Life Insurance When You Have Heart Disease

Heart disease is the #1 killer in America. Given most of Americans are obese, there is excess strain on the heart. If there was ever a time to get fit, it is right now. Being obese with heart disease makes you the most susceptible to dying from COVID-19.

Just know that heart disease can attack anybody. My grandmother was in her early 70s, fit as a whistle, and got a heart attack. The heart attack was so bad that it rendered her speechless. I saw her in the nursing home for many days before she passed away. It was devastating.

Here are the leading causes of death in America and the number of deaths according to the CDC.

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, getting life insurance is a logical dire. If you have debt and loved ones who depend on you, life insurance is a great way to protect them in case you become a statistic.

Unfortunately, getting life insurance will be a little harder to get and cost more than if you didn't have heart disease and were healthy overall. Let's go through what it means to have heart disease and try and get life insurance.

Types Of Heart Diseases Covered by Life Insurance

Heart disease is a broad term. There are different types of heart disease that will determine different levels of life insurance premiums. The higher the risk of death, the higher the premium and vice versa.

I consulted with my good friend who has been a cardiologist for 20 years to run through each heart disease. He does a lot of heart stents in his practice. According to Dr. Khanna, the #1 way to treat heart disease is through a healthy diet and consistent moderate exercise. Don't let heart disease build up over time until it's too late.

Here are the different types of heart diseases covered by life insurance.

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. 
  • Angioplasty Surgery. 
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency. 
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis. 
  • Arrhythmia, Bradycardia, or Tachycardia.
  • Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). 
  • Bundle Branch Block. 
  • Bypass Surgery. 
  • Congestive Heart Failure. 
  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). 
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). 
  • Heart Attack / Myocardial Infarction. 
  • Heart Murmur. 
  • Heart Stents. 
  • Heart Valve Repair. 
  • Heart Valve Replacement. 
  • High Blood Pressure / Hypertension. 
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency. 
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse. 
  • Mitral Valve Stenosis. 
  • Pacemakers / Abnormal Heart Rhythm. 
  • Pulmonary Embolism. 

Below is a chart from the CDC that highlights by race, the top causes of death. Again, you case see that heart disease is #1 across all races. We've got to get thinner and fitter folks!

Leading Causes Of Death Chart

Getting Life Insurance With Heart Disease

Having heart disease doesn't automatically disqualify you from life insurance.

Given so many Americans are overweight and have some type of heart disease, there would be a national outcry if life insurance companies didn't offer coverage.

Over 70 million adults in U.S. are obese (35 million men and 35 million women). 99 million are overweight (45 million women and 54 million men). We're talking roughly 60% of the American population is overweight or obese. That's a lot of business to turn away if life insurance carriers didn't cover people with heart disease.

Whenever you apply for life insurance, you'll be asked a series of questions. Here are some of them to know before you start your application process.

  • What type of heart disease do you have? 
  • How is your treatment going? 
  • What type of medication are you taking?
  • How severe is your heart disease? 
  • How is your overall health? 
  • How lifestyle conscious are you? 

Being able to properly answer these questions is important before you apply for life insurance. You want to be honest, but also prepared. A lot of these questions can be subjectively answered as well.

For example, you might have had a stent inserted due to blocked arteries. However, you can answer that you feel great and your heart is fine. There's no crime in sharing how you feel.

Percentage of Americans who are obese by year

Life Insurance Ratings For Heart Disease

Life insurance companies will classify you into various rating categories based on your health. Unfortunately, if you are diagnosed with heart disease, you will likely only qualify for a Standard Rate or a Table Rate. These are the bottom two lowest ratings.

Here are the life insurance ratings:

  • Preferred Plus Rates: The top rating. People with MS will not get this rating.
  • Preferred Rates: Second best rating. People with MS will unlikely get this rating.
  • Standard Rates: Likely the best rate a person with MS can hope for.
  • Table Rates: The lowest rating, and unfortunately the most common rating.

At the end of the day, you want to get life insurance that is affordable based on your heart disease. If the life insurance premiums are simply too high each month, then you may simply opt out and focusing on building more wealth or reducing as much debt as possible.

When I found out my life insurance premiums would increase by 10X, four years later given I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, I made it my mission to get as wealthy as possible and pay off as much mortgage debt as possible before my term life insurance runs out.

Obesity by race

Recommended Life Insurance For Those With Heart Disease

Given the best life insurance rating you'll likely get is a Standard Rate, your premiums will likely be 50% – 300% higher than the premiums of a healthy person without heart disease.

If cost is important to you, as it is for everyone, then going with a term life insurance policy makes the most sense. Term life is the cheapest option that covers your life for a specified term and amount.

The much more expensive life insurance policy you can get is a permanent life insurance policy. A permanent life insurance policy lasts your entire life until you pass away. Sounds like a good plan, however, the cost is much more expensive.

Your permanent life insurance policy premiums consist of paying for the death benefit amount AND a cash value amount. The cash value amount is like a savings/investment account that grows over time. There are several permanent life insurance types you can choose from.

If you are wealthy and want to build more wealth in a tax-efficient manner, taking out a permanent life insurance policy makes sense.

You can also get a no medical exam life insurance policy, but your premiums will likely be higher.

Finally, if you are absolutely denied coverage and still want life insurance, you can get a final expense insurance policy to cover your burial expenses and other expenses associated with death. This policy is expensive for the amount of coverage it provides, but it relieves your loved one of death expenses.

Life Insurance Cost For Those With Heart Disease

The cost of life insurance for those with heart disease will depend on your age, severity of heart disease, term duration, death benefit amount, and overall health.

As we learned from the coronavirus pandemic, many people who have died from the coronavirus actually had co-morbidities e.g. more than one health issue.

Below is just an example of life insurance costs for those with heart disease.

  • $65/month. A 10-year Term Life Insurance policy for a 35-year-old female Arrhythmia sufferer with $500,000 coverage.
  • $350/month. A 10-year Term Life Insurance policy for a 48-year-old male Atrial Fibrillation sufferer with $500,000 coverage.
  • $200/month. A 10-year Term Life Insurance policy for a 46-year-old male Coronary Artery Disease sufferer.
  • $150/month. A Guaranteed Issue Insurance policy for a 52-year-old female Heart Attack sufferer with $40,000 coverage.
  • $830/month. A Universal Whole Life Insurance policy for a 42-year-old male who is overweight and has a heart murmur. Below is a snapshot of the policy and benefit growth chart. Notice how the cash value grows over time.
The cost of universal whole life insurance

Best Way To Shop For Life Insurance

In the old days, you would apply to a life insurance company one-by-one and wait a while before hearing the news. Thankfully, technology has come a long way to help people with heart disease get life insurance.

The most efficient way to get competitive life insurance quotes is to check online with PolicyGenius, the #1 life insurance marketplace where qualified insurers compete for your business. You just fill out the application to the best of your ability and insurance companies will determine whether they want to cover you or not, and for how much.

At the end of the day, life insurance is a business, and there will be quality life insurance carriers who will want to cover you. Once you get the quotes back from PolicyGenius, you can make the proper comparison.

If you don't want to pay the proposed life insurance premiums, then absolutely do your best over the next 6 – 12 months to get in as best shape as possible. Reduce your food intake. Walk 30 minutes every day. Do these two things consistently over time and you will lose weight and get fitter. If you want more motivation, just think about how much your loved ones will miss you if you pass prematurely.

Don't let heart disease get in the way of getting life insurance. If you have debt and dependents, getting life insurance is a good idea. Check out PolicyGenius for free today. Life insurance is an act of kindness. Protect the ones you love the most.

About the Author: Sam worked in finance for 13 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, taking care of his family, and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom too.

He started Financial Samurai in 2009 and has grown it to be one of the largest independently owned personal finance sites in the world. You can sign up for his private newsletter here.