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 Defined

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.

Insurance Rates

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.

Underwriters

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.

Medical History

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.

Smoking

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.

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