You’ve probably been hearing for years that it’s tough to get life insurance if you have a pre-existing health condition since you're considered high risk.

If you have a chronic condition (e.g., cancer, diabetes, or heart disease) or a substance use problem, you might think that it isn’t even worth it to apply for coverage. 

Fortunately, whether you have a mild illness or a severe condition, you still have options for getting insurance. You just need to know where to look for them!

That’s why in this article, we break down how to find the best life insurance in Canada for people with pre-existing health conditions. 

Let’s get to it!

Why is Life Insurance Important for People with Pre-Existing Health Conditions?

If your plan would be considered high risk life insurance, you want to sign for coverage sooner rather than later only to ensure you get the best price possible.

Life insurance prices aren’t like wine and cheese – they don’t get better with age.

Just like if you were healthy, it’s a smart move to buy life insurance as soon as you need it when you have a pre-existing condition. In other words, you should get coverage as soon as someone depends on you financially. 

High risk life insurance or not, the monthly premiums tend to increase as you get older. This is why it makes sense to lock in a good rate when you’re young (but not before you actually need coverage). 

However, if you have a pre-existing health condition, it’s even more important to buy coverage sooner rather than later.

Your condition could get worse as you age, or you might be more likely to develop complications from your condition when you’re older. These changes to your health would only drive up the price of your coverage. 

A photo of three doctors examining a medical image for PolicyMe’s article on the best high risk life insurance

How Does Having a Pre-Existing Health Condition Impact my Application?

There are two main areas you will see the impact if your application falls in the pile of high risk life insurance.

First, being high risk can increase your insurance premiums. This means that you’ll have to pay more each month for coverage than a healthy person would. 

For example, your insurer might see you as someone who has an elevated risk of dying during your policy if you have a family history of breast cancer. To compensate for the higher chance that they’ll have to pay out your death benefit, your insurer might charge you more for coverage for a certain number of years. 

Second, having a pre-existing health condition can affect your ability to get approved for coverage at all. 

These are some common conditions that can disqualify you from coverage from traditional insurers:

  • Substance use (e.g., alcoholism or drug use)
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Recent cancer diagnosis or current cancer treatment

If you have one of these conditions, your insurer might assess your eligibility for approval based on many factors. They might look at how old you were when you were diagnosed, whether you’ve developed complications from the condition, and how well your condition is currently managed. 

How to Find the Best Life Insurance for People with Pre-Existing Health Conditions

Wondering how to get the best deal possible if you have a pre-existing condition? Here’s what we recommend:

Shop around: Insurers differ in how they treat a particular health condition in their underwriting process. This is why it pays to shop around for an insurer that might offer a better rate .  The more quotes you get, the more likely you are to find at least one good deal.

Manage your health condition and re-apply: Look for an insurer that will let you get reassessed within a year or two of buying your policy. This way, if you manage your condition effectively and become healthier as a result, you might be able to score a lower premium. 

Get no-medical coverage as a last resort: When you apply for no-medical life insurance coverage, you don’t have to complete an extensive medical underwriting process. But because your insurer won’t know your medical history, they’ll assume you’re very high risk to insure and charge you high premiums to compensate. This is why it pays to consider traditional coverage options first.  

PolicyMe’s Top Pick for People with Pre-Existing Health Conditions

Is being viewed as high risk making it hard for you to find life insurance? At PolicyMe, we’ve identified coverage from Canada Protection Plan as the best life insurance for people with pre-existing health conditions. 

In Canada, Canada Protection Plan is the leading provider of no-medical and simplified issue life insurance. No blood tests, medicals, or urine samples!

Because of the lack of extensive medical underwriting, coverage from Canada Protection Plan tends to be pricier (like other no-medical insurance), and it’s usually capped at smaller amounts. However, it’s still a great option for people with pre-existing health conditions who aren’t eligible for traditional insurance policies. After all, a small safety net for your family is better than no safety net at all. 

And because Canada Protection Plan doesn’t need to spend time poring over your medical history, it approves applications quickly. In fact, some applicants get approval in as little as 48 hours. It’s hard to beat that kind of speed!

Wondering how other Canadian insurance companies stack up? Check out our reviews of the best life insurance in Canada for 2020

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

Laura brings 7 years of experience working in insurance & strategic operations as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, after experiences at Manulife and Munich Re. In 2017, she launched a successful initiative for the World Economic Forum focused on innovation in insurance, working closely with insurers, tech pioneers, and policy-makers.

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