If you’re receiving dialysis, chances are you’ve been turned down for traditional life insurance. You aren’t alone. 15% of the United States population has chronic kidney disease.
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But you probably wonder why you can’t get life insurance, right?
Unfortunately, life insurance companies look at dialysis patients as high risk. If you’re on dialysis, you have a terminal illness, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with End-Stage Kidney failure or End-Stage Renal Failure. The chances of an insurance company paying out soon are very high.
This is why no one with terminal kidney disease will qualify for traditional life insurance. You won’t even qualify for no medical exam life insurance because one of their questions is about kidney disease. You must be able to answer ‘no’ to all of their questions to qualify.
But, this doesn’t mean you don’t have another option.
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Most dialysis patients looking for life insurance can get guaranteed life insurance because, after all, it’s guaranteed. This whole life policy lasts for your lifetime, and it even accrues a cash value.
Here’s what you must know.
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What is Guaranteed Life Insurance?
Before you decide to get guaranteed life insurance, it’s important to know how it works and how it affects you.
Guaranteed life insurance, as the name suggests, is a policy guaranteed for most anyone. Insurance companies don’t conduct a medical exam or even ask any medical questions. That’s how dialysis patients can get it because they don’t have to prove they are in good health.
While the guaranteed coverage sounds fantastic, there are some things you should know because it’s more expensive than traditional insurance, and there is some fine print you should understand.
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Understand the Waiting Period
Every applicant will have a two-year waiting period when getting guaranteed life insurance. If you are put on dialysis and need life insurance, it’s best to apply quickly. If you die within the first two years of the policy, your loved ones receive only the premiums you paid plus a small percentage, usually 10%. That’s why applying early on is important.
Here’s how to Qualify
Fortunately, it’s easy to qualify for guaranteed life insurance. Since there’s no medical exam or medical questions, you just must meet the following:
- You must be a U.S. citizen
- Most insurance companies offer it to ages 40 – 85, but this can vary
- You must live in the state the insurance company is licensed in
It’s that simple, but always make sure you read the fine print.
There’s Limited Coverage
As is the case with any life insurance policy, there’s a downside. You’ll get limited coverage. Since insurance companies take such a significant risk insuring you with a terminal illness, they limit how much coverage you can get.
We like to think of guaranteed life insurance as final expense insurance. It’s not a policy you’ll leave behind as a legacy for your loved ones. Instead, it will be just enough to cover the cost of your final expenses and possibly a few debts you leave behind.
Many policies cap the coverage at $25,000, but some will go higher.
The Policy will Grow a Cash Value
One positive aspect of guaranteed life insurance is that it’s whole life insurance for dialysis patients. If you aren’t familiar with whole life insurance, it’s a permanent life insurance policy – it doesn’t expire.
Once you take it out, you have life coverage as long as you pay the premiums. The premiums you pay will be higher, but only some of it covers the death benefit and administrative costs. The rest goes into an account that’s invested on your behalf. It’s called the cash value of your life insurance policy.
Now don’t expect to live off the money or for it to grow fast – it usually takes 10 years or more to accrue any type of cash value, but knowing it’s there can help if you outlive your prognosis and need the funds to cover medical expenses or other costs.
Average Cost of Life Insurance for Dialysis Patients
Like we said earlier, expect to pay more for life insurance for dialysis patients because you’re getting guaranteed coverage. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around.
Every life insurance company charges different premiums, and of course, your premiums vary based on your coverage amount.
Since the average dialysis patient is usually around 64 years old, expect to pay an average of $400 – $500 a month for coverage. This amount will vary based on your gender, age, where you live, and the amount of coverage you buy.
The earlier you buy guaranteed life insurance, the less the premiums cost, and they don’t increase as you age as long as you pay your premiums on time. For example, if you buy the insurance at age 40, you may pay only $125 – $150 a month, but the premiums increase significantly if you wait.
What if you Receive a Kidney Transplant? Do you have More Options?
It’s not all bad news for dialysis patients looking for life insurance. If you get a kidney transplant, recover well, and can prove you’re healthier after the surgery, you may qualify for traditional life insurance – whether term or whole life.
Why is this a big deal?
One, it will cost a lot less for underwritten life insurance versus guaranteed life insurance. The insurance company will charge premiums based on your risk, and if you have a medical exam and they look at your medical records, they’ll know exactly what they’re dealing with.
Second, you may qualify for more coverage. If you wanted something more than final expense coverage, you might be able to secure more coverage for your beneficiaries. A term life insurance policy will cost less because it’s only good for the specified term, but a whole life policy lasts for your entire life and accrues a cash value.
Is it easy to get life insurance after a kidney transplant?
No. Simply because the insurance company knows you had a life-threatening disease, and there’s no guarantee you aren’t still at a high risk of premature death. But, if everything was successful, you may get a better policy than a guaranteed policy.
Note that they will need to know your medical history as part of their underwriting process.
Which Insurance is Best for Dialysis Patients?
While every applicant has different scenarios, here are some of the top companies to consider if you need whole life insurance for dialysis patients.
- Gerber Life
- Great Western
When shopping around for life insurance with kidney disease, the key is to be upfront with your insurance providers. Some offer programs specifically for patients with kidney disease that may not be a guaranteed life insurance policy.
Before you accept a policy, always ask what type of insurance it is. Many insurance companies give kidney patients accidental death insurance policies. This doesn’t cover your loved ones if you die from your kidney disease, though – it only covers your death if you died in an accident, not natural causes.
FAQ Life Insurance for Dialysis Patients
Can dialysis patients get life insurance?
Yes, dialysis patients can get life insurance, but it’s guaranteed life insurance most of the time. This type of insurance has higher premiums, lower coverage, and a 2-year waiting period so make sure you’re aware of how it works.
What is final expense insurance?
Final expense insurance is enough coverage to cover the cost of your funeral (average cost of $10,000) plus other final expenses. It’s typically not enough to leave money behind for loved ones for living costs, so keep that in mind.
How much does life insurance with dialysis cost?
Since dialysis patients need guaranteed life insurance, they’ll pay much higher premiums. If you buy the insurance when you’re young, you’ll pay much less, usually an average of $150 a month for $25,000 coverage. If you wait, though, and most people do since dialysis patients are usually around 64 years old, it could cost as much as $450 a month.
Always be thinking about life insurance early in life. The earlier you get it, the less you’ll pay. If you end with kidney disease, you won’t have to worry about getting life insurance coverage because you already have it.
If you’ve already been diagnosed and you don’t have life insurance, though, you have options. Guaranteed life insurance will cover anyone, even dialysis patients, but it costs much more than traditional life insurance, and it has a long waiting period.
Do what is best for you and your family, but the sooner you buy life insurance, the more money you’ll save.