Life Insurance With Pre-Existing Conditions: Complete Guide

Let’s face it – as we get older, our health isn’t the same as what it was in our life-insurance-forpeople with pre existing conditionsyounger years. And that’s okay! It’s a part of life.

However, when it comes to purchasing life insurance, a decline in health means an increase in monthly rates, which we don’t want. So how do we still get a good deal?

We made this guide to help you understand:

In this article, we will address everything you need to know about life insurance with pre-existing health conditions, including cost, policy options, best companies, FAQ, and more.

Can I Get Life Insurance With A Pre-Existing Condition?

Yes. Even people with terminal illnesses and chronic health conditions are capable of finding life insurance coverage.

Rates may vary and there will be fewer policy options as well, but affordable coverage can still be found, even with cancer, heart disease, and other serious conditions.

What Qualifies As A Pre Existing Conditions

First thing’s first, what do life insurance companies consider to be a pre-existing condition? Here are some examples:

It’s not just pre-existing conditions that life insurance companies look at, either; they also look at any medications you’re taking when determining your rate class.

Taking one medication at a small dosage for a condition is ultimately going to be more favorable than if you are taking multiple medications for a serious condition(s), so it’s best to be upfront with your agent when talking about your medical history so he or she can help you get the best rates!

Looking to learn more about life insurance with certain health conditions, and what affects rates and policy options? These resources will help:

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost With Health Conditions?

Depending on the condition you have, how old you are, your current health, family health history, company, and more, your life insurance rates will vary. In this section, we will compare some life insurance rates for people with pre-existing conditions on different types of policies and different common conditions.

Life Insurance Rates for People with Diabetes

This table displays $250,000 20-Year Term life insurance rates for a Male Diabetic (Standard Health).


Monthly Rate


Life Insurance Rates with Circulatory Issues

This table displays $250,000 20-Year Term life insurance rates for males with circulatory issues (Standard Health).  


Monthly Rate


Life Insurance Rates with Obesity

This table displays $250,000 20-Year Term life insurance rates for an obese male (Standard Health).


Monthly Rate


Life Insurance Rates for People with Cancer  

This table displays $250,000 20-Year Term life insurance rates for a male with cancer (Standard Health).


Monthly Rate


Factors That Affect Life Insurance Rates With Pre-Existing Conditions

Besides the traditional factors that affect life insurance rates, there are other factors that influence rates for people with health conditions:

  • Severity of Condition(s)
  • Health History
  • Family History
  • Company

Let’s take a look at these factors in more depth.

1. Severity of Condition

The severity of your condition will impact the life insurance rates you receive. Those who have very severe problems and have managed them well will receive lower rates than those who do not manage their condition well. If the condition is severe enough you might be approved but with a table rating. A table rate is a substandard set of additional fees that are put on your premiums.

Typically, life insurance companies have 16 different rate classes and after reviewing your application and your condition they will assign you a health class. If you fall below the standard rating you will receive a table rating.




Best Fees


Slightly higher fees


See Table ratings


If you receive that table rating you will typically be charged 25% in addition to your standard rate for each table rating you receive, which are listed by letters or numbers.

Table Rating


Table A or 1

25% table rating per month

Table B or 2

50% table rating per month

Table D or 4

100% table rating per month

Table H or 8

200% table rating per month

To that end, mild or moderate health conditions might land you in a table A or B rating whereas severe conditions might land you in table D. If you have faced hospitalizations, surgeries, and you regularly use medications for your condition, you will likely find yourself in a table H category.

2. Health History

Your health history also impacts the rates you receive. Just because you are obese or have diabetes doesn’t mean that you are overall unhealthy. You could be obese but not have high blood pressure and not have high cholesterol. You could have diabetes but have a well-controlled BMI with no other health problems.

Conversely, you could have a myriad of health problems all at once including obesity, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. That is why life insurance companies need to review all of your health history to see what condition to have undergone in the past.

This is a critical component in evaluating the risk that you pose because there are many situations where your primary pre-existing condition could be considered severe if it starts to impact other systems in the body.

The medication you take to treat a condition could cause damage to your kidneys long-term which could be reflected in your current health history. All of these components need to be reviewed in order to determine the risk that you pose.

3. Family History

Your family history is equally important in determining the exact level of risk you pose. If you have a heart condition and your family has a history of heart conditions, with for immediate relatives have suffered from serious heart attacks or died as a result of heart conditions, that increases the likelihood that you will as well.

If you have a heart condition but no other member of your family does, this is more of an anomaly and not something that is necessarily as high a risk as someone who has a genetic predisposition.

4. Company

The company you choose also plays a role. Different companies are more favorable to various conditions. Some companies are well-regarded for offering favorable policies to those who have pre-existing heart conditions while others look more favorably on pre-existing family history of conditions.

It’s important to get quotes from independent agents who can identify the companies that will be most favorable to the pre-existing condition you have.

Life Insurance Quotes for Pre-Existing Conditions

Looking for quotes on life insurance for people with pre-existing health conditions? Check out this resource, or use this quote tool for instant rates from the best companies:



What Types of Policy Options Do I Have?

Let’s now take some time to explore the types of life insurance policies available to people with pre-existing health conditions.

Term Life Policies

With pre-existing, conditions you have a couple of options starting with term. Term policies allow you to choose the length of your policy, typically to coincide with a pre-existing financial need like 10-30 years left on a mortgage.

The idea here is to provide coverage in the event that you passed away unexpectedly. For this type of policy, your premiums generally remain the same and you have a much lower premium compared to a permanent policy. Moreover, the life insurance payout amount is guaranteed.

We will not go too in depth here about term life policies and their advantages, but if you want to learn more, check out these resources:

Permanent Life Policies

Permanent life insurance is a type of policy that is designed to last your entire life. Typically, these policies pay out until age 101, 111, and 121, depending on the policy and company.

These policies cost much more than term life policies because they offer a cash value accumulation component to them. This is essentially a separate account that accumulates value based on the premiums you pay in and how your agreement is structured.

Based on the way that this cash value is accumulated, there are plenty of types of permanent policies including:

To learn more about permanent life insurance and the policy options available to you, check out these helpful guides:

No Exam Life Policies

No exam policies, as the name suggests, don’t require a medical exam. Typically when you apply for life insurance, you not only fill out paperwork but undergo a medical examination which includes a blood test and a urine analysis.

No exam policies do not require exams, but still require some basic health information and for you to answer some health-related questions in the application process. As a result of higher risk incurred by insurance companies on these policies, rates are higher and coverage amounts can be lower.

You can still be denied from this type of coverage. If so, your only other option is guaranteed issue.

Guaranteed Issue Life Policies

Guaranteed issue is a last resort for people whose pre-existing conditions disqualify them from traditional life insurance coverage.

For people who are denied traditional coverage, or whose rates are too high for traditional policies, guaranteed issue is best. Approval times are extremely fast, and rates are highest for this type of policy.

However, with guaranteed issue, you cannot be denied life insurance coverage because of a health condition.

Looking to learn more about guaranteed issue life insurance? Check out these articles for more help:

Which Type of Policy is Best?

The answer to this question honestly depends on your situation and your needs. If you only need term coverage and have a well-managed condition that does not make coverage too expensive, this is probably the best option.

If you absolutely need permanent coverage, then permanent policies are best for you. However, if your health condition makes rates too high, then you can still consider guaranteed issue as a permanent option.

Chances are, if you are in the middle of the health spectrum, and cannot find affordable fully underwritten policies, but still qualify for traditional coverage, no exam life insurance is probably best for you.

The Life Insurance Application Process for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

So you might be asking, “what is the life insurance application process life insurance for pre existing conditionslike?” Well, we wrote a complete guide on it here.

Step One: We will ask the client any questions that a life insurance underwriter would normally ask, so both we and the client are better prepared.

Step Two: After hearing about the client’s history, we will select the best fit life insurance company that we deem fit based on his or her preexisting conditions and medications.

Step Three: Once we get approval and an offer back from the company, we will deem if their offer seems fair or not based on the client’s history.

Step Four: If we don’t deem the offer to be fair, we will take the client’s lab results (from the free medical exam) and submit them to another life insurance company to review.

We realize that everyone is different, and that is why it’s so important to work with an independent agency. We have the ability to shop over 45 top-rated companies to find you the best rate, rather than speaking with only one company and risking getting a quote that is vastly overpriced.

Step One

When speaking with you, we want to make sure that we ask all the same questions an underwriter would ask, so we have an accurate understanding of your history, and what to expect from a potential carrier.

Depending on what preexisting condition you have, there are different questions we’ll ask. For example, if you have high cholesterol, we’d ask:

  • Are you taking any medications? If so, how many?
  • What is your total cholesterol?
  • What is your cholesterol ratio?
  • Are you a smoker? What is your health like besides your cholesterol levels?

All these questions can help us determine which company we think would be a good fit for you, and if you should route for a no-exam company or not.

Step Two

Like stated previously, we work with over 50 great life insurance companies, so we have no doubt that we can find the right fit for you based on your preexisting conditions. After asking you questions about your history, we’ll have a general idea of what rate class you’ll fit into, and can provide you with some estimated quotes from a few different companies.

Each life insurance company has “niches”, or categories that they are more lenient with, so we will relay which of those companies we think would be a great match for you, at the best price possible (our agents have over 50 years of experience collectively, so we like to think we’re pretty good at this part).

Step Three

Once we receive approval and offer from the selected life insurance company, we will review the “fairness” of the offer. After you apply for life insurance and go through the underwriting process, the carrier will give you an life insurance offer; typically it is similar to the estimated quote we provided initially.

However, if there is information we were unaware of when quoting you, or your lab work provides some unknown information, you may be quoted at a different rate class than we initially thought. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you could be offered a lower monthly premium! But you could also be offered a higher rate than estimated as well.

That’s why we review this offer and deem if it’s acceptable, or if we think we can find you a better deal. If the offer seems too high, we’ll first speak with the company’s underwriter and see if we can get a better deal out of them. If not, onto the next company!

Step Four

If we decide that we don’t like the original company’s offer, we will submit your lab results to another life insurance company for their review (you won’t have to take another exam, don’t worry!).

We will do this until we get an offer back that seems acceptable. From there, we will work to get your policy enacted and complete this whole process!

What If My Application Gets Declined?

If your application gets declined, don’t be discouraged! This is why we work with so many companies – if one door closes, another one will always open. In this situation, we will go straight to step four and submit your information to another life insurance company for review.

If you cannot get approved anywhere, there’s still a way to get coverage – and it’s called guaranteed issue life insurance. You can typically get up to $25,000 in coverage with this type of policy, and they will accept you no matter what your health conditions are.

Get instant quotes for guaranteed issue policies here:



How Can I Save Money On Life Insurance With Pre-Existing Conditions?

At JRC Insurance Group, we know a thing or two about saving people money on life insurance. Here are some awesome tips you can use to help you find the best policy and save some money along the way.

1. Manage Your Condition Properly

It is important that you know your condition and you thoroughly understand it. If you have a  pre-existing condition you need to know how severe it is, what you can do to manage it at home, what medications you should be taken, and you need to be doing everything you can to properly manage your condition.

If you don’t know what to do, if you don’t visit your doctor regularly, and you aren’t making an effort to manage whatever pre-existing condition you have, it will reflect poorly upon you and you will receive higher premiums for the limited coverage you are offered.

2. Know Which Companies Are The Best

Equally important is knowing which companies are best for your condition. Different companies are more favorable to different conditions, some are going to deny patients who have problems like Cerebral Palsy or Alzheimer’s or heart conditions, and others will still provide coverage for those particular conditions.

Not every company is created equal, so you need to know which ones are going to offer more favorable policies to you given your condition. This leads to our next point:

3. Work With An Independent Agent

Independent agents are not stuck working with one specific life insurance company, but work ith dozens of the best ones on the market. They know which companies are most favorable to which conditions and will help you to find something affordable.

At JRC, we have helped over 5,000 clients find the best life insurance policy for their specific condition. Our agents have the skill and the experience to help you compare the best rates, policies, companies, and answer any questions you may have.  

What Are the Best Life Insurance Companies for Pre-Existing Conditions?

There are tons of companies that offer affordable life insurance rates and policies for people with a pre-existing health condition, but a few are ahead of the curve.


Financial Rating

Customer Rating


A+4.2 / 5


A4.1 / 5

Protective Life

A+4.2 / 5

Banner Life

A4.3 / 5


A-4.1 / 5


To learn more about these life insurance companies, click their links for reviews, or check out these resources:

Life Insurance With Pre-Existing Conditions FAQ

We have helped a lot of people with pre-existing health conditions to find the right coverage. Throughout that time, we have heard a lot of the same questions. Let’s take some time to address some of the most frequently asked questions about life insurance coverage.

Q. What medical conditions affect life insurance?

Almost all medical conditions will impact your life insurance to some degree. Different conditions and the severity of those conditions will impact various components. In some situations the total coverage amount you can receive will be more limited because of your condition while in others the premiums you pay will simply be higher because of the higher risk you pose.

Q. Can I get life insurance if diagnosed with cancer?

Yes, you can get life insurance if you are diagnosed with cancer. A diagnosis of cancer alone is insufficient to deny you coverage in most cases. Life insurance companies are going to be more concerned with:

  • How long you have had cancer
  • What type of cancer you have
  • What stage the cancer is in presently
  • If you have undergone any surgeries for the cancer or received any treatments
  • What medical treatments you are undergoing presently to control the cancer
  • If you have had recurring issues with that particular type of cancer
  • Etc…

Q. What is considered a pre existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is considered one which you have had, a known condition that you have lived with and is on your medical records. In some cases this can be something genetic with what you were born or something that has manifested over the years.

Q. Can I be denied life insurance because of a pre existing condition?

In certain situations, you can be denied life insurance because of a pre-existing condition but, you can only be denied traditional term or permanent policies. You cannot be denied guaranteed issue specifically because of your pre-existing condition.

Find the Best Life Insurance Rates for People With Health Conditions

If you are looking to find the best life insurance coverage for your specific situation, the best thing you can do is work with an independent agent.

At JRC Insurance Group, our agents have the experience and resources to help you identify and compare the best coverage for you.

Give us a call to get started, or start by using the quote form below to compare life insurance rates from the best providers for your specific situation:



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Cliff Pendell

VP of Marketing at JRC Insurance Group
Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.
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