Life insurance for cystic fibrosis is possible, although tricky. While the average lifespan with the disease used to be 37.5 years in the United States, doctors expect children born in this millennium to live well into their 50s.
Life insurance companies tend to drag their feet on adjusting their mortality tables to accommodate medical advances improving both the quality and length of life.
- Quick summary
- Can I get life insurance with cystic fibrosis?
- Life insurance options for cystic fibrosis patients
- How Abrams Insurance Solutions can help
The only types available to someone with cystic fibrosis are guaranteed issue life insurance or final expense. Accidental death policies are also an option.
Even if you’ve been declined for life insurance before, there are still options available to protect your family.
Can I Get Life Insurance With Cystic Fibrosis?
Only a few types of insurance accept applicants with cystic fibrosis. No insurer issues traditional policies to someone with this condition because of the extreme nature of the disease.
The only policies available will be guaranteed issue or final expense.
How Medical Underwriting Works
Each life insurance company has different underwriting guidelines for every medical condition. Since companies don’t tend to post online which conditions they accept, which they decline, and which they charge an arm and a leg for, it’s tricky to call up the right one first try.
That’s why we strongly recommend calling an independent agent as part of your comparison shopping. They will know which companies don’t unfairly penalize cystic fibrosis. They can also advise you on the best type of life insurance for your unique situation.
Life Insurance Options for Cystic Fibrosis Applicants
Currently, three options exist for applications with CF:
- Final Expense Life Insurance
- Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
- Accidental Death Life Insurance
The one best for you will depend on what purpose you want your life insurance to serve.
Final Expense Life Insurance
You will also see final expense called simplified issue or burial life insurance. These policies have small face amounts – usually less than $50,000.
Insurance companies designed this type of policy for people looking to cover burial expenses. Your premiums, depending on the amount of coverage, would be the same as someone without cystic fibrosis.
The biggest advantage this type of policy offers is the rapid turnaround time from application to signed policy – usually 24 hours.
They ask few medical questions compared to traditional policies. Some companies don’t care about cystic fibrosis. Others don’t allow it. This can make it tricky to apply with the right company, so ask your agent.
Because the policies have small face amounts, it can be challenging to get the coverage you need. You can stack these policies to achieve more benefits. It will be a longer application process, and your agent will need to research which policy to apply for in which order.
Types of Final Expense Policies
If you can, avoid graded final expense policies. These stagger your benefits. Meaning, if you pass on before you’ve held the policy for 3 years, your beneficiary will receive a fraction of your face amount.
Term final expense policies exist as well. Avoid these too. They look cheaper at first, but when you realize you need to renew them every few years at higher premiums, you end up paying much more than a whole life final expense. Most term versions of this product last for five years, before renewing at current rates for your new age.
When shopping around for this type of life insurance, look for level whole life final expense. It’s also sometimes called level whole life simplified issue or level whole life burial insurance. The term level means that your premiums and benefits will remain the same for the life of the policy. All you have to do is pay your premiums on time.
Typical Medical Questions For Final Expense Policies
You will need to answer “no” to most of the following questions (except for smoking) for the life insurer to consider your application for a final expense policy:
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have a terminal illness?
- Are you currently in a nursing home facility?
- Have you received disability payments for more than 30 days over the past year?
- Do you have HIV or AIDS?
- Have you used narcotics or controlled substances within the past 12 months?
- Have you been given chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer within the past year?
Questions vary by the insurance company since they all have different underwriting guidelines. If the questions above do apply to you, then you may need to consider guaranteed issue life insurance.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
Guaranteed issue is a type of policy that accepts every applicant. They may ask a few medical questions, but most don’t.
These are the last resort style of life insurance policy, and as such, charge more than most other types of life insurance. They also have graded premiums, which means you have to survive at least three years after signing the policy before your beneficiary sees 100% of the death benefits.
The best guaranteed issue policy will depend on your current age. If you’re between 18 and 40, the Wellness Association of America offers Protection PLUS guaranteed issue that provides 5-year renewable term coverage, no questions asked.
It gets better. It’s a wellness membership it also offers discounts on pharmaceutical prescriptions, dental work, and vision care.
Once you hit your 40s, Great Western offers a competitively priced guaranteed issue policy. Then, in your 50’s Gerber offers some of the best rates to be found. You can get more information on these guaranteed issue policies here.
Advantages of Guaranteed Issue
This style of policy isn’t all bad. It does come with several upsides:
- Fixed death benefit for your beneficiaries
- Level premiums on the whole life options – meaning they never increase
- Coverage up to $50,000 – more than most final expense policies
- Some offer a cash value accumulation component
The parts of a guaranteed issue life insurance policy vary by company. Have your insurance agent cover the details of each one you’re considering, so you aren’t surprised by any differences.
Disadvantages of Guaranteed Life Insurance
As with anything, when there are pros, there are cons. It’s knowing both that helps you make the best financial decision for your family.
- Guaranteed issue offers lower coverage amounts than what you could get with traditional life insurance
- Costs more than any other form of life insurance policy per $1,000 in coverage
- Has a graded death benefit schedule
Graded benefits vary by company. Most of the time, they’ll look like this:
- 1st year – 110% of premiums paid
- 2nd year – 110% of the premiums paid
- 3rd year and after – 100% of the face amount
Accidental Death Insurance
These policies differ from life insurance. They only pay your beneficiary if you pass on resulting from an accident. Natural causes or illnesses do not qualify for the payout conditions. As a result, they’re often extremely inexpensive.
You also see these policies called accidental death and dismemberment or AD&D. You can read more about the best accidental death policies here.
If you can qualify for final expense life insurance, that’s almost always the best option for cystic fibrosis. Guaranteed issue should be the backup plan.
However, because every financial situation is slightly different, getting personalized advice from an independent agent can save you the most money and hassle.
The CFF also has several resources for handling the intricacies of insurance with cystic fibrosis.
How Abrams Insurance Solutions Can Help
At Abrams Insurance Solutions, we have helped many clients with cystic fibrosis obtain life insurance. We have access to all of the insurance options mentioned above.
If you have cystic fibrosis and need life insurance, give us a call at (858) 703-6178. We’ll review the options with you and help you get approved with the best company and policy for your situation.