A stroke is a serious thing, but you already knew that.
Possibly it’s the reason you are looking for coverage today?
Getting approved for life insurance after a stroke is no easy task. DO NOT just go throwing out a bunch of applications to a bunch of insurance companies hoping one sticks at an affordable rate.
The Good News: Stick with us for a few minutes and we’ll explain everything. You’ll learn what to expect and how to get the lowest possible rates for your situation.
We will answer the following questions about life insurance for stroke survivors:
- How do life insurance companies view your stroke?
- What questions will the insurer ask?
- How important is the length of time since my stroke when applying for life insurance?
- Does my age at the time of the stroke matter?
- Can I still get life insurance after multiple strokes?
- How much does life insurance for stroke victims cost?
- Is there anything I can do to get lower rates?
- Best life insurance companies to apply at as a stroke survivor
Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. I’m thankful you survived it.
You are definitely not alone as a stroke survivor. Now you don’t have to be alone on the road to finding good life insurance coverage either.
How Do Life Insurance Companies View Your Stroke?
The first thing the underwriters will look at is what type of stroke did you have? They will be characterized into 2 main types and it’s important.
TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or “mini-stroke”
A TIA results from a small temporary blockage of an artery. Neurological activity will be impaired temporarily. Symptoms may include dizziness, blurred vision, speech impairments, and general weakness.
Since there is no permanent damage, the medical records are often made up of observations rather than actual testing. While less significant than a full stroke, a TIA is still a risk because it can be a precursor to full CVA down the road.
A person who has had a TIA can usually qualify for better rates (you pay less $$) than someone who experienced a full stroke.
CVA (Cerebrovascular Accident) or “full stroke”
One or more blood vessels in the brain were blocked or ruptured. This can lead to a some level of permanent brain damage. The underwriters consider this a substantial risk and adjust health ratings accordingly.
A CVA will typically be rated lower (you pay more $$) than a TIA.
What Questions Will the Insurer Ask?
Life insurance underwriting is about many things that ultimately determine how much you pay each month.
The below questions are stroke specific and in addition to the normal health questions.
- Date of stroke occurrence
- Age at time of stroke
- Diagnosed as a mini-stroke (TIA) or full stroke (CVA)?
- First stroke occurrence? if not, when were the others?
- What studies were done? (EKG, MRI, CT Scan, Carotid Ultrasound, etc)
- Describe symptoms at the time of stroke
- (for CVA) Is the cause Lacunar, Atherosclerotic/Thrombotic, or Cardioembolic?
- Did symptoms linger after stroke? Which ones?
- Any family history of strokes?
- Medications you are taking
- Any diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease (CVD), or peripheral vascular disease (PVD)?
- Previous or current tobacco usage
A good life independent life insurance professional will ask you all the above. Be completely upfront and don’t hide anything. This allows us to go to work for you. The more we know about your situation, the better we can work with the underwriters and find the best fit.
How Important Is the Length of Time Since My Stroke When Applying for Life Insurance?
Strokes have a tendency to repeat themselves, unfortunately. Greater than 1 in 4 people who suffer a stroke will have a 2nd occurrence sometime in their life.
Also, the risk for a stroke within 5 years of the first episode is about 40% higher.
You may already have known all this. But it’s important to understand how the life insurance company views things since they set the rates.
What to expect:
Some carriers won’t consider your application for 3 to 12 months after a stroke. This is referred to as a “postponement“. The more time that has passed the better obviously. After 1 year, options open up considerably in terms of companies you can apply with.
Usually, you can get coverage sooner after a TIA than you can following a CVA.
6 years after the stroke (and no complications) you will see the rates drop with most insurance providers. While still a risk, enough time has passed that it’s less of a risk.
10+ years in the clear and some carriers will only ding you very slightly for it. This assumes good health and lifestyle choices since then. You must be able to show a difference between then and now. Having proof of good health habits will go along way.
Don’t put off getting coverage waiting for the above timelines. It’s better to get some coverage now even if it costs a little more. You know better than anyone how serious a stroke is. Waiting around without coverage is NOT a good plan.
We always advise our clients to buy what they can afford now. We can help you request a reconsideration as more time passes and you stay in good health.
Does My Age at the Time of the Stroke Matter?
Yes, it does.
If you had a stroke at a younger age, this could mean more serious accompanying health problems. Our bodies are expected to break down and fail later in life so a stroke at an older age is actually BETTER in terms of how it affects life insurance premiums.
To be clear: Older people will pay higher premiums just because of the advanced age. They are also more likely to have other medical conditions and this all must be taken into account. What we are saying is that having the stroke at an older age is better in terms of its impact on your insurance premiums.
What age is the cutoff?
Generally speaking, 55 or 60 years depending on the carrier. If you were under that age when you suffered the stroke, they will be more concerned.
Can I Still Get Life Insurance After Multiple Strokes?
It will be difficult, but’s let’s explore….
Survivors of multiple full strokes (CVA) are almost certainly looking at a decline. In this case, the best you can do is some sort of final expense coverage or graded death benefit.
If you have had more than one mini-stroke (TIA), it may still be possible to get coverage with the right carrier.
The critical factors in the decision will be:
- Time elapsed since most recent occurrence: Will need to be at least a few years and the longer the better.
- Number of strokes: 2 is better than 5 obviously
- Presence of ongoing symptoms and neurological deficit: if you have em, most likely a decline
- Has the likely cause of the strokes been determined and steps taken to remedy the cause?
This is a tricky one and I don’t want to get your hopes up too high. Many people will be automatic declines with multiple strokes. We will need to review your individual case and consult the underwriters.
How Much Does Life Insurance for Stroke Victims Cost?
Your stroke (and the rest of your medical history) will land you into 1 of 16 health ratings.
Below the standard ratings are “table ratings“. Each level lower adds 25% higher premium on top of the standard rates.
Table 2 = Standard + 50%
Table 4 = Standard + 100%
Expected Health Ratings
|Time Since Stroke||Mini Stroke (TIA)||Full Stroke (CVA)|
|4-6 Months||Table 7-10|
Possible addl postpone
|7-12 months||Table 5-10||Postpone|
|1-5 years (YES, ongoing symptoms)||Table 5-10||Table 6-10|
Possible addl postpone
|1-5 years (NO ongoing symptoms)||Table 1-5||Table 4-8|
|6-10 years (YES, ongoing symptoms)||Standard - Table 4||Table 4-10|
|6-10 years (NO ongoing symptoms)||Preferred - Standard||Standard - Table 4|
|10+ years||Preferred - Standard Plus||Standard - Table 2|
Ok great, but how much will I pay?
As you can see, the health ratings above vary based on the symptoms of your stroke and the rest of your medical history. The only way to know for sure is to have an independent broker review your situation and then work with the underwriters to find you the best fit.
To give you an idea, the below sample rates are based on a 42-year-old male seeking 20-year level term coverage.
|Health Class Rating||$250,000||$500,000||$750,000|
|Standard||$39.72 per month||$73.41 per month||$106.09 per month|
|Table 3||$56.25 per month||$106.20 per month||$156.53 per month|
|Table 5||$70.74 per month||$134.96 per month||$199.67 per month|
|Table 7||$85.22 per month||$163.72 per month||$242.82 per month|
You may have noticed that the table rating quotes are not available through the quoting engine on our site.
This is because there are too many health factors that go into these levels of ratings. We would need to work with you to provide an accurate quote.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Get Lower Rates?
Yes, there is.
While you can’t control everything related to a stroke, there are lifestyle choices that are proven to increase risk. Change the below for the better and the insurance underwriters will reward you with lower rates.
- Quit smoking or using other tobacco products
- Cut back on alcohol consumption
- Get regular exercise
- Reduce saturated fat and trans fat intake
- Keep blood pressure low, if possible below 120/80
Bottom line: You can’t erase the stroke on your medical records but you can improve your situation. Not only for your own personal health but also to save $$ on your life insurance rates.
Best Life Insurance Companies to Apply at as a Stroke Survivor?
After a stroke, choosing the right life insurance company can be a challenge.
Do not just start with the cheapest rates and hope someone approves you.
In our experience the following companies tend to be more lenient in their underwriting guidelines with strokes:
- Principal Financial Group
- American General
- North American Company
There is a specific process that should be followed to get an approval at the lowest possible rates. This involves having a knowledgeable broker work with the underwriters BEFORE you apply. An individual consumer is not permitted to do this on their own.
If you are serious about finding affordable life insurance after a stroke, we can help.
There is NO reason to go it alone vs the big insurance companies.
The secret to finding the best coverage is:
- Knowing all the insurance carriers underwriting guidelines, inside and out.
- Working directly with the underwriters.
We know exactly how to do this. We can help if you are ready. There is NO cost to use our service and life insurance is all we do, every day, all day long.
We welcome the opportunity to have a no pressure chat about your options.