Guide to Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition in Canada

Yes, you can definitely get life insurance with a pre-existing condition, talk to an advisor today!

25 Minute read

Originally published: November 23, 2022

Guide to Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition in Canada

Guide to Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition in Canada

Yes, you can definitely get life insurance with a pre-existing condition, talk to an advisor today!

25 Minute read

Originally published: November 23, 2022

life insurance with a pre-existing condition

Welcome to our Guide to Life Insurance with Pre-existing Conditions. Always remember no matter what your lifestyle is or what your pre-existing medical condition is, you can get life insurance. Our life insurance brokers specialize in finding life insurance for people who have pre-existing conditions. If you are someone who has pre-existing conditions, our guide has all you need to know about getting life insurance with pre-existing conditions. We will be covering things such as the types of life insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, things you should consider before applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, how to get life insurance with pre-existing conditions, what to do if you are denied life insurance and more!

Can I get life insurance with pre-existing conditions in Canada?

When our clients reach out to us after being diagnosed with a medical condition, or if they have had a pre-existing condition for an extended period of time, first thing that a lot of clients ask us when they meet with us is: “Can I get life insurance if I have a pre-existing condition?”

Can I get life insurance if I have a pre-existing condition, yes you can get life insurance with a pre-existing condition

Yes, whether you have a pre-existing condition or illness, you can definitely get a life insurance policy which is fair and even affordable as well. 

Types of life insurance for people with pre-existing conditions

The types of life insurance available for people with pre-existing conditions are the same types of life insurance available to all Canadians: 

These forms of life insurance vary drastically but have their own benefits as well, so have a look at the different types. 

Term life insurance

You are covered by term life insurance for a specific amount of time. There are term lengths of 5 to 40 years for term life insurance contracts. You pay for these policies monthly or annually and in the event of your death, your beneficiaries receive a payout. When these policies are nearing expiry, you can renew them for an updated price or find another life insurance plan for yourself. It should be noted that term life insurance is the most popular life insurance policy in Canada and these are the most affordable life insurance plans as well. A term life insurance policy allows you to have the highest amount of coverage too, but keep in mind that this is a fully underwritten policy which means that you have to submit a medical exam, family health history, get an attending physician’s statement (APS) and more! 

Benefits of term life insurance

  • Financial security for you and your family in the event of a death or disability.
  • Significantly more affordable compared to whole life insurance policies.
  • Adaptable policy terms to best suit your needs.
  • Once you’ve locked in your policy, your rates will never change.
  • Guaranteed death benefit.
  • Peace of mind knowing your family is protected.

Permanent life insurance

Whole life insurance and universal life insurance are the two varieties of permanent life insurance. The main difference between permanent life insurance and term life insurance is that permanent life insurance does not expire so it will last until your death. This is a fully underwritten policy, which requires that you obtain an attending physician’s statement (APS), submit a medical exam, and more. Permanent life insurance allows you to have similar coverage amounts as term life insurance but does have higher premiums than term life insurance. In many universal or whole life permanent life insurance policies, a significant portion of your premium payment is usually allocated to cash accumulation, which increases tax-deferred. Although you can take out loans against the cash value, the interest on these often mounts up and lowers the overall death benefit. Like every other type of insurance, permanent life insurance offers great benefits.

Benefits of permanent life insurance

  • Policy stays for life with level premiums
  • Some policies offer limited pay periods for premiums (you only have to pay for a set period of time, not indefinitely)
  • You can grow an investment with the policy

Simplified life insurance

Simplified life insurance offers high coverage amounts, and fairly priced monthly premiums but doesn’t have the same strict requirements as fully underwritten life insurance. No medical exam is necessary for simplified issue insurance plans, however you must complete some medical information on the application. Although premiums are often more expensive than fully underwritten life insurance policies, they are definitely fair. Depending on the insurer and whether or not the coverage is deferred, different questions must be answered. In general, simplified issue life insurance is offered on a term basis so you can get coverage like term life insurance and it is an ideal choice for people who desire a quicker approval or don’t want to undergo a medical exam.

Benefits of simplified life insurance 

  • Comparable coverage amounts to traditional life insurance policies
  • Typically can accept most people who are declined from traditional life insurance
  • More affordable than no medical life insurance
  • No medical exam required

No medical life insurance/guaranteed issue life insurance

This kind of life insurance is perfect for those who are unable to receive fully underwritten coverage due to medical conditions, mental illnesses, criminal history, hazardous occupations, or a number of other situations. An attending physician’s statement (APS) or a medical examination are not necessary as part of the application process for no medical life insurance.  These are for those who struggle to get accepted by life insurance companies and might get denied by life insurance companies or just do not like the process of fully underwritten life insurance. Consequently, there are no medical life insurance policies that make it possible for persons with these difficult circumstances to obtain coverage. This coverage tends to be more costly and has a smaller coverage amount than a fully underwritten policy like term life insurance or permanent life insurance, but it provides peace of mind to those who would not otherwise qualify for any life insurance coverage.

Benefits of No medical life insurance/guaranteed issue life insurance

  • No medical examination is required
  • Reduced approval time
  • Increased probability of approval
  • Coverage for hazardous activities and occupations
  • Coverage for international travel is provided
  • Ignores previous substance addiction and/or criminal background
  • Application process is less time-consuming

What do life insurance companies consider pre-existing conditions?

A medical condition that you had before applying for life insurance is known as a pre-existing condition. It can be a condition for which you’ve received a diagnosis or one of its symptoms. Many of the conditions included by this definition can be minor or major. It’s highly unlikely that your life insurance would be rejected due to a common issue like high cholesterol or diabetes. Also, keep in mind that you can get a life insurance policy no matter what because of options like no medical and simplified life insurance.

A pre-existing condition can be a variety of thing because there are so many different medical conditions out there that life insurance companies might consider such as, but not limited to: 

So there is truly a large range of pre-existing conditions out there which can interfere with your ability to get life insurance, but luckily no matter what, we can find you a life insurance policy that accepts you and your pre-existing condition. We will be taking a look at some of the more common pre-existing conditions that are prevalent amongst many clients, but you can take a deeper look at all medical conditions with our Guide to Life Insurance With Medical Conditions In Canada.

Diabetes

Both Type I and Type II diabetics are eligible for life insurance. Diabetes doesn’t make it difficult to obtain life insurance, and you have many of the same options available to those without the condition. Either a simplified or guaranteed life insurance policy can be obtained without a physician visit. If you choose the fully underwritten option, the procedure will be comparable to other underwriting procedures but may call for a few more medical checks, questionnaires, and tests, such as an A1C and urine test. After purchasing life insurance and receiving a diabetes diagnosis, the insurer is unable to change your prices or cancel your policy.

Check out our blog about life insurance with diabetes to find out more! 

Asthma

Depending on the severity of your asthma, several types of life insurance are available to you. Asthma comes in varied degrees of severity. Asthmatics are eligible to apply for the same types of insurance as everyone else: both term and whole life insurance policies are available to them. The majority of insurance providers will offer premiums that vary based on your asthma’s severity as well as whether you want a fully underwritten policy or a no-medical-exam policy but remember that you can definitely get a fully underwritten policy if you have asthma.

% Rating Based on the Severity of Asthma (By top 5 Canadian Life Insurance Company)

To find out more about life insurance with asthma click here! 

Cancer(s) 

You can apply for life insurance even if you have cancer or have survived cancer before. For less serious malignancies, some policies are preferable, but for more serious tumours, others are. Your case will be evaluated on an individual basis and these following results are typically anticipated:

  • If you were diagnosed with cancer more than 10 years ago and have been stable since then, you may be able to get traditional life insurance at standard rates. This is similar to those who did not have any serious health issues.
  • If you were diagnosed with cancer 5–10 years ago and have been stable since then, you have a good chance of getting traditional life insurance and a rated policy. A higher insurance rate is applied but you can still benefit from other aspects of a traditional life insurance policy such as high coverage limits. 
  • If you were diagnosed with cancer 2–5 years ago and have been stable since then, you might be able to apply for rated traditional or simplified life insurance. Simplified insurance doesn’t require a medical exam and only has a short questionnaire. It also has higher rates and less coverage than traditional insurance.
  • If you were told you had cancer less than 2 years ago, you can get a simplified or guaranteed life insurance policy. Guaranteed life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam or a medical questionnaire, but it also has the highest rates and the least coverage of all the options. There is also a two-year waiting period. If the insured person dies within the first two years after the policy was issued, no claim is paid, but the premiums are returned to the beneficiary.

You can read more about getting life insurance with cancer, check out our blogpost on it! 

HIV/AIDS 

People searching for life insurance for HIV/AIDS in Canada have options. Numerous medical issues are covered by the life insurance market, and there are a variety of choices available to suit everyone’s needs. There are fully underwritten plans available for HIV/AIDS positive patients, which means that both term and whole life insurance policies are offered. Additionally, there are simplified life insurance plans, no-medical life insurance plans, if HIV/AIDS patients want to minimize the amount of medical questions or exams that are required to get life insurance.

If you want to find out more, read our blog: Life insurance for HIV/AIDS in Canada

STI’s 

There are several options available to Canadians living with STIs (such HIV) who are looking for life insurance, including fully underwritten plans. Numerous medical conditions have alternatives in the life insurance market, and these alternatives exist in a wide range to suit the needs of each individual consumer. People with STIs can select between term life insurance and permanent life insurance for their coverage because there are fully underwritten plans available. There are also simplified life insurance plans, guaranteed life insurance plans, and life insurance plans without medical exams.

To find out more, visit our blog on life insurance with a STI

Dementia

We all know how difficult it is to deal with dementia, whether it affects you or a loved one. This is especially true for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. If you don’t currently have life insurance, you should think about getting one if you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease.

Even if you have dementia or Alzheimer’s, you can still get life insurance. However, you should be aware that if you have already received a dementia diagnosis, you will not be qualified for a fully insured term or permanent life insurance policy. In this case, a simplified life insurance policy or a no medical/guaranteed issue life insurance policy is the best idea! 

To find out more, read about Life Insurance with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

High Blood Pressure

You can absolutely buy life insurance even if you have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure frequently have the choice of obtaining fully underwritten term life insurance, whole life insurance, and other types of life insurance, though it does rely on a number of circumstances and their premium may be impacted. Again, several aspects of your health and lifestyle will influence how much you pay in premiums.

To find out more, check out our blog about life insurance and high blood pressure. 

High cholesterol 

Yes, it is possible to obtain life insurance even if you have high cholesterol, and you can do so at a reasonable cost if you take medicine to lower your cholesterol levels or seek to adopt a better lifestyle. Term life insurance, whole life insurance, and other life insurance policies are also options available to you.

To find out more, take a look at our blog about life insurance and high cholesterol 

Stroke

After a stroke, it will be more challenging, but it is still possible to be approved for life insurance. As a result, the more recent your stroke is and if you had a complete stroke, the more limited your alternatives for standard life insurance (fully underwritten life insurance) will be. You can obtain coverage more quickly if you experienced a minor stroke (TIA) as opposed to a full (major) stroke.

If you need life insurance quickly after having a stroke, no medical exam or medical questions are necessary with assured life insurance or no medical exam life insurance. You should be aware that these products typically have higher premiums, less issue coverage, and maybe a postponed policy, where the full death benefit won’t be paid out if the insured dies within the first 24 months of the policy.

Simplified life insurance is an additional choice if you start looking for life insurance 2-3 years after your stroke. After two or three years, many simplified issue carriers, including Canada Protection Plan, give prompt coverage to stroke patients. It’s important to keep in mind that considering simplified issue possibilities before applying for standard life insurance will help you avoid being turned down for a simplified issue plan if your application for traditional insurance is initially denied.

Get more information here: life insurance for stroke survivors. 

Transplant 

It’s a common misconception among transplant patients that they would never be eligible for life insurance. It is possible to obtain life insurance, and in certain cases without a medical evaluation, despite immunosuppressive medications and a high chance of developing new issues. By taking care of yourself, eating well, and exercising frequently, you can lower the likelihood of subsequent issues, relieving any burden on the insurance company and your premium. 

When looking at fully underwritten policy, before choosing who is eligible and who is not, insurers take into account a variety of characteristics. To decide if they can provide you with coverage, life insurance companies will review your medical history and ask you a number of questions. You may also be required to take a medical exam.

The success of your transplant can increase your chances of being accepted. If you have a low chance of experiencing additional issues, the same is applicable. You can still apply for no-medical exam life insurance if your application is denied.

You can find a full list of information about getting life insurance with a medical condition in our complete guide, just click here! 

Talk to an advisor today.

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What should I consider before applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions

The first thing that you should consider after you get to understand more about life insurance and how much life insurance you need, is understanding more about the situation of your pre-existing condition, so here are some things to consider before applying for life insurance with a pre-existing condition:

Things to consider before applying for life insurance with a pre-existing condition

There are more questions about your condition that life insurance companies might ask you about but luckily, life insurance brokers can help you get a better understanding of these questions and help you get a better grasp of what you should consider prior to applying for life insurance. 

There are also some companies that might consider your pre-existing condition as something that is mild or serious, this is why it is important that you have a clear understanding of your condition and even more important that you make sure you let a broker do some insurance shopping for you!

What pre-existing conditions do life insurance companies accept?

As mentioned early, there is a life insurance company out there that is practically willing to accept you no matter what your medical condition is. There are so many pre-existing conditions out there ranging from minor to severe that can varyingly affect your life insurance application, but it is definitely possible to get life insurance in the majority of cases. There is in fact an extremely low denial rate if you get a life insurance broker to assist you in the process of buying life insurance. So far we know that there are life insurance companies out there that will accept you if you have: 

There is no shortage of life insurance policies that are out there for Canadians with pre-existing conditions, all you have to do is contact our team of licensed life insurance brokers and they can find a life insurance policy for your pre-existing condition. 

Do I need to tell life insurance companies about my pre-existing condition?

When applying for a life insurance policy, the most important thing to do is be completely honest and transparent about whatever questions they ask you, this includes being honest about your pre-existing condition. Having a pre-existing condition is stressful and the thought of not being able to get insurance can be stressful too. Keep in mind that even though you can’t get insurance anywhere, you can get a life insurance policy and even though it might be a bit pricey due to your pre-existing condition. You definitely need to keep in mind that lying about your life insurance policy will lead to your insurer cancelling your policy, and your beneficiaries will not get a death benefit in the case of your death. Getting life insurance will definitely alleviate some stress for both you and your family, so with this being said, make sure that you are honest and tell your life insurance company the truth about your pre-existing condition. 

Find life insurance with a pre-existing condition

When finding life insurance with a pre-existing condition, we recommend that you be honest about your condition, don’t give up hope in finding life insurance, get assistance from a life insurance broker when applying, and understand your options. Let’s take a closer look at these recommendations:

Be honest about your condition

When looking for life insurance, you need to be straightforward and honest about your medical condition, as discussed earlier there are severe consequences when you are not honest about your condition. Being honest about your condition does indeed have positive benefits, such as being open and upfront about the treatment you are getting and if there have been positive changes to your health. 

Don’t give up hope in finding life insurance

It does seem daunting to not have a life insurance policy but remember that there is a life insurance policy out there for you. A major part of the life insurance process is not giving up hope in finding the right life insurance for you. Just keep in mind that there are many great life insurance policies out there that can cover Canadians with mild to severe health conditions, so don’t give up hope! 

Get assistance from a life insurance broker 

A life insurance broker is an absolutely essential part of the life insurance process because they are there to help you out in finding out your options and the best part is that they work for you for completely free! A life insurance broker is licensed and safe to work with, they also work independently but can look at the rates and plans offered by multiple Canadians life insurance companies. Using our life insurance broker services can streamline the life insurance shopping process and they are there for your best interest so that means that they are well versed in finding life insurance policies for people with medical conditions. 

Contact our team of life insurance brokers now and get the assistance you need for free! 

Understand your options

Educate yourself about life insurance and your medical condition before you get to the application process. As stated earlier, there are multiple different kinds of life insurance policies such as fully underwritten policies, simplified policies, and guaranteed issue policies. Then you should also look into how your specific pre-existing condition might affect your life insurance application, there are also riders, and other specifics that you might also want to learn about as well! 

Please take a look at our blog to get educated about life insurance, retirement planning and investing in Canada!

Applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions

When you are completing a life insurance application, the life insurance will send it to the underwriting division for evaluation. They will grade you according to their risk scale to determine how risky you are to do business with them due to your pre-existing condition. Each company has its own specific rules for calculating your risk that the underwriter must follow when reviewing applications. When it comes to health conditions, this is frequently the case. For instance, one company might not reject you based solely on the fact that you have diabetes, while another company might do so based solely on the severity of your diabetes.

These are some underwriting of the general underwriting rules that companies will look into when insuring anyone:

Things that life insurance companies look out for when underwriting

For your specific pre-existing condition will most likely lead to specific underwriting requirements and evaluations, this can be found out in our guide to getting life insurance with a medical condition blog, and if you want to get all the details, a life insurance broker can look deeper into your specific situation to find out what you will need to figure out for your application.

Can I be denied life insurance?

Since life insurance companies are businesses, it is actually fairly typical for them to turn down your application if they determine that you would be too risky to insure. The most frequent reason for denial when applying for traditional life insurance is if you have any underlying medical issues.

As was previously noted, when you apply to a life insurance company, each business has its own underwriting standards that it adheres to. For instance, one company may reject your application on a policy for the bare fact that you have diabetes, while other life insurance companies will be happy to give you a policy. This is why it is ideal to work with a life insurance broker to see several options for various companies at once for you.

Additional reasons for life insurance companies to reject your application for a coverage, aside from your pre-existing condition can include:

  • Age
  • Underlying or pre-existing health conditions you have
  • Your lifestyle including your occupation and any hobbies you participate in
  • Your criminal or driving record
  • Any financial issues
  • Or not providing correct documentation

Your chances of getting denied from the appropriate life insurance policy for your pre-existing condition is low if you are pointed in the right direction. There are also policies like the no medical and guaranteed issue life insurance which will insure you with no exceptions. To read more about getting denied life insurance check out this blog: 6 reasons you were denied getting a life insurance policy!

What should I do if I am denied life insurance? 

If your application for life insurance was rejected, it’s possible that you didn’t submit it to the best business for your needs and circumstances. There are steps you can take to help you find the best life insurance for you. The first step is to figure out why you were rejected for the policy. The next is to understand your options for life insurance and perhaps speak with a life insurance advisor to help you create the ideal plan for yourself. The last step is to submit an application to your ideal company.

What to do if your application was declined

As the life insurance rating increases, as seen above, the cost for your policy decreases. Which is achieved by having excellent health with little to no risk from your lifestyle factors outlined above. But as you become a higher risk to the life insurance company, your life insurance rating will decrease giving you substandard and standard life insurance ratings having not ideal health or other factors increasing your risk.

How to get life insurance with a pre-existing condition (Recap)

So to conclude, let’s take a look at how to get life insurance with a pre-existing condition in these simple steps:

  • Educate yourself about your condition
  • Educate yourself about life insurance 
  • Work with a life insurance advisor who can assist you in find the right policy for you
  • Apply for the right policy 
  • Secure a life insurance insurance policy!

It is possible to find life insurance for your pre-existing conditions, as we have covered throughout this blog, there are plenty of different life insurance policies that are out there that are suitable for people with mild or severe pre-existing conditions. We assure you that there are policies such as a guaranteed issue life insurance policy which will insure anybody, or if you are dealing with your pre-existing condition in a positive way and you are seeing the results, then you can get a fully underwritten life insurance policy. Do not hesitate or delay getting life insurance because of your pre-existing condition, contact us now and find out how to get life insurance with a pre-existing condition in Canada. 

Find the right policy for your pre-existing condition

Even if you have a pre-existing condition, just know that you can still get a life insurance policy. You can even get free professional advice from an award winning broker from Protect Your Wealth to help you identify and secure the right life insurance coverage you need to create financial stability and protect your family and assets.

To schedule a consultation about your income protection goals, or if you have any questions about life insurance in Alberta, British Columbia, or Ontario, please contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Alberta, B.C., or Ontario, including areas such as Edmonton, Victoria, Toronto, and Oakville.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with a pre-existing condition

Permanent life insurance is also known as whole life insurance because it covers you for the rest of your life. It also provides your beneficiaries with a tax-free payment after your death. Some plans have the ability to accumulate cash value over time. Permanent insurance costs are typically guaranteed not to rise from the time the policy is purchased. Furthermore, some permanent insurance plans allow you to pay for a limited period of time and then never again. Other types of permanent life insurance to consider include universal life and participating life.

Term life insurance is a type of life insurance that pays out to your beneficiaries if you die during the term of your policy. You can specify how long your term policy will last. Insurance companies provide term life insurance for Canadians and those legally residing in Canada for 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Once the term expires, you will be able to renew your policy but there will be an increase in the premiums you pay. For example, if you purchase a 10-year term life insurance policy and you die during those ten years, the people you name as your beneficiaries will receive a tax-free payment (also called a death benefit).

Simplified life insurance is offered in permanent life and term life insurance forms. Medical exam is not required for simplified issue insurance policies, but you must answer certain health-related questions as part of your application. In return for no medical exam, premiums tend to be higher than traditional insurance. The number of questions asked varies by insurer and also by whether or not the policy is deferred. Simplified issue insurance is typically used for term life insurance products and is an option for those who want faster approval or do not want to take a medical exam. There are less coverage amounts and there are also higher monthly premiums with simplified plans.

These plans don’t ask any questions and don’t require any medical exams. Guaranteed issue insurance is intended for people with serious health problems or who are older and do not qualify for underwritten or simplified insurance. Many insurers will also offer a 24-month deferral period for guaranteed life acceptance insurance. Because it is also a type of permanent life insurance, guaranteed issue insurance coverage generally has a maximum of $50,000, with some insurers covering less, and has the highest premium of the three.

Yes! The only factors that change when you are high risk are the type of life insurance policy you apply to (traditional, simplified, or guaranteed issue), the cost of your premium, and the amount of coverage you can qualify for. Feel free to contact Protect Your Wealth if you want professional advice on choosing the right life insurance policy for yourself.

Whole Life is a permanent lifelong insurance solution which offers both a savings component and insurance. Term Life is a temporary solution which offers guaranteed premium and coverage for a specified period of time.

Whole Life is a permanent lifelong insurance solution which offers both a savings component and insurance. Term Life is a temporary solution which offers guaranteed premium and coverage for a specified period of time.

Yes, recovering alcoholics can buy traditional life insurance after two to three years of sobriety and will pay much higher rates than people with no history of alcohol addiction. Or, if they are looking for instant life insurance, guaranteed issue life insurance will accept their application and provide coverage no matter what.

There are a handful of things to consider when you purchase life insurance, this list includes most of the important factors to consider when purchasing life insurance:

  • Life insurance term
  • Life insurance benefits, or additional riders
  • Health conditions which are pre-existing or you are susceptible to based on family medical history
  • Smoking status (smoker or non-smoker)
  • Your age
  • Children’s or dependent’s age
  • Spouse’s age
  • Occupation risks
  • Existing loans and mortgages

For most traditional life insurance policies, it is necessary to undergo a medical exam. This allows for life insurance companies to do a thorough analysis to decide your premiums.

No medical life insurance tends to be more expensive due to it being offered to offer coverage for those with health conditions who may not qualify for more affordable, traditional policies. These health conditions increase your likelihood of death and increase the risk to insure.

Simplified issue life insurance will ask health questions and do a full underwriting outside of the traditional medical exam. This means you will need to be in a good health in order to qualify for affordable rates. Guaranteed issue life insurance, on the other hand, requires no health questions, underwriting and guarantees approval. This comes at a higher cost than traditional life insurance policies.

There is currently no limit on how many life insurance policies you can have, and in some cases, having multiple life insurance policies may help you meet your goals for your financial future.

Talk to an advisor today for FREE.

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