Life Insurance For Kidney Transplant Patients In 2024

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Updated: 17 May 2024
Written by
Bob Phillips
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If you are one of the approximately 20,000 kidney transplant patients in the United States every year, you might be thinking about life insurance and wondering whether or not you can get it. This is where we come in.

The insurance world can be confusing, as can the world of medicine, but not to worry, we’re here to help. We’ve done extensive research into the subject of life insurance for kidney transplant patients and compiled some pertinent data and information in this article that should prove helpful to you.

Medical progress plus a better understanding of kidney transplant patients has changed the landscape of life insurance. Nowadays, a lot of insurers provide term insurance as well as whole life options for kidney transplant patients. We’ll take a look at these options, and provide valuable tips about coverage details, along with how to qualify for life insurance after an organ transplant, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Life insurance premiums are generally higher for kidney transplant patients

  • Life insurance for most kidney transplant patients is available

  • Underwriting for kidney transplant patients might be more complex and in-depth than standard applicants

Can Kidney Transplant Patients Get Life Insurance?

Yes, most kidney transplant patients can get life insurance. This wasn’t always the case, but because of the progress of medicine many leading insurance providers nowadays (detailed below) offer both term and whole life insurance coverage for kidney transplant patients.

While it’s a positive note that life insurance is available for kidney transplant patients, the fact is that not all insurers offer this coverage, and there are some that will deny it. But, this doesn’t mean that life insurance for kidney transplant patients is out of reach. Numerous insurance providers have realized the need for life insurance for kidney transplant patients, and offer policies designed for them.

Life insurance for kidney transplant patients could be as much as 25% higher than standard, based on multiple factors like: how long since the transplant, the age of the applicant, and how the applicant’s health has been since the transplant, and more.

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

How Does Life Insurance Eligibility Affect Kidney Transplant Patients?

If you are one of the kidney transplant patients who obtained a donated kidney from overseas, the majority of insurance companies will decline your application for coverage because there’s no way to regulate overseas medical operations. By the same token, some insurance companies will increase your rates if your kidney came from a cadaver instead of a living donor.

If you had term life insurance in place before your transplant, your premiums will probably increase upon policy renewal. Sadly, if your body rejects the transplanted kidney, you won’t be able to secure traditional life insurance.

Traditional life insurance might not be accessible to all kidney transplant patients, but there are insurers that offer products for specialized conditions. These companies may offer traditional life insurance to kidney transplant patients. Some applicants may also qualify for group or guaranteed issue life insurance. For instance, if you have group insurance via your employer or organization, you can probably get life insurance .

Kidney transplant patients are advised to do some research so as to gain an understanding of the basics about life insurance coverage. It might be a struggle to work your way through all of the unfamiliar terms of insurance language, but the financial protection, security, and peace of mind these policies provide is invaluable.

Kidney transplant patients who had their insurance policy in force before they needed a transplant can’t be canceled because of it, after the fact. This emphasizes how important it is to get a life insurance policy as soon as possible.

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

Life Insurance Underwriting Process For Kidney Transplant Patients

A basic understanding of the insurance underwriting process can be helpful when kidney transplant patients are looking around for life insurance. Here are 5 simple yet helpful steps in the underwriting process:

  1. Medical Examination: A medical examination is the first step in underwriting, in order to be approved or denied for coverage. You’ll have a thorough physical examination, and then an underwriter will assess your condition with the spotlight on your overall health along with the success of your kidney transplant.
  2. Review of Medical History: The underwriter for the insurance company will need access to your medical history. They’ll be interested in what kind of medical treatment you are receiving along with how well you’re doing post-transplant.
  3. Lifestyle Evaluation: The underwriter will consider your lifestyle, also, including habits such as smoking, drug use and alcohol consumption. A healthy lifestyle can have a favorable influence on your application for coverage being approved.
  4. Risk Assessment: Based on all of this information, the underwriter will make a risk assessment of providing life insurance to you. If you’re approved for coverage this assessment may affect your premium rates.
  5. Policy Issuance: If you make it through the underwriting process without your application being declined, the insurance provider will probably offer life insurance coverage. Based on the assessment made by underwriters, your insurance coverage may have higher premiums or exclusions.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Consider When Kidney Transplant Patients  Apply For Coverage?

When kidney transplant patients apply for life insurance, there are several key elements that insurers will consider.

Life insurance for high risk applicants is invariably more complicated than for people with average health. Organ transplants indicate to life insurance providers that you have had poor health along with high risk, pre-existing conditions.

Kidney failure, for example, is often a symptom of Hepatitis C, Diabetes and Hypertension, or high blood pressure.

First, the insurer will want to see if your condition is well-managed. They’ll ask for access to your medical records to review symptoms and treatment. If the medical history shows that your condition is stable, it might affect your approval for life insurance.

Lifestyle also plays a part in underwriting. Insurance providers will want an assessment of your health and lifestyle choices, like alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug use.   A healthy lifestyle has a positive effect on the life insurance application. Your age, family medical history, and gender will be considered, too.

The overall biggest hurdle for kidney transplant patients when it comes to purchasing life insurance is that it must be three years or longer since the transplant. Otherwise, it’s a flat “no” from underwriting.

The bottom line is that for kidney transplant patients, your current health condition and prognosis for your health in the future significantly affect your ability to get life insurance. If you are able to maintain good health for 3 years after your transplant, you’ll probably qualify for both term and whole life insurance.

Best Type Of Life Insurance For Kidney Transplant Patient

What types of life insurance are available for kidney transplant patients? Below are 5 types to consider:

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance provides coverage for a lifetime while building a cash value that increases as time goes by. Whole life insurance may be a great choice for kidney transplant patients since it has a guaranteed death benefit and your coverage doesn’t expire. Whole life insurance typically comes with a higher premium than term life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific length of time, usually between 10-35 years. It’s generally less costly than whole life insurance, making it a viable option for anyone who wants to get adequate life insurance at a bargain price.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Final expense life insurance, more often referred to as burial or funeral insurance, is designed to take care of end of life expenses. Final expense policies usually have lenient underwriting, which could be helpful to kidney transplant patients who may have trouble getting approved for other types of life insurance.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance offers coverage to almost anyone and everyone, no matter what health conditions they have. It might be a good choice for kidney transplant patients who have been declined for coverage from other insurance providers. It’s typically more costly than some other types of life insurance, but if you have been declined by several carriers, it might be worth the increased premium. Sometimes a guaranteed issue life insurance policy will have a Graded Death Benefit.

This means that  with kidney transplant patients, for example, your policy won’t cover anything related to your kidneys for a period of two to three years. You’ll probably have accidental death coverage as well as coverage for other causes of death so long as it wasn’t caused by your kidneys.

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is usually made available by employers or other groups or organizations. For kidney transplant patients who are in need of life insurance, this could be a good way to get life insurance coverage minus the extensive underwriting often encountered with private policies.


Important: Living benefit riders can also be a lifeline for kidney transplant patients. 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 Kidney Transplant Patients

Following these 4 simple yet effective steps will help locate and purchase life insurance for kidney transplant patients:

Research Your Options

Your very first step should be researching insurance providers that provide coverage for kidney transplant patients. Some offer term insurance as well as whole life, and it’s critical to know and understand the differences between the two, prior to determining which is best for your needs.


Understand The Underwriting Process

The majority of life insurance applications will require you to share all the details of your health condition. The underwriting process for kidney transplant patients will almost certainly be more extensive than usual, and could mean higher premiums, as well.


Consider Employer Or Group Coverage

If you have access to group life insurance, it might be your best option. Group policies typically provide insurance coverage regardless of any health conditions you have, including kidney transplant patients. You may not even be required to undergo a medical exam.


Apply For Coverage

Once you’ve settled on an insurer and coverage that suits your needs, it’s time to complete and submit an application. This might include a lengthy health questionnaire in addition to a medical examination.


How Much Does Life Insurance Cost For Kidney Transplant Patients?

Kidney transplant patients cannot qualify at all for traditional coverage except by maintaining controlled health for a minimum of 3 years post transplant. Otherwise, you may purchase guaranteed issue whole life insurance. Expect to pay 25% or more higher rates than standard life insurance.

Average Monthly Term Life Insurance Rates For Kidney Transplant Patients

Age Standard Monthly Rates Substandard Monthly Rates
25 $10.77 $13.45
30 $10.81 $13.51
35 $11.13 $13.89
40 $12.80 $16.03
45 $16.02 $20.01
50 $22.98 $28.72
55 $32.45 $40.44
60 $51.83 $64.78
65 $90.63 $113.28

The cost of life insurance for kidney transplant patients largely depends on their health post-transplant. If you don’t have rejection issues or other health problems three years after your transplant, you can usually get approved for traditional life insurance at a standard rate.

On the other hand, if your future prognosis is poor and you are in bad health, or rejecting the kidney…you will probably be denied coverage.

How Kidney Transplant Patients Can Qualify For Life Insurance

For kidney transplant patients to qualify for life insurance, a provider will need proof that the condition is being well managed. This will involve granting the underwriter access to your medical records showing evidence of regular checkups with a doctor, and adherence to prescribed therapy. Other things such as a family medical history, age, overall health status and lifestyle choices like smoking will also be taken into consideration.

Submitting a positive  application can help kidney transplant patients when trying to purchase life insurance. Show the provider that the individual might be living with an organ transplant, but is doing very well and living a normal life. Put the emphasis on the patient’s adherence to a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and abstaining from habits like  excessive alcohol consumption, smoking or drug use.

Can Insurance Companies Deny Coverage To Kidney Transplant Patients?

Yes, life insurance providers can deny an application for coverage from kidney transplant patients. This might happen when someone has been dishonest about their  health condition. Insurance companies take a dim view of anyone who fails to disclose their  diagnosis in the application process.

Please note that medical progress has improved the treatment for kidney transplant patients. This has brought about improved life expectancy and a shift in the way some insurance providers view the insurability of kidney transplant patients.

The most important factor in whether an insurance provider will approve an application for coverage, along with how much the premium will be, is whether or not kidney transplant patients are faring three years after the transplant. The longer it has been since transplantation, without any rejection of the donor organ or other problems, the more likely kidney transplant patients will be provided life insurance coverage.

What Will Insurers Ask About The Condition Of Kidney Transplant Patients?

Here are some questions that will probably be asked by the insurer when kidney transplant patients apply for life insurance coverage:

  • When did your surgery occur?
  • Where did your surgery take place?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Why did you get your kidney transplant?
  • What follow-up treatments have you received?

Always be honest when responding to questions from an insurance provider. Not being truthful about your health condition is one of the only two reasons an insurance provider can cancel your coverage.

Life Insurance Options If You Are Denied Coverage

There are probably 2 reasons why an insurance carrier may have declined coverage for kidney transplant patients:

  • It has been less than three years since the transplant
  • If your donor kidney came from overseas or in some cases, from a cadaver

Carriers may decline coverage for kidney transplant patients based on the severity of the condition post-transplant. If you apply for life insurance less than three years since the transplant, the carrier will almost certainly decline coverage. This also applies to kidneys obtained from overseas or to a lesser degree, from cadavers.

Even if kidney transplant patients are otherwise healthy, they must still meet the qualifier of being uninsurable for traditional life insurance until a period of three years has passed.

If kidney transplant patients have a health condition ranked as critical, and have tried to secure traditional life insurance without success, there are still options. For example, there are other types of coverage. One such 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. The catch is that this insurance doesn’t cover death by anything related to the kidneys for two to three years.

Guaranteed Issue policies are another feasible option if traditional life insurance isn’t available to kidney transplant patients, and is offered by numerous companies.

Group life insurance, through an employer or other organization or group, offers coverage no matter your health problems or whatever diagnosis you might have. There are special services online like Insuranceopedia, that can help locate life insurance for kidney transplant patients.

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 3 handy tips that may prove helpful in your search for life insurance:

  • Know Your Needs: You need to have more than a guesstimate of how much life insurance coverage you require. Sit down with your calculator and figure out as closely as possible how much insurance it will take to replace your income, cover unexpected medical bills for your family, educate your children, car repairs and new vehicles plus various types of insurance such as car insurance, homeowners insurance, health insurance, provide maintenance on your home, and much more along those lines, if you weren’t around.
  • Explore Policy Types: Take a look at Graded Death Benefit policies and/or Guaranteed Issue life insurance. Both of these types of life insurance coverage are options for kidney transplant patients. Group life insurance will normally cover you regardless of health conditions.
  • Use Specialized Services: Check out services such as Insuranceopedia, that provides quotes from various insurance providers, to help you compare rates and also find a life insurance policy that is affordable and suitable for your needs.

What Are Kidney Transplant Patients?

Kidney transplant patients are individuals who have received a transplanted donor kidney to replace one of their own kidneys. This is usually due to kidney failure in one or both kidneys. You’re born with two and can survive with only one functioning kidney, but when kidney failure occurs your only choices are dialysis or transplantation.

There are various reasons for kidney failure and the need for kidney transplants. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and more might cause kidneys to stop functioning normally.

According to the American Kidney Fund, acute transplant rejection happens within six months, but chronic rejection occurs more slowly, sometimes over years. For that reason, most insurers don’t offer life insurance policies to transplant patients until after 3 years of well controlled health. But, some insurance carriers won’t take on such a risk at all.

Other Health Concerns That Can Affect Your Life Insurance

When you submit an application to secure life insurance, providers will evaluate your health status. Here are 17 health conditions that could affect your approval or premiums for life insurance:

  • Diabetes: Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes may increase premium rates
  • HIV: With modern strides in medical treatments, a lot of providers will now offer life insurance policies to people with HIV
  • High Blood Pressure: Well managed hypertension might have a slight impact on your life insurance policy
  • 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
  • Asthma: Depending on the severity, asthma may influence insurance rates
  • Stroke: A history of stroke may increase premium rates
  • Liver Disease: Conditions such as cirrhosis might affect your life insurance policy
  • Substance Use Disorders: A history of drug or alcohol abuse can affect insurability
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia: These conditions can have a significant effect on insurability
  • Lung Disease: Chronic conditions such as COPD can mean higher premiums
  • Depression: Mental health conditions such as depression may impact coverage
  • Obesity: A higher BMI may cause higher insurance costs
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This chronic condition can lead to higher premiums
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Bipolar
  • Alcoholism
  • Breast Cancer
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Children with autism
  • Disabilities


Can Kidney Transplant Patients Qualify For Life Insurance?

This is dependent to a large degree on the company. Some insurers will issue coverage to kidney transplant patients, 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 kidney transplant patients.

Kidney transplant patients might qualify for traditional life insurance if all these criteria are met:

  • Their prognosis is good
  • There is little risk of health complications
  • They received a transplant more than 3 years ago
  • Their condition is well managed

What Insurance Is Best For Kidney Transplant Patients?

In some cases, a Guaranteed Issue policy is the best choice for kidney transplant patients, especially if the condition is severe or if they have comorbidities.

Are Kidney Transplant Patients Classed As Having a Critical Illness In Insurance?

Yes, they are. Besides the risk of rejection following a kidney transplant, there are several chronic, serious illnesses that may bring on kidney failure. Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and more besides can contribute to kidney failure…all of which could be fatal.


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