If you have a serious heart condition such as cardiomyopathy, applying for life insurance can be a daunting task.
You can get life insurance with cardiomyopathy, however how do you get the best rates?
We developed this article to help you learn what is most important for approving life insurance with cardiomyopathy.
While any heart issue can make the life insurance process more complicated, we get approvals with cardiomyopathy every week.
To get the best rates, you must know where to apply and which life insurance company takes cardiomyopathy at the lowest price.
There are many factors that will go into determining your eligibility, health class and premiums. Educate yourself on the process and then obtain insurance as soon as you can.
As a general rule, life insurance will never be cheaper tomorrow, so it is important to gather information quickly and apply today.
Before you Apply for Life insurance with Cardiomyopathy
First, use this handy guide to navigate this article.
Life Insurance with Cardiomyopathy [and Tips for Lower Rates]
Life Insurance with Cardiomyopathy [and Tips for Lower Rates]
Before applying for life insurance get the right information up front about the people you are working with. Do they represent many major life insurance carriers? How about prior success getting great rates for other people with heart conditions? Do they understand your cardiomyopathy, your family and your goals?
Next, provide your detailed medical information to your underwriting expert. Life insurance is all about determining risk. This means the more information you can provide to help the insurer assess your individual situation, the better.
Even if you think the test results and facts are negative, it is always better to provide it. Complete information paints a clear picture, and without it you will be denied.
With your information gathered, next it is important to know where to apply. Traditional insurers may automatically decline someone with cardiomyopathy whether the effects were short lived or not.
There are many life insurance companies that specialize in “high risk” situations such as this but how would you know about them?
Life Insurance Companies do not advertise “Hey! We love heart problems! Apply here!”
Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of diseases of the heart muscle. The various forms of cardiomyopathy can have many causes, symptoms and treatments.
In general, cardiomyopathy means the heart is enlarged, thick and/or rigid. It damages the muscle tone of the heart and restricts its ability to properly pump blood to the rest of the body.
An individual may not experience any symptoms in the beginning stages of cardiomyopathy. The condition can go undetected for years.
However, as the condition worsens, the heart will become weaker and less able to maintain a normal electrical rhythm and pump blood throughout the body. This weakening can lead to heart valve problems, heart failure, arrhythmia and other more serious conditions.
The most common symptoms of cardiomyopathy include
- Shortness of breath with exertion or even at rest
- Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
- Chest pain
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Irregular heartbeats that may feel rapid, fluttering or pounding (palpitations)
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Coughing, especially when lying down
Risk factors for cardiomyopathy include
- Genetic conditions and family history
- Damage of the heart due to heart attack
- Heart valve problems
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Heavy use of cocaine, amphetamines and other drugs
- Infections – especially as a child
- Long-term high blood pressure
- Chronic rapid heart rate
- And many other possible causes
While these are just a few of many, the causes, signs and symptoms will depend largely upon the type of cardiomyopathy a person has.
This is the most common form of the disorder. In dilated cardiomyopathy, the left ventricle– which is the main pumping chamber of the heart– becomes enlarged (dilated) and cannot effectively pump blood out of the heart.
Individuals with dilated cardiomyopathy can have difficulty qualifying for the best classes for life insurance because it can lead to heart failure or other fatal issues.
In this form of the disorder, the left ventricle of the heart thickens, making it harder to pump blood throughout the body. Most people with this hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have a family history of the disorder, but it can develop at any age.
While it is still serious, individuals with this form of cardiomyopathy are likely to receive better a better rating class than those with other forms.
In this less common type of the disease, the heart becomes rigid and less elastic. This means that the heart cannot properly expand and fill with blood between beats. It tends to affect older people and can have several different possible causes.
Life Insurance With Cardiomyopathy
While other forms of the disorder exist, the most common by far are dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. While they are serious disorders, it is still possible to obtain quality life insurance at affordable rate.
Many people suffer from cardiomyopathy and several insurance companies are eager to insure this large pool of individuals. In fact, as many as one in five Americans suffer from some form of cardiomyopathy, and many of them qualify for great life insurance as long as they use an underwriting expert.
Let’s take a look at an underwriting questionnaire to find out which factors determine your health class.
Date of your cardiomyopathy diagnosis
In general, individuals diagnosed with cardiomyopathy early in life will have a harder time qualifying for better classes. If it was recently diagnosed, many companies will want a period of at least six months after the diagnosis before allowing a standard or table rating.
Type of cardiomyopathy
Individuals with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are usually viewed as less of a risk and may qualify for a standard rating or higher if they are in great health otherwise.
People with dilated cardiomyopathy are more common and can also qualify for affordable rates.
Recent test results
*** Most important test will be the echocardiogram.
Providing as much documentation and other information as possible is crucial to the application process. Even if the results are not great, it is important to provide insurers with information on recent tests such as:
- Resting EKG
- Stress EKG
- Chest x-ray
- Thallium stress test
- CT Scan or MRI
- Cardiac catheterization
Know your ejection fraction
On the most recent echocardiogram, your cardiologist will note left ventricle ejection fraction results. Results within normal ranges will show that the heart muscle is healthy. It will also help us with underwriting peripartum cardiomyopathy or postpartum cardiomyopathy by showing the heart pumping optimally.
If you suffer from dizziness, fainting, chest pain or other symptoms, it will affect your eligibility. Though recurring symptoms do not automatically disqualify a person, individuals with little or no symptoms are viewed as less of a risk.
This is important for insurance companies to help determine the risk of insuring someone with a heart condition. If someone in your immediate family has died young from a heart problem, it will negatively impact your chances.
Any surgeries or procedures
Pacemakers, bypass surgery and other procedures to treat cardiomyopathy also help determine the current risk of a person.
Generally, insurers will want at least six months to pass after any surgery before insuring. If your surgery successfully treats the cardiomyopathy, you can qualify for more affordable rates.
Medications and other treatments
A common myth is that taking medication for a heart condition will hurt your chances of obtaining life insurance. This could not be further from the truth. If medication and other treatments have helped successfully maintain and control your condition, you could qualify for a better health class.
Any other health issues
If you are in great health aside from cardiomyopathy, you may qualify for standard or even preferred ratings. Other health issues may not disqualify, however they could result in a lower health class.
Can you get life insurance with cardiomyopathy? Absolutely.
Stay in good health, don’t smoke, and visit your doctor regularly. These are the things you can do to improve your chances for life insurance with cardiomyopathy.
Even if you have cardiomyopathy, you can qualify for standard rating classes if you maintain great health. Since cardiomyopathy can lead to many other heart problems, most often a lower health class is assigned (table 2 or higher) to account for the extra risk.
The difference between each health class means a higher premium of 25%, so it’s important to work with an underwriting expert to save money.
Remember: we are on the same team. We will help you to find the perfect life insurance plan with cardiomyopathy and the perfect company who views your health class the best. The advice is critical but we charge you nothing for it. It’s free.
Call us at the office or fill out the quote form to get started.