Life Insurance and Heart Attack

  1. Life Insurance and Heart Attack: Background
  2. Do insurers consider your heart disease or history of heart attack when issuing a policy?
  3. Does life insurance cover heart attack?
  4. Can I get life insurance after a heart attack?
  5. Does accidental death life insurance cover heart attacks?
  6. For what type of life insurance can I qualify after a heart attack?
  7. What is the best life insurance after heart attack?
  8. Life insurance and ischemia: Can I still get insurance?
  9. Is it possible to get life insurance for heart bypass patients?
  10. Is it possible to get life insurance for heart transplant patients?

Life Insurance and Heart Attack: Background

Life insurance from the insurers’ perspective is all about risk and the ability to evaluate uncertainty associated with people who get a life insurance policy. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada; after cancer – it accounts for about 20 per cent of all the deaths.

There are very clear statistics shared by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in its 2019 Report:

  • 91,524 people in Canada died of heart conditions, stroke, or vascular cognitive impairment in 2016. This equates to 1 out of 3 deaths.
  • One person dies in Canada every 5 minutes from heart conditions, stroke, or vascular cognitive impairment.
  • 40 per cent of people admitted to hospital with a heart condition, stroke, or vascular cognitive impairment will be readmitted at least once more for a similar event or a different heart, or brain-related condition.
  • Over the course of the last 10 years, we have seen the following trends in hospitalization in Canada: 50 per cent increase in structural heart disease, 35 per cent increase in vascular cognitive impairment, 25 per cent increase in heart failure, 20 per cent increase in stroke, and 5 per cent increase in heart rhythm disorder.

It’s no wonder that insurers are worried when they have an applicant who has or had a heart-related health pre-condition or suffered a heart attack in the past.

Let’s look at the typical questions as related to life insurance and heart attack/disease. When talking to your own insurance company, never hesitate to ask for an answer in writing about points you need clarified.

Do insurers consider your heart disease or history of heart attack when issuing a policy?

Depending on the type of life insurance you are applying for, insurers will ask (on the insurance application) a number of questions (among many others) that relate to potential heart pre-conditions, such as if you had a heart condition or heart attack in the past, how far back it was, how stable your current health situation is, if you have a family history of heart disease, etc. Depending on your answers, they will decide if you can apply for a policy and what rates will apply. In some cases, alternative policies can be offered. Should you answer untruthfully (e.g. hiding the fact that you had heart disease or a pre-condition), a future life insurance claim can be denied. So, it is not in your interests to provide incorrect responses.

If you are unsure of the answer to a particular question, ask for clarification from the insurance company and get the response in writing.

Does life insurance cover heart attack?

If you have truthfully completed the questionnaire and passed the necessary exams (for medically underwritten life insurance), your policy would cover heart attacks. If you lied on a questionnaire and in fact had an unrevealed heart attack history, your claim may be denied.

If you have a heart attack history you still can qualify for different types of life insurance (e.g. no medical life insurance or rated traditional life insurance) as long as you correctly reply to all the questions. An insurance company, in these cases, will be interested in how far back your heart issues go, and how long your condition has been stable.

Can I get life insurance after a heart attack?

If you have a heart attack history, you still can qualify for different types of life insurance (e.g. no medical life insurance or rated traditional life insurance) as long as you correctly reply to all the questions.

An insurance company, in these cases, will be interested in how far back were your heart issues go, and how long your condition has been stable. They can also ask additional questions, helping them to assess your particular case (e.g. if you are a smoker, if you use drugs, if you have a history of heart disease in the family).

You will always be able to qualify for guaranteed life insurance. (This is “no questions asked” insurance, however it comes with the highest insurance rates, lowest coverage, and a two-year waiting period before a claim can be submitted.) In many cases you will also be able to qualify for simplified life insurance. (This comes without a medical exam, but still requires the completion of a short questionnaire.) In some cases (e.g. a heart attack in you past but a stable condition since then, no other health pre-conditions) you will be able to apply for traditional life insurance at either increased or standard rates.

If you are unsure of the answer to a particular question, ask for clarification from the insurance company and get the response in writing.

Does accidental death life insurance cover heart attacks?

Accidental death insurance will not cover a heart attack. Accidental death life insurance covers death due to an accident (e.g. car accident, plane accident). A heart attack falls into the category of health-related deaths, and not-accident related. Thus, it will not be covered by accidental life insurance.

For what type of life insurance can I qualify after a heart attack?

It depends on your heart issues and history, such as how serious your heart issues were in the past, how far back the last issue took place, and the stability of your current health.

You can always qualify for guaranteed issue life insurance.

If you can truthfully answer “no” to the heart-related questions in a simplified life insurance questionnaire, or if the questionnaire does not contain any heart-related questions, you can qualify for simplified life insurance.

In some situations (e.g. stable condition and heart attack being a long time ago) you can also qualify for traditional, medically underwritten life insurance, but for a bit higher rates. This type of insurance is called rated traditional life insurance (or rated standard life insurance).

If you are unsure of the answer to a particular question, ask for clarification from the insurance company and get the response in writing.

What is the best life insurance after heart attack?

It depends on how far back your heart attack was and if you are in a stable health condition now. If the issues are quite recent, you are better off with simplified issue life insurance, if you can truthfully answer “no” to the heart-related questions in a simplified life insurance questionnaire, or if the questionnaire does not contain any heart-related questions. If this is not the case, your only option is guaranteed life insurance.

If your last heart attack is awhile back (e.g. couple years) you might be able to qualify for rated traditional life insurance, which offers better rates and more extensive coverage than simplified life insurance.

Life insurance and ischemia: Can I still get insurance?

Yes, you can. The type of insurance and costs depends on how serious your issues were and if you are in a stable health condition now. If the issues are quite recent and serious, you are better off with simplified issue life insurance if you can truthfully answer “no” to the heart-related questions in the questionnaire or if the questionnaire does not contain any heart-related questions. If this is not the case, your only option is guaranteed life insurance.

If your situation has been stable for awhile, you might be able to qualify for rated traditional life insurance, which offers better rates and more extensive coverage than simplified life insurance.

If you are unsure of the answer to a particular question, ask for clarification from the insurance company and get the response in writing.

Is it possible to get life insurance for heart bypass patients?

Yes, you can get a life insurance policy if you are a heart bypass patient. The type of life insurance and premiums will depend on how far back your bypass surgery was, and if you are in a stable health condition now.

If the procedure is very far back and you have been stable since then (e.g. no change in treatment or medications), you might even be able to get a traditional life insurance policy (also called a standard life insurance policy), either at standard or increased rates (in this case it is called rated traditional life insurance).

If your procedure is more recent, you are more likely to get simplified life insurance that has a short medical questionnaire but comes without a medical exam. It has higher rates and a bit lower coverage limit.

You can always apply for guaranteed life insurance, which does not require an exam or questionnaire but is more expensive in terms of costs and has more limitations.

Is it possible to get life insurance for heart transplant patients?

Yes, you can get a life insurance policy if you are a heart transplant patient. The type of life insurance and premiums will depend on how far back your heart transplant surgery was and if you are in a stable health condition now.

If the operation was successful, is very far back, and you have been stable since then (e.g. no change in treatment or medications), you might even be able to get a traditional life insurance policy (also called a standard life insurance policy), either at standard or increased premiums (in this case it is called rated traditional life insurance).

If your operation is more recent, you are more likely to get simplified life insurance that has a short medical questionnaire, but comes without a medical exam. It has higher rates and a bit lower coverage limit.

You can always apply for guaranteed issue life insurance, which does not require any exam or questionnaire but is more expensive in terms of costs and has more limitations.

If you are unsure of the answer to a particular question, ask for clarification from the insurance company and get the response in writing.