For most forms of dermatitis, finding life insurance isn’t a big deal. The insurance companies make a note of it and move on. For some types of dermatitis, it can crush your chances of getting into a good health class. While most people won’t have problems finding affordable life insurance with dermatitis, it’s important to check to see if the type you have is cause for concern.
Dermatitis is a tricky one. Some types make absolutely no difference to your life insurance rates. Others are rated case by case. If you have one of the following types, skip down to that section to see how it may affect you.
- Duhring’s Disease
- Stasis Dermatitis
- Vitiligo Dermatitis
Severe forms of other types of dermatitis can also cause concern when you go through underwriting for life insurance.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Dermatitis
Depending on the type of dermatitis you have, saving money on life insurance may be a simple matter of doing your research and knowing what shortcuts you can take. If you have a more serious type of dermatitis, then you may have to take some extra steps to help find a company who won’t overcharge you.
Experiment with a Life Insurance Need Calculator
Life insurance is not a one size fits all type of purchase. You need to assess your family’s needs before you can make an informed purchasing decision. If someone tells you that you just need 5 to 7 times your annual income and you’ll be fine, run.
Life insurance is more like buying a belt. If you buy too much, it’s a little silly, but it works. If you buy too little, then you spent good money on something that doesn’t solve the problem.
A life insurance needs calculator (in this analogy) is like measuring your waist before buying the belt. You know exactly what size (or how much life insurance) you need. The calculator takes into account things like any mortgages, credit card debts, college-bound children, and retirement savings.
You won’t overspend. Plus your family will be secure.
Speak with an Independent Agent
Even if you end up working with a captive agent, speaking with an independent once will ensure you’ve done your due diligence in searching for the best policy at the lowest price.
Insurance companies set their prices with the state governments. So it’s not like you will get quoted different prices from two different agents on the same policy. That means you can shop around. The trick is to let someone else do the shopping for you.
Captive agents can only sell the products from one company. They have a contract with that company which forbids them from selling anything else. Independent agents, on the other hand, aren’t bound to any company. So they can compare quotes from hundreds of companies for you.
With over 850 life insurance companies in the United States, that’s a lot of quote comparison to do. Having someone else do all that research for you allows you to save both time and money.
Have Your Agent Pre-screen You Application
When approaching life insurance with a pre-existing condition, you run an increased risk of having surprises in underwriting. Those surprises could be unexpected ratings or exclusions on your policy.
Your life insurance agent can do all the work for you and let you know which companies want to give you the best rates.
Pre-screening your application doesn’t involve any extra work on your part. All you have to do is be upfront with your insurance agent about any medical conditions, like dermatitis. You’ll need information like the date of diagnosis, type of dermatitis, and how you’re treating it.
The agent will then send an email without any of your identifying information to the underwriters at potential companies who will make a tentative assessment of your health class. You can use these tentative assessments to compare rates between companies.
This is important because underwriting guidelines are different at each insurance company. Some might charge an extra 50% or more for your policy. Other’s might not care at all. This way you can quickly eliminate the companies who want to overcharge you.
Purchase a Policy Requiring a Medical Exam
With something like dermatitis, chances are you’ve had your health assessed by your doctor regularly. So the life insurance medical exam shouldn’t prove to be anything out of the ordinary.
What it will prove is that you don’t need to be charged extra for your life insurance policy. Insurance companies tend to assume the worst if they don’t have the data to prove otherwise. That way they can stay in business and pay out claims decades down the line.
It’s worth the hour out of your day to save hundreds (probably thousands) over the next several decades of your life. You can even give yourself the best chance of low rates by preparing for the life insurance medical exam.
Success Story for Life Insurance with Dermatitis
Jane (name changed for privacy) came to us asking for a review of the life insurance policy she’d bought elsewhere four months before. It was a $150,000 policy with the intention of covering her son’s college tuition if anything happened to her.
She’d been busy at the time and didn’t think that her eczema would affect her life insurance rates. So she hadn’t told the agent about it.
When the offer came back from underwriting, they’d classed her as a Table 1 instead of standard which she had applied at. (Her BMI and blood pressure would typically have put her into a standard health class.) She didn’t want to deal with the hassle of life insurance at the time and just took the policy. Now she was having second thoughts about it. After all, her eczema was pretty mild.
We took a copy of her policy and called a few of the insurance companies we knew to be more lenient with eczema. One of the prescreens came back with a tentative assessment at a standard rating.
Jane applied with that company who agreed to use her previous medical exam since it was so recent and the offer came back at standard rates. She is saving 17.3% every month on her new policy.
How Dermatitis Affects Life Insurance
Dermatitis is a broad term for a multitude of skin disorders. It merely refers to any condition involving inflammation of the skin.
For life insurance purposes, underwriters look at psoriasis in the same way as other forms of dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis occurs from a delayed allergic reaction. It can also be an injury to the skin’s surface, called irritant contact dermatitis.
Both types can occur from any number of substances, ranging from something as familiar a poison ivy to manufactured materials like cosmetics.
Contact dermatitis rarely concerns underwriters, and they will base your health class on standard life insurance factors.
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
30 million Americans have atopic dermatitis, commonly called eczema. The exact cause of it is still unknown.
The condition is a result of areas of skin losing its ability to retain moisture. As a result, skin can become raw, red, and itchy. In some cases, the skin may become scaly. More severe forms of eczema can lead to thickened skin and pustules.
Because no two forms of eczema are the same, underwriting will depend on your medical records. Extremely mild forms may not factor into ratings on your life insurance. More severe types can result in table ratings.
This type of dermatitis is commonly known as dandruff. It may not seem worth mentioning, but some forms can be more complicated than it sounds.
Typically dandruff has an extremely mild presence and symptoms. But it doesn’t just appear on the scalp. You can get dandruff just about anywhere on your face. It can also appear on your chest, under your arms or legs, in the naval region, or under your breasts.
Again, the cause is unknown.
The underwriting concerns for severe seborrheic dermatitis are that it is associated with more severe medical conditions, including the following:
- Heart attack or stroke
- Eating disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
Most forms of seborrheic dermatitis are hardly worth mentioning from an underwriting perspective. However, more severe forms coupled with the associated factors above can lead to table ratings.
The more common name for dermatitis herpetiformis is Duhring’s Disease. It generally starts with tiny chronic blisters which can also be extremely itchy. It commonly appears on the face, scalp, back, knees, and elbows. Like many types of dermatitis, the cause is unknown.
Dermatitis herpetiformis is characterized by itchy, chronic blisters. If this is not associated with any other medical condition, then you shouldn’t have any issues getting life insurance.
What makes Duhring’s disease unique, is that is frequently associated with excess gluten intake. Even when it isn’t, gluten can make it worse.
Because of the gluten association, many people with Duhring’s disease also have celiac disease.
Duhring’s is an autoimmune disorder, making it a more significant concern to underwriters. People with this disease tend to be more prone to stomach cancer, osteoporosis, and thyroid disease.
If you suffer from Duhring’s, make sure to pre-screen your application with your life insurance agent to get an accurate health class assessment.
This condition is most common in younger women. It generally manifests as a small rash around the mouth. Sometimes there are also blister eruptions, sparred skin, clusters of small blisters, and flaky or dried skin.
There are a few sub-classifications of perioral dermatitis:
- Periorificial dermatitis – occurs around the orifices of the face such as the mouth, nostrils or eyes and genital region
- Perioral dermatitis – occurs in the lower region of the face especially the mouth
- Periocular dermatitis – occurs around the region of the eyes and eyelids
Once again, the cause is unknown. However, it is commonly associated with the following conditions:
- Skin damage
- Immune system reactions
- Bacteria in the follicles
- Irritation caused by a multitude of substances such as make-up, lotions, and creams
- Hormonal changes and oral contraceptives
Because it isn’t’ associated with anything serious, there is rarely a rating for this form of dermatitis.
Stasis dermatitis is a much more severe form of dermatitis. It typically affects both men and women over 50 who have a range of health issues.
Most of the time, stasis dermatitis occurs in people who are overweight and have poor circulation. Cardiac disease can also increase the risk for this condition.
Stasis dermatitis commonly involved a discoloration of the skin, skin ulcers, and scaly or itchy skin. The calf muscle can swell and be painful due to poor circulation in the legs increasing blood pressure in the capillaries. Lesions can also occur. This condition can also lead to peripheral edema.
Common risk factors for stasis dermatitis can include the following:
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Venous insufficiency
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Lower leg injury
Because there are several serious, varied issues associated with stasis dermatitis, you should pre-screen this with an independent insurance agent to find the best company for your particular situation. You may be looking at a postpone if recently diagnosed or a mild to severe rating.
Nummular dermatitis (also commonly called discoid dermatitis) tends to occur in men above 60. It also more commonly occurs in cold, dry climates.
Symptoms appear as round, coin-sized patches of skin that are dry, itchy, discolored, or scaly. They can appear anywhere on the body but typically manifest below the waist.
Because it’s easily treated and not associated with any serious health conditions, it should not affect your health class for life insurance.
This form of dermatitis is an autoimmune disease. It leaves white spots (no pigmentation) on both the face and body.
Stress can aggravate vitiligo dermatitis. People with this conditions may be at a high risk for melanoma (skin cancer) as well.
Because it’s an autoimmune condition, underwriters will want more details on it as well as any other associated issues. Make sure to have your agent pre-screen your application for an appropriate health class.
Psoriasis is also an autoimmune disease. Cells multiply quickly when this type of dermatitis first appears. It shows up as shiny scales on the surface of the skin.
This condition also frequently appears with arthritis and other joint disorders. Plus it’s associated with other underlying health issues like poor blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, heavy drinking, tobacco smoke, anxiety, and depression.
This is another case where pre-screening your life insurance application can prevent surprises in underwriting and ensure you are applying with the best company for you.
Underwriting Factors for Life Insurance with Dermatitis
Depending on the form of dermatitis, underwriting can present a surprising challenge. Skin conditions can accompany other underlying health issues. The possibility alone makes many life insurance companies wary.
Your medical records and prescription history can ease this worry. Those, coupled with the life insurance medical exam, will give the life insurance company enough information to assign you a rate class.
Between a thorough pre-screen and frankness with your insurance agent, you should eliminate most surprises in underwriting.
This is why pre-screening is so important for finding affordable life insurance with dermatitis. It can help point to the company who will offer the best health class for you. But even with pre-screens, medical records can still turn up surprises. So if you get an offer that seems way higher than you anticipated, don’t just take it. Work with your agent to see what happened and have them check if different companies can make you a better offer.
With that out of the way, most people who have dermatitis have mild types which are almost always easily treatable. If you fall into that category, dermatitis should have next to no impact on your health class.
Alternatively, if you have dermatitis resulting from an autoimmune disorder, then you might be looking at a postpone or a rating.
If you are suffering from a regular form of dermatitis (especially eczema), then you will probably receive a standard health class from most conservative life insurance companies. This even takes into account dermatitis that is well under control.
- Type and severity of dermatitis
- Date of diagnosis
- Manner of treatment and/or hospitalization
- Family history
- Height/Weight ratio
- Any other medical conditions
If you have all this information up front, talk with your insurance agent about it to get a pre-screen.
Conclusions on Life Insurance with Dermatitis
The most important thing is to be upfront about your dermatitis with your insurance agent. They can then prescreen your application with several companies to see who will offer you the best deal. If you skip that step, you may end up halfway through underwriting with rates astronomically higher than what you were quoted.
It’s also important to know what type of life insurance will best suit your needs. Term won’t work for estate planning. Permanent life insurance doesn’t make sense to cover a child until they finish college. Next, knowing how much life insurance you need prevent you from overspending or being under-insured.
Why Use Abrams Insurance Solutions
We are a group of independent agents that focus on using the vast number of insurance companies available to our clients to find the best one for each family. Each person has person’s health history will affect their life insurance differently. With over 70 of the top-rated companies available, we can weed out the ones that will treat you unfairly over something you can’t control.
We believe that every family has the right to financial stability, no matter what happens. So we don’t rest until we can find a company who will treat you fairly.
The Bottom Line
At Abrams, we focus on saving you time and money. We save you time because we can shop the market for you, instead of making you call dozens of different companies. One call to us gets the ball rolling so you can do something else that you’ll likely enjoy more than shopping for life insurance.
Give us a call today at 888-905-0333 with any questions or if you’d like us to pre-screen a medical condition and find the best companies for you.