All it takes is one stroke to realize the importance of life insurance. Unfortunately, many stroke survivors are under the impression that their medical history means they won’t be able to get coverage, so they go without protection for themselves and their families despite their increased risk of future health issues.
The good news is that stroke survivors can get life insurance, and that includes you, too. The bad news is that insurance companies will put you under a microscope before making it happen, and there are requirements that you should understand before applying.
What To Consider
Know the terminology: Insurance companies divide strokes into two categories: Full strokes, or what you envision when you think of a “regular stroke,” and mini-strokes, or what are also known as Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs).
TIAs are temporary interruptions to your regulatory system that manifest as dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, etc.. They’re neurological in nature and often listed as symptoms rather than medical issues in their own right.
However, TIAs can be seen as red flag for more serious and life-altering health concerns, and they have the exact same underlying causes of strokes, meaning that a history of TIAs in your medical record presents you as “stroke likely.” In fact, TIAs can sometimes be more damaging to your insurance chances than a full stroke, because if you apply for life insurance with several TIAs under your belt, it looks like you’re just trying to get coverage before something more serious happens.
These are the two major ways that insurance companies will categorize your background, so know which ball field you’re playing in before you apply.
Know What Companies Are Scrutinizing
The first thing to understand is that many insurance companies won’t even look at your application if it’s been less than a year since your last stroke. Strokes and TIAs have the highest chances of reoccurring within the first 12 months, so companies will “postpone” your application until you’ve had a clean bill of health for at least that long.
In addition to timelines, they’ll also look at your overall health and family health history, such as a history of cancer, and current wellness as a determination of how you’ve coped with your stroke and how much you’ve recovered. Perhaps you’re concerned about your age and wondering if you might qualify for senior term life insurance. If so, we can help.
Questions Life Insurance Companies Will Ask
- How long ago was your stroke? How was it classified?
- What procedures were done when you were hospitalized? Did you have an EKG, MRI, CT scan or carotid ultrasound?
- What were your symptoms before and after your stroke? Did they worsen or abate in the following months?
- Did you suffer any lasting effects from your stroke?
- Do you currently have any neurological disorders or physical disabilities?
- After your stroke, were you diagnosed with any other medical issues such as hypertension or heart disease?
- Are you currently taking any medication, and if so, what for and what kind?
- Does your family have a history of strokes?
All of these questions can essentially boil down to this: What are the chances of you having another stroke? If the probability is high, you might need to shop around for other alternatives to life insurance – such as accidental life insurance, or graded benefit life insurance. If however your medical history shows that you haven’t had a major impact from the stroke and you have recovered, you can get approved for a regular life insurance policy.
Know Your Potential Quotes
Life insurances quotes run on a tiered system, with “Preferred Plus” customers enjoying the best rates, Standard are the average rates, and “Substandard” are rated policies that are priced higher.
As someone who has had a stroke, you won’t get the super preferred rates, but you may be able to get a Standard health rating.
Here’s a rundown of how you’re likely to classified after your stroke:
- 1 year since your stroke: Postponed
- 1-5 years with ongoing medical issues: Substandard
- 1-5 years with no lasting damage or future risk factors: Substandard, potentially standard with retesting
- 6+ years with ongoing medical issues: Standard
- 6+ years with no lasting damage or future risk factors: Standard, potentially preferred depending on length of time since the stroke and current health
As you can see, your coverage will largely depend on timelines, with recent stroke survivors having the least amount of options. Once you’ve hit the 6-year mark, you’re much more likely to receive better rates even if you’re still struggling with your health.
That said, timeline isn’t everything, and the above questionnaire can make all the difference when you’re hovering between substandard and standard. It also helps immensely if you can show a commitment to your health by way of not smoking, and exercising regularly. If you can show insurance companies that you’re healthy, active and unlikely to suffer another stroke anytime soon, they’re much more likely to grant you the protection you need to safeguard your family and rest easy.
Perhaps you are interested in final expense life insurance or want to know more about it; if so, don’t hestitate to reach out by phone, comment below, or email us. They can be confusing at times.
These plans are still a form of life insurance, but they are much smaller plans, normally less than $25,000. While this isn’t enough coverage for most applicants, if you don’t hold many debts, it could be the perfect option for you.
Here’s a few pros and cons:
The first advantage is that there is no medical exam required for a final expense policy, which means that anyone can purchase on, regardless of your health. If you’re not in perfect health or have several pre-existing conditions, this could be your best option for getting affordable life insurance coverage.
Everyone should be able to get the life insurance protection that their family deserves, and final expense plans are a great way to do that. If you’ve suffered a stroke, it could be difficult to pass the medical exam, which will cause you to be declined for life insurance, but with a final expense policy, that won’t happen.
Another advantage to these policies is that you’ll be able to get life insurance protection much quicker than you would with a traditional life insurance policy. Because final expense plans don’t require a medical exam, there’s zero waiting period and you get your insurance coverage right away.
If you want to get a small of life insurance as quickly as possible, this is a great option for you.
Just like with every other kind of insurance coverage, there are going to be some disadvantages to these plans that you should take note of before purchasing. One disadvantage is that these plans are going to be a tad on the expensive side for the amount of coverage that you’re getting. In some cases, it’s a better idea to just set some money aside and designate it as final expense money instead of paying the premiums for the policy. You’ll need to look at your situation to decide if this is a better option for you and your loved ones.
Another significant pitfall of these plans is the limit on how much coverage that you can purchase.
These plans are designed to give families some extra resources to pay off funeral expenses and any other small bills that they could run into, but they aren’t a large policy that is going to help with anything like a mortgage.
You’ll need to ensure that these plans will give your loved ones enough coverage if something tragic were to happen to you.
If you still have more questions or concerns, feel free to call us, get a quote on this page, or add your comments below.