Being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition may drastically affect your quality of life. In some instances, it can leave you needing to take long and unexpected breaks from work. In other cases, you may become hospitalized, leaving you without an income, or with a reduced income. Although your eligibility and rates depend on your condition, it is still important to take steps into ensuring your protection.
Many times, we have clients who come to us with the misconception that they are ineligible for life insurance because they have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. It’s critical to realize that certain insurers are better than others when it comes to autoimmune diseases. A common question we receive is “Can I get life insurance if I have an autoimmune disease?”
The answer is yes! Not only can you get life insurance if you have an autoimmune disease, but you can also get affordable rates.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s natural defense system is unable to distinguish between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to attack healthy cells. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases that affect various body parts.
Some of the most common types of autoimmune diseases are:
Muscular and joint disorders:
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus, SLE)
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Ulcerative colitis
Nervous system disorders:
Endocrine system disorders:
- Graves’ disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Addison’s disease
How common are autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune illnesses are quite common, approximately two million Canadians are affected by autoimmune diseases. Women are disproportionately affected by autoimmune disorders; percentages vary by disease, but almost 80% of persons with autoimmune disorders are female.
Cost of Life Insurance with an Autoimmune Disease
The two most important characteristics used by life insurance companies to evaluate whether or not a person is insurable and at what cost, are age and health. When compared to an older, less healthy person, a younger, more physically fit person is less likely to die in a particular time frame – be it months, years, or decades. Other factors, including your lifestyle and gender, will, of course, influence your rates. Risky habits and harmful hobbies (such as smoking and scuba diving) can raise the cost of life insurance.
This is because life insurance companies will thoroughly examine your health and mortality as the main factors when underwriting and approving your application. Having an autoimmune disorder and/or compromised autoimmune system will cause your premiums to be higher, as they affect your health. Other factors, including your lifestyle and gender, will, of course, also influence your rates. Risky habits and harmful hobbies or occupations (such as drinking and rock climbing) can also raise the cost of life insurance.
If you’re having trouble finding traditional life insurance rates, guaranteed or simplified life insurance options will reduce the amount of underwriting and can be cheaper than some traditional policies that may rate you up to an additional 200%.
What factors do insurance companies consider for autoimmune diseases?
Insurance companies rate someone’s condition based on a variety of factors including lifestyle factors that may contribute to the severity of your condition. The healthier you are, the easier it would be for you to obtain life insurance and the more favorable your rates would be.
Some questions your insurer will likely ask:
- What is your condition?
- Were you hospitalized as a result of your disorder?
- Are you taking any prescribed medications? If so, are they lifelong?
- Is your condition stable?
- When were you first given the diagnosis?
These are just a few of the questions that you may be asked (there could be more). It is possible that you would be asked to take a medical exam in addition to answering questions.
Autoimmune Diseases and Life Insurance
Below are some examples of common autoimmune diseases and the type of life insurance you would be able to get if you had that condition.
Type 1 Diabetes
Obtaining life insurance while suffering from type 1 diabetes can be difficult, but it is not impossible. A simplified or fully guaranteed policy can provide life insurance coverage without requiring a nurse visit. If you choose the fully underwritten option, the process will be similar to most underwriting processes, but you may be required to complete a few additional medical examinations, questionnaires, and tests, such as a urine test.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes after purchasing life insurance and the policy is issued, the insurer is unable to cancel or change your rates. If you have a permanent life insurance policy, your premiums and coverage will remain unchanged even if you develop diabetes.
You can apply for all types of life insurance as a diabetic, including term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Obtaining approval for these products varies by insurance company, and some products are easier to obtain approval for than others due to underwriting requirements. In general, insurance companies will have term and permanent fully underwritten products or simplified products that change how easy it is for those with serious medical conditions to be approved for life insurance.
Insurers do not consider Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to be a significant risk. Although it is not a deadly condition, there are adverse effects from pharmacological treatments as well as additional problems that might put insurers at risk.
Before providing you with a price, insurers will need to properly analyze your situation. They’ll look at the sort of arthritis you have, how much pain or disability you have, how long you’ve had it, and any medications you’re taking to treat it.
RA is a chronic auto-immune disease that worsens over time. Protective cartilage can shrink as the illness worsens, leaving bones vulnerable to erosion. Bone erosion can eventually lead to joint damage, resulting in disability and the inability to perform daily chores.
Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms can sometimes extend beyond your joints. According to the Mayo Clinic, roughly 40% of RA patients experience difficulties with their skin, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, and other tissues or organs. Most insurers will raise your premiums or possibly refuse to cover you as a result of these issues.
Crohn’s disease is classified as mild, moderate, or severe. If you have been symptom-free for more than 4 years without using oral steroids and have had no complications, you may be able to get the standard price for life insurance. Otherwise, it will be determined by the severity of your condition and the date of your most recent major flare-up.
Life insurance at non-standard rates may be available to Crohn’s disease patients who are experiencing severe symptoms (a premium increase). This could be due to the strength of your medications, or if you have any abscesses or fistulas that are affecting your quality of life.
If you are scheduled to have surgery to treat Crohn’s disease, such as fistula removal or the placement of an ileostomy or colostomy bag, your application for life insurance will most likely be delayed until you have fully recovered from the surgery. In this case, you can obtain life insurance through a specialized insurer.
Similar to Crohn’s disease, your final premium will be determined by the severity of your condition and the date of your most recent big flare-up.
The major reason a life insurance company would like to know whether you have been diagnosed with an Ulcer is that there are several ways an individual could get an Ulcer, some of which may affect the outcome of one’s life insurance application.
Best Life Insurance Policy if you have an Autoimmune Disease
It may appear that choosing the best life insurance policy is a challenging job. Spending hours researching and reading pages and pages of terms and conditions, as well as collecting and reviewing quotes, would be exhausting for anyone. At Protect Your Wealth, we are here for you to help you get the coverage that you need!
The following are some of the recommended insurance policies for individuals with an autoimmune disease:
Permanent Life Insurance provides lifetime coverage
Universal Life Insurance: Universal life insurance is a kind of permanent life insurance that remains in force regardless of your age or health. It comprises long-term investments. This will allow you to save money for the future while also providing you with cash when you need it.
A policy fund is included in most universal life policies, and it can hold a number of investment account options to meet your needs. Tax-deferred growth is possible with the investments in your insurance. This implies that until you withdraw money from the policy, you won’t have to pay tax on the investment growth.
Whole Life Insurance : Whole life insurance provides the insured with a guaranteed death benefit for the rest of their life. Whole life insurance has a savings component that can accumulate cash value in addition to paying a death benefit. Interest is compounded at a fixed rate and is tax-deferred.
How to Make Your Autoimmune Disease Disability Claim More Powerful
Depending on your insurance policy, you can claim your autoimmune disease as a disability claim. Below are ways you can make this claim more powerful:
When You Have a Flare-Up, See Your Doctor
It can be tempting to keep your autoimmune disease flares to yourself if you get them frequently. Many people choose to self-treat in order to save money on medical fees or to avoid embarrassment. It’s critical, though, that you tell your doctors about your flare-ups and how severe they are.
When processing and evaluating disability claims, insurance adjusters rely extensively on medical records. When you visit your doctor, they will write down your symptoms and how long they have been there. The doctor will also provide you an update on your medical needs. This information can help your doctors construct the best treatment plan possible, and their notes can be used as evidence in your disability claim.
Consider the Side Effects of Your Medications
When filing a disability claim, the insurance company must examine how your treatment plan affects your capacity to work, including pharmaceutical side effects. This is especially significant in autoimmune disease cases, because many immune-suppressing drugs have serious adverse effects such as fatigue, nausea, and a reduced ability to fight infection.
Begin keeping a diary of your symptoms
You probably have no idea how much your autoimmune disease affects your day-to-day life. You’ve probably modified your routine because you’ve grown accustomed to the everyday exhaustion and unwelcome flare-ups. It’s a good idea to keep a log of your daily symptoms and activities as you prepare your disability claim. You might wish to keep track of your naps, rest intervals, and other adaptations you make to cope with your symptoms, for example.
When speaking with your doctors or the disability insurance provider, this information can assist you comprehend the scope of your limits and offer you with more specificity.
Finding the right life insurance policy for you
Whether you’re at risk of an autoimmune disease, or are currently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, there’s a life insurance product or package for your situation. A life insurance specialist can help you create the best plan and package for your needs.
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.
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 Waterloo, Kingston, Prince George, and Edmonton.