Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Insure.com and is reprinted here with their permission. Click here for the original post.
It’s common knowledge that health problems result in a higher life insurance premiums. But what are the most expensive medical conditions?
Any medical problem that reduces life expectancy will result in higher life insurance quotes, so the most “expensive” conditions are those that have the greatest impact on how long you’ll live. Additionally, there are some conditions that make clients uninsurable at any price. You’ll be declined for life insurance if you have AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stage 4 cancer. Additionally, if you’re an astronaut or if your hobbies include cave diving, deep sea diving or race car driving (depending on the car and speed), you will not be eligible for coverage.
Read on to view the five medical conditions that have the highest impact on life insurance rates.
5. Pulmonary disease
Seasonal asthma won’t affect life insurance rates, but if you’ve battled asthma since you were a kid, expect a higher price. Asthma can lead to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which impact life expectancy.
Carrying extra weight isn’t the problem — it’s the medical complications that come with it: heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and so on.
Yet, “you can be overweight and still be fit,” says Hart.
It’s possible for obese people to get preferred rates if they’re healthy, and each insurance company will set its own standard for what is “healthy.” Bergstrom explains that if you have enough positive factors going for you (like good blood pressure and good cholesterol levels), the credits for those can offset the obesity enough to push you into a preferred rating.
The type of cancer you’ve had determines your premium. Insurers make a distinction between external and internal cancer. For example, a sun-related cancer, such as a lesion on the nose, may have little or no impact on life insurance rates, says Hart.
But a history of breast cancer will cause most insurers to proceed with extreme caution; some companies may not want to sell you a policy for one to 10 years after your cancer, in order to see whether treatment was effective. Even after that, you may be charged a “flat extra” — that’s an extra premium you pay for a specified period of time.
Bergstrom says that flat extras are based on your age of diagnosis, your age now, and the stage of cancer. For example, a cancer survivor might be charged an annual flat extra of perhaps $25 for every $1,000 in coverage for a specified period.
As with any condition, if you don’t like the price you’re offered, shop around. Even breast cancer survivors can be insurable. Hart notes that MetLife was one of the first companies to offer life insurance sooner rather than later to women with a history of early breast cancer.