Is your ASD or VSD a Life Insurance Time Bomb ?

Were you born with an atrial septal defect (ASD) or a ventricular septal defect (VSD)?  How does that affect life insurance?  Can you even get great life insurance with an atrial septal defect?

Let me put your mind at ease.

Yes.  You can get life insurance with an atrial or ventricular septal defect.

Read more in our article, or skip to the good stuff and let us customize your free quote here:

What does an atrial or ventricular septal defect mean for life insurance?

You may be thinking, “what’s the big deal?  I’ve had this problem since I was a baby.  I feel fine, and the doctor says I’m fine.”

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, an ASD or VSD is a serious medical condition. In life insurance circles it is referred to as “high risk.”

An unrepaired ASD or VSD leave a person open to serious complications, the main ones being stroke, hypertrophy or Afib.

Stroke Risk and ASD

What happens if you have a blood clot that travels from the upper right side of the heart chamber to the upper left side?  That clot could then mix around with the oxygenated blood and become lodged in your brain.

Left to Right Shunting – Risk for Right Heart hypertrophy

An ASD or a VSD both overload the right side of the heart with blood from the left.  So the right ventricle muscle grows in response to the added stress, increasing the blood pressure with every pump and eventually leading to right heart failure.

Risk for Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)

In adults with atrial septal defects, one of the most common complications is atrial fibrillation.  In fact, afib is 4 times more prevalent in patients with ASDs than with the general population.

Untreated Afib can lead to serious problems down the road, like stroke, reduced mental health or heart failure.

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What’s the deal with High Risk Conditions and Life Insurance?

All high risk heart conditions will affect your life insurance rates. and there is a direct relationship between the severity of your heart problem and the price that you will pay.

For instance, a woman in her mid thirties who is in great shape, eats well, exercises frequently, has had no major surgeries or has not been diagnosed with any diseases or chronic health conditions is going to have a relatively low premium cost with most life insurance companies.

Life insurance is not alone in this practice. Car insurance companies charge higher premiums for teenagers than they do for experienced drivers. It is simply the nature of the business.

Getting Life Insurance with ASD or VSD

If you have any kind of congenital heart disease you are definitely a higher risk for life insurance companies. The good news is that you can still get a great life insurance policy. There are many insurance companies that specialize in providing life insurance policies for people with chronic health conditions, heart problems and life-impacting diseases.

Factors that Will Affect Your Life Insurance Rates

Many factors will affect your life insurance rates, and this is what an underwriter will into account when creating a quote for you.

The specific type of Atrial Septal defect that you have

There are three sub classes of ASD and this depends on the location of the opening.

Ostium secundum defects in the mid septum

These are the most common and they usually have the best prognosis.  Small defects without symptoms might not be rated at all.  Moderate and large openings will be rated moderately substandard.

Sinus venosus defects in the high septum

If they are small with no symptoms, again these can be unrated.  However, if they are moderate or large there are moderate substandard ratings, and the case could be declined at younger ages.

Ostium Primum defects in the low septum

These defects usually come hand in hand with other congenital heart problems, and they are therefore the most serious of the atrial septal defects from a life insurance perspective.  Unoperated ostium primum defects could be postponed or declined.

Did you have surgery to repair the ASD?

If your condition is severe enough to require surgery, your rates will likely be higher than those who have not needed surgery.  If the surgery was completed in childhood, your rates may not be affected at all.

When did you have surgery?

The time frame since your last surgery has a bearing on your life insurance rates.  If the surgery was completed in childhood, that’s great! Usually that prevents high blood pressure and enlargement of the heart muscle (hypertrophy) in adulthood.

If you had surgery to repair the ASD or VSD after age 20, there are increased risks for other heart conditions like cardiac arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation.  You will be rated based on the age of your surgery, the pre-op size of the septal opening, and any other complications that may have developed.

Your prescription history and life insurance

An insurance company will take into account your need for prescription medications to control your heart condition when determining your rates. Underwriters will do a prescription check with every life insurance application, and this will present a detailed look at how you are maintaining your condition.

For instance, if you have regular refills of your medication this signifies that you are following the doctor’s orders.  If you have sporadic refills of your medication, it signifies the opposite.

Also, if your dosage has been increased for certain medications recently, this could signify a worsening condition.

Are you following your doctor’s recommendations?

Insurance companies like to see that you are checking in with your doctor regularly to keep your condition under control. Regular checkups with your cardiologist is crucial when you have any heart condition, and a recent echocardiogram or stress testing can help your approval chances.

Mix it all together, and you get a health rating class

Three things go into determining how much you will spend for your life insurance.  First, your age.  Next, how much coverage you seek, and finally your health rating class.

What is a Rating Class?

A “rating class” or “health class” is a term that life insurance companies use to identify the severity of your health.  There are up to 16 different rating classes, and most normal people qualify at standard.  The youngest, healthiest of the healthy get preferred or preferred plus, and those with high risk conditions have substandard rates available.

The good news?  Even at a substandard rate, most life insurance is still very affordable.

Your rating has a direct correlation to your heart condition and perceived risk to the insurance company.

What are the Health Classes for an Atrial Septal Defect or Ventral Septal Defect?

Just which health class should you expect based on the condition of your heart?  The following represents the best information we have regarding underwriting guidelines at the US’s best life insurance companies.

However, know that their underwriting criteria is changing all the time, and your individual case facts will change your outcome as well.

Preferred or Preferred Plus

Preferred / Preferred plus is possible for someone diagnosed with ASD/VSD.  It is not likely, however it is possible. Some small secundum defects in younger, healthy applicants with no symptoms would qualify.

Standard Class

You may qualify for the standard class if you have a small atrial heart opening, have been stable for at least two years, and have not had any diagnostic or abnormal findings within that time period.

Surgery, if necessary, is performed at a young age with an excellent prognosis.

Mild Substandard Health Class

If you are showing symptoms, any kind of arrhythmia or mild complications with hypertension (high blood pressure), you would qualify for a mild substandard rating.

If you have a moderate opening in the ostium secundum or sinus venosus that did not require surgery, that would qualify for mild substandard.

Also if you needed surgery later in life-past age 25-and have a stable prognosis, you can expect mild substandard rates.

This health class is very common among our ASD / VSD applicants.

Moderate Substandard Health Class

Larger openings either repaired surgically or unoperated will qualify for moderate substandard rates.  In these examples, the underwriter will want to know what the size of the opening was before operation and will judge it based on that.

If there are complications from the atrial and ventricular septal defects like hypertrophy, atrial fibrillation, higher hypertension or other heart lesions, those conditions will be the basis for the health class. These cases with complications can be moderately substandard, or they could be declined.

It just depends on the life insurance company and how the case is presented. That’s why it is critical to work with an underwriting expert if you are in this boat.

Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defects Approved for Life Insurance

You may be asking yourself.  “What do I do now?”

Rest assured you are in the right place.  At Heart Life Insurance we work with congenital heart defects and other heart conditions every day.

We have 60 of the tippy-top life insurance companies in the United States at our beck and call. Our experts know the companies who look at ASD and VSD and treat it favorably. We can put that underwriting expertise to work for you, for free.

What does this mean to you?  No-hassles and only the best value in life insurance for your condition, period.

So think of your family.  Do they depend on you?  Yes?

Don’t go at this alone, you don’t have to. Put our experts on your team to work for you.

Fill out a quote request now and we will start winning for you today.


  1. Linda Baker

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