Asthma and Life Insurance
Life insurance is impacted by many factors. Your age when you acquire the policy will drive the rates up or down. Your occupation may affect the rates, as well as your habits like smoking or recreational activities. Medical conditions will also cause your premiums to rise and may even prevent you from obtaining a new policy.
Asthma is defined as a disease that affects the lungs, causing repeated bouts of wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and breathlessness. The condition is not normally fatal, provided the patient keeps an inhaler handy and receives prompt treatment for any attack.
Brought on by exposure to pollen, mold, smoke and other irritants to the passageways, the flare-ups can also occur as a result of illness or sinus infections.
Degrees of Asthma
Like most illnesses, asthma has can be rated by different degrees. Insurance companies use four different levels for defining this disease.
• Seasonal – Attacks occur a few times a year, are typically brought on by the climate and are easily treated.
• Mild – Infrequent problems that are easily treated with medication and do not usually require more extensive medical attention.
• Moderate – Episodes are more frequent and may demand a visit to the emergency room or doctor.
• Severe – A debilitating condition with frequent bouts of breathlessness that often result in hospital visits.
People with asthma can typically obtain life insurance, but the rates will be higher as a result of the condition. A potential customer with seasonal asthma that is properly controlled will present a lower risk than a customer with severe asthma who is regularly hospitalized as a result of the attacks.
While some people with seasonal asthma won’t see a significant increase in their premiums, those customers with severe asthma can expect to be charged significantly more. There may also be companies that will not underwrite insurance on an applicant with severe asthma.
Life insurance companies have different underwriters that make the decisions on new policies. Choosing to compare quotes from various companies will reward you with attractive prices as your information is presented to underwriters who may be more willing to insure a customer with asthma.
Your personal history of controlling the asthma will have the greatest impact on the rates you are offered. Life insurance companies want to know that the condition is properly managed and attacks are infrequent.
Before you start applying for coverage, take steps to ensure that you are in control of the disease and are not struggling with serious flare-ups. The longer you have gone without a debilitating episode, the more favorably your application will be viewed.
Emergency Room Visits
One of the top factors your insurance company will be interested in is how often you visit the emergency room. Frequent, unexpected visits to the hospital are an indicator that the asthma is not controlled and will result in higher rates.
Regular Doctor’s Examinations
In addition to avoiding the emergency room, people with asthma will also want to make sure they are seeing their doctor at least twice a year for an examination. Insurance companies look for this as evidence that the patient is taking steps to mange the condition and stay in control of it.
One of the worst combinations for insurance rates is to be an asthmatic who smokes. The premiums will be extremely high as you will be charged higher rates as a result of the disease 1and a premium for being a smoker. If you have recently been diagnosed with asthma and quit the tobacco habit as a result, you will need to wait one year before the premiums will reflect this change in behavior.
Every life insurance company has different views on asthma. American General will provide them with insurance, but will not consider them for any preferred rates.
Prudential also will not consider asthma for their best rates or their moderate price levels. However, people with asthma can find preferred rates by taking the time to get the disease under control and shopping around for the best rates.