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How To Get Life Insurance After A Stroke

Finding life insurance after a stroke is easy. Finding affordable life insurance with any medical history requires a little more effort.

Each life insurance company has different underwriting guidelines. With over 850 life insurance companies operating in the United States, that’s 850 possibilities.

Some of these insurers are willing to offer even traditional policies without extra charge to stroke victims. It just means a little more research to find which ones.

Quick Summary

In the absolute worst case scenario, it’s still possible to qualify for guaranteed issue life insurance. In many cases, final expense is also an option.

As long as it’s been more than 12 months since the stroke, the majority of people will qualify for traditional, fully-underwritten life insurance at a table rating.

Medical Information to Prepare When Comparing Options

When you’re shopping around for life insurance, your agent can serve you better when you provide the essential medical info up front.

This lets your agent narrow down the best options to the insurers that give the best health classes for your situation.

If you don’t have all of the following information, that’s okay. Try to collect as much as you can.

  • When did the stroke happen?
  • How old were you at the time?
  • Was it a full stroke or a mini-stroke?
  • What tests or studies were done after the stroke?
    • CT Scan?
    • MRI?
    • Carotid Ultrasound?
  • Do you have a family history of strokes?
  • What were your symptoms at the time of the stroke?
  • Do you have any lasting neurological deficits or other physical effects from the stroke?
  • Do you have any other conditions increasing your chances of another stroke?
    • Hypertension?
    • Peripheral artery disease?
    • Diabetes?
    • Coronary artery disease?
    • High cholesterol?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Have you ever used tobacco products?

How The Type of Stroke Affects Premiums

The type of stroke holds the biggest impact on how an insurer will view your application. Underwriters treat CVAs (Cerebrovascular Accident) and TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attack) differently.

For life insurance purposes, CVAs generally cover other types of strokes like:

  • Ischemic strokes
  • Hemorrhagic strokes
  • Cryptogenic strokes
  • Brain Stem strokes

TIA type strokes have much less of an effect on your insurance than CVAs.

Can You Get Life Insurance After a CVA Stroke?

You need to wait at least 6 to 12 months after a CVA stroke to apply for life insurance. Many insurers only start the waiting period after you’ve completed treatment.

The more time passed since the incident, the easier it is to get traditional coverage. Any ratings lessen over time as well.

There are several “if’s” involved in qualifying for traditional, fully-underwritten life insurance.

  • CVA stroke under age 45 – Decline
  • CVA stroke over age 45 – Table 3 to 5
  • Any type of stroke in the past 6 months – Postpone
  • Currently using tobacco products – Decline

There are a couple of companies who offer no exam life insurance for stroke victims. The general guidelines are in the table below.

  • Any stroke between ages 45 and 69 – Table 4 (best case)
  • Any stroke over age 70 – Table 2 (best case)

How Age Impacts Life Insurance for a CVA Stroke

At 45 or younger, most insurers decline applications for traditional policies. Traditional includes simplified issue and no-exam policies.

life insurance stroke victim

Talk with an agent about your options. There might be more available than guaranteed issue. However, that will depend on your medical records.

Guaranteed issue life insurance is the last resort option. Exhaust your other options first before selecting a GI policy. They cost more for lower face values.

Can You Get Life Insurance After a TIA?

A TIA, also known as a mini-stroke, doesn’t cause any permanent neurological damage. Life insurance underwriters are more willing to take on that risk.

However, because there is still a risk of repeat strokes, most insurers will postpone an application for six months to a year.

The best possible health class available is standard, in most cases. We’ve seen stroke victims get preferred, but it’s rare. In these cases, the stroke happened well over 10 years ago without further incident.

Most applicants will be accepted with a table rating. It will depend on the medical records from the stroke, other health factors, and how much time has passed.

How To Get A Better Life Insurance Rate After A Stroke

Since most insurers will decline applications if you smoke after having a stroke, that’s the first thing you can do. Complying with all medical recommendations from your physician is a close second. Underwriters get nervous when people don’t follow their doctor’s orders.

There are a bunch of other methods you can take advantage of to keep as much in your own pocket as possible.

Use A Life Insurance Needs Calculator

Don’t use the old rule of multiplying your income by a number between 3 and 20. The multiplier isn’t based on anything. Just what someone thinks is right. But a one size fits all approach to life insurance leaves your family underinsured or paying too much.

Use a life insurance needs calculator instead. You can calculate exactly how much you need. That way, you know your family and your wallet will be okay.

Work With An Independent Agent

All life insurance companies price their products the same. (Prices must be set with the state.)

When you work with a captive agent, they can only sell you products from the company over their office door. Even if it isn’t the right fit for you, there aren’t other options.

The primary concern is it might be one of the companies who overcharge stroke victims.

Independent agents work for their clients. They can work with any company they feel is right for their clients’ needs. In this case, they can find the insurer with the best underwriting guidelines for a stroke.

Term Policies Cost Less

Term policies are more affordable than permanent ones. But the type you choose will depend on why you’re looking for life insurance. If it’s a part of your estate plan, term won’t make sense.

Term policies expire, and you don’t get your premiums back. (Unless you add the return of premium rider, but that doubles the policy premiums.) It’s best for reasons like providing for children until they’re financially independent or providing for your spouse if you pass during your working years.

Because of this expiration, term life insurance costs roughly a 1/4 of a permanent policy.

However, while a term policy may save you money now, it’s not always the right choice.

We’ve seen families who have continued to renew terms, but it adds up more in the long run. The worry is living beyond the renewable age. Then you’re left with nothing.

Your independent agent can help advise on the best type of insurance for your family’s financial goals.

What Life Insurance is Available?

life insurance with stroke

Traditional life insurance is available.

Phoenix will issue no-exam policies to many stroke victims, depending on age and medical records.

Simplified issue is unfortunately no longer an option.

Final expense policies have small face amounts designed to cover funerals. Americo will accept people who’ve experienced a stroke as long as it’s been more than 12 months since the completion of treatment.

Guaranteed issue policies are available. These also have small face amounts but work a little differently than final expense. Everyone gets approved for GI policies.

These policies have graded benefits where the company won’t pay the full face amount until the insured person has held the policy for three years.

Usually, the benefits look something like the following:

  • 1st year – refund premiums paid + 10%
  • 2nd year – refund premiums paid + 10%
  • 3rd year – 100% of face amount

AIG and Gerber are both great options here.

Conclusion

If you smoke, have other heart conditions, or it’s been less than 6 months, virtually everyone will receive a decline or postpone.

Getting a traditional policy with no ratings attached requires many years to have passed without further stroke symptoms, a mild TIA, over 45 when it happened, and otherwise excellent health.

Most people get a mild table rating on their life insurance after a stroke.

For more information on other cardiovascular conditions, check out the life insurance guidelines for heart attack or coronary artery disease.

How Abrams Insurance Solutions Can Help

We focus on helping families build strong financial foundations, no matter what happens.

As an independent life insurance agency, we work with over 70 of the top rated life insurance companies in the nation. The ability to choose between so many companies allows us to find the absolute lowest prices for an ideally suited policy.

Even if you have a stroke in your medical history, we won’t let that stop us from finding something that protects your family. If you have any questions, give us a call at (888) 905-0333.

We’re here to help, and there is never any obligation to buy.