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According to the CDC, an estimated 805,000 people have a heart attack each year. 200,000 of those heart attacks are second-time heart attacks too.

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Does this make you ineligible for life insurance, or will you pay sky-high premiums if you are eligible? Not necessarily.

The good news is life insurance after a heart attack will pay out if you have the right policy. Don’t rush into just any policy after a heart attack, though.

We break down life insurance for heart patients and how it works below.

Can you Get Life Insurance after a Heart Attack?

The short answer is ‘yes,’ you can get life insurance after a heart attack. But, how you qualify or how long you must wait may vary. For starters, you won’t have as many life insurance options as someone without a history of heart attacks, and you may have to wait longer than a healthy person to get a policy.

How long should you wait after a heart attack?

Wait at least until you are fully recovered (and have proof from a doctor). This usually means three to six months, depending on your overall health. How long you must wait depends on your recovery and what your doctor says. If you’re still in ‘poor health’ or at high risk of other complications, you may not get approved for life insurance, or if you do, you’ll pay high rates.

What do insurance companies consider?

Your Age

The older you are, the harder it will be to get life insurance for heart patients. Generally, the cutoff is 70-years old. If you’re 70 or older with a heart condition, your options for life insurance may be minimal unless you choose guaranteed life insurance (more on this below).

The Type of Surgery

In the insurance company’s eyes, a heart attack is a heart attack, but the type of surgery you need determines your premature death risk. For example, a double bypass is less severe than a quadruple bypass.

Your Other Health Issues

Insurance companies care about your overall health. While they’ll look at your heart attack, they also want to know if you suffer from any other chronic health issues or if you’re overall healthy.

A person who is typically healthy and had a sudden heart attack is a better risk than someone with diabetes is overweight, and had a heart attack, for example.

Should you get Life Insurance after a Heart Attack?

If you have loved ones you want to protect should you die, you should get the best life insurance after a heart attack.

This doesn’t mean run out and get a policy the next day. You’ll pay the highest rates and have a lower chance of approval.

What Policies are Good for Heart Attack Survivors?

After a heart attack, life insurance may be the first thing on your mind. It’s a wake-up call, if nothing else, but what policies are good?

In short, any policy you can get can be good, but here’s what to consider:

  • Term life insurance – A term life policy is good if you have certain expenses or life events you want to insure. For example, if you have a mortgage, you may want coverage until you pay the mortgage off, or if you have kids at home, you may want coverage to get them through college.
  • Whole life insurance – Permanent life insurance, such as whole life, maybe harder to get since it insures you for your entire life. Whole life insurance policies are more expensive for healthy people and definitely more expensive for heart attack survivors.
  • Guaranteed life insurance – If you don’t qualify for a whole life insurance policy, a guaranteed life insurance policy may be the only choice. This is the best life insurance after a heart attack if you know you won’t qualify for any other coverage because of other health conditions or the severity of your heart attack.

What are the Costs after a Heart Attack for Life Insurance?

The costs vary for life insurance, depending on your overall health and the type of surgery you had. For example, we’ll show you a term life policy for a male and female after a single or double bypass and a healthy individual’s cost.

10-year term

Male coverage $100,000 after double bypass – $25/mo at age 40 and $43/mo at age 50
Female coverage $100,000 after double bypass – $21/month at age 40 and $33 at age 50

10-year term for Healthy Individual

Male coverage $100,000 – $8.25/month at age 40 and $14 at age 50
Female coverage $100,000 – $8/month at age 40 and $12.50 at age 50

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How can you Lower the Cost?

Since life insurance companies consider a heart attack a ‘lifetime disease,’ it’s crucial to find ways to improve other areas of your life. Heart attack insurance doesn’t mean you have to pay sky-high rates and go broke.

If you can prove to the life insurance company you lead a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising, keeping a healthy BMI, not smoking, and not drinking, you may have a better chance of approval and lowering the cost.

In short, you need to show the life insurance company that you are a low risk.

Bottom Line

If you’ve suffered a heart attack and don’t already have life insurance, you have your work cut out for you. Before you rush into a policy, take your time getting better. The better your health is when you apply for a new policy, the better your chances of approval.

Some life insurance companies will approve you right away, but don’t fall for it at rocket high costs. Instead, wait until you’re fully healed and able to prove you’re living a healthy lifestyle. When you can prove you’re doing what it takes to stay healthy and possibly off many medications, you’ll save more money and have a higher chance of approval.