Getting life insurance after a stroke can be difficult. Insurance companies only want to insure people who pose a low risk of premature death. Your history of strokes eliminates you from that category, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get life insurance even if you’ve suffered from a stroke.
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Yes, you’ll pay higher premiums, but most life insurance companies will approve you if they can determine you are in good health following the stroke. If you’re still at risk for another stroke or you’ve had permanent damage and aren’t in rehab, it may not happen.
Here’s what you must know.
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What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when there’s a lack of oxygen in your brain. Your brain cells die within a few minutes with the lack of oxygen and nutrients, leading to a stroke. Early treatment of a stroke can save your life and prevent permanent brain damage.
Strokes are a serious threat. One American has a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies from stroke-related issues every 4 minutes. 1 in every 4 people with a stroke have had a stroke before too.
But can stroke victims get life insurance, or is it too late?
Can Stroke Victims get Life Insurance?
The good news is you may still be eligible for life insurance even after a stroke. The bad news is, you won’t qualify for the lowest rates – you’ll pay inflated rates because of the risk stroke patients present.
But, there’s good news.
There are two types of strokes – mini-stroke and full-stroke. While you can get life insurance after either one, the cost of life insurance after a mini-stroke is much cheaper than life insurance after a full stroke.
A mini-stroke (Transient Ischemic Attack) is a temporary artery blockage. While there are neurological symptoms, they are temporary. Medical records usually don’t indicate any permanent damage, and there often isn’t even testing, but rather doctor observations.
If you suffered a mini-stroke, you might be eligible for premiums lower than someone who suffered a full stroke.
A full stroke occurs when there’s blockage of one or more blood vessels. Some blood vessels may even rupture. The resulting damage varies, but can lead to permanent brain damage. Most insurance providers consider this a high risk and charge much higher premiums.
What Options are there for Life Insurance after a Stroke?
Here’s the good news.
You may be eligible for term life insurance after a stroke, but only if you take care of yourself.
What does that mean?
Life insurance companies look for your quality of life after the stroke. Do you smoke? Are you overweight? Do you visit the doctor often?
They look for red flags or signs that you aren’t taking care of yourself and are at a high risk of premature death.
Now, if you take great care of yourself, are within your recommended weight and BMI guidelines, and don’t smoke, you may get affordable life insurance rates on term life insurance. Will they be table rates?
But, you won’t get declined or pay extraordinary premiums. It’s best if you wait at least one year after your stroke to apply, though. Applying too soon doesn’t give life insurance companies enough data to determine if you’re a high risk.
Shop around to get the best rate.
How do you Qualify for Life insurance for Stroke Victims?
Stroke victims must qualify for life insurance just like non-stroke victims. You already have the stroke on your records, but life insurance companies also look at your overall health.
They’ll ask specific questions about your stroke, including:
- When did it occur? How old were you?
- Was it a mini or full stroke?
- Was this an isolated incident?
- What tests were completed?
- Is there a family history of strokes?
- What symptoms did you have?
- What’s been the outcome? Are you taking medications? Do you have complications?
You’ll also undergo a standard medical exam like any other life insurance applicant. Insurance companies look for a healthy lifestyle and no red flags that indicate the risk of premature death.
It’s best if stroke patients wait at least a year to apply for life insurance. Within a year, one in five patients with a TIA will have another stroke or heart attack, and 23 percent of full stroke patients will suffer from another stroke.
The more time you can put between your stroke and your life insurance application, the higher your chances of approval and/or lower premiums become.
The Average cost of Life Insurance after a Stroke
Every life insurance applicant pays different life insurance premiums based on your health history. Stroke patients are often table-rated because they have risk factors. The longer you wait after your stroke to get life insurance, the less you may pay, but the premiums are still higher.
Like we said earlier, most life insurance companies will postpone a life insurance application for anyone who had a stroke, even a mini-stroke, within the last year. Each tier you are up costs an additional 25%. So if you are tier 4, you’d pay 100% more than the standard rates.
To give you an idea of what that looks like, the average stroke patient one year out from the stroke with no symptoms may be in tier 4 – 8 after a full stroke. This means paying 100% – 200% more than the standard rates. An applicant with a mini-stroke on the same timeline with no symptoms may be in tier 1 – 5, paying 25% – 125% more.
If you have ongoing symptoms, the premium increases are much higher, leading to a declined application.
Help for Stroke Victims with no Insurance
If you didn’t secure life insurance before your stroke and have ongoing symptoms after the stroke, you may find yourself without life insurance.
Fortunately, there’s help for stroke victims with no insurance.
It will cost you much more, and you’ll get lower coverage, but a guaranteed life insurance policy is an option. A guaranteed policy means you get coverage no matter your situation. Because this is a much higher risk for life insurance companies, the premiums are high and the coverage amount low.
You may hear it called guaranteed life insurance or final expense life insurance. Basically, it’s a policy to cover your final expenses. It’s not a policy to leave behind a legacy. Most people take out a $25,000 policy to cover their funeral, final expenses and leave their loved ones with a little money to tie up any loose ends.
Is a stroke considered a disability?
A stroke can be minor or debilitating and qualify you for disability income. It depends on the severity of the stroke and your ongoing complications afterward. If you’re unable to work for 12 consecutive months following the stroke, you may qualify with a disability.
How can you lower your rate on life insurance after a stroke?
Stroke patients can lower their life insurance rates just like a standard applicant. Life insurance companies look at your overall health and wellness. They look at what you’re doing to prevent another stroke and to maintain good health.
If you maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet, keep your blood pressure down, and visit the doctor for preventative health checks, you may lower your life insurance rates.
Other ways to lower your premiums include taking a lower coverage amount, which may not be what you want, but may also be more affordable.
Is there insurance coverage for stroke rehabilitation?
If you have whole life insurance, you may be able to tap into the policy’s cash value to cover the cost of stroke rehabilitation. This, of course, only works if you had life insurance before your stroke and have had enough time to accumulate a cash value.
Can you get life insurance after multiple strokes?
Typically, if you’ve had more than one stroke, your best bet is final expense insurance or guaranteed life insurance. Both policies offer a lower coverage amount (up to $100,000 max) and high premiums. They also have graded benefits which means there is at least a 2-year waiting period before paying benefits. This means if you die within the first 2 years, your beneficiaries would only receive a return of premium plus a small percentage.
If you’re looking for life insurance for disabled stroke victims, you may not have as hard of a time as you think. The key is to get yourself in as good of health as possible to ensure lower rates and/or an approved application.
Don’t rush out and apply for life insurance immediately following a stroke. Instead, wait and take the time to improve your health as much as possible. The more rehab you do to recover from the stroke, the lower the premiums you’ll pay.