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Can You Get Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition? 

Life insurance can benefit people from all backgrounds and stages of life. It can help you protect loved ones and, with some policies, enhance your financial planning.

People with pre-existing conditions may be unsure about whether they qualify for life insurance. Fortunately, pre-existing conditions don’t have to stop you from getting a life insurance policy. This article will explain how life insurance works for people with pre-existing conditions and offer some tips on maximizing your life insurance approval chances.

What is a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition you had known about, been diagnosed with, or received treated for prior to applying for an insurance policy. Common pre-existing conditions include:1

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Epilepsy
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol

Can people with pre-existing conditions qualify for life insurance?

People with pre-existing conditions can still qualify for various life insurance policies. However, they may pay more in premiums because personal health history is a key factor that insurers use to calculate rates.1 Insurers must account for additional risk accompanying a pre-existing condition when making a policy decision.

Factors that can affect approval for life insurance with pre-existing conditions 

Several factors impact your approval chances for life insurance with pre-existing conditions:2

Type of condition

The type of condition you have can significantly impact approval chances since the insurer evaluates the risk the condition entails and its likelihood of causing recurring issues. For example, cancer, heart disease, and other severe chronic illnesses are considered higher risk.

Your current health status 

Even if you have a pre-existing condition, insurers evaluate how you manage that condition. If you are otherwise healthy and your condition is under control, you may more easily get approval and qualify for more favorable premiums. Demonstrating vigilant management of the condition, such as routine medical provider visits and regular medication usage, can reduce risk from the insurer’s point of view.


Premiums can increase and approval chances can decrease with age, given the same pre-existing condition. This is because younger people generally have a longer life expectancy, reducing the insurer’s risk.


Several lifestyle habits can influence approval chances in isolation and impact pre-existing conditions. For example, smokers with pre-existing conditions may have lower approval chances. On the other hand, demonstrating a healthy lifestyle, such as avoiding smoking and exercising regularly, can potentially increase approval chances.

Time from diagnosis

A longer time from diagnosis can increase the chance of complications or other issues occurring. The insurer may scrutinize an application more closely if your diagnosis happened long ago.

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Types of life insurance with people with pre-existing conditions

People with pre-existing conditions have several life insurance options:

  • Term life insurance: Term life insurance policies have more favorable premiums and large death benefits, but coverage only lasts 10 to 30 years. This policy may be right for you if you’d like the most coverage for your budget.

  • Guaranteed issue life insurance: A guaranteed issue life insurance policy never denies applicants. There are no medical questions or exams. These policies don’t offer a lot of coverage, but have favorable premiums and a cash value growth component that helps you build wealth with each payment.

  • Group life insurance: Group life insurance is a term life insurance policy you can get through your employer if they offer it. Employers tend not to offer more than $50,000 of death benefit coverage for tax reasons, but premiums can be favorable and easy to manage.

  • Whole life insurance: People with pre-existing conditions could still qualify for whole life insurance. This coverage lasts for life and offers a cash value growth component, allowing you to build wealth. However, premiums can be much higher.

Tips to increase your chances of getting life insurance with pre-existing conditions

Following a few tips can increase your chances of getting life insurance with pre-existing conditions at rates that fit your budget:1

Stick to your treatment plan 

Demonstrating adherence to your treatment plan shows the insurer you’re managing your condition and helps you stay healthy. Show insurers proof that you visit your health provider regularly, take any prescribed medication, and follow any other medical advice or instructions your health provider has given you.

Get regular exercise 

Regular exercise keeps you healthy overall. It offers numerous general health benefits and can reduce the risks or symptoms of your pre-existing condition. Evidence of regular exercise can further convince an insurer that you’re managing your condition and maximizing your health.

Lose weight 

Depending on your condition, losing weight can increase your chances of approval for a life insurance policy. This is because getting to a healthy weight can lead to a range of positive health effects, such as reduced blood pressure, better blood sugar, and a lower chance of developing other conditions. However, this is only true if you are considered overweight. Being underweight can also lead to health risks that may lead to issues with approval.

Compare quotes 

Insurance coverage costs and terms for the same coverage can vary between insurers. Shopping around can help you find insurers willing to offer coverage to you despite a pre-existing condition. It can also help you compare quotes and choose the insurer offering the best rates and terms.

What to do if you don’t get approved for life insurance

If you don’t get approved for life insurance, you have several paths to take that could lead to an eventual approval in the future:

Re-apply after your condition improves

In some cases, simply waiting for your condition to improve can increase your chances. During this time, double down on following your treatment plan, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These become easier to manage once they become habits, and they could improve your condition. Document your health improvements as well, gathering medical records, test results, and doctor’s notes to show the insurer when you apply again. Keep in mind that you may have to wait a significant period, though. Insurers prefer to see a longer history of improvements, such as a year.

Appeal the decision

Insurers may offer an appeal process if denied. Sometimes, the denial is due to an error or lack of certain medical information. Appealing the denial while providing correct information with evidence may help overturn the denial. If there are no errors, appealing the policy may entail providing additional proof you’re managing your condition or other evidence that reduces your perceived risk.

Work with an insurance broker

Brokers specialize in helping their clients find life insurance. They typically earn a commission from the insurer if you buy a policy, incentivizing them to work hard on your behalf. Do some research on brokers by looking online or asking friends and family for recommendations to find one you can trust.

Explore guaranteed issue life insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance approves all applicants. Plus, there are no exams or medical questions. This makes the application process much simpler. Consider one of these policies if the smaller death benefit and cash value component suit your needs.

Get a life insurance quote from Aflac

Having a pre-existing condition may result in paying higher life insurance premiums. However, taking steps to manage your condition, exercise, and lead a healthy lifestyle can improve your condition and make insurers more willing to offer you a policy. At Aflac, prospective policyholders with pre-existing conditions may qualify for several life insurance options. Speak with an agent today to discuss your options.

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