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Life Insurance for People with Disabilities

How Personal Disabilities Affect Life Insurance

A personal disability can make life extremely challenging. While there are many types of disabilities, each comes with its own unique challenges. For disabilities that have a high-correlation with early fatality, purchasing a life insurance policy is a common challenge. In the United States’ free market economy, life insurance can be difficult if not impossible to come by for the seriously disabled, and even if life insurance is procured, it may mean a much higher premium is required.

Having a disability does not preculde you from purchasing life insurance coverage.

Government Sponsored Options

There are very few group health and life insurance options offered through Medicaid and usually the requirements are fairly high in order to qualify for group life insurance. While the battle rages in the United States regarding whether insurance policies should be offered universally to all citizens (the current debate relates to health care, but life insurance may not be far behind).

Private Life Insurance Companies

All life insurance providers spend time assessing each potential policyholder’s health and other factors that might suggest an early passing. Each insurance provider has a different system, so it is a good idea to look around at different options and apply for coverage with the companies you find best, but for people with pre-existing conditions, finding insurance can be aggravating (and either impossible or prohibitively expensive), as most companies perform a thorough examination before insuring a new client.

Getting affordable life insurance in the United States with or even without a disability can be a challenge. Each life insurance company determines the amount of risk or liability they may take on by covering an individual based on a process called “underwriting.” During the underwriting process, the client’s natural lifespan expectation and a series of other factors including physical condition, health impairments, habits, and risky behaviors or lifestyle choices. For example, bad driving records, pre-existing health conditions, and other risk factors play into the underwriting process.

As one would expect, the decision to insure or not to insure a disabled individual is directly related to the risk that the disability poses a terminal health risk to the individual. If there is no known correlation between the disability and the disabled person’s life expectancy, insurance companies generally ignore the disability and policies are priced as with other non-disabled individuals.

What About the American with Disabilities Act?

In America, the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal to refuse service to anyone based on disability. If you are an American citizen with a disability and you encounter unfair discrimination or harassment during your search for life insurance coverage, you have the right to report the insurance agency to the government. However, because some disabilities do negatively impact the lifespan of the person with the disability, life insurance providers do have the right to increase premiums or refuse life insurance applications based on the information they collect during the underwriting process.

Life Insurance without an Examination

There are insurance providers that offer insurance policies without requiring a full examination. However, these companies are few and far between and the rates for the policies are usually exorbitant to the point that they may not be worth the benefit. Still, if traditional insurance companies decline coverage, you may want to consider finding a more risk-tolerant insurance provider. Be sure to investigate the provider to make sure that they are capable of meeting their financial obligations; one way to do this is to check with your State’s insurance department, whose role is to monitor insurance companies operating in their jurisdiction and to protect their constituents’ rights.

4 Responses to “Life Insurance for People with Disabilities”

  1. richard rowlee

    i have copd looking foe a comp that will insure me for term life

  2. Swami

    Richard,
    We are very sorry to hear about your condition; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is, of course, very serious. Whether an insurance company will sell you a policy will depend on the severity of your condition as well as your overall health. Some studies estimate that approximately 1 in 20 Americans is affected by this disease and many are capable of purchasing term life insurance policies. However, some people are not offered that opportunity. Most insurance companies will require a medical examination as well as review of your medical records before deciding whether they will offer you coverage. We recommend that you speak with several insurance agents about the specifics of your condition in order to find an insurer that best suits your needs.
    ~Swami

  3. Jotina Roorda

    Where would I look or start, in regards to contacting someone in my area about “State Insurance Department”? It took me 5 hours just to find you. I’m 36 year of age with ( SLE, RA, Fribromyalgia, Hypertension 2, diabetes 2 a1c: 11.0, sever neuropathy in both feet, degenerative disc disease, high cholesterol 1,000 & I get an infection almost every month) disabilities & have know idea how to use this compute. I need a term life insurance & with the info I gave you could you just give me a web site to click on or something because I’ve been searching for a week on the computer & it leads me know where but testimonies. Please, I need some guidance? Thank You & SO Sorry for this long message!

  4. Swami

    A link to your State’s department of insurance (these organizations go by different names State to State, but each State has one) can be found though our State Map on the right sidebar. Select your State and then click on the “Resources” link in the middle of the page.

    You need to contact specific insurers who operate in your area and work directly with them to price a policy. There is no requirement than an insurance company issue you a policy. Each company will perform an assessment and either refuse to offer you a policy or offer you coverage at a calculated price.

    In order to maximize your odds of securing a policy and minimize cost, work with as many insurers as possible. You can use our quotation service to identify the service providers in your area.

    While insurers have the right to refuse coverage, they do not have the right to unfairly discriminate or harass you. If you believe you have been subject to this type of treatment, that is where your State’s insurance institution can assist.


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