It’s no secret that life insurance companies view customers with heart conditions as high risk clientele. That’s because heart conditions are the leading cause of death in the United States—killing over 600,000 people each year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, cardiovascular diseases (another term for heart conditions) are the number one killer of most ethnicities in the United States.
Here at Big Lou® headquarters we’ve helped thousands of people with heart conditions secure affordable life insurance. And now we’re going to pull back the curtain and provide you with 5 big ideas you can use to secure life insurance even if you suffer from common heart conditions like heart disease, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, or even if you’ve suffered a heart attack.
If you’re shopping for life insurance and suffer from a common heart condition rest assured there’s a good chance you can still obtain life insurance—and if you take our advice you’ll save money and get the best policy possible.
Let’s get started.
What Heart Conditions Do Life Insurance Companies Care About?
If your heart stops beating you’re likely not going to survive. Life insurance companies know this and take heart conditions very seriously. However, each heart condition has it’s own set of risk factors and mortality rates—and life insurance company underwriters understand this—and so they rate each policy and applicant on a case by case basis. Later on we’ll cover how insurance companies underwrite for heart conditions.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term used to described a range of issues concerning the heart—and specifically related to the narrowing or blocking of blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (AKA angina) or stroke.
Other heart conditions, including those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, are also considered forms of heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease, frequently called “heart disease,” is related to an important process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that’s caused by plaque build up in the walls of arteries.
What Causes Artery Plaque?
Plaque build up is usually caused by an unhealthy diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Therefore—it’s mostly under your control to make good choices about your lifestyle and improve your chances of avoiding heart disease (and saving money on your life insurance in the process).
Poor eating habits, including the consumption of foods that are high in “bad fats” including trans fats and hydrogenated oils, is the leading cause of plaque build up in the arteries.
Smoking—which raises blood pressure levels, damages blood vessels, and raises cholesterol levels—also causes plaque build up in your arteries.
Other causes of plaque build up include:
- High blood pressure
- Bad cholesterol (LDL)
- High blood sugar
- Alcohol consumption
- Lack of exercise
Other heart and cardiovascular issues we have experience with:
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Heart valve problems
- Heart conditions
- Bypass Surgery
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart disease
Now let’s talk about heart conditions and life insurance underwriting.
Heart Conditions and Life Insurance Underwriting
The life insurance underwriting process is about predicting how likely an individual is to die during the life insurance policy period—and determining how much money to charge a policyholder based on their risk profile.
That means that a 45 year old male who’s survived a heart attack and wants to purchase a 20 year life insurance policy you’ll be rated differently than a 45 year old man who has atrial fibrillation.
Other factors that will affect your policies underwriting include your age, comprehensive medical history and more.
(We’ve written in depth about the factors affecting your life insurance premium and you can read that here).
Let’s get into the 5 big ideas you can use to save money on your life insurance even if you suffer from a heart condition.
Big Idea Number One: Don’t Wait Any Longer
If you’ve had a heart condition and are looking for life insurance we know you’re probably a bit older than the average life insurance applicant—and that’s ok. What’s not OK is if you continue to kick the can down the road–since every year you wait to secure that life insurance policy the premium goes up just a little more. That’s because age is one of the biggest factors in determining life insurance premiums. With each year that passes, that policy premium will increase. So don’t wait—get a free life insurance quote and start the process—it only take 60 seconds.
Big Idea Number Two: Get Fit Quick
In order to secure an affordable life insurance policy with heart disease you need to have your body weight and body mass index under control. If you’ve already experienced a heart attack it’s likely that you’re tipping the scale beyond the weight recommended by your doctor.
Getting your weight under control will also have a ripple effect on your other health markers. Improving blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and decreasing your chance of a heart attack will have a massive impact on your life insurance rates. So get out there and get to work on your health and fitness.
Big Idea Number Three: Control Chronic Disease and High Risk Factors
The presence of co-existing chronic diseases like diabetes heightens your risk of dying from a heart condition. Other risk factors include a poor diet, obesity, high cholesterol and physical inactivity as we’ve already discussed.
While some chronic diseases and conditions are out of your control (like type 1 diabetes) many of the risk factors can be controlled by altering your lifestyle and improving habits. A little bit of discipline and motivation goes a long way here. If you’re looking at paying $500 / month vs. $2,000 / month for your life insurance is that motivation enough? How about living past age 60?
Whatever your motivation is, take a long hard look in the mirror and make a commitment to improving your daily habits and lifestyle.
Big Idea Number Four: Look For Insurance in the Right Places
If you suffer from a heart condition you’ll likely be considered a high risk candidate by life insurance companies. For that reason you need to be especially careful about where you shop for life insurance. You see, most of the big life insurance companies that spend billions of dollars on advertising aren’t interested in insuring high risk individuals—they only want to insure people in perfect health who aren’t likely to pass away during the policy period.
However, plenty of the lesser known insurance carriers specialize in writing life insurance policies for people with heart conditions—and they actively seek applicants that fit their criteria for a “good risk.”
Keep in mind that not every insurance agent has access to all the life insurance carriers on the market–and there’s more than 700 of them in the United States alone. Be sure that you work with an independent agent that can shop your policy with the best life insurance carriers for your unique situation.
Big Idea Number Five: Take Your Doctor’s Advice
An apple a day keeps the doctor away…But if you suffer from one of the many heart conditions you’ll need more than an apple. Depending on your condition your doctor may prescribe medication, a fitness regiment, and possibly some dietary constraints. It’s important that you document any protocols your doctor prescribes and then stick to them. Do your best to document your adherence to the plan…If you can prove that you’re proactively treating your heart condition and doing your best to improve your health a life insurance underwriter will take that into account when they rate your policy.
So that’s it. Simple advice can often help solve complex problems. Of course, you still have to go through the entire life insurance application process including medical exams, blood and urine tests, and more. Why not have an expert on your side that knows the process inside and out? Give Big Lou® a call today and we’ll walk you through the process step by step.