Are you looking for life insurance after a stroke? What is required to underwrite a stroke life insurance policy? Can you get term life insurance for stroke victims?
In this article we will explore cerebrovascular accidents and transient ischemic attacks and how they relate to life insurance. We will prepare you for what a life insurance underwriter is likely to ask, and give you some realistic rates you can expect.
When recovering from a stroke, you will realize a few things. First is that a stroke is scary. You feel out of control and your recovery may take a long time. Another is that life and health are completely unpredictable.
You also want to protect and care for your loved ones. We get that. This where life insurance for stroke patients comes into play.
We are happy to report that yes. We can approve life insurance for stroke survivors.
Read on to find more, or just fill out a free quote to get started.
Different Types of Strokes and Life Insurance
Life insurance companies divide strokes into two different categories. First, there is a full stroke. A full stroke is also known as a cerebrovascular accident, or CVA.
This occurs when a blood vessel or blood vessels are completely blocked. Many times these blood vessels rupture or hemorrhage and blood flow to the brain is cut off for a period of time.
Without the oxygen from the blood, brain cells can die in a matter of minutes. Due to this, CVAs can lead to permanent brain damage, disability or even death and life insurance companies consider CVAs a serious risk to your health.
The second type of stroke is a mini-stroke. Doctors call a mini-stroke a transient ischemic attack, or TIA.
TIAs occur when the blood flow to the brain becomes restricted or blocked for a short period of time. This blockage is usually due to a temporary blood clot, and the brain and nervous system feel the affects of this blockage.
Symptoms of a TIA include speech impairment, blurry vision, weakness and dizziness. You experience symptoms for the length of the blockage, but not after.
There is rarely any permanent damage from TIAs so your medical records contain observations noted by your doctors rather than test results.
Life insurance companies believe that someone who had TIA has a greater chance to experience a full stroke in the future. That’s why this is a serious consideration for an underwriter. The good news is that the risk for a full stroke after TIA seems to be on the decline.
Doctors and life insurance companies consider TIAs less serious compared to full strokes. Therefore, your life insurance policy will be less expensive if you had a TIA rather than a CVA.
Underwriting Life Insurance for Stroke Victims
Life insurance companies will ask you a lot of questions. These questions may overwhelm you, but they are necessary as part of life insurance application process.
It is important to be familiar with the questions that life insurance companies ask. That way, you can prepare in advance. Aside from regular health questions like height and weight, underwriters will ask about the circumstances behind your stroke.
1. When did you experience the stroke?
The further in the rear view mirror, the better. For most insurance companies, anything less than six months removed from the stroke will result in a postponed policy.
Your life insurance rates are better if your stroke / TIA is more than 5 years in the past.
2. What was your age at the time of the stroke?
For life insurance in general: The older you are, the higher the rates.
In the situation of a stroke, life insurance providers look at age in a different way. If you were younger than usual when you had a stroke, that may be a precursor to more severe health problems in the future. Severe health problems usually develop later in life, so experiencing health issues at a younger age is alarming.
In many cases, a younger person can suffer a stroke while not knowing the root cause, whereas the cause is easier to detect in older patients. Life insurance underwriters do not like the unknown, and this is another reason that having a stroke at a younger age is a concern.
3. Was this a single stroke? Or were there multiple strokes?
You would probably guess that one stroke will get better life insurance rates than two strokes. Multiple strokes or transient ischemic attacks will result in additional ratings on top of the base rating for life insurance.
4. Was the diagnoses a mini-stroke (TIA) or a full stroke (CVA)?
Since a TIA is less severe and less permanent than a full stroke, life insurance underwriting is more favorable. See the underwriting classes below for an “A+ rated” life insurance company:
A single TIA is priced at “Table B” in most instances. However, a full stroke is priced at Table C or Table D, or 25% / 50% more respectively.
5. What was the underlying cause of the stroke?
Strokes by and large are caused by plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis) that lead to the brain. This is also known as cerebrovascular disease or CVD. If a person has CVD, it’s likely that they have arterial plaque elsewhere, possible coronary artery disease, and possible hyperlipidemia.
The number two cause of stroke is high blood pressure.
Though lesser in number, some strokes are caused by adverse reactions to prescription drugs, migraines, connective tissue disorders like lupus, heart valve problems, or congenital heart defects. For some strokes, especially in younger patients, the cause is unknown.
The long term prognosis will depend on the cause of the stroke, and therefore the cause directly relates to the life insurance underwriting health class.
6. How was the cause determined?
Doctors will prescribe a carotid ultrasound, a CT scan, or a MRI to determine if a patient suffered from a stroke. Since the symptoms of a TIA are often temporary, they will not show up on any of these tests. Doctors will diagnose a TIA by the symptoms themselves and underwriters will rely on the doctors’ attending physician’s statement (APS) to determine a health class.
7. Does your family have a medical history of cardiovascular disease?
Genetics can be a curse. Family history plays a role in your chances for stroke, though it is unclear why.
Furthermore, recent studies show a direct correlation between family history and the risk of a second stroke and the connection here seems to be stronger in younger stroke victims. Life insurance underwriters will ask if you have a direct relative with cardiovascular disease and at what age they suffered a stroke.
8. Are you taking any medications? If so, which ones?
Most anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications do not add to life insurance rates after a stroke, nor do they prohibit policy approval. What is important about your medications is that you are taking them regularly, and life insurance underwriters will verify this through your pharmacy report.
9. What other medical conditions do you have?
Since the risk factors for stroke are also the risk factors for other cardiovascular diseases, stroke patients often suffer from a number of heart problems too. Atrial fibrillation is a major factor for recurrent stroke risk, and so is uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
10. Do you use tobacco or alcohol?
Life insurance rates for smoking tobacco are often 200% – 300% higher than non smoking rates already. After a stroke, a traditional life insurance policy could be declined if you still smoke, so it is best to quit.
Drinking alcohol to excess is directly related ischemic stroke, so underwriters will note your alcohol habits and also check your doctor’s statement about your alcohol intake. After a stroke, it is crucial to cut down on alcohol consumption to improve your health, lower your blood pressure, and lower your risk of stroke.
11. Are you back to your normal routine?
Obviously life is different after a stroke; there are new medications to take and a nagging fear of a future attack. If you are able to return to work and the other activities you enjoyed before your stroke, this is a great sign to underwriters.
Life Insurance for Stroke Survivors – Approved
So what type of health class can you expect after a stroke?
Preferred / Preferred Plus Rates
This health class is extremely unlikely and generally impossible for a stroke or TIA survivor.
However, we know of one insurance company who will rate preferred if:
- For TIA – Age 70 and over, great health, high activity level, no other risk factors, a remote history (5+ years) of the event, and a recent carotid ultrasound.
- For Stroke / CVA – Age 75 and older, great health, one singular lacunar infarct proven with a MRI. No symptoms, and no concurrent risk factors for cardiovascular disease
For CVA survivors, a standard rating is possible for older applicants in limited cases. This is feasible if:
- The embolism was very small (2mm – 15mm) with proof from an MRI,
- There is a recent, favorable carotid ultrasound
- The stroke was more than 5 years ago, and
- There are no activity restrictions, continuing symptoms or other risk factors.
For an older TIA applicant with a mild transient ischemic attack more than five years in the past, it is possible to get a standard rating.
Most applicants will receive substandard rates after a stroke or TIA and this is the most likely outcome.
For TIA survivors over the age of 60 with an event less than 5 years ago, we expect mild substandard rates. We usually receive an offer of moderate substandard rates if the TIA happened before the age of 50 or less than 1 year ago.
For a full stroke, when you apply matters. More than one year but less than the 5 year window of the event receives moderate substandard rates. How moderate will depend on your current health and activity level.
You cannot run substandard rates on our online quoter, and this is on purpose. Stroke and TIA often combine with multiple impairments, so to underwrite these risks properly we have to create a custom quote.
If you would like to estimate substandard rates, input your age, pick “standard” and add about 50% more to the standard rate.
The great news is that life insurance is still affordable, even at substandard rates, and we will show you some actual rate examples below.
Postpone or Decline
If the stroke was within a year, many life insurance companies will postpone the application until the condition has stabilized. Multiple strokes, multiple other impairments or a significant family history of cardiovascular disease could decline an application for traditional life insurance.
If any of these scenarios describe your situation, call us so that we can prepare a custom quote for you.
Actual Rates on Life Insurance for Stroke Patients
Theordore would qualify for moderately substandard rates, at least to start. Let’s take a look at those now:
Benefit Amount $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
Monthly Payment $145.66 $296.03 $580.05
After a few years of stable health, he could lower his life insurance rates by using our Review and Reduce feature. As more and more time passes since his stroke, he is less and less likely to have another one. Underwriters know this and in the future, the case could be re-classified.
TIA more than 5 years ago with good treatment and control would qualify Vivian for standard rates on life insurance.
Benefit Amount $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
Monthly Payment $65.62 $145.16 $278.59
When Should You Apply for Life Insurance after a Stroke?
You should apply for life insurance as soon as possible after suffering from a stroke. Statistics show that one in four people who have a stroke have another in their lifetime. This is a factor that life insurance companies take seriously, and you should too.
You never know if and when another stroke will occur.
Once that happens, it could be too late.
Reach out today, do not delay
Can you control your past? No, of course not!
You cannot change the fact that you had a stroke, however you can do everything possible to improve your current health.
For the well being of the ones you love and your financial health, let’s consider life insurance. We make the process easy, our online quotes are free, and we know more about underwriting stroke survivors than anybody else.
Reach out today, protect your family and sleep better tonight.