Fibromyalgia and life insurance are not mutually exclusive, regardless of what some people may lead you to believe. Whether your fibromyalgia is severe or mild, there are options for everyone. Surprisingly affordable choices at that.
Quick Summary: Fibromyalgia might affect your life insurance rates. It all depends on the severity, what medication you're taking, and how it impacts your daily life. Since cases can differ dramatically between people, applications will be judged on a case by case basis. However, if you do not need medication, your fibromyalgia will not impact your life insurance rates.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Fibromyalgia
Before we get to how life insurance companies rate fibromyalgia, the next section has tips for buying life insurance after a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Use a Life Insurance Needs Calculator
Most people can't tell you their net worth off the top of their heads. (If you can, go you!) Sure, they could probably tell you what they earn in a year and what they paid for their house. That's a good place to be. But without all of the numbers how are you supposed to know whether you are buying too much (or too little) life insurance?
The old method of thinking was just to multiply your annual income by a number between 3 and 20 (depending on who you asked.) Although to be honest, most insurance agents would tell you somewhere between 7 and 10.
But what does a family actually need? Wouldn't the number vary by their goals? For example, one family might have 4 kids they want to put through college. Another family might only have 2 college-bound kids.
A life insurance needs calculator takes all of that into account. It asks about mortgage payments, children, debts, spouse support, and all manner of other things that your family will need to consider.
It takes the guesswork out of the whole thing. You know that you cannot be under-insured or over-sold.
Speak with an Independent Agent
There are four direct ways to buy life insurance. You can buy from:
- some companies directly
- company agents (more commonly known as captive agents)
- a life insurance call center
- an independent life insurance agent
Some companies will sell to you directly. This has the appearance of cutting out the middleman, but all life insurance policies cost the same. It doesn't matter where you buy them from.
The main issue with fibromyalgia and life insurance is the underwriting guidelines. Each company offers a bunch of different policies. But if they charge 150% extra for someone with fibromyalgia, you can't get around that.
When you talk to captive agents or directly with the insurance company, you only get that one set of underwriting guidelines. Which means that to find a company with affordable rates you might have to spend a week or more calling different people.
Call centers have a different set of issues. They usually are commissioned salespeople. If a salesperson isn't pulling their weight (i.e., not meeting their quota) they lose their job. Talk about pressure.
On the upside, insurance call centers will often work with several companies. So at least they can help you find the best underwriting guidelines for the ones they work with.
Independent agents offer you an advantage here. They can work with a vast variety of companies. So fibromyalgia and life insurance is not a problem. Independent agents use their experience to point you in the direction of the companies who have the most favorable underwriting for your unique situation. (Also, it's just one call or email, and they can shop the whole insurance market for you.)
Term is Cheaper, but Not Always Better
Term is the most uncomplicated life insurance option available. There aren't any extra frills, so it costs less than permanent life insurance. Permanent life insurance comes with additional options, plus the insurance company knows they will have to pay the claim someday.
Term life insurance works best for the family who wants to cover a specific, limited circumstance. For example, you might want to make sure your mortgage gets paid off, or your children can pay for their college tuition. Other people look at term to protect their families in case something happens during their working years.
If you don't find yourself with much disposable income, term may be better for you.
Take (& Prepare for) the Medical Exam
The medical exam makes your insurance cheaper. Insurance companies can offer better rates the more they know someone is relatively healthy. If you opt to skip the medical exam with a no exam policy, then the insurance company will charge you like there may be something wrong.
There are also a few ways to prepare for the life insurance medical exam to get your bloodwork looking as positive as possible.
For the week (preferably two) preceding the medical exam, drink tons of water. Many people find having a 64 oz water bottle on their desk helps remind them to drink it. The water will help flush your system.
Also, adjust your diet to eat tons of leafy greens and vegetables. They may not be your favorite, but they will help get the micro and macro nutrients into your blood. It will help your sample make you look as healthy as possible.
How Does Fibromyalgia Affect Life Insurance?
Luckily, fibromyalgia does not affect your life expectancy. So you can get reasonably priced life insurance. While that helps, because fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal issue and not much is known about it, underwriters still get a little nervous.
Depending on the severity, fibromyalgia can impact a person's standard of living. That does concern life insurance underwriters. So they will look at the fibromyalgia along with other factors including:
- Family History
- Height/Weight Ratio
- Blood Pressure
- Driving History
- Other Pre-existing Medical Conditions
The primary concern is the extent to which fibromyalgia affects your lifestyle. The degree of pain, lack of sleep, anxiety, and other symptoms can change how you function both at home and at work.
While fibromyalgia is generally not progressive, it can get worse in some people.
Most life insurance underwriters will rate you for life insurance with fibromyalgia by categorizing your condition as one of the following types.
This is where your condition is well under control. You follow your doctor's instructions and don't need much medication. You can work full-time, and lead a relatively active lifestyle.
If you fall into this category, then you can easily qualify for either a term or permanent life insurance policy which requires a medical exam. It would be strange if an underwriter gave you anything lower than a standard rating.
Doctors work with you on a regular basis. You have some difficulty with chronic pain which occasionally impacts both your work and lifestyle. This also applies if you have a prescription for low doses of Cymbalta.
Underwriters consider people with moderate fibromyalgia on a case by case basis. Typically people with moderate fibromyalgia receive table ratings for their life insurance. It's rare for an insurance company to decline someone in this category, but it has been known to happen.
They key here is to find companies who are friendlier to people with fibromyalgia.
The chronic pain is not well controlled. Your fibromyalgia doesn't allow you to work and/or perform activities of daily living. Life insurance underwriters also consider it severe if you have depressive episodes. People who take Lyrica, Savella, or Ultram also fall into this category.
Underwriters will decline people with severe fibromyalgia for traditional life insurance policies. There are other options to look at through. Skip ahead to Severe Fibromyalgia and Life Insurance.
Underwriting Factors for Life Insurance with Fibromyalgia
When you get ready to apply for a life insurance policy (this is true for getting life insurance with any pre-existing condition), have your agent prescreen your application.
Prescreening means they take your information ahead of time. Then they send an anonymous email to several insurance companies who have offered better rates to people with the same condition in the past. The underwriters will look at the information and give a tentative health class. This avoids offers that come back much more expensive than anticipated.
The life insurance underwriter will want to know the following information about the condition:
- Date of fibromyalgia diagnosis
- The degree of pain/discomfort
- Prescribed medications
- Any activities of daily living you cannot perform (see list below)
- Any other medical conditions
- Whether or not your smoke
Occasionally fibromyalgia will impact activities of daily living (ADLs). Underwriters treat these cases with more caution. Activities of daily living are:
- Transferring (walking around and getting in and out of bed)
If you can do all of the above without difficulty, then you can do all of the ADLs.
Severe Fibromyalgia and Life Insurance
If your fibromyalgia is causing you to miss work or struggle with other parts of your life, then you might have to pursue guaranteed issue life insurance. Even if you've been turned down for fibromyalgia before, this will work for you.
Guaranteed issue life insurance does not turn people down. The application is short, and there is no medical exam. However, there are a couple of catches.
It offers a lower benefit amount than traditional life insurance. For the most part, it's difficult to find anything higher than $25,000. Policies are available as both term and permanent life insurance. We typically recommend permanent for guaranteed issue.
Guaranteed issue policies also come with graded benefits. This means that if you pass on within the first couple years, your beneficiary might not receive much. Usually, the first year or two is premiums paid plus 10%.
Another options is accidental death insurance. This is often combined with guaranteed issue life insurance. That way, your heirs will receive a much higher death benefit if death is from an unexpected accident.
Everything depends on the severity of your fibromyalgia. If you have it on paper but rarely notice it, then underwriters will use all of the other factors like BMI, blood pressure, and family history of health issues to determine your health class. However, if your fibromyalgia is impacting your day-to-day activities, then you fall into the under consideration category.
The best thing you can do is to give your life insurance agent as much information as possible before you get quotes. That way, your agent can automatically throw out the companies that rate fibromyalgia symptoms harshly.
How Abrams Insurance Solutions Can Help with Fibromyalgia and Life Insurance
We are a group of independent life insurance agents. With access to over 70 of the best-rated life insurance companies in the country, we can find great rates no matter what is going on. Whether it's a health concern or hazardous hobby, we use our experience to shop the market for you.
Since we can find rates from dozens of life insurance companies, we can save you both time and money. Plus, with our experience, we can narrow down the options to only the insurance companies that favorably rate medical conditions, like fibromyalgia.
The Bottom Line
We work for you and not the insurance company. Our goal is to make sure your family has protection from the uncertainties of life for as little money as possible.
Give us a call today at 858-703-6178 to see what companies might work best for your unique situation.