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Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

1 out of every 3 deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to cardiovascular disease. For those who survive a heart attack, the experience is usually eye opening to say the least.

With a vivid and alarming awareness of their own mortality, clients often call us after leaving the hospital—or sometimes even while they’re in the hospital—hoping to purchase life insurance. They understand their odds of being approved for a policy have been greatly reduced, but have also found online that they’re not necessarily facing a definitive, “No.”

Quick Article Guide

1. Can You Get Life Insurance After a Heart Attack?
2. What Factors Do Insurers Consider?
3. What Can I Do to Better My Chances of Being Approved?
4. My Application Was Declined—Now What?
5. Sample Life Insurance Rates for Heart Attack Victims
6. JRC Success Stories
7. Get a Free Life Insurance Quote and Consultation

Can You Get Life Insurance After a Heart Attack?

The answer to the question that brought you to this article is: “quite possibly.” A heart attack, along with many other serious health problems, will not instantly eliminate you from being able to buy life insurance. At the same time, it’s important to realize that you will indeed face a higher level of scrutiny, and your options will be more limited than someone who is considered to be in excellent health. Likewise, you can count on higher rates.

The silver lining to buying life insurance after a heart attack is that when you work with an independent agent, it’s not as cut-and-dried as big-box insurers will otherwise imply.

There are a handful of providers that cater specifically to heart attack victims on a personalized, case-by-case basis. It’s great that you can be reviewed as an individual rather than a category.

What Factors Do Insurers Consider?

While the temptation will be to apply immediately after a heart attack, one of the most pivotal bits of advice we can give you is to wait until you are fully or at least reasonably recovered from your heart attack. Three to six months is the general rule of thumb.

When reviewing your application, insurers will look at the following:

Age

The older you were when you had your heart attack, the better. That’s within reason, of course—getting life insurance over age 70 is challenging even without a serious health issue, although some insurers do offer aggressive rates to heart attack victims in their 70s.

If you’re in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, age is in your favor. Life insurance companies will usually steer clear of those who have suffered a heart attack in their 30s, because the sad reality is that cardiovascular issues at such an early age are usually a sign of future ailments.

Severity

Insurers don’t differentiate much based on the type of surgery you had. Instead, they want to know how severe your heart attack was. Blockage of one or two vessels makes you more insurable than those who have suffered a severe heart attack that damaged four vessels.

Build

Since heart disease is largely considered to be a “lifestyle disease,” insurers prefer applicants who have a relatively healthy physique.

As we work our way down the list of things life insurers evaluate in a heart attack victim, let’s pause and start putting everything together:

Age 40 + more than 2 vessels affected + 100 pounds overweight = Extremely difficult to get approved for life insurance.

Age 60 + 1 vessel affected + 25 pounds overweight = Very possible to get approved for life insurance.

Compounding Health Issues

If you have had a heart attack and are also a diabetic, it’s much more difficult and expensive to secure coverage than if the heart attack was your only notable health issue.

Follow-Up Care

Insurers review your medical records, which means they know your doctor’s orders. If your follow-up instructions are straightforward and uninvolved, insurers consider this to mean that you are less of a risk. They will also review any echocardiograms and stress tests you’ve had with your doctor to ensure you are free of blockages.

In fact, if you take a stress test once per year, some insurers will even give you a credit and improve your rate class, which can save you 25 to 50 percent on your monthly premiums.

Medication

Ideally, you want to be off of blood thinners within 6 months of having suffered your heart attack. If you can recover with minimal to no use of blood thinners, even better, as discontinuing use of a blood thinner after an extended period of time can lead insurers to worry about blood clots.

If your condition requires you to take a blood thinner for the rest of your life, you might still be approved, but your rates will likely be 20 percent higher due to the increased risks associated with long-term blood thinner usage.

What Can I Do to Better My Chances of Being Approved?

The fact that you had a heart attack is out of your control, but you can mitigate the life insurance-related circumstances by making a proactive effort to:

  • Improve your lifestyle
  • Minimize the need for medications (not “cold turkey,” but through diet and exercise)
  • Follow doctor’s orders
  • Lock in coverage for as long as possible once you are approved

My Application Was Declined—Now What?

If you are declined for life insurance because of your heart issues, use the guidelines we’ve provided so far to gauge whether you have a realistic chance of eventually being approved.

Don’t try to re-apply or call your auto insurance company for a life insurance “add-on.” Your best chances of being approved are with an independent life insurance agency like JRC. Unlike “captive agents” at big-box companies, an independent agent can shop multiple carriers and speak to them on your behalf. If it is determined that you are uninsurable, you can still get a guaranteed issue or “final expense” policy. These types of policies do not require a medical exam or health questionnaire, and can provide up to $25k worth of coverage. 

Sample Life Insurance Rates for Heart Attack Victims

$100,000 – 10 Year Term, Male and Female Ages 40-75, 1-2 Vessels Treated with Angioplasty or Bypass

$250,000 – 10 Year Term, Male and Female Ages 40-75, 1-2 Vessels Treated with Angioplasty or Bypass

$500,000 – 10 Year Term, Male and Female Ages 40-75, 1-2 Vessels Treated with Angioplasty or Bypass

If you would like a more accurate quote based on your current age, or if you’ve had more than 2 vessels treated with an angioplasty or bypass procedure, please call us directly to speak with one of our expert agents. With just a few additional questions we’ll be able to show you your best options. Toll-free: 855-247-9555.

JRC Success Stories

JRC Insurance Group takes immense pride in helping those who might not otherwise be able to find affordable, life insurance.

A Second Try Pays Off

We recently received a call from a middle-aged couple. The husband, age 56, had suffered a heart attack and was given three stents. He had applied for life insurance with one of the larger insurers and was declined.

The client was skeptical that he could be approved for a policy after being declined by another life insurance company. However, he was willing to give it another shot based on our advice that shopping for life insurance after a heart attack was a more involved process than simply picking up the phone and calling a big insurance company. After a 6-week underwriting process, the client was approved for a $250k, 20-year policy!

This Would Never Happen at a Big-Box Company

Another client, age 50, called us three weeks after having had a heart attack that required a stent. We informed him we could help, but only after at least 90 days had passed.

After 90 days, we applied through one of our go-to heart attack-lenient insurers. They initially declined him because his cardiologist medicated his cholesterol down to 76. But, after the doctor wrote a letter explaining why this was actually a good thing, the underwriter reconsidered and a policy was approved. Only an independent agent has the time and relationships to follow up with an underwriter in such a capacity.

Get a Free Life Insurance Quote and Consultation

Don’t let a heart attack stop you from seeking financial protection for your family. JRC is here to provide the white-glove care your life insurance application deserves. Call us toll-free today at 855-247-9555. Our services are free, and we work with more than 40 top-rated life insurance companies. We are experts at underwriting and with a few health questions we’ll be able to find your best options, saving you time and money.

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6 comments… add one
  • Cassie Millikin March 11, 2017, 5:07 am

    My husband had his first episode in 2011. He had a heart attack and 3 stint placed-no residual damage, in 2015 he had a 5 bypass surgery. A year later Nov 2016 one of the bypasses failed so he started having signs of another heart attack and they went in and put a stint in – no residual damage. We were trying to get a policy after 2 years of the bypass but he had the episode where one of the bypasses failed almost 2 years to the day. Do you have any life insurance policies that he would qualify for?

    • Randy McClintick March 13, 2017, 10:03 am

      Mrs. Millikin,

      Thank you for your request and visiting JRC’s life insurance website.

      I will make assumptions your husband is at least 50 years old, and is now receiving disability income. If so, he will be limited to “guaranteed issue”/”guaranteed acceptance” life insurance. In most states, policies are available in $5000 increments with death benefits between $5000-$30,000. The way these policies work is your husband will be covered for death by accident right away, and have a 2-year waiting period until he’s also covered for death due to a medical reason. The safety net is that if he were to die within the 2-year waiting period, you’ll receive back all money you’ve paid in, plus around 5-7% interest, depending upon the insurer.

      The key thing is to purchase coverage as soon as you can afford it to begin the waiting period “clock”, and to not buy more that you can easily afford. Many people over extend themselves, later cancelling their insurance due to lack of affordability.

      We’ll be glad to help you shop through top rated life insurance companies licensed in your state offering life insurance which won’t increase in cost as your husband ages, and is guaranteed for the rest of his life (he can’t outlive it).

      Call JRC at your convenience at (855) 247-9555. Let us know what cost fits for an ongoing monthly expense and we’ll work within your budget and answer all your questions.

      Thank you for the opportunity to help

  • steve pike December 4, 2017, 4:58 am

    Drove myself to hospital Nov. 23 2017 because of some chest pain. Had 5 stents put in. Went home next day. Could have gone back to work but because of Thanksgiving went back to work following Monday. I am a 57 year old male. Wondering what my chances for life insurance are.

    • Randy McClintick December 4, 2017, 12:44 pm

      Mr Pike,

      Thank you for your request and visiting JRC’s life insurance website.

      With the recent heart surgery, you’ll have a fairly lengthy waiting time for individual term insurance. If you haven’t done so, we advise checking with your employer to see if group life insurance is offered, or if you can increase your plan if already covered. Group insurance can require less medical underwriting since they’re looking at the group as whole. Plans vary, so check with your HR department and speak to a representative for whichever insurance carrier they work with.

      If a smaller $10-30,000 permanent insurance plan is what you want, those policies are available with no medical questions asked (in most states). Coverage provides benefits for death due to accidents in the first two years, and is then fully medically underwritten (payment if due to health condition) afterwards. If you were to die due to heart of other medical condition in the first two years, no money is lost….the insurer will return all funds paid to that point plus some interest..often around 5%.

      If this option interests you, call JRC at (855) 247-9555 and we’ll help you determine which insurance carrier will provide your best options. We work with over 40 A-rated companies, so we can save you a lot of time and money from shopping independently and trying to compare plans on your own. There’s no cost for our service and we’re fully licensed.

      Best Regards,
      JRC Insurance Group
      (855) 247-9555

  • Michelle May 10, 2018, 1:35 am

    I understand that heart attacks in your 30’s would make an insurer skiddish, but curious if you have ever worked with SCAD? Is it possible for a women who expiriences a Sudden Coranry Artery Dissection(SCAD) with no other medical issues, following 100 percent of docs orders, to receive coverage? (Im a Federal employee with coverage but would be looking for additional coverage)

    • Randy McClintick May 11, 2018, 11:41 am

      Michelle,

      Thank you for contacting JRC Life Insurance and visiting our website.

      If the condition was corrected with surgery, no heart damage, and medical show appropriate follow up, it worth us checking with insurers best for cardio conditions to see what your options may be and provide you with good estimates on what type of “rating” (risk assessment) and cost of life insurance you should expect. Call JRC at (855) 247-9555 and one of our licensed agents for your state experienced with cardio underwriting will assist you. We work with over 40 highly rated life insurers, and are impartial in the process. Best of all, there’s no cost to you for your service. If we’re able to help you be approved for life insurance and you choose to purchase the coverage, we’re then compensated by the insurer directly. We look forward to assisting you.

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