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How to Get Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

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Life Insurance With a Heart Condition

Nothing underscores the need for life insurance like experiencing a heart attack. It can often be a frightening wake-up call for anyone, especially those without the means to protect and provide for their loved ones after they’re gone.

Someone in the United States experiences a heart attack every 40 seconds.1 That’s just over 800,000 people. And one out of every five heart attacks is silent, which means the damage may not have associated symptoms with it.

Because heart attacks are a major health event, people who have recently experienced them may have questions about buying life insurance. These concerns can feel overwhelming. They can include:

  • Will having a heart condition make my life insurance rates go up?
  • How expensive will premiums be for people with heart issues?
  • Can I even qualify for life insurance after a heart attack?

As it turns out, plenty of people are able to purchase life insurance after having a heart attack. In many cases, they can even find affordable coverage. If you know what kind of policy to shop for and what kinds of questions to ask, it’s still possible to purchase life insurance that protects your family and provides for the future—even after a cardiac event.

Types of Life Insurance Coverage You Can Apply For After a Heart Attack

The two main types of insurance coverage are term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Term life insurance has a start and an end date, typically 10-30 years. After the term ends, the policy expires (at which point you can purchase another term or convert it into a whole life policy. Permanent life insurance is life insurance that lasts your whole lifetime (as long as premium payments are paid) and never expires. For this reason, permanent life is usually much more expensive than term life. 

Insurance companies use a classification system as they evaluate applicants in the process of trying to obtain life insurance. During their review of the applicant’s medical history, occupation and lifestyle activities, the insurance company will apply one of seven life insurance classifications to the policy. These classifications typically impact the premiums a person pays for their policy. The different underwriting classifications include:

  • Preferred Plus: The best rating for healthy individuals with no family history of medical risks, including heart disease or cancer. Applicants tend to have the lowest premiums.
  • Preferred: Individuals in good health with minor exceptions, such as high cholesterol or blood pressure. They have favorable premium rates.
  • Standard Plus: These individuals are typically in good health but have a few minor health concerns. They are also outside of the ideal height and weight range.
  • Standard: These applicants have average health and a normal life expectancy, but they might have concerns like a family history of disease or obesity.
  • Preferred Smoker: This class of applicants would fall under the Preferred category if they didn’t smoke. Recently quitting smoking could fall under this class, too.
  • Standard Smoker: This classification includes Standard applicants who smoke or who have recently quit.
  • Substandard: The Substandard class describes those applicants with a complicated medical history or recent health problems, including a heart attack. Coverage and rates are determined by a rating system. Typically, the more health conditions, the higher the premiums for this class. While some of the prices for coverage in the Substandard class are expensive, it’s still an option to ensure your loved ones are financially protected in the event of your death.

How to Increase Your Chances of Qualifying for Life Insurance

As a general rule, it’s best to apply for a life insurance policy when you’re at your healthiest. The younger you are when you apply for a policy, the more likely you are to be approved and secure an affordable rate.

But if you’ve missed a big milestone, such as applying for coverage after hitting a certain age, there are still plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to increase the chances of qualifying for life insurance coverage. These include:

  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Lowering your cholesterol
  • Making healthy lifestyle changes, like adding in exercise or quitting smoking or tobacco
  • Reducing risky hobbies
  • Changing jobs (if involved in a high-risk occupation)

Note that these changes may take 6-12 months to impact your eligibility for coverage.

What You Can Do If You Are Denied

If you’re denied life insurance coverage, it’s really important to understand why. Finding traditional life coverage might be difficult if you have a pre-existing condition. Be truthful about any health conditions you have, including heart disease.  Be as accurate as possible, too, because incorrect information can lead to declined coverage.

Even if you’re declined for a traditional policy, there are still options. Group life insurance through your employer can provide a base level of coverage, for example. If you’re between the ages of 45 and 85, you can also shop for a guaranteed issue policy. These policies may be more expensive, but they can still cover you.

Finally, focus on the things you can control, like your lifestyle.

Let SelectQuote Help Find the Right Life Insurance for You

Ultimately, finding life insurance after a heart attack may require more comparison shopping among life insurance companies. That’s where SelectQuote can help. We shop for life insurance policies from dozens of trusted carriers to help find coverage with the best possible rate and limits to meet your needs. We also work with several insurance carriers that are more likely to approve term life insurance for individuals with health concerns like cholesterol, diabetes and other conditions. 

Contact us today so we can help you find life insurance that provides the right balance of protection and price.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20someone,heart%20attack%20every%2040%20seconds.&text=Every%20year%2C%20about%20805%2C000%20people,States%20have%20a%20heart%20attack.&text=Of%20these%2C,are%20a%20first%20heart%20attack

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