Even if you’ve never purchased your own insurance policy, you’ve probably heard the term “pre-existing condition” mentioned. These conditions — which may include both chronic and acute diseases — can make buying a product like life insurance more difficult, and more expensive, than it is for those without pre-existing conditions.

So, what exactly is a pre-existing condition? Let’s talk a bit about the most common conditions, why they matter to insurers, and how they can impact the life insurance-buying process for many applicants.

Why Pre-Existing Conditions Matter

When it comes to buying most forms of insurance, the existence of previous health concerns can factor into both eligibility and pricing. But while health insurers can no longer deny you coverage just for having certain pre-existing conditions, life insurance carriers still can.

The purpose of a life insurance policy is to, well, insure your life. In exchange for regular premium payments, your loved ones will receive a death benefit if you were to pass away, with few exclusions. This makes life insurance an excellent product in terms of offering financial protection to your family.

For that same reason, though, it’s easy to understand why life insurance carriers would want to limit their losses, at least a little bit. One way they can do so is by charging more — or even denying coverage — to those applicants with certain risk factors. These could include tobacco or drug use, risky hobbies, or, of course, specific medical conditions.

What Counts as a Pre-Existing Condition When Buying Life Insurance?

A pre-existing condition is any known health-related issue that already exists when you go to purchase an insurance policy.

Each life insurance carrier has its own underwriting process and requirements regarding applicants and certain health conditions. The pre-existing conditions that matter to one insurance company may not be as big of a deal to the next.

With that said, there are a few medical diagnoses that typically fall into the pre-existing condition category for many carriers. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension and/or high cholesterol
  • Asthma
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Autism
  • Depression

Many carriers will also consider obesity or even arthritis to be a pre-existing condition.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Your Life Insurance Policy

Your life insurance carrier wants you to live a long and healthy life just as much as you do. But of course, any health condition that could affect your longevity represents added risk in the eyes of your carrier.

For this reason, pre-existing conditions generally mean an increased cost for coverage. And depending on factors such as your age, the exact health condition, and your prognosis, you may be limited in the type of policy you can buy or the amount of life insurance coverage you’re allowed.

However, you absolutely can buy life insurance with a pre-existing condition. It just might be a more arduous, and potentially more expensive, process. And if you’re trying to buy life insurance with a pre-existing condition, just know that you won’t find as many carriers willing to offer a policy without a medical exam.

What If I’m Diagnosed After Buying Life Insurance?

If you are diagnosed with a health condition after you buy life insurance — even if it’s shortly after the policy kicks in — don’t fret. As long as the condition was unknown prior to you buying the policy, and as long as you were completely truthful in your application, you’ll still be covered.

Lying on your life insurance application can result in a denied claim if you pass away within a certain period of time… especially if your death is related to undisclosed information. This is why it’s so important to be absolutely truthful on your application, so your family remains financially secure.

However, being sideswiped with a medical diagnosis after purchasing life insurance coverage isn’t something carriers will punish you for. Your rates won’t go up and your coverage won’t be canceled just because you are later found to have a certain health condition. 

The Bottom Line

If you have a history of certain health conditions, buying a new life insurance policy can be a bit tricky. Some carriers may charge higher premiums or limit the coverage you can buy. Others may deny coverage to those with life-threatening conditions or with a poor prognosis.

However, buying life insurance with a pre-existing condition is absolutely possible… you just have to know where to look. That’s where LeapLife comes in, helping you find the right policy for not only your financial needs and budget, but also your unique health history — whatever that may be.

Not sure what sort of coverage you can buy with certain health conditions? LeapLife is here to help. Our platform makes it quick and easy to get matched with A-rated (or higher) insurance carriers for coverage up to $5 million. LeapLife agents are also available to answer questions along the way.