High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease and about half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes one can make to reduce their risk of heart attack or prevent the occurrence of a second one. The primary causes of heart attack have not changed over the last decade. Smoking, obesity and lack of exercise all contribute to the risk of heart disease.
While it may be more difficult to get life insurance after suffering a heart attack, it’s not impossible.
Although it varies by insurer, many companies will extend coverage to people who have experienced a heart attack or stroke. It is important to remember that it will typically cost more to insure an applicant with a health condition. According to Life Quotes Inc., these are common factors that could lead to a higher insurance rating and higher premiums:
- Heart attack at younger ages
- History of more than one heart attack
- Ongoing episodes of angina or chest pain
- New electrocardiogram changes
- Uncontrolled hypertension or other cardiovascular or renal disease
- Decreased left ventricular function
- Degree of coronary artery disease
- Complications such as persistent arrhythmias
- Poor lipid control
Experts agree that if you have any of these, it pays to shop around and obtain the advice of several agents, because the final rate offered to a life insurance applicant who’s had a heart attack or stroke can vary significantly from one company to the next. Also, if you do have a history of heart attack and have the need for life insurance, it is helpful to obtain recent workup results from your cardiologist and have those in hand when you submit your application. Doing this can answer a lot questions up front and help to put an underwriter’s mind at ease.
Here are some things to keep in mind from John Ptaszynski, chief life underwriter at Erie Insurance.
First, never assume a health condition automatically disqualifies you from obtaining life insurance. “Don’t think that you can’t get life insurance because you’re in less than perfect health,” he says. “You may very well be eligible for coverage—so always check with a licensed insurance agent to find out for sure.”
Second, be honest about your medical history. “You may compromise a future claim if you make a material misrepresentation, like failing to mention a major surgery or serious diagnosis,” says John.
As a condition of obtaining life insurance, you will likely undergo a simple medical exam. This exam can reveal certain conditions like high blood pressure or a smoking habit. “It’s just not worth it to not disclose important information about your health,” says John.
And third: If you do have a condition like those mentioned above, it’s best to apply earlier rather than later. That’s because it could be impossible to obtain coverage if things take a turn for the worse later on. And if things improve, you can always talk to your insurance agent about more affordable options that could be available to you as a result of your improved health.
The key to a successful life insurance shopping experience is to work with an experienced and skilled agent to make sure your situation is fully presented with no unanswered questions. The professionals at Freedom Insurance Agency are here to help. Call them today!