After a stroke, it becomes more difficult to get life insurance.
A stroke is a serious medical event and the chance for more issues afterwards is so high, life insurance companies need to be careful.
However, even though a stroke is quite serious, it is still possible for many applicants to still get life insurance.
One of the best ways to improve your chances is to put together a strong application. From there, your policy will depend on the severity of your stroke plus your current health.
In this article, we will look at the underwriting rules for life insurance after a stroke so you can get prepared.
Life Insurance Underwriting after a Stroke
When you apply for life insurance, the insurance agent should ask you a number of questions about your stroke. You should expect to answer:
- What was the date of your stroke or strokes?
- Was it a full stroke or a mini stroke (Transient Ischemic Attack)?
- What tests or studies were done after the stroke (CT Scan, MRI Scan, Carotid Ultrasound, etc)
- What were your symptoms at the time of the stroke?
- Do you have any lasting neurological deficits or other residual effects from the stroke?
- Do you have any other conditions that increase your chance of another stroke like hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, or high cholesterol?
- What medications are you taking due to your stroke?
Common medications for after a stroke include: Aspirin, Plavix, Anticoagulants, Statins, and High Blood Pressure Medication. All of these medications for a stroke could be insurable depending on your symptoms.
It is important that your life insurance agent gets the answers to all these questions. If your application is missing information about your stroke, it raises a red flag for the insurance underwriter and your chance of a rejection or badly rated policy jump up.
Life Insurance Quotes after a Stroke
A major factor for your life insurance application is whether you had a full stroke or a mini-stroke, known as a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA. A TIA has the same symptoms of a stroke, but doesn’t result in any permanent neurological damage. A full stroke causes brain damage. As a result, underwriting is easier if you’ve only had a TIA.
However, both conditions make it more likely for repeat stroke problems so they both create issues for life insurance. You generally need to wait at least a year after your stroke before you can apply and the longer you go without a repeat incident, the better your rating. The rating you get on your policy depends on your answers to the previous questions as well as your life insurance company’s underwriting standards. While each policy has different standards, here are some general rules to give you an idea about your future insurability.
- Preferred Plus: It is not possible to get a preferred plus rating after a stroke, even a mini-stroke. The health problems that caused the stroke, the residual effects, and the risk of future issues are too much for applicants to qualify for the best insurance rating.
- Preferred: Likely impossible after a stroke. In very rare cases, someone with a TIA may be able to qualify for a preferred rating if he is in perfect health otherwise and it is possible that his TIA was a misdiagnosis.
- Standard: Best possible rating for applicants after a stroke. Must have been at least six years since the stroke without any other incidents plus have no other health problems.
- Table Rating (substandard): Most applicants applying after one year of the stroke but within six years of the stroke. Rating will depend on the lasting damage of the stroke and on the applicant’s health. Applicants that had a TIA may be able to get a rated policy six months after the incident.
- Declines: Automatic denial when applying within 6 months of a TIA or with 1 year of a full stroke. Other health problems, repeated strokes, or a family history of heart and stroke problems could also lead to a decline.
Stroke Insurance Case Studies
After you’ve had a stroke, the way you handle your life insurance application makes a big difference. Here are a couple real life case studies that show the impact your application can make.
Case Study: Male, 47 y/o, non-smoker, Single incident of TIA at age 41. Taking aspirin as a precaution. No lasting damage or other health issues. Possible misdiagnosis.
This client went to the hospital one night complaining of stroke-like symptoms like numbness, dizziness, and a speech impediment. The doctor treated him for a TIA but it wasn’t 100% clear if this was the case. Unfortunately, this treatment showed up on the client’s medical records, which insurance companies check. This applicant had received a Standard rating, but we thought he could better. We had him go to his doctor to have some tests done to check his neurological health. His exams showed he was in perfect health and he submitted this new information along with another application. This move helped him get a Preferred policy.
Case Study #2: Female, 55 y/o, had a full stroke at age 53, former smoker, recent lost weight and reduced blood pressure, taking high blood pressure medication.
This applicant was not living a healthy lifestyle and it caught up to her as a full stroke at age 53. Since the stroke, she lost a good amount of weight and started taking medication for her blood pressure. This hard work paid off as she became much healthier. However, her past health problems were still giving her trouble so she was only qualifying for very expensive policies. We recommended she go see her doctor and have him write a letter talking about her improved health. By submitting this letter along with her application, she was able to receive a Table Level 1 Policy, the best rating before Standard.
If you’re going to get life insurance after a stroke, you need to submit the best possible application. This is not easy to do on your own. We can help.
We understand the life insurance market for people that have had a stroke and will help you get the best possible policy. Call us today for a free quote and don’t let your condition get in the way of your insurance any longer.