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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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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