Life Insurance With Autism in Canada

Find out how autism spectrum disorder can affect life insurance in Canada.

8 minute read
Originally published: December 19, 2022
Updated: February 09, 2024

Life Insurance With Autism in Canada

Life Insurance With Autism in Canada

Find out how autism spectrum disorder can affect life insurance in Canada.

8 minute read
Originally published:
December 19, 2022
Updated: February 09, 2024

Life Insurance With Autism in Canada

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common neurological and developmental disorder that affects many Canadians. ASD affects communication, social interaction, learning, and behavior. As this is a spectrum disorder, individuals affected by autism may present with varying levels of severity, from very severe to mild. While it is definitely possible to get life insurance with autism in Canada, there are certain challenges autistic individuals may face.

Can You Get Life Insurance With Autism?

Yes, autistic individuals are still eligible for life insurance and can choose from a variety of life insurance plans the same as anyone else. That being said, if you are interested in a traditional fully underwritten life insurance policy you will need to disclose information about any medical conditions you are diagnosed with, including ASD. Based on the specifics of your condition, you might have to pay more in premiums and if your condition is severe enough you may not qualify for certain life insurance plans. Autistic individuals that are difficult to insure due to severe symptoms and would rather not discuss their medical history, can opt for a guaranteed issue or simplified issue life insurance policy instead as these plans do not require a medical exam and ask limited medical questions. Here are two different case studies that demonstrate an example of an autistic person interested in life insurance.

Case Study #1:

Haley is a Canadian woman in her forties who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when she was still a child, but is otherwise in good health. She has low support needs, is highly functioning, and has been able to live independently and maintain a stable career. Haley is also a single mother of two teenage daughters that she would like to protect financially by purchasing a life insurance policy in case she were to pass away unexpectedly. Because she is highly functioning and otherwise healthy, was diagnosed so long ago, and she has been able to support herself and her daughters with a stable career, this demonstrates to potential insurers that she is low risk to insure. Therefore, Haley has no difficulty qualifying for a traditional life insurance policy through a popular life insurance provider. She decides to purchase a 10 year term life insurance policy as her children will likely move out of the house and become more financially independent within the next 10 years. She also gets $200,000 in coverage as she believes this will be enough coverage to make up for any lack of income and end of life expenses that would come with an unexpected death.

Case Study #2:

Richard is a 50 year old diabetic man who was recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He is not overly surprised by this diagnosis as it helps explain why he always struggled to maintain a traditional career. Despite his struggles he started a home business selling handmade pet beds that has recently become more popular and has been contributing more to the household income. His wife, who has a high paying career, suggests they purchase life insurance so that they will both be able to financially recover in case of an unexpected death as they both rely on each other’s support. At first they look into purchasing a joint life insurance policy as it is typically a good option for couples. However, since Richard was only recently diagnosed with ASD and he has another pre-existing condition since he is also diabetic, he has difficulty finding a traditional life insurance policy that he qualifies for. He and his wife talk things over and decide that it would be better to get separate life insurance policies as he is more likely to qualify for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy and he doesn’t need as much coverage as his wife since he has a lower income. His wife ends up choosing a permanent life insurance policy with $250,000 in coverage and Richard purchases a guaranteed issue policy with $50,000 in coverage with no medical exams or questions required.

How Life Insurance is Affected by Autism

The impact of autism on life insurance coverage may vary depending on the specific policy and the insurance company. Some life insurance companies may consider an individual with autism to be a higher risk for life insurance coverage and may charge higher premiums or exclude coverage for certain conditions related to autism. Other insurance companies may be more willing to provide coverage, but may require additional medical information in order for applicants to qualify for certain policies.

Life insurance companies will generally consider a variety of factors to assess the risk of insuring you as this will determine the premiums you will be charged for coverage. Some of the factors that insurance companies may consider when evaluating a life insurance application from an individual with autism include:

  • The Severity of the Diagnosis: More severe cases of ASD will be considered higher risk to insure and less severe cases will be considered lower risk.
  • When the Diagnosis Was Made: An individual who was diagnosed with autism at a younger age may be considered a lower risk as they have had more time to demonstrate how ASD affects them.
  • Overall Health: It is standard for life insurance companies to consider the overall health of the individual when determining coverage premiums and eligibility. Those with pre-existing conditions may face more challenges than otherwise healthy individuals.
  • Level of Functioning: Life insurance companies may also consider the level of functioning for individuals with ASD. This includes the ability to communicate, care for themselves, and participate in activities of daily living. Individuals that are higher functioning with more autonomy will be considered lower risk.
  • Treatment and Management: When applying for life insurance, individuals with autism who manage their autism with treatments including any therapies, medications, or other solutions will be considered lower risk.

Here is a quick overview of the different factors that can increase your risk to insure if you have autism:

Factors that can increase your risk to insure if you have autism.

In many cases individuals with autism who are high-functioning, have participated in treatments or medications, and aren’t an accident risk with full autonomy over themselves, will have a standard rating as long as they are in otherwise good health. This means that they would pay the same amount as someone without autism would for the same coverage. It is important to keep in mind that each life insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines and policies, and that the coverage offered through different insurers can vary significantly.

What to Do if You Are Denied Insurance

It is unfortunately possible to be declined for traditional life insurance due to an autism diagnosis if it is severe enough. If you’ve had an application denied there are still a few options for you to get coverage such as through guaranteed and simplified issue life insurance policies.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

  • Designed for difficult to insure individuals.
  • No medical exams or questionnaires required.
  • Less maximum coverage than a traditional policy.
  • Premiums are more expensive than traditional insurance.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

  • Applicants must complete a medical questionnaire.
  • No medical exams required.
  • Designed for applicants with more moderately severe conditions.
  • Premiums can be slightly more expensive than traditional insurance.

What Happens if You Fail to Disclose Autism

It’s normal to worry about being denied coverage for something that’s out of your control, such as an autism diagnosis. But it’s important to keep in mind that failing to disclose medical information to your insurer is never a good idea and can lead to more issues than an application denial.

Life insurance providers collect information directly from applicants and from relevant medical professionals if they are given permission from the applicant. However, insurers might also use databases such as the MIB (Medical Information Bureau) to validate any information the applicant did or did not give them. This is why it’s vital to be transparent with insurance providers as failing to disclose truthful and accurate information on a life insurance application may be considered fraudulent and may result in serious consequences.

Withholding information from a life insurance provider may also come with additional consequences such as policy termination and refusal of a death benefit claim if they find out that an applicant wasn’t truthful on their application. Individuals with autism should be sure to disclose their diagnosis when relevant and be sure to provide accurate and truthful information to insurers so that their ability to receive life insurance coverage isn’t negatively affected.

Best Life Insurance Companies if You Have Autism

There are many different life insurance options for people with autism. Traditional fully underwritten policies are ideal for autistic individuals that are high functioning and low risk to ensure. For those with more severe autism who are at higher risk to insure a simplified or guaranteed issue life insurance policy may be a better option as they do not require a medical exam. Here are some great examples of life insurance companies that offer simplified and guaranteed issue life insurance to individuals with autism:

Industrial Alliance (iA) – Access Life

Coverage: $10,000 – $500,000

Length of coverage: 15, 20, or 25 year terms or whole life

Issue ages: 6 months-80 years

Number of questions: 

  • No questions for Guaranteed Access
  • 5 medical questions for Deferred
  • 9 medical questions for Deferred Plus
  • 13 medical questions for Immediate Plus

No medical exam required

Sun Life Financial – Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance

Coverage: $5,000 – $25,000

Length of coverage: Whole life

Issue ages: 30-74

Number of questions: 

  • No medical questions

No medical exam required

Humania Assurance – Insurance without Medical Exam (IWME)

Coverage: $5,000 – $300,000 

Length of coverage: 10, 20, or 100 year terms

Issue ages: 18-70 

Number of questions:

  • 6 questions to determine eligibility
  • 12 medical questions to determine premium rates

No medical exam required

Canada Protection Plan (CPP) – Guaranteed Acceptance Life

Coverage: $5,000 – $50,000 

Length of coverage: Whole life

Issue ages: 18-75

Number of questions:

  • No medical questions

No medical exam required

Here is a helpful overview of the different simplified and guaranteed issue life insurance policies listed that are ideal for those with autism:

Best Simplified and Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policies

What Happens to Existing Life Insurance if You Get Diagnosed?

Those who have already purchased insurance do not have to worry about an autism diagnosis affecting their coverage or premiums. Since policies are underwritten at the start of the contract a new diagnosis of autism will not affect your current coverage. However, it is important to note that those with term insurance who would like to renew their policy or convert to permanent life insurance should be aware that a new diagnosis could result in differences in premium pricing unless it is a guaranteed issue policy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance with Autism

You can definitely still qualify for life insurance if you’re on the autism spectrum. Autistic individuals can choose from a variety of life insurance plans, such as term or permanent insurance, simplified life insurance, and no-medical/guaranteed issue life insurance the same as anyone else. However, if you decide to opt for a fully underwritten traditional life insurance plan, you will need to disclose information about any medical conditions you are diagnosed with, including ASD. Depending on certain factors those with autism may need to pay higher premiums or may not qualify for certain life insurance plans. Autistic individuals who would rather not discuss their medical history, can opt for a guaranteed issue or simplified issue life insurance policy instead as these plans do not require a medical exam and ask limited medical questions.

These are a couple of things that life insurance providers consider when an applicant has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some things insurers typically consider include severity of the diagnosis, how long ago the diagnosis was made, the level of functioning of the applicant, and any treatments applicants are using for their ASD diagnosis. Insurers will also consider the standard considerations for life insurance such as the applicant’s overall health, family history of health, age, gender, smoking status, etc. Those who are interested in life insurance but worry they may be hard to insure can talk things over with a life insurance advisor to discuss what options and plans might be best for them.

In many cases high functioning individuals with autism who have participated in treatments and have full autonomy over themselves pay the same amount of premiums as any other person of their age and gender. However, those with more severe autism who face more difficult challenges due to ASD may not always qualify for the same insurance plans or may have to pay more in premiums for similar coverage.

Finding the right life insurance policy for you

If you are someone on the autism spectrum who is interested in getting life insurance but aren’t sure where to start, you can discuss things with a life insurance advisor. 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 help you get the protection you need.

Schedule a consultation about your financial goals and needs by contacting 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 Kitchener, Calgary, and Burnaby.

Speak to an expert advisor today!

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