Although it may be overwhelming, learning how life insurance companies perceive Lyme disease can be worthwhile when you’re searching for life insurance, especially if you have the condition. Regardless of how severe your Lyme disease is, there are always life insurance choices available to you. The type and amount of coverage you are eligible for depends on the severity and duration of your Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is the most prevalent infectious disease transmitted by ticks in Canada. Obtaining life insurance following a Lyme disease diagnosis will involve answering questions and assessing your risk level. This causes anxiety among our clients, as they fear that they won’t qualify for life insurance. A common question we get is “Can I get life insurance if I’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease?”
Yes! You can get life insurance even if you’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Regardless of the degree of your disease and how far you are in your treatment, at Protect Your Wealth we will help you find coverage to financially protect yourself and your family.
Overview of Lyme Disease – What is Lyme Disease and How Does it Spread?
Lyme disease is one of the most common vector-borne(infections transmitted by the bite of infected arthropod species) illnesses. Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii are the causative agents of Lyme disease. Infected blacklegged ticks transmit the disease to humans through their bites. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and erythema migrans, a characteristic skin rash. Infection can spread to the joints, the heart, and the nervous system if left untreated.
Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of tick exposure. Laboratory testing is beneficial when utilized properly and conducted with validated methods. The majority of Lyme disease cases can be successfully treated with antibiotics for a few weeks. The prevention of Lyme disease includes the use of insect repellent, the prompt removal of ticks, the application of pesticides, and the reduction of tick habitat. Ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally also transmit other diseases carried by ticks.
In Canada, two tick species are capable of transmitting Lyme disease: the blacklegged (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) tick in the southeastern and south-central regions of western Canada and the blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) tick in British Columbia.
The following provinces contain ticks that carry Lyme disease: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease can be categorized into two periods: those that manifest within the first 30 days (early symptoms) and late symptoms (can be days or months after).
Early Signs and Symptoms (3-30 days)
- In the absence of rash, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur.
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash – Occurs in approximately 70 to 80% of infected individuals. It manifests at the site of a tick bite 3 to 30 days later. Later it gradually expands over several days to a width of at least 12 inches (30 cm). It is rarely itchy or painful but may feel warm to the touch. EM can occasionally clear as it grows, producing a target appearance and can occur anywhere on the body.
Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months)
- Severe headaches and stiffness of the neck
- Additional EM rashes on other body parts
- Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
- Arthritis characterized by excruciating joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees and other large joints
- Pain that occurs intermittently in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Angina pectoris or an irregular heartbeat
- Moments of vertigo or shortness of breath
- Neurological inflammation affecting the brain and spinal cord
- Nerve ache
- Pains, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet.
How do Life Insurance Companies View Lyme Disease?
Insurance companies consider applications in terms of data. As impersonal as it may sound, their job is to evaluate the risk you pose and charge you accordingly.
Specific to Lyme disease, the following information will assist them in understanding your risk:
- Date of Diagnosis – The length of time you have had Lyme disease will influence the side effects you may encounter.
- Length of Treatment – Insurers will want to know how long your Lyme disease treatment lasted. The lengthier the duration of your treatment, the more side effects you may experience.
- Resolved/Addressed – This is a significant development for Lyme disease. Carriers are interested in whether or not you have recovered from Lyme disease. In addition, they will require evidence from your doctor that Lyme disease has been effectively treated. Effective treatment greatly benefits your application.
- Chronic Lyme Disease – Unresolved chronic symptoms negatively affect your application for life insurance.
- Current Therapy – Are you currently receiving Lyme disease treatment? If so, what type of medication, what dosage, and how frequently do you take it? Insurers will evaluate specific medications for possible adverse side effects.
Tips for Finding Life Insurance With Lyme Disease
There are a few tips you can follow to find affordable life insurance if you have Lyme disease.
Compare Prices – While seeking insurance coverage, it’s still worthwhile to compare prices and policies to choose the one that best suits your requirements. If you have Lyme disease, it is very crucial that you compare policies. This is because a particular side effect may be handled differently by several insurers during the underwriting process. To find an insurer who will provide you the best policy, its best to compare quotations from a few different insurance providers.
Purchase Now Rather Than Later – Growing older has certain advantages, such as improving financial security and qualifying for senior discounts at stores. However, obtaining a lower insurance premium is not one of them. That is because dying when you’re older than when you’re younger is more likely. If you purchase a policy at age 40, you will pay more than if you purchase the identical coverage at age 25. We do not recommend waiting to purchase coverage when you have a pre-existing condition such as Lyme disease or waiting for your Lyme disease to progress. Your premiums may become more expensive as your condition may worsen with age. Because of this, it may be beneficial to purchase insurance in advance and lock in a lower cost while you’re still young and healthy.
No Medical Life Insurance – This option should be treated as your last resort. You might be tempted to apply for no medical exam life insurance right away if you have Lyme disease. When you apply for a no medical insurance policy, your insurer won’t ask you to undergo a life insurance medical exam or conduct a thorough review of your medical history. So even if your health isn’t ideal, it can be simpler to get coverage. In exchange for gathering less information about your health, your insurer will likely presume you’re a higher-risk applicant and charge you greater premiums. Therefore, before applying for no medical insurance, explore all of your other possibilities for receiving coverage unless you want to break the bank.
Life Insurance With Lyme Disease
One of the main reasons why people don’t apply for life insurance is fear that a pre-existing condition such as Lyme Disease will disqualify them from coverage. However, this is not true. You are eligible for life insurance even if you have Lyme disease. The following are some options to consider:
Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent life insurance is coverage that never expires and pays a death benefit to the policyholder. Numerous permanent life insurance policies include a cash value component, wherein a portion of your premium payment goes toward tax-deferred cash accumulation. You can withdraw the cash value or borrow against it. Typically, an increase in the cash value of a life insurance policy will also increase the potential death benefit. As with all insurance types, permanent life insurance features both advantages and disadvantages.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific number of years. If you die within the term, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit. Those who survive this period will receive nothing. Term life insurance is much more affordable than permanent life insurance. If your Lyme disease is not severe, you may qualify for term life. If accepted, it is likely that you will receive rated premiums.
No medical Life Insurance
No medical or simplified issue life insurance requires you to answer a few questions about your medical history instead of completing a full physical medical exam and interview. Coverage amounts are limited based on the applicant’s age, and premiums are often higher than with traditionally underwritten life insurance policies.
This sort of policy is appealing to persons who have been rejected standard coverage because of physical or health issues, mental diseases, criminal records, hazardous employment, or a variety of other circumstances. These features classify these individuals as high-risk, resulting in less-than-ideal ratings from life insurance providers. No medical exam life insurance products enable persons in these challenging circumstances to acquire coverage. However, this plan is typically more expensive and provides less coverage. These policies are not the most cost-effective, but they provide peace of mind to individuals who would not otherwise qualify for life insurance.
Guaranteed Issue Insurance is a type of no medical insurance, but contains no questions and does not mandate medical exams. Guaranteed issue insurance is designed for those with more severe health conditions or who are older than the age requirements for traditional or simplified insurance. Many insurers also offer a 24-month deferral period for guaranteed life acceptance insurance. Guaranteed issue insurance coverage typically has a maximum of $50,000, although some insurers cover less, and has the highest premium of the three because it is a form of permanent life insurance.
This type of insurance is ideal if you’re having difficulty getting approved due to your health condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Life Insurance With Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria. When the blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, bites you and remains attached for 36 to 48 hours, you contract Lyme disease. If the tick is removed within 48 hours, you will likely not become infected. When you become infected, the bacteria travel through your bloodstream and affect numerous body tissues. If Lyme disease is not treated promptly, it can develop into an inflammatory condition that affects multiple systems, beginning with the skin, joints, and nervous system and progressing to the organs. The likelihood of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite depends on the type of tick, the location of the bite, and the duration of the tick’s attachment.
No, you can still get life insurance even if you have Lyme disease. The majority of the time, having Lyme disease may result in higher insurance costs. But it won’t prevent you from getting insurance. However, if your condition has worsened, it can make it challenging to be accepted for a traditional life insurance policy. Having said that, you shouldn’t assume that all insurance companies will refuse to cover you if you have Lyme disease.
There are still several solutions available to you if your Lyme disease prevents you from being approved for life insurance:
- Change Your Insurance Provider – Keep in mind that various insurers may handle the same medical issue differently. Therefore, it’s worth looking to see if there’s another insurance company that might offer someone with your condition more of a discount even if you’ve been rejected coverage by one insurer.
- Obtain No Medical Life Insurance – No medical life insurance gives you coverage without needing to undergo any medical exams. This makes it simpler to purchase life insurance if you already have a health issue.
- Obtain Insurance Through Your Employer –Typically, the life insurance you receive through your job is not enough to protect your family. Additionally, if you quit your job, you’ll lose the insurance. However, because it provides insurance through a group plan, you can frequently obtain coverage without having your health reviewed. So, if you’ve tried everything else and still can’t afford life insurance, this is an excellent approach to at least partially protect your family’s finances. Having a safety net is always better than nothing.
The insurance company may inquire about your age, fitness level, lifestyle, and medical history when you apply for life insurance. Additionally, they may inquire about your family’s medical history. To qualify, you will often be required to undergo a medical exam. You may be able to waive the medical exam, but doing so could significantly increase your premium. The younger you are, the better you maintain any conditions, and the less you participate in risky activities, the lower your life insurance premium will be.
Consider adding a guaranteed insurability rider to your policy at the time of purchase in case you wish to increase your death benefit in the future without undergoing medical testing.
Finding the right life insurance policy for you
Understanding Lyme disease and how a life insurance provider views Lyme disease is crucial for making a smart decision when purchasing life insurance. 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, Alberta, and British Columbia, including areas such as Mississauga, Brampton, Surrey, and Grande Prairie.