Stroke is one of the most widely-known, serious health problems that the world faces then and until today.
Although medical teams continuously feed people on how to help prevent it, it still happens and most likely in an unexpected manner. It has taken a lot of lives and has put bereaving families to financial difficulties and inherit debts.
Most stroke victims are not prepared, particularly with their family’s financial stability. It is the reason why recovering patients still try to find a way they can secure their family from future financial burdens.
Getting life insurance for stroke victims is one practical option but, is it possible to get coverage?
Let’s find out here.
Can I Get Life Insurance After a Stroke?
Well, it depends.
The application process of life insurance for stroke victims might not be easy as there are many things the insurer needs to know, but it is possible.
There’s still hope for stroke victims to get their coverages and secure their family’s future. This financial assurance can provide peace of mind, which may help patients to recover faster.
There’s a high chance of getting approved for stroke patients, but there are few things that they need to expect during application.
The rates may still vary, the process may take longer than usual as a medical examination is required, and coverage options may be limited.
Type of Stroke is Important
Strokes may have one thing in common, which is the loss of blood supply to some parts of the brain, but not all strokes have similar effects on the body. To come up with a reasonable premium rate, insurers will need to determine the type of stroke the applicants had.
The classifications of stroke are the Transient Ischemic Attack or the TIA, Ischemic Stroke, and Hemorrhagic Stroke.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Lots of people do not take TIA precariously as it usually lasts for only a few minutes. However, medical practitioners identify Transient Ischemic Attack as an early sign of stroke. It may not be as dangerous as the other two types of stroke, but it serves as a warning.
TIA occurs when the flow of blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted or blocked. The person may feel numb and dizzy. It is also common to lose a sense of balance and difficulty in speaking, but may all go back to normal within the next hours.
A person suffering from Ischemic Stroke may experience the same symptoms as TIA. Unlike with TIA, where the blockage is just temporary, Ischemic Stroke lasts longer and may cause other health problems. It occurs when there is blood clotting buildup, which obstructs the supply of blood in the arteries.
The blood clots usually start to form in the heart and travel within the circulatory system. A blood clot formed in the brain artery will block both blood and oxygen supply, which leads to brain cells to die.
Many risk factors are connected to circulatory conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clotting disorders, atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, and other congenital heart diseases. All these and more contribute to the risk of blood clotting or fatty deposits, causing ischemic stroke.
While Ischemic Stroke makes up about 85% of the total stroke cases, hemorrhagic stroke fills the difference of 15%. Although less in number, hemorrhagic stroke is more dangerous and less treatable than the Ischemic stroke.
It occurs when a blood vessel bursts within, and around the brain, it will form and compresses the brain tissue, which will cause hemorrhagic stroke.
The hemorrhagic stroke is sub-categorized into two: the Arteriovenous Malformation or AVM and the aneurysms.
Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) is the term used for irregularly tangled blood vessels, connecting veins and arteries. The abnormal formation of these blood vessels may interrupt the cycle of arteries, which supply oxygen-filled blood from the heart to the brain and the veins, which carries the blood back to the heart and lungs. It may form in the entire body, but it is more common in the brain.
The Aneurysm is a silent type of artery problem that can cause internal bleeding. It refers to the vulnerable artery walls, which have tendencies to swell. It may not show signs and symptoms and typically not critical.
However, the bulging arteries, when gone worse, may pop like a balloon, and the blood spattering the brain may prevent it from functioning correctly.
How Long Should You Wait Before Applying?
Some stroke survivors delay their application for life insurance. They want to appear healthier and prove that they have fully recovered. The thing is, nobody knows when a stroke will strike again.
Surveys showed that 25% of stroke survivors had experienced multiple times in just a span of 5 years. The more you delay may give you a slimmer chance of securing your family’s finances.
Applying for life insurance must be in perfect timing. Not too soon, but you should also not wait too long. The chance of approval is likely low if it is less than six months from the last occurrence of stroke.
The ideal time for stroke patients to apply for life insurance is within 6-12 months after hospitalization. It is the time where medical practitioners and underwriters can determine the overall health conditions.
The sooner, the better since the application and process may take several weeks, depending on the complexity of health. Patients who had TIA can expect to get their coverage sooner than those who suffered from Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Strokes.
Moreover, surviving stroke life insurance applicants who have not had any occurrence of stroke, mild to severe, for the last six years may have chances of getting lower premium rates.
How Age Affects Life Insurance for Stroke Victims
Age is an important deciding factor when applying for insurance, whether the applicant had experience stroke or not. Underwriters use it as a measuring key to determining health risks and life expectancy.
At some point, younger applicants have higher chances of paying low premium rates because insurers expect them to live longer.
Thus, they will have more chances of paying premiums. The case is different for stroke survivors.
Surviving Ischemic or Hemorrhagic Stroke Applicants below 40 years old may likely to pay a higher premium rate as compared to those who experienced it in their later years.
Underwriters may view their health conditions at risk and may conclude that the stroke is a warning sign for other life-threatening diseases.
Additionally, stroke caused by head traumas and birth control pills may not come with other health complications which means, applicants may still enjoy flexible coverages and lower rates.
Stroke in later life is more expected than in younger years. Human bodies also have an expiration, and every part has tendencies to fail later in life. Meaning, stroke is highly anticipated to happen to older people, which is why their rates are comparably cheaper than the new applicant quotes for younger ones who just experienced it.
They might be paying high premiums due to their age, but underwriters may have already expected stroke to happen anytime and might have already considered it on their rates.
How to Qualify for Life Insurance After Stroke?
A lot of stroke survivors wonder if they will still be able to get life insurance. There are ways to get an application approved under certain conditions and level of qualifications.
Insurers may need medical documents and ask several questions to help them gauge your health status and see if they will approve the application or not.
A few of the main concerns in qualifying a stroke survivor are the applicant’s age at the time of stroke, the date of the last occurrence, the number of incidents, and the possibilities of strokes to reoccur.
Getting life insurance right after a stroke may not be advisable as it is possible to get declined on the spot by some insurers. A person applying after six months of mild stroke may be able to get a table rate coverage, while full stroke survivors will have to wait at least 12 months to pass from their last occurrence to qualify.
An applicant who had a TIA more than 12 months ago with no complications or paralysis may have a chance to get immediate insurance coverage at a better rate. Additionally, after 12 months of stroke, applicants may not need to undergo a medical examination.
They are likely to get qualified regardless of the type of stroke they had. Furthermore, insurers may likely to present a standard rate and to an applicant who is stroke-free for the last six years.
Term Life Insurance for Stroke Victims
Term life insurance is possible to obtain after stroke. It is the best option for those who have were not able to have a permanent life insurance application approved. It is also the alternative insurance to those who prefer temporary coverage or in a budget.
Some view it as a flexible insurance option since they can change their coverage policies once the term ends.
Term life insurance rates may also change during renewal, depending on the health conditions. So, if the insured reaches its term, and he was able to maintain good health with no stroke occurrence for the last 10-15 years, he might have a chance to lower his rate upon renewal.
Since stroke is something someone cannot expect to happen, most survivors who are not financially ready choose the term life insurance. They can temporarily have the minimum term and get coverage while they finish their other financial obligations before switching to permanent life insurance.
The application process may also be a lot easier as compared to permanent insurance, but applicants must bear in mind that term life insurance does not guarantee life-long coverage. The term is possible to end even before the insured gets a chance to use it.
What to Expect?
Most term life insurers can only ensure equal rate and coverage for 5 to 10 years, while some can offer up to 30 years. It only means that once the 5-year term ended, you may expect that the insurance coverage and the premium amount will be at a different rate during renewal.
It may go higher, but it is also possible to lower it down with lesser health risks and no stroke complications.
Also, applicants renewing their term life insurance may have to undergo the same process of application and underwriting, like updating your personal information, health status, which may include taking medical examinations and responding to insurer’s health-related questionnaires.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
Stroke applicants who have been denied permanent and term life insurance can still have a chance to get coverage through Guaranteed Life Insurance. It may be the last resort, but it can provide insurance policies to individuals who just had experienced a stroke, whatever the type is, regardless of the severity and chances of reoccurrence.
A medical examination is not required when applying for Guaranteed Life Insurance. No medical records or documents are needed, which means no underwriting process. It also means to expect that the premium rates are more costly, particularly to high-risk applicants because of pre-existing conditions and other health issues.
Other reasons why some stroke survivors prefer guaranteed life insurance is because of the fixed monthly payments. The policy may not have an expiration, but the coverage policies cannot ensure to be in a large amount.
One crucial thing the applicant must understand is if the guaranteed life insured dies for whatever reason other than an accident within the first two years of the policy, the insurer will only reimburse the paid premiums and possibly some interest.
The only time the insured gets the full amount of death benefit is when the policy has satisfied its two years’ maturity.
What Type of Medical Questions Asked?
To have a precise understanding of the applicant’s overall health status, insurers will need to ask medical-related questions. It will also allow them to identify whether the applicant is taking precautionary measures to help prevent strokes from happening again.
Insurers may also ask for medical records and see if the applicant is regularly seeing his/her doctors for checkups and medical advice. So, keeping all the physician’s recommendation records and prescriptions can help when applying for life insurance.
Typically, insurers will ask these following questions:
- Type of Strokes (TIA, Ischemic, or Hemorrhagic Stroke)
- The severeness of pain level, signs, and symptoms
- Total number of stroke experiences
- The exact date of the occurrence or how many years passed since the last attack.
- The actual age when the stroke occurred and the applicant’s current age
- Type of medical procedures done during the attack
- Other medical procedures and treatments after the attack
- Prescribed medicines and physician’s recommendations
- Recovery status and if there are any complications, residual effects
- If there are any changes in lifestyle, recommended food, or suggested physical activities, if there are any.
- Medical and personal information records, including tests for sugar and cholesterol level, obesity, blood pressure, height, and weight
- Occupation risk and work environment
- Outdoor activities, sports, and habits
- Use of tobacco, substance abuse, and alcohol consumption
- Family’s medical record and health histories
Insurers will use these questions to determine whether the applicant will have coverage and the type of policies he/she will have. It is vital to answer questions, in all honesty, to prevent any problems, particularly at the time of claims.
How Expensive Life Insurance Is for Stroke Patients?
One of the thoughts a stroke survivor typically thinks about is getting life insurance.
It might probably be one of their regrets, as most of them are aware that the cost may be reasonably higher, compared to those who have gotten their policies in their earlier lives.
The cost of life insurance after a stroke depends on how severe the last attack was, whether it was a full stroke or just a mini-stroke (TIA).
Underwriters will also consider the answers from the series of questions like those that are listed above. It will be their guide in classifying your health ratings, to determine your policy and rate.
Surely, preferred plus is not going to be an option for stroke survivors. Some applicants who experienced TIA may still qualify for the preferred class if it was a misdiagnosed stroke or if their medical records show no to minimal health risk.
Most insurance companies offer preferred rates just slightly higher than preferred plus, which is about a 20%-30% increase.
If the medical records show that the attack happened more than six years ago and is associated with other ailments and health risks such as obesity and high blood pressure, the insurers may offer a standard policy, which rate is around 25%-45% increase from the preferred class.
Sub-standard is where most stroke survivors qualify. It is the classification with the substandard table rate for applicants who had either Ischemic or Hemorrhagic stroke one year passed their last attack. On the other hand, Applicants who only suffered TIA may allow after six months from the last occurrence.
Multiple Stroke and Life Insurance
Insurance companies assume that stroke may happen multiple times in a lifespan. Thus, they expect that there will be applicants who already experienced multiple stroke attacks. Although it may be a little challenging to get approval, it is still possible for some, under reasonable circumstances.
To simplify, a person who already experienced TIA or mini-stroke three times may have a higher chance that a person who had two full strokes. The same goes for a person who encountered an Ischemic attack twice, but the last one was ten years ago, may still be given a policy, over a person who had two consecutive attacks within a short period.
Aside from the severity and number of attacks, insurers also give high consideration to the time of the last occurrence. The longer the years passed, the higher chance of approval. Additionally, medical records show that stroke is likely to repeat within five years, reasons why coverages are more favorable to those whose attacks occurred six years ago.
Moreover, multiple attacks may cause other dangerous neurological disorders, which may affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, joints, and muscles. Applicants who had developed central and peripheral disorders due to stroke may not be eligible for life insurance.
How to Lower the Insurance Rate?
Life insurance is possible at a reasonably high rate, but there are ways to bring it down, together with chances of reoccurrence. A total lifestyle change is necessary to improve health and prevent risks.
Some of the helpful ways are:
- Quit smoking. Tobacco use is one crucial factor in an insurance classification. It causes a lot of ailments, which is why smokers are at high risk, and their premiums are quite double than non-smokers.
- Avoid alcoholism.
- Maintain an ideal weight by exercising regularly. Obese people are also prone to serious health problems and are deemed risky.
- Follow your doctor’s orders. Regular visits may also help obtain medical records that will show your progress.
- Avoid participating in hazardous activities.
- Watch what you eat. Avoid fatty foods, instead increase your greens.
- Maintain low blood pressure.
- Keep your driving records clean.
It is not too late to enjoy low monthly rate life insurance after experiencing a stroke attack. Staying healthy and keeping oneself away from hazardous activities are the keys to lower rates.
Exercising is necessary for stroke survivors and may work best with professional guidance like physical therapists. They may also choose to enroll in physical programs for faster recovery and health improvement.
Must Read: Life Insurance for Dummies
Many things contribute to the cause of stroke, making life more vulnerable. Stroke survivors may have missed the chance to apply for life insurance sooner, but the good thing is that insurers still look out for their needs, as well as their families, given the fact that they may be at risk.
Try not to let yourself be in that situation and act immediately as soon as possible. It will guarantee peace of mind and financial security for a lesser cost.