Purchasing Life Insurance with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
While suffering from an aneurysm may be a traumatic experience, it does not necessarily prevent you from being able to purchase affordable life insurance.
Having a history of an aneurysm can pose a challenge to some life insurance companies, but with the help of an experienced life insurance agent, you may is still able to qualify for affordable coverage from a top-rated insurer.
Continue reading to learn more about abdominal aortic aneurysms and what you’ll want to know before applying for life insurance.
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What Is An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
The aorta is the largest artery in our body. It connects from the left ventricle of the heart and descends through the chest and abdomen before splitting off into the two arteries that provide blood supply for each leg.
In order for the heart to be able to pump blood and oxygen through the body, the aortic vessel needs to be very flexible. There are connective fibers in the aortic wall that allow it to stretch as pressure increases and relax as it subsides.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), not to be confused with a thoracic aortic aneurysm, is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal stretching or bulge in the wall of the aortic artery.
These occur when the walls of the blood vessel lose flexibility and they bulge or stretch. This causes the artery to dilate. An aortic aneurysm occurs when the aorta becomes dilated to more than three centimeters in diameter.
If the aorta becomes dilated to more than five centimeters, there is an increased risk that the aorta will rupture. This can be a very dangerous situation if not caught immediately and in some cases, it can be even life threatening.
While most aneurysms are small and rarely rupture, each year roughly 15,000 people in the U.S. die from abdominal aortic aneurysms. AAA’s are responsible for roughly 80% of all aortic aneurysms in the United States. Men are five to ten times more likely to develop aortic aneurysms than women, but women with aortic aneurysms have a significantly higher risk of rupturing than men.
Each life insurance carrier has different underwriting guidelines when approving an applicant with an aortic aneurysm. In this particular instance, working with an experienced agent that represents more than one insurance company will be beneficial.
This is because an independent agent that is well-versed in underwriting will know which specific company to send your application to. Your agent will also ask some additional questions about your overall health and lifestyle to make sure the company they recommend will provide the best option at an affordable price.
Life Insurance For Applicants With An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
When applying for life insurance, the life insurance companies are primarily concerned with the diameter of an applicant’s aorta or the size of the bulge.
The smaller the diameter of the aorta, generally the less risk involved, and the better the rate class an applicant will qualify for. This is because the chances the aorta rupturing are lower if the aneurysm is smaller.
The most aggressive life insurance rates are available for an applicant whose aorta is dilated less than four centimeters. In fact, some companies may even offer a “preferred best” rate class to an applicant with abdominal aneurism of three centimeters or less. Unfortunately, if your aorta is dilated more than six centimeters, the only type of life insurance you can likely qualify for is a guaranteed issue policy for up to $25,000 of coverage.This is one of the reasons it is so important to shop the market when buying life insurance. Some insurance companies will automatically decline an application from an applicant whose aorta is more than four centimeters in diameters, while other insurance companies may approve an applicant whose aorta is dilated as much as six centimeters.
Considering that in some cases an aneurysm can result in death if not managed properly, life insurance carriers are especially careful when approving an applicant that has suffered an aneurysm in the past. Shopping with an agent who represents multiple companies will increase your chances of getting an approval and save you time and money.
Below are a couple of questions your agent or underwriter may ask you during your application process…
Have You Ever Had Surgery Performed For Your Aneurysm?
When evaluating the risk of an applicant with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, the insurance company will review your medical records to see if a surgery has been recommended or performed. If an applicant’s aorta has been stable for at least three years and they have had annual checkups, they are usually eligible for coverage.
However, if an applicant’s aorta has increased in size, or if their doctor has recommended a surgery that was not performed, most life insurance companies will decline the application. If you have had a heart bypass surgery, please read this article here.
Most applicants are eligible for coverage if they apply at least six months after their surgery or endovascular repair. The insurance company you apply with will review medical records to ensure that you have had annual checkups without complications and that no other issues or complications are present.
The more time that passes after a successful surgery has been completed, the better rate class you can usually qualify for; however, all insurance companies are going to prefer to see annual follow-ups with your cardiologist.
Do You Have Regular Checkups With Your Physician Or Cardiologist?
Life insurance carriers want to see that you have regular, annual check-ups with your cardiologist because it means that you have good control over your condition and are doing your best to manage it. When you apply for coverage, the carrier will request to see the results of your last ultrasound or CT scan to see that your aorta is stable.
Additionally, if your physician provides any recommendations for treatments or periodic check-ups, be sure you follow your doctor’s advice. Insurance companies want to see that you are proactively managing your condition by following your doctor’s recommendations.
If your abdominal aortic aneurysm is unstable or increasing in size, or has a history of bleeding or causing pain, the best option for life insurance coverage is a guaranteed issue policy.
These policies are available without health questions or an exam and they typically offer up to a $25,000 death benefit after a two year waiting period.
When Were You Diagnosed With An Aneurysm?
As we know, there are some severe risks that can be associated with aneurysms. Life insurance companies will base the risk of an applicant by how long their condition has been stable for or how long it has been since the surgery was completed on their aorta.
If you have not had surgery to repair your aorta, the underwriter will refer to the size of the aneurysm or the dilation of your aorta. If you aorta is dilated less than four centimeters, a handful of life insurance companies may be able to offer you life insurance without a waiting period.
A waiting period is a timeframe of six to twelve months when the life insurance company will postpone your approval for insurance until they see that your aneurysm is considered to be stable.If your aorta is dilated more than four centimeters, some companies will postpone your application for a minimum of twelve months. This is because carriers would like to see that your aorta has been stable with no growth for at least two to three years.
Some life insurance companies are more lenient with particular health issues than others. If you have been diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm larger than four centimeters within the last six months, it may not be the right time to purchase a fully underwritten life insurance policy due to the likelihood of being declined.
Have You Experienced Any Symptoms Within The Past Twelve Months?
It can be a red flag for life insurance companies if you have experienced any symptoms associated with an aortic abdominal aneurism within the past twelve months.
Symptoms such as severe pain in your legs when walking or aortic bleeding can present a problem because it could mean that your case is unstable. This will likely result in a denial of coverage.
Risk Factors For Developing An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An aortic abdominal aneurism can be the result of trauma, like a car accident, but most aortic aneurysms are the result of lifestyle, age, and/or genetics. Here are some risk factors that increase an individual’s likelihood of developing an aneurysm:
High blood pressure – Increased blood pressure is known to damage blood vessels which raises the risk of developing an aneurysm. If you have elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, make sure you follow your doctor’s orders to control it. Read here for thirteen serious health problems that don't rule out life insurance.
Lack of Exercise - Staying active is a great way to raise your good cholesterol which can help prevent arteries from hardening. Exercise also lowers your risk of other cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Eating Poorly – Eating a diet that is high in fat can cause atherosclerosis. This is the number one cause of aortic aneurysms. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet and avoid deep-fried foods when possible.
Tobacco Use – Using tobacco products, (especially cigarettes), significantly raises the odds of having an aneurysm.This is because nicotine is known to harden the blood vessels.
If you have suffered an aneurysm in the past and currently smoke, you will pay a much higher rate for a policy, and in some cases, you may be declined for coverage. For more information, read here about life insurance for cigar and e-smokers.
Age – Aortic aneurysms are most common in people that are ages 65 and older, but are considered rare for people under the age of 60. According to the Center for Disease Control, abdominal aortic aneurysms continue to be a leading cause of death for male Americans over the age of 65.
Family History – Those who have a family history of aortic aneurysms are more likely to develop them. If your family has a history of aneurysms, we recommend eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco products.
How JRC Can Help You Find Affordable Life Insurance Coverage
At JRC Insurance Group, our agents are appointed by dozens of top-rated life insurance companies and we are experienced in helping people purchase the most affordable coverage available no matter what health conditions they may have.
If you have suffered an aneurysm and would like to go over the options that are available to you, give the experts at JRC Insurance Group a call. Our agents are consultative, understanding, and we specialize in “high risk” cases.
At JRC, we work with over 63 different companies which allows us to shop the market for you. We’ve helped thousands of individuals with their life insurance needs and we can help you too. Give us a call today at 855-247-9555 or request a free quote using our form below. We’re happy to help and our service is free.
Managing Partner and Co-founder
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.