There is a lot of confusion about whether or not you can get reasonably priced life insurance with celiac disease. Life insurance companies don’t make it any easier with their widely varying underwriting guidelines.
There are a few tips and tricks you can use to improve your life insurance health class. (Your health class is the primary factor in addition to age and biological sex that determine life insurance rates.)
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Celiac Disease
Aside from improving your health class by picking the right insurance company, there are a handful of ways you can save both time and money on life insurance. The following are tried and true methods we’ve used to reduce life insurance premiums for clients with celiac disease.
To see what your rates could be for life insurance with celiac disease, use the Instant Quotes tool on the left. (Top if you're on mobile.) Under health class, select standard. Preferred is the exception rather than the rule.
Use a Life Insurance Needs Calculator
The best way to save money, hands down, is to take advantage of a free Life Insurance Needs Calculator.It ensures you that you aren’t buying more insurance than your family needs. On the other hand, it also ensures that your family won’t find themselves under-insured when they thought they would be okay.
A life insurance needs calculator takes into account virtually every scenario which you might want life insurance to cover. From mortgages to credit card debt, from taking care of a spouse to your children’s education, the math is there. The good ones even account for inflation.
It’s downright reckless (financially) to use the old method of multiplying your annual income by 3 or 5 or even 20 to find how much life insurance you need. After all, someone with four college-bound children and a house will need more life insurance than someone with one child and no mortgage.
Speak with an Independent Agent
We all learn early on in life that shopping around for a product will give you more opportunities to find the best deal. Of course, it’s more fun to spend time comparing prices and features on something that will be enjoyable to use rather than life insurance. So, in this case, there is a fantastic secret in the insurance industry and means someone else can do all the work for you.
Insurance companies set the same prices for their products regardless of where you buy it. So if you go directly to the company, you won’t save any money. You’ll just lose time doing all the comparison shopping yourself.
There are two types of life insurance agents, captive and independent. Captive agents are contractually bound to sell only the products from their sponsored company. Independent agents have no such restrictions. They can offer you products from many companies.
But here’s the best part. Independent agents can spend their time shopping the market for you. They can use their experience to narrow down the companies who offer the best rates to people with celiac disease. That way, you don’t have to waste your time or money.
Take the Medical Exam
The life insurance medical exam is rarely anyone’s idea of a good way to spend time. But if you’re willing to spend the time taking the exam, then the policy you choose will be cheaper. Plus if you spend a two weeks preparing for the life insurance exam, you may bump yourself up a health class if you’re right on the border.
It works like this. Life insurance companies want to know everything about you and are suspicious by nature. If you opt for a no-exam policy (and there are reasonably priced ones out there,) then the insurance company will have less information about you and have to assume you are less healthy than you may actually be. That’s just how insurance companies protect themselves. They assume the worst case scenario unless you show them otherwise.
So by taking the medical exam, the life insurance underwriters can get a good picture of your health and offer you better pricing.
Term is Cheaper than Permanent
Permanent life insurance means the life insurance company will have to pay out the death benefits at some point. (Except for the small group of people who cancel their policies or don’t pay their premiums.)
Term policies end which means the insurance company might not have to pay the death benefit. That means they can offer term life insurance at drastically lower rates.
Choosing between term and permanent life insurance isn’t as simple as picking the cheaper option. The right type of life insurance for your family will depend on why you are looking at life insurance in the first place.
If it’s to pay off a mortgage, a decreasing term policy will make more sense. If it’s to cover your working years or to make sure you can afford to send the kids to college, a term policy still makes the most sense.
On the other hand, if you want to leave something to your heirs or ensure your spouse is provided for, then a permanent policy may be better for you.
Choose an Annuity Payout Instead of a Lump Sum
Some life insurance policies offer the option to pay the death benefit to your beneficiary in installments rather than a lump sum. The longer the insurance company can put off paying the full amount, the more time they have to earn money from their investments. This means they can afford to charge you less on the policy.
Again, whether or not this option is right for you will depend on your reasons for buying life insurance. If it’s to provide for someone, then an annuity type benefit might be best. If it’s to pay off the mortgage or to cover final expenses, then a lump sum payment might make more sense.
Life Insurance with Celiac Disease Success Story
We had a young woman come into our office several months back asking about guaranteed issue policies. She explained that she had celiac disease and while it was under control with her diet, she had been rejected for life insurance the previous year. The agent told her that she should consider guaranteed issue insurance instead.
It had been three years since her diagnosis. She had worked to adjust her lifestyle accordingly. With a good word from her doctor we found her a company offering standard rates. She saved thousands of dollars over the course of what her guaranteed issue policy would have cost during her working years.
How Does Celiac Disease Affect Life Insurance Rates?
Celiac disease (aka Sprue or Coeliac disease) affects around 3,00,000 Americans. It is (for the most part) not life-threatening, although there is no cure. Occasionally celiac disease is associated with more severe health concerns which can impact life insurance rates.
Most people who have encountered problems getting life insurance with celiac disease applied within a year of diagnosis. Insurance companies being skittish creatures, almost always postpone an application if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease within the past year. They want to wait and see how well you respond to treatment. After all, if left untreated, celiac disease can lead to:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
- Loss of bone density and calcium
- Lactose intolerance
- Intestinal lymphoma
- Small bowel cancer
- Peripheral neuropathy
Insurance underwriters also worry about other conditions you may have. Medical research has shown that celiac disease is more common in people with:
The most important thing is to follow your doctor’s recommendations. Little scares an underwriter more than someone with a pre-existing condition who isn’t following their doctor’s orders. If you disagree with your doctor, get a second opinion.
Underwriting Factors for Celiac Disease
First of all, to apply successfully for a policy, you will need to wait at least one year after your diagnosis before you apply. Underwriters will nearly always want to see how you are responding to treatment before issuing a life insurance policy.
Celiac disease by itself is rarely life-threatening. If you are in relatively good health, don’t smoke, and have no other health issues, you are looking at a Standard health class.
(To see what your rates may be, use the Instant Quotes tool on the left, or top if you’re on mobile, and set the health class to Standard.)
It is possible to get a preferred rating on life insurance with celiac disease. We have seen this is a few cases where the person is in otherwise fantastic health.
The difference in each health class change works out to about 25% difference in the cost of the policy.
The best way to find the company who will offer you a Standard or Preferred health class is to have all the information available the underwriters will want to know. Then you can take it to an independent agent who can pre-screen the companies for you.
Pre-screening Your Application
Pre-screening is an anonymous and straightforward process. Your life insurance agent will strip all identifying information out of what you tell them about yourself. Then email an underwriter at the potential companies who underwrite celiac disease favorably. The underwriters will look at the information and provide a tentative health class. Your agent will use that info to figure out the company that will offer you the best rates.
The information the underwriter will want is the following:
- Date of diagnosis
- Original symptoms
- Current symptoms
- Medications prescribed
- Dates of any hospitalizations
- Are you following a gluten-free diet
- Any dietary supplements
- Any other medical conditions, especially: type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison’s, or Turner’s disease
If you have been managing everything well and following your doctor’s recommendations, then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding affordable life insurance with celiac disease.
You may still qualify for life insurance with a table rating if you have additional medical complications alongside celiac disease. It all depends on how well you are following your treatment regimen and how your body is responding to that treatment.
Term Life Insurance with Celiac
Again, term is the least expensive form the life insurance. It’s the best approach if your primary concern is saving money. All you need to do is look at the amount of coverage you need and choose a term length depending on your reason for looking into life insurance.
This form of life insurance provides death benefits only. Term lengths can be anywhere from 10 to 30 years, depending on your age.
Many insurance companies will offer you the option to renew when your term life insurance expires. The new rates will depend on your current age, which can be quite a shock if you are renewing after a 30-year term. Some companies may also look at your current health.
Instead of renewing, most companies offer a conversion feature that will turn your term life insurance policy into a permanent life insurance policy. Typically, you have to do this before your policy expires.
Converting your policy (if you want to continue your life insurance) has two benefits over renewing. First, you don’t have to retake the medical exam. So even if your health has deteriorated since you first took out the policy, it won’t matter. Second, is that they don’t usually ask health questions, so the rates are only based on your age. Meaning, you can keep your current health class.
Permanent Life Insurance with Celiac Disease
Permanent life insurance policies consist of Whole Life and Universal Life. Both policies last for life. At least they will so long as you continue paying your premiums on time.
Permanent policies offer a cash value accumulation feature in addition to the death benefit. This allows you to borrow against your policy. It’s a no questions asked loan. The insurance company holds your death benefit as collateral, so it’s a good option for people whose banks are changing outrageous interest.
The cash value accumulation grows over the life of the policy.
Families with high incomes or large estates may find a permanent life insurance policy works better for them. Remember, that life insurance benefits are non-taxable.
No-Exam Life Insurance with Celiac Disease
While life insurance is cheaper if you take the medical exam, some people just don’t do well with needles. If you want to skip over the medical exam portion of the life insurance process, then a no-exam policy might work best for you.
In general, they only ask about half a dozen medical questions. With the popularity of this type of life insurance, more companies are offering no-exam policies. These additional products entering the market are drastically driving the price down.
Most no-exam policies don’t exceed $500,000 in coverage. But we’ve found one company who will offer up to a million dollar death benefit.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance with Celiac Disease
Guaranteed issue policies are for people with severe medical conditions who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for life insurance. They guarantee coverage to everyone who applies.
The drawback is the maximum coverage is usually around $25,000. They also have what the industry calls “graded benefits.”
Graded benefits mean that if the insured person passes within a time frame outlined by the insurance contract, then the benefit is reduced. Normally this might look something like the following:
- 1st & 2nd year - 110% of premiums paid
- After 2 years - 100% of the death benefit
Life insurance companies set up guaranteed issue policies this way so they don’t lose too much money and can afford to stay in business to pay out their standard life insurance contracts many years in the future.
How Abrams Insurance Solutions Can Help
At Abrams Insurance Solutions, we are a group of independent agents working on helping folks with pre-existing medical conditions find life insurance at affordable prices. Our experts examine each unique situation and work with over 70 of the top-rated life insurance companies in the country. That way, we can find the best match for your situation.
We will never ask someone to accept a policy that is unreasonable. We use our experience with pre-existing conditions to ensure that a company is being fair. If an unreasonable offer comes back, then we will shop around for other companies to make sure that someone else cannot do any better for you.
If you have any questions, then give us a call at 858-703-6178. Information is freely given, and there is never any obligation to buy.