Life Insurance with Sjögren’s Syndrome

Learn how Sjögren’s Syndrome can affect life insurance in Canada.

13 minute read

Originally published: March 24, 2023

Updated: May 29, 2024

Life Insurance with Sjögren’s Syndrome Logo

Life Insurance with Sjögren’s Syndrome

Learn how Sjögren’s Syndrome can affect life insurance in Canada.

13 Minute read

Originally published: March 24, 2023

Updated: May 29, 2024

Life Insurance with Sjögren’s Syndrome Logo

Living with Sjögren’s Syndrome comes with its unique challenges. The chronic autoimmune disease affects the body’s moisture-producing glands, leading to dry eyes, mouth, and other uncomfortable symptoms. While managing the condition’s impact on your daily life is crucial, planning for the long term is equally important.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll address common questions and concerns, shedding light on life insurance eligibility, premium rates, and policy options for those living with Sjögren’s Syndrome. So, whether you’re just starting your life insurance journey or seeking additional insights, join us as we delve into the ins and outs of finding affordable life insurance coverage with this diagnosis.

What is Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by the body’s immune system attacking its moisture-producing glands, leading to dryness in various body parts, particularly the eyes and mouth. This condition affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact their daily lives. It often accompanies other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

The symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome can vary from person to person but commonly include dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue, joint pain, and swelling. These symptoms can significantly affect one’s quality of life and may require ongoing medical treatment and management.

Can I Get Life Insurance With Sjögren’s Syndrome?

Yes, even with Sjögren’s Syndrome you can still get life insurance. However, premium costs and coverage maximums may be impacted depending on the severity of your condition and your overall health.

How Does Sjögren’s Syndrome Affect Life Insurance in Canada

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 Sjögren’s Syndrome 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 Sjögren’s 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 Sjögren’s Syndrome may be considered a higher risk to insure due to the limited data on how the diagnosis affects them.

  • The Severity of the Diagnosis: Most cases of Sjögren’s Syndrome do not impact life insurance rates or coverage limits. However, if the symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome are severe, they 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 Sjögren’s Syndrome, this may include artificial tears, anti-inflammatory eye drops, and cholinergic agonists, among others.

  • Comorbid Conditions: Since many people with Sjögren’s Syndrome also suffer from other autoimmune diseases, insurance providers will evaluate any additional conditions you may have, such as rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis, hypertension, or fibromyalgia.

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

Factors Insurance Providers Consider if you have Sjögren’s 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 Sjögren’s Syndrome effectively.
  2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management.
  3. Provide complete and accurate medical documentation when applying for life insurance to help underwriters assess your condition and risk profile more accurately.

Remember that life insurance requirements vary between insurers, so it’s essential to shop around and compare options to find the best coverage for your needs.

Sjögren’s 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 Sjögren’s Syndrome, the most common comorbid factors affecting health ratings include:

Comorbid Conditions that Affect Life Insurance Ratings with Sjögren’s 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.

What Questions Do Insurance Companies Ask Applicants With Sjögren’s Syndrome

Insurance companies typically ask for various types of information to assess your risk profile and determine eligibility, coverage, and premiums. When applying for life insurance, you can expect to share the following information:

  • Personal Information: This includes your age, gender, marital status, occupation, and contact details.
  • Lifestyle Choices: Insurance providers will ask about any alcohol consumption, recreational drug use, and if you smoke.
  • Health History: You will need to provide information about your current health, pre-existing conditions (e.g., Sjögren’s Syndrome), past illnesses, surgeries, hospitalizations, and family medical history.
  • Medications and Treatments: Prescription medications, dosages, and reasons for taking them.
  • Height and Weight: These are used to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) and assess overall health.
  • Hobbies and Activities: High-risk hobbies or activities, such as skydiving or scuba diving, may impact your premiums or coverage options.
  • Financial Information: Income, assets, and liabilities to help determine the appropriate coverage amount.
  • Medical Exam (if required): For traditional life insurance a paramedical exam may be requested, which includes blood pressure, blood tests, and a urine sample to assess overall health and detect potential issues.
  • Details About Your Condition: Severity of symptoms, date of diagnosis, treatment plan, and any complications or associated conditions.

Life Insurance Policies for Autoimmune Diseases Like Sjögren’s Syndrome

If you have Sjögren’s Syndrome 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 there may not be life insurance providers or policies explicitly designed for individuals with autoimmune diseases like Sjögren’s Syndrome, some insurance companies are more willing to insure high-risk applicants through specific policies called simplified issue life insurance or 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 Sjögren’s Syndrome, which policy type is right for you will depend on factors such as your budget, coverage duration, and financial objectives. The severity of the condition and overall health management may impact the premiums and underwriting process. The life insurance options available to those with Sjögren’s 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.

Term life insurance is popular in Canada due to its affordability and flexibility. It can provide coverage during critical times and is available as either traditionally underwritten or simplified issue policies, the latter requiring limited medical questions and no medical exam.

For individuals with Sjögren’s Syndrome, term life insurance can be an effective way to ensure financial protection for your loved ones.

Benefits of term life insurance

  • Generally the most cost-effective life insurance option.

  • Offers customizable term lengths, coverage amounts, and optional riders.
  • Terms can be tailored to match your current financial responsibilities.
  • Can be renewed as needed or converted to permanent life insurance.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance provides lifelong coverage and can build cash value through universal or whole life policies. While premiums are higher than term life insurance, this option offers long-term financial security. Permanent policies can be traditionally underwritten or available as guaranteed or simplified issue, requiring limited or no medical questions and no medical exam.

For individuals with Sjögren’s Syndrome, permanent life insurance ensures continuous coverage and financial protection.

Benefits of permanent life insurance

  • Provides lifetime coverage, often with consistent premiums.
  • Offers various premium payment options.
  • May build cash value over time.
  • Useful for estate planning to help offset capital gains taxes.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

Simplified issue life insurance is a good option for Canadians with Sjögren’s Syndrome. 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 Sjögren’s Syndrome who may have difficulty qualifying for traditional life insurance due to their health, occupation, or lifestyle.

Benefits of simplified life insurance

  • No medical exam or attending physician statement is needed.
  • Requires only a few medical questions.
  • More cost-effective than guaranteed issue life insurance.
  • Easier to qualify for compared to traditional policies.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is ideal for Canadians with Sjögren’s Syndrome 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 exam, questions, or attending physician statement is required.
  • Faster approval with shorter waiting periods.
  • Easier qualification compared to traditional policies.
  • Simplified and more accessible application process.

How to Get Approved for Life Insurance With Sjögren’s Syndrome

The following are five ways to increase the odds of being approved for life insurance with Sjögren’s Syndrome in Canada.

  1. Effectively manage your condition: Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations, adhere to treatment plans, and maintain regular check-ups.
  2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Engage in regular exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and avoid smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
  3. Monitor overall health: Address and manage any health conditions or risk factors that may impact your life insurance eligibility, when possible.
  4. Document your condition: Provide complete and accurate medical records to help underwriters assess your risk profile more effectively.
  5. Shop around: Compare multiple life insurance providers and policies to find the best coverage and terms for your situation, or reach out to a life insurance broker who can shop around for you.

Cost of Life Insurance With Sjögren’s Syndrome

If you have Sjögren’s Syndrome 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

Here is a helpful case study outlining the process followed by this Canadian diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome who is interested in life insurance.

Case Study Life Insurance With Sjogren’s Syndrome

Jane, a 32-year-old marketing professional, was diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis 5 years ago. Jane is married and has two young children, aged 5 and 7. She is the primary breadwinner, and her husband works part-time while also taking care of their children.

Here is what Jane considers when determining her coverage needs:

  • Jane and her husband currently have $100,000 left on their mortgage and anticipate being able to pay it off in 5 years.
  • Jane wants to leave behind around $90,000 to help cover any lost income if she were to pass away.
  • Jane anticipates her funeral costs will be around $10,000.

Now that she has a better understanding of her coverage needs, Jane discusses her diagnosis of Sjögren’s Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis with a trusted financial advisor. Since Jane was diagnosed 5 years ago, manages her symptoms successfully with medications, is minimally impacted by her pre-existing conditions, and is in otherwise good health with a healthy lifestyle she is informed that she will likely qualify for a traditionally underwritten policy.

After working with a life insurance broker to find a policy that meets her needs, Jane quickly gets approved for a standard term life insurance plan with $200,000 of coverage and a term length of 5 years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Life Insurance With Sjögren’s 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, 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 autoimmune diseases can impact your life insurance application. Insurers will consider the overall health risk, which includes any additional conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis, or fibromyalgia.

While there may not be policies explicitly designed for autoimmune diseases, some insurance companies are more experienced in handling applications from people with pre-existing medical conditions. Research, consult with specialized brokers, and compare multiple providers to find suitable options for your situation.

Find a Solution That’s Right for You

If you have Sjögren’s 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.

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 of getting life insurance in Canada.

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