Life Insurance With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Learn how having chronic fatigue can affect life insurance in Canada.

13 minute read

Originally published: June 06, 2024

Life Insurance with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Logo

Life Insurance With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Learn how having chronic fatigue can affect life insurance in Canada.

13 Minute read

Originally published: June 06, 2024

Life Insurance with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Logo

Living with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) presents its own set of unique challenges. This complex and often debilitating disorder is characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest, alongside a range of other symptoms such as muscle pain, cognitive difficulties, and unrefreshing sleep. While managing the day-to-day impact of CFS is vital, planning for your long-term future is equally essential.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll address common questions and concerns about life insurance for those with chronic fatigue syndrome and explore eligibility, premium rates, and policy options tailored to individuals with CFS.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex and debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest and is not caused by an underlying medical condition. The fatigue experienced in CFS is severe enough to interfere significantly with daily activities and work. In addition to fatigue, many also commonly suffer from other symptoms including muscle and joint pain, cognitive impairments, unrefreshing sleep, headaches, and sore throat. The cause of CFS is not fully understood, and it can be challenging to diagnose due to the absence of specific laboratory tests and the similarity of symptoms to other medical conditions.

While the exact cause of CFS remains unknown, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and physiological factors. Some theories suggest that viral infections, immune system issues, hormonal imbalances, and psychological stress may contribute to its onset. Despite the challenges posed by CFS, many individuals find ways to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life through a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan.

Can I Get Life Insurance With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Yes, you can get life insurance with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), though the process may involve additional considerations compared to someone without a chronic condition.

Insurance companies will assess the severity and impact of your CFS on your overall health and lifestyle. They will likely request medical information, such as your diagnosis, treatment history, and how well you manage your symptoms. The severity of your condition, any other pre-existing medical conditions, and your overall health profile will influence the type of policy available to you and the premium rates. While most life insurance providers will offer standard rates if your CFS is well-managed, some might impose higher premiums or policy exclusions.

How Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Affect Life Insurance in Canada

Life insurance companies will generally consider various factors to assess the risk of insuring you, which 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 chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) include:

  • Overall Health: Life insurance companies typically consider an individual’s overall health when determining coverage premiums and eligibility. Individuals with pre-existing conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome may face more challenges compared to those who are otherwise healthy.

  • When the Diagnosis Was Made: An individual who has been recently diagnosed with CFS may be considered a higher risk to insure due to limited data on how the diagnosis affects them personally.

  • The Severity of the Diagnosis: While some cases of CFS might not significantly impact life insurance rates or coverage limits, severe symptoms can negatively affect the life insurance application process.

  • Treatment and Management: When applying for life insurance, providers will evaluate the treatments or medications you use to manage your condition. For CFS, this might include medications for pain management, sleep aids, and therapies aimed at alleviating symptoms.

  • Comorbid Conditions: Since many people with CFS also suffer from other conditions, insurance providers will evaluate any additional health issues you may have, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders.

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

Factors Insurance Providers Consider if You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

To improve your chances of obtaining favorable life insurance terms, consider the following steps:

  1. Work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your chronic fatigue syndrome effectively. Regular check-ups and following prescribed treatment plans can demonstrate to insurers that you are managing your condition well.
  2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Engage in regular exercise, follow a balanced diet, and practice stress management techniques to improve your overall health, which can positively impact your life insurance application.
  3. Provide complete and accurate medical documentation. When applying for life insurance, thorough and honest medical records help underwriters accurately assess your condition and risk profile, potentially leading to better terms.
  4. Shop around and compare options. Life insurance requirements and policies vary between insurers, so exploring different options is essential to find the best coverage for your specific needs.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Your Health Rating

Life insurance companies typically assign a medical rating to your policy based on factors affecting your health. This rating acts as a multiplier to determine the cost of your premiums. In some cases, an insurer may find the risk too high and decline to offer coverage for a specific policy.

For individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the most common comorbid factors affecting health ratings include:

These comorbid conditions can influence the medical rating assigned to your policy, impacting the cost and availability of coverage.

Comorbid Conditions That Affect Life Insurance Ratings With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What affects a health rating and how much the rating is impacted can vary between companies. Typically, a health rating can increase by 150% to 200% before an insurance company considers an applicant too risky to insure and denies the application.

Life Insurance Policies for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

If you have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and are interested in life insurance, you will likely qualify for traditional life insurance. Traditional life insurance can be underwritten as either term insurance or permanent insurance and typically requires applicants to undergo a medical exam and testing. However, if you are seriously affected by your condition, are in poor overall health, or may not qualify for traditional insurance for any other reason, you may want to apply for no-medical life insurance instead.

While no policies are explicitly designed for individuals with conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, some insurance companies are more willing to insure high-risk applicants through specific policies called simplified issue and guaranteed issue life insurance. These no-medical life insurance policies are usually more expensive but are much easier to qualify for as they do not require applicants to undergo a medical exam or medical testing.

For individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, the right policy type will depend on factors such as your budget, coverage duration, and financial objectives. The life insurance options available to those with chronic fatigue syndrome include:

Overview of No-medical Life Insurance

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance offers coverage for a specified period, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. You pay premiums monthly or annually, and if you pass away while the policy is active, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit. These policies can often be renewed or converted into permanent insurance up to a certain age. For individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), term life insurance can be an effective way to ensure financial protection for your loved ones.

Benefits of Term Life Insurance:

  • Cost-Effective: Generally the most affordable life insurance option, making it accessible for many individuals.

  • Customizable: Offers customizable term lengths, coverage amounts, and optional riders to fit your specific needs.

  • Tailored Coverage: Terms can be tailored to match your current financial responsibilities, such as mortgage payments or raising children.

  • Renewable and Convertible: Policies can be renewed as needed or converted to permanent life insurance, providing flexibility as your needs change.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance provides lifelong coverage and can build cash value through universal or whole life policies. While premiums are typically more expensive than term life insurance, this option offers long-term financial security.  For individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), permanent life insurance ensures continuous coverage and financial protection.

Benefits of Permanent Life Insurance:

  • Lifetime Coverage: Provides lifetime coverage, often with consistent premiums, ensuring your loved ones are always protected.

  • Flexible Premium Options: Offers various premium payment options to suit your financial situation.

  • Cash Value Accumulation: Potential to build cash value over time, which can be borrowed against or used for future financial needs.

  • Estate Planning: Useful for estate planning to help offset capital gains taxes, ensuring a smoother financial transition for your beneficiaries.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

Simplified issue life insurance is a good option for Canadians with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Like guaranteed issue life insurance, it doesn’t require a medical exam or attending physician statement (APS). However, it does involve answering a few medical questions. As a result, simplified issue policies typically offer higher coverage limits and lower premiums than guaranteed issue policies. This makes it an excellent choice for those with CFS who may have difficulty qualifying for traditional life insurance due to their health, occupation, or lifestyle.

Benefits of Simplified Issue Life Insurance:

  • No Medical Exam Required: No medical exam or attending physician statement is needed, simplifying the application process.

  • Minimal Medical Questions: Requires only a few medical questions, making it accessible for those with health concerns.

  • Cost-Effective: More cost-effective than guaranteed issue life insurance, offering better value for your premiums.

  • Easier Qualification: Easier to qualify for compared to traditional policies, providing an alternative for those with challenging health conditions.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is ideal for Canadians with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who face challenges in obtaining coverage due to severe symptoms, other pre-existing conditions, a criminal record, hazardous occupations, and more. Unlike traditionally underwritten policies, it doesn’t require an attending physician’s statement (APS) or medical examination. Applicants are not required to answer any medical questions to qualify. However, due to the higher risk for the insurer, guaranteed issue life insurance tends to be more expensive and offers lower maximum coverage compared to fully underwritten policies.

Benefits of Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance:

  • No Medical Requirements: No medical exam, questions, or attending physician statement is required, making it accessible for those with significant health challenges.

  • Faster Approval: Faster approval with shorter waiting periods, ensuring quicker access to coverage.

  • Easier Qualification: Easier qualification compared to traditional policies, providing a viable option for high-risk individuals.

  • Simplified Application Process: Simplified and more accessible application process, often with short wait times or instant approval.

How to Get Approved for Life Insurance With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The following are five ways to increase the odds of being approved for life insurance with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in Canada:

  1. Effectively Manage Your Condition: Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations, adhere to treatment plans, and maintain regular check-ups. Demonstrating that you are managing your condition well can positively influence your application.
  2. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle: Engage in regular exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and avoid smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. A healthy lifestyle can improve your overall health profile and make it easier to qualify for life insurance.
  3. Monitor Overall Health: Address and manage any additional health conditions or risk factors that may impact your life insurance eligibility. Keeping your overall health in check can help improve your chances of approval.
  4. Document Your Condition: Provide complete and accurate medical records to help underwriters assess your risk profile more effectively. Detailed documentation can clarify your health status and treatment history, aiding the underwriting process.
  5. Shop Around: Compare multiple life insurance providers and policies to find the best coverage and terms for your situation. Alternatively, reach out to a life insurance broker who can shop around on your behalf to find the most suitable options.

Cost of Life Insurance With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

If you have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and are interested in no-medical life insurance, understanding the costs can help you decide what’s right for you. The cost of a no-medical life insurance plan can vary between insurance providers. Here is a look at the monthly premium costs for simplified issue life insurance through Assumption Life and Canada Protection Plan for Canadians aged 20-70:

Monthly Simplified Issue Life Insurance Rates for Canadians 2024

Case Study Example

Joey is a 25-year-old married man with a child on the way. He also suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Joey is the primary breadwinner, and his wife recently decided to take time off work to prepare for the arrival of their baby.

Case Study Life Insurance With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Here is what Joey considers when determining his coverage needs:

  • Joey and his wife currently have $140,000 left on their mortgage and anticipate being able to pay it off in 20 years.
  • Joey wants to leave behind around $100,000 to help cover any lost income if he were to pass away.
  • Joey anticipates his funeral costs will be around $10,000.
  • Joey wants to set aside $50,000 for future expenses related to their child’s upbringing and education.

Joey discusses his diagnosis of CFS with a trusted financial advisor. Despite his diagnosis, he manages his symptoms successfully with medications and lifestyle changes, and he is otherwise in good health. Given his young age and medical condition, he decides that a simplified issue term life insurance policy is a suitable option.

Joey works with a life insurance broker and manages to find a policy that meets his needs. After evaluating his options and submitting an application, he quickly gets approved for a simplified issue term life insurance plan with $300,000 of coverage and a term length of 20 years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Life Insurance With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The impact on your premiums will depend on the severity of your symptoms and any other health conditions you may have. Mild cases may not significantly affect premiums, while more severe cases could lead to higher rates due to the increased risk to the insurer.

It depends on the type of policy you choose. Traditional life insurance typically requires a medical exam, but simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies do not require medical exams and have fewer medical questions.

While it’s possible for an application to be denied if the insurer deems the risk too high in the case of severe symptoms and conditions, there are various types of policies available, such as simplified issue and guaranteed issue life insurance, which may still provide coverage even for those who are concerned about policy denial.

Yes, having multiple health conditions can impact your life insurance application. Insurers will consider the overall health risk, which includes any additional conditions like fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, or autoimmune disorders.

Find a Solution That’s Right for You

If you have chronic fatigue syndrome and have any additional questions or would like help applying for life insurance, feel free to reach out to one of our expert financial advisors. Our team is here to assist you in navigating the complexities of life insurance, ensuring you find the coverage that best suits your needs and provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

At Protect Your Wealth, we compare policies and quotes from the top life insurance companies in Canada to find the right policy for you. We offer expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, critical illness insurance, disability insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance to create the best package for your protection.

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 speak with an advisor today! We’re proudly based in Hamilton, and serve clients across Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta, including areas like Kingston, Mississauga, Medicine Hat, and Nanaimo.

Reach out to one of our expert financial advisors who can walk you through the process.

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