How to Find Affordable Life Insurance Approval with Asthma

In this article, we’re going to cover how to get the best life insurance with asthma at the lowest rates. You’ll learn how insurance companies define asthma, how it affects your life insurance rating, the questions underwriters will ask you, typical rates, and the best and worst-case scenarios.

If you have questions at any point, give us a call at (858) 703-6178. We’ve handled asthma cases in the past and are happy to shop the market for you or simply answer questions. You can also use the instant quotes tool on this page by skipping down to the section to see what your likely ratings are. 

Let’s get started. 

Quick Summary

Life insurance underwriters look extra closely at pre-existing medical conditions. Mild asthma gets the best rates, whereas more severe asthma sufferers will pay higher premiums. Getting life insurance coverage shouldn’t pose too much of an issue with most types of asthma, except for the most serious cases.

life insurance for asthma

Talking to your agent about your asthma will help them compare life insurance providers for you and help find the most affordable rates.

How Do Life Insurance Companies Define Asthma?

Insurers define asthma as any medical condition which manifests as chronic inflammation in the airways of the respiratory system. This includes reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasms. 

It can be for anything mild and infrequent, like seasonal asthma or exercise-induced asthma. It could be something more serious with chronic wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness. 

Life insurers don’t particularly consider whether asthma is caused by genetic or environmental factors, but the more information you can give, the better chance you have of securing lower rates. 

How Does Asthma Affect Your Life Insurance Rating?

There’s good news. With mild and infrequent symptoms, it’s possible to get preferred ratings. This will depend on the following factors:

  • Frequency of attacks
  • Type of asthma
  • The amount or degree to which it impacts you
  • Medication needed to control symptoms – ranging from short-term inhalers to steroid injections

A good rule here is the more infrequent and milder your attacks are, the less it will affect your insurance rates. Insurers start to get increasingly concerned when asthma attacks cause hospitalizations. 

Questions Underwriters Will Ask

The best way to find the right life insurance company (since every single one of them has different underwriting guidelines) is to gather all of this information ahead of time and share it with your insurance agent. Your agent can then use their experience and their resources to find the company that most fairly rates asthmatics. 

Either way, it would be smart to have the following information available when you fill out your application. 

  • Date of first diagnosis
  • Whether you have been diagnosed with a specific type of asthma
  • Whether the attacks are precipitated by any particular cause or trigger such as allergies, climate, temperature, medication, chemical exposure, emotional stress, or other cause
  • Severity of your asthma – frequency and duration of attacks
  • Dates and lengths of any hospitalizations as well as if you were intubated or put on a respirator

Possible Outcomes & Deciding Factors

The outcomes can range anywhere from a preferred health rating to a Table 5 (or table E) rating. The most serious conditions can also trigger a decline. Use the table below to determine where you are in terms of deciding factors. 

SeverityIndicatorsPotential Rating
Mildinhalers, steroid inhalers, no injections or nebulizer, one continuous oral medicationPreferred possible
Moderateinhalers, injections up to 4x/year, nebulizer use up to 4x/year, no hospitalizationsTable 2
Moderately Severeinhalers, injections up to 5x/year, nebulizer up to 5x/year, no hospitalizations in the past 6 monthsTable 3-5
Severerecent hospitalizations, injections or nebulizer use 6+ times per yearProbable Decline

You can use the potential health class from this table with the Instant Quotes tool on this page to see what your rates may be. 

Strategies to Finding Affordable Life Insurance with Asthma

The best way to find life insurance at the lowest possible rates is to do comparison shopping. You can do this yourself, or an agent can do it for you. Shopping can be a little tricky since there are two types of insurance agents. 

A captive agent has the name of an insurance company that you probably recognize over their door. They can only sell the policies of that company, which means they are held to one set of underwriting guidelines.

Independent agents own their agencies and work with dozens of life insurance companies. They can comparison shop between all of those companies for you. That means dozens of underwriting guidelines to find the best one for asthma. 

Plus, since life insurance rates are determined at the state level, you don’t have two different rates from the same company for the same product. 

Before you go through all the trouble of applying, your agent can contact an insurance company’s underwriting department on your behalf if you’re interested in two or three. They’ll share the details about your asthma (anonymously if you prefer) to get the most likely health class. 

That strategy gives you the most accurate outcomes for your rates before you go through the underwriting process. 

Best Companies for Asthma

Underwriting guidelines change all of the time. We typically start looking at Banner, Mutual of Omaha, and American General. But it will depend on a variety of other factors like what type of life insurance you want, your age, and any other health conditions. 

Out of the three, there are other factors to determine which one is the best for you. For example, some insurance companies offer lower rates to middle-aged people while others have better no exam policies. 

Asthma Quotes and Typical Rates

The tables below will give you an idea of what rates with varying asthma severity may look like. We ran monthly rates for a 20-year, non-smoker term policy at the varying likely health classes.

Male – Age 35$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Table 2$20$28$50$91
Table 5$26$40$72$133
Female – Age 55$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Table 2$55$96$185$358
Table 5$80$141$274$534

What to do if You Have Severe Asthma

Currently, many companies will decline severe asthma. But you have a few options. 

The first is to get a guaranteed issue policy. These ask few to no health questions and there’s no medical exam. 

They have a graded benefit schedule, which means you must own the policy for at least three years for your heirs to receive the full benefit. Guaranteed issue policies tend to have lower benefit amounts and cost a little more than traditional life insurance. However, they work well for leaving something behind for a loved one. 

Click here to read more on guaranteed issue life insurance.

Another option is accidental death insurance. Accidental death policies cover accidents only, not illnesses. You can get larger benefit amounts than with guaranteed issue life insurance. The cost is low compared to life insurance. 

Read more about accidental death insurance here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a preferred rating with asthma for life insurance? 

Yes. It is possible, even likely, if your asthma is very mild or you haven’t had attack symptoms in years. To qualify for preferred, you will need to meet the other health requirements. Some more frequent asthma cases can qualify for a preferred or standard rate as long as there are no injections, no nebulizer, and not more than one continuous oral medication. 

Can you get life insurance with asthma?

In all except the most severe cases, it’s possible to get traditional life insurance. It may have a table rating for moderate asthma, but mild cases can get standard to preferred rates. 

Is asthma a pre-existing condition for life insurance?

Yes. Any health condition diagnosed by a doctor counts as a pre-existing condition on life insurance applications. Life insurance premiums depend heavily on your medical history, even resolved health conditions.

Do I need to declare asthma on my life insurance application?

Yes. If you omit your asthma on your application you could get declined in underwriting if the insurance company discovers it in your records. A decline will make it difficult to apply with other companies. In the worst-case scenario, it slips through the cracks then you pass away and the insurance company doesn’t pay your beneficiary citing “intent to defraud.” 

Can you get life insurance with COPD?

It will depend on the severity. Mild cases can get life insurance with ratings as high as standard, however, table ratings are more common. Severe cases can get declined. Read more on life insurance with COPD here.


If you have asthma, you can make the application process easier by talking to your life insurance agent up front. The best life insurance policy will depend on the severity of asthma, with mild cases getting potentially preferred rates and the worst cases a potential decline. You should be able to get a reasonable rate class if you’re otherwise in overall good health. 

Why You Should Use Abrams Insurance Solutions

 We’re a small group of independent insurance agents focused on getting families the best life insurance policy for their needs at the lowest possible rates. This often means digging into how underwriters will respond to a variety of medical conditions. 

We work with over 70 of the top-rated life insurance companies in the United States. That means if we think a company is treating you unfairly in their underwriting decision, we will use our network to find you a company that will treat you better. 

If you have asthma and need life insurance, give us a call at (858) 703-6178.