a favorable application may be helpful when you’re trying to purchase life insurance. Show the provider/underwriter that you’re doing well with your disabilities, are compliant with keeping doctors’ appointments and following recommendations for staying healthy, observing a healthy lifestyle and enjoying a good life, even with your condition.

Can Insurance Companies Deny Coverage To Someone With Disabilities?

Yes, an insurance company might deny your application for life insurance, but it’s doubtful this would occur due to disabilities alone unless they’re severe. One factor that might make an insurance provider decide that the risk of insuring your life is too high is if your disabilities are caused by another health condition.

Medicine has made huge strides in advancing the treatment of disabilities. Besides adding to life expectancy for many disabled people, it means a change in the way some insurance providers view the insurability of individuals with disabilities.

Perhaps the main factor in whether an insurance provider will approve a life insurance application or not, and how high the premiums will be, is how the person with disabilities is dealing with them on a day-to-day basis. The longer it has been since any problems related to the disabilities, the better chance that you’ll be approved for coverage.

What Will Insurers Ask About Disabilities?

You can count on there being a number of questions that are likely to be asked by the insurer when a person with any disabilities applies for life insurance coverage. The following lists the major factors underwriters consider when processing a life insurance application from a person who currently has or has had an disabilities:

  • Efforts are made to control the blood pressure
  • Date when the disabilities was diagnosed
  • The type of disabilities
  • Highest lab results of disabilities
  • Cause of disabilities
  • Stability of disabilities
  • The applicant’s smoking history
  • Efforts are made to control the disabilities
  • If the disabilities is still present
  • Any treatment received

Life Insurance Options If You Are Denied Coverage

Insurance companies might decline approval of coverage for disabilities, but it isn’t likely. A denial of coverage would probably occur if there was an underlying, serious health condition causing the high  cholesterol. But, even in that worst case scenario, you’ll still have options for purchasing life insurance.

Guaranteed Issue policies are a good option if you have disabilities and have been declined for traditional life insurance.

Group life insurance, by way of an employer or other organization, offers coverage regardless of whatever health conditions you might have. If you’re not making progress getting life insurance, check out specialized services on the internet like Insuranceopedia that can help you find the coverage you need.

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

Here are three tips that might aid in your search for life insurance:

Know Your Needs: You need more than just a vague idea of how much life insurance you should purchase. A lot of people use the DIME method to calculate how much life insurance it will take to cover all expenses if you’re not around.

The DIME method is a popular and much-used approach to calculating how much a life insurance death benefit should be. It involves taking into account 4 key factors, as delineated by the acronym “DIME.” These factors include:

  1. Debt: All of your existing debt needs to be added up to calculate how much it would cost to repay the balance due after an untimely death.
  2. Income: If you’re purchasing life insurance, you should determine how much your annual income is and how many years of income replacement are needed to provide for your family. For instance, if your spouse and children would be relying on your $50,000 yearly income for 15 more years, then $750,000 in coverage would be the necessary amount of coverage needed.
  3. Mortgage: A lot of people want surviving family members to be able to stay in the family home. So the mortgage balance will have to be taken into  consideration and added to the amount of life insurance coverage purchased.
  4. Education: Education can be  really expensive. To ensure your children get a proper education, you might figure out how high educational costs would be and then add that amount to the death benefit of your life insurance policy.

Explore Policy Types: Take a look at Graded Death Benefit policies and Guaranteed Issue life insurance. Each of these types are excellent options for people with disabilities that are having problems securing life insurance.

Use Specialized Services: Check out services such as Insuranceopedia. This online service obtains quotes from various providers and compares rates to help you get life insurance that is affordable and adequate for your individual needs.

What Are Disabilities?

About 26% of adults in the United States, one in four people more or less, are living with disabilities.

According to the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, an individual with a disability is someone who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities:

  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Breathing
  • Communicating
  • Learning
  • Sleeping
  • Walking

Life insurance companies look at disabilities in the context of how they affect someone’s health and their life expectancy. Someone born blind would probably be considered a lower risk than someone who became blind later in life due to a medical condition such as diabetic retinopathy, for instance.

Other Health Concerns That Can Affect Your Life Insurance

When you make an application for life insurance, insurers will want to know about any conditions that might have an effect on your approval or the cost of your premiums for life insurance:

  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia: These conditions may have a significant effect on insurability
  • Asthma: Based on the severity, asthma might impact insurance rates
  • Heart Disease: A very common but also very serious health condition that could cause higher premiums or even denial of coverage
  • Lung Disease: Chronic conditions such as COPD may cause increased premiums
  • Liver Disease: Conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver might affect your life insurance policy and premiums
  • Substance Use Disorders: A history of alcohol or drug abuse can affect insurability
  • High Blood Pressure: Well-managed hypertension may have a negligent effect on your life insurance coverage or rates
  • Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease can raise your insurance premium
  • Cancer: Depending on the stage and type of cancer, it may affect insurability
  • AIDS: With modern progress in the medical field, many providers will now offer life insurance policies to those with disabilities
  • Depression: Mental health conditions like depression or PTSD may impact coverage
  • Diabetes: Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes might increase your insurance premiums
  • Obesity: A higher BMI can cause higher insurance premiums
  • Stroke: A history of stroke may cause a hike in rates
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This chronic condition can lead to more expensive premiums


Can Someone With Disabilities Qualify For Life Insurance?

Yes, definitely. There are many insurers who will provide coverage to someone with disabilities, and others that won’t. If the disabilities aren’t severe enough to make the applicant a health risk, and well controlled, the majority of insurance providers will approve life insurance.

What Insurance Is Best For Someone With Disabilities?

Since disabilities in most cases are not considered a critical illness, the majority of insurers will cover them. You might have to shop around and select the insurance company that seems suitable for your needs.

Are People With Disabilities Classed As Having a Critical Illness In Insurance?

That depends on the nature, severity and prognosis of the disabilities. There are many types of disabilities. Some are not considered uninsurable, while others are.

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