Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

Talk to one of our experienced advisors, today!

19 Minute read

Originally published: June 22, 2023

glioblastoma Life Insurance in Canada

Talk to one of our experienced advisors today!

19 Minute read
Originally published: June 22, 2023

glioblastoma Life Insurance in Canada

Heart attacks are life-altering events that can drastically reshape an individual’s approach to health, lifestyle, and long-term planning. One aspect that often becomes a concern post-heart attack is the question of life insurance. How does a heart attack affect one’s ability to secure life insurance? What kind of policies can one consider, and what factors influence the premium rates? Understanding these elements is crucial for heart attack survivors looking to safeguard their loved ones’ financial futures.

Through this blog, we delve into these critical questions, guiding you through the process of securing life insurance after a heart attack. So, whether you’re a heart attack survivor or a loved one supporting them through the process, this blog will equip you with the knowledge you need to approach life insurance with confidence.

Understanding Heart Attacks: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

A heart attack, medically known as a myocardial infarction, is a severe health condition that occurs when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. The blockage can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle, leading to serious complications or even death if not promptly treated.

Heart attacks are typically caused by coronary artery disease (CAD), in which the major blood vessels supplying the heart get damaged or diseased. This condition is often caused by factors such as smoking, high levels of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, high blood sugar (as seen in diabetes), and obesity.

The primary symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort, which can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
  • Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, like the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

Treatment for a heart attack typically involves medications, and in some cases, surgical procedures such as coronary angioplasty (balloon angioplasty) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

Immediate action is crucial for survival in the event of a heart attack. If you or someone else is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call for emergency medical assistance immediately.

Case Study: How John Overcame Challenges to Secure Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

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John, a 55-year-old engineer, led a relatively healthy life. He was active, ate well, didn’t smoke, and drank alcohol only occasionally. However, he had a family history of heart disease, with both his father and grandfather having heart attacks at a young age. Despite his efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, John suffered a heart attack.

After recovery, John realized the importance of securing life insurance to protect his family’s financial future. He approached a few insurance companies but was either denied coverage or offered prohibitively expensive premiums due to his recent heart attack and family history. He knew he needed a different approach.

John started by focusing on his health. He adhered strictly to his doctor’s advice, taking prescribed medications regularly, and attending all follow-up appointments. He also implemented lifestyle changes such as incorporating more heart-healthy foods into his diet and following a tailored exercise program.

After six months, John saw significant improvements in his health parameters. His cholesterol levels were under control, blood pressure was normal, and his doctor was pleased with his progress. Encouraged by these positive changes, John decided to try again for life insurance.

This time, John approached an insurance broker who had experience helping clients with a history of significant health events secure coverage. The broker suggested that John wait for a year post-heart attack before applying again to show a consistent, stable health status.

During this waiting period, John maintained his healthier lifestyle and regular check-ups. After a year of maintaining his improved health status, John, with his broker’s help, reapplied for life insurance. The broker recommended a mixture of term and whole life insurance to provide a balance of affordability and lifetime coverage.

John was upfront about his health history, ongoing efforts to manage his health, and lifestyle changes. The insurance company appreciated his diligence and honesty, and after a thorough underwriting process, approved his application for life insurance.

While John’s premiums were higher than those for someone without a history of a heart attack, they were significantly lower than the quotes he had received immediately after his heart attack. By focusing on his health, waiting to demonstrate stability, and working with a knowledgeable broker, John successfully secured life insurance to protect his family’s future.

Securing Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

When you apply for life insurance, insurance companies assess your risk level based on numerous factors, including age, lifestyle, and health status. A history of serious health issues, like a heart attack, can significantly affect your insurability and premiums.

After experiencing a heart attack, you may be categorized as a “high risk” applicant. The high risk designation is not a denial of coverage, but it often means you may have to pay higher premiums for your policy. This is because the insurance company perceives a greater chance that they may need to pay out a claim due to the increased likelihood of health complications or early death associated with a history of heart attacks.

Insurance companies usually have a waiting period which can range from one to two years following a heart attack. During this time, insurers want to see that you are following your doctor’s advice, making necessary lifestyle changes, taking prescribed medications, and showing signs of improved health. Stable or improving health during this period can lead to more favorable insurance rates.

The severity of the heart attack, the number of heart attacks you’ve had, your age at the time of the attack, and any resulting permanent damage will also impact the underwriting decision and premium calculation. Insurers will likely require a statement from your doctor or a full medical report to better understand your condition.

Remember, honesty is key when applying for life insurance. Not disclosing a heart attack could lead to denial of a claim, which means your beneficiaries would not receive any payout upon your death.

Even with a history of heart attacks, obtaining life insurance is not impossible. There are insurance products available for those in high-risk categories, and speaking with an experienced insurance broker or financial advisor can help guide you through your options.

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What Factors Do Insurance Companies Consider When Issuing a Policy to Someone Who Has Had a Heart Attack?

When issuing a life insurance policy to someone who has had a heart attack, insurance companies look at various factors to determine eligibility and premium rates:

  1. Medical History: Apart from the heart attack itself, the insurance company will look at the applicant’s overall health status. This includes other conditions like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, or any chronic illness.
  2. Severity and Number of Heart Attacks: The number of heart attacks the applicant has had and their severity play a crucial role. More heart attacks or severe incidents could lead to higher premiums or even denial of coverage.
  3. Time Since the Last Heart Attack: The more time that has passed since the last heart attack, without any further incidents, the better the chances of securing life insurance at a reasonable rate. This period shows the insurance company that the risk of another heart attack is reduced.
  4. Follow-up Care and Lifestyle Changes: Insurance companies will look at what steps the applicant has taken since their heart attack. Regular follow-up appointments with a doctor, medication adherence, and lifestyle changes such as improved diet, regular exercise, and cessation of smoking or excessive alcohol use are all positive signs.
  5. Age and Gender: These demographic factors can affect the perceived risk. For instance, older individuals or males, who statistically are more prone to heart attacks, might face higher premiums.
  6. Family History: A family history of heart disease or other related conditions can influence the risk assessment, as genetics can play a part in an individual’s likelihood of experiencing a heart attack.
  7. Current Health Status: Current measures of health such as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels will also be considered.

Understanding these factors can help individuals who have had a heart attack prepare for the life insurance application process, and potentially improve their chances of securing coverage.

Maximizing Your Life Insurance Chances Post Heart Attack

After experiencing a heart attack, getting life insurance can seem like a daunting process. However, there are several steps you can take to improve your chances of securing a policy.

  1. Adhere to Medical Advice: Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, whether it’s taking medication regularly or attending follow-up appointments. Consistent medical care demonstrates to insurers that you are proactive in managing your health, which can lead to a more favorable assessment.
  2. Implement Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthier lifestyle can significantly improve your odds of getting life insurance. This includes quitting smoking, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake, and managing stress effectively.
  3. Maintain Regular Check-ups: Regular medical check-ups can show insurance companies that your health condition is stable or improving, and any potential issues can be caught early.
  4. Control Other Health Conditions: If you have other health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension, managing them effectively is crucial. Good control of these conditions can improve your overall health and thereby your insurability.
  5. Work with an Insurance Broker or Financial Advisor: They can guide you to insurers who specialize in high-risk cases or have more lenient underwriting processes for heart attack survivors.
  6. Wait Before You Apply: Each insurer has a different waiting period after a serious medical event like a heart attack. The longer you can show you’re healthy and managing your condition post-heart attack, the more likely you are to be offered coverage.
  7. Be Honest: Fully disclose your medical history when applying for life insurance. If a company discovers you’ve withheld information, especially about a significant event like a heart attack, it could result in the denial of a claim or cancellation of the policy.

Remember, while a heart attack can make the process of getting life insurance more challenging, it doesn’t make it impossible. By demonstrating that you’re responsibly managing your health, you can still secure coverage.

Choosing the Right Life Insurance Policy After a Heart Attack

After a heart attack, there are several types of life insurance policies that you could consider, depending on your health status, financial situation, and coverage needs:

  1. Term Life Insurance: This is a type of life insurance that provides coverage for a specific term, say 10, 20, or 30 years. If you’re in relatively good health following your heart attack, you may still be able to qualify for term life insurance, but at a higher premium rate.
  2. Permanent Life Insurance: This includes whole life and universal life insurance policies that provide lifelong coverage and have a cash value component. These policies can be more expensive, but they might be a good option if you want to combine a death benefit with a savings or investment element.
  3. Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: This type of policy does not require a medical exam and accepts most applicants, regardless of health status. However, it typically comes with higher premiums and lower coverage amounts.
  4. Simplified Issue Life Insurance: Simplified issue policies require you to answer a few health questions but don’t require a full medical exam. If you’ve had a heart attack but are otherwise in good health, this could be an option.
  5. Group Life Insurance through Work: If available, group life insurance policies offered by employers can often provide at least some coverage without the need for a medical exam.

Each of these policies has pros and cons and not all might be available depending on your health status and the insurer’s underwriting guidelines. Consulting with an insurance advisor or broker can help you understand the best options for your circumstances.

How is the Premium Calculated for Someone With a History of a Heart Attack?

Life insurance premiums for individuals with a history of a heart attack are typically higher than for those without. Here’s a breakdown of the factors that influence how these premiums are calculated:

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  • Age: Age is a significant factor in determining life insurance premiums. The older an individual is at the time of application, the higher the premium tends to be.
  • Gender: Statistically, women live longer than men, which can result in lower premiums for women.
  • Health History: An individual’s overall health history, including a history of heart attacks, influences premium rates. The presence of other health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, in addition to a heart attack, may increase premiums.
  • Severity and Frequency of Heart Attacks: The number of heart attacks and their severity play a role in premium calculation. Someone who has had multiple heart attacks or severe attacks will likely face higher premiums than someone who has had a single, less severe event.
  • Lifestyle: Lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of exercise, and high stress can lead to higher premiums. Conversely, positive changes post-heart attack, such as quitting smoking or losing weight, can potentially lower premiums over time.

Some other factors to consider that may influence premium calculation include:

  • Current Health Status: Recent health measurements, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body mass index (BMI), are also considered.
  • Family History: A family history of heart disease or related conditions can influence the perceived risk and hence the premium rate.
  • Type and Length of Policy: The policy type (term, whole life, universal life, etc.) and the term length (if applicable) will also factor into the premium calculation.
  • Follow-Up Care: Regular follow-up care post-heart attack, adherence to prescribed medications, and adoption of a healthier lifestyle can demonstrate health improvement, potentially leading to lower premiums.


Waiting Period in Life Insurance Post Heart Attack

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The waiting period in life insurance policies refers to a pre-determined length of time that an insurance company requires after a significant health event, such as a heart attack, before it will issue a policy or before full benefits are payable. This period allows the insurer to evaluate how well the individual manages their health after the event. The waiting period can vary depending on the insurance company and the type of policy but often ranges from one to two years post-heart attack.

During this period, the insurer monitors the applicant’s health status. They look for signs of recovery, ongoing treatment adherence, lifestyle changes, and any further medical complications. Regular medical check-ups and a demonstrated commitment to improving health can play a significant role in a positive assessment.

Certain policies, can issue a policy during the waiting period, but full death benefits will not be paid out if the policyholder dies during this time. Instead, the insurer would return the premiums paid plus interest to the beneficiaries. After the waiting period has passed, the full policy benefits become available.

In general, the waiting period serves to mitigate risk for the insurance company, giving them time to evaluate the long-term impact of a heart attack on an applicant’s life expectancy.

What Information Will I Need to Provide to the Insurance Company About My Heart Attack?

When applying for life insurance following a heart attack, you’ll be asked to provide comprehensive information regarding your medical history. This allows the insurance company to evaluate your overall health and the risk they’ll undertake by offering you a policy. The specifics may vary among providers, but you’ll typically be asked to provide details such as the date of your heart attack, with more favorable terms likely the more time has passed since the event.

Information about the severity of the heart attack, including the degree of damage to your heart, will also be required. This could involve submitting medical records or a doctor’s report. Insurers will also inquire about any treatments, surgeries, or procedures you underwent following the heart attack, such as angioplasty, stent placement, or a coronary artery bypass graft.

Details about prescribed medications post-heart attack are important too, whether they’re directly related to heart disease or associated conditions like high cholesterol or hypertension. As part of your application, you’ll need to discuss follow-up care, including any lifestyle changes recommended by your healthcare provider, and regular check-ups or cardiac rehabilitation.

Lastly, your current health status, including any medical issues or complications since your heart attack, will be part of the information you provide. If you’ve made lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, losing weight, or committing to regular exercise, make sure to inform the insurance company, as these can be seen favorably in the evaluation process.

Transparency is key when applying for life insurance—non-disclosure or incorrect information could lead to a claim denial or policy cancellation in the future.


Navigating the process of securing life insurance after a heart attack can feel like a daunting task. However, as we’ve discussed in this blog, it’s far from impossible. Through diligence, perseverance, and a commitment to improving and maintaining health, individuals can successfully obtain life insurance coverage post-heart attack.

Understanding the factors that insurers consider and the types of policies available is the first step in this journey. Taking steps to improve your health and consistently demonstrating stability in your health status can significantly increase your chances of securing a policy. Being transparent and thorough when providing information to the insurance company about your heart attack and overall health is critical.

Remember, while the premiums may be higher, securing a life insurance policy after a heart attack is an important part of ensuring your loved ones’ financial stability in the future. With the right approach and informed decisions, you can successfully navigate this journey.

We hope this blog has demystified some of the complexities of getting life insurance after a heart attack, providing useful insights and strategies. Keep in mind the story of John, who, through careful management and dedication, managed to secure his family’s financial future despite the hurdles. His journey exemplifies that with the right measures, obtaining life insurance after a heart attack is achievable. Always consult with a financial advisor or insurance professional to understand the best options for your individual circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance After a Heart Attack

Yes, it’s possible to get life insurance after a heart attack, although it might be more challenging. Your health status, age, lifestyle, the severity of the heart attack, and how well you manage your health post-heart attack can all influence whether you can get coverage and what your premiums will be.

The timing can vary depending on the insurance company, but many insurers have a waiting period, typically one to two years, during which they assess how well you manage your health after the heart attack. Some policies, like graded death benefit policies, may be available during the waiting period, but full benefits will not be available until the waiting period is over.

The type of life insurance you can get will depend on your health status, financial situation, and coverage needs. Options can include term life insurance, permanent life insurance (whole or universal), guaranteed issue life insurance, simplified issue life insurance, and group life insurance through your employer.

The cost of life insurance after a heart attack will vary greatly depending on several factors, including your age, gender, overall health, the severity and frequency of heart attacks, lifestyle factors, current health status, family history, the type and length of the policy, and your adherence to treatment and medication. In general, you can expect to pay higher premiums after a heart attack than someone of similar age and gender without a heart attack.


You’ll need to provide information such as the date of the heart attack, its severity, any treatments or surgeries you underwent, medications you’re taking, details about your follow-up care, your current health status, and any lifestyle changes you’ve made post-heart attack.

Yes, you can improve your chances by diligently managing your health post-heart attack. This includes taking prescribed medications, attending regular follow-up appointments, implementing healthy lifestyle changes, and demonstrating stability in your health over time.

Not necessarily, but having multiple heart attacks will make it more challenging to secure life insurance and will likely result in higher premiums. The key factors will be how well you have managed your health since the heart attacks and your current health status.

Yes, it’s possible to get life insurance if you have heart disease. However, it will depend on the severity of the disease, your overall health, and how well you manage your condition. It’s likely that your premiums will be higher compared to someone without heart disease.

Find a solution for what you’re looking for

While obtaining life insurance after a heart attack may present challenges, it is indeed possible with dedication, proactive health management, and the guidance of experienced professionals. At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from the best life insurance companies in Canada to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We provide expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, critical illness insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance to build the best package to give you the protection you need. 

To schedule a consultation about your income protection goals, or if you have any questions about insurance in Ontario or Canada, 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 Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta including areas such as Toronto, Kingston, Calgary, and Victoria.

Talk to an advisor today.

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