Life Insurance With COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a permanent condition.  But, if you’re properly managing it, your odds of finding life insurance are great. 

With well-managed COPD, you may qualify for level terms — meaning there’s no waiting period on your policy. And, even if your COPD is more severe, you can still find modified options that keep coverage affordable. 

Even in the most severe cases, guaranteed issue policies make it possible to have life insurance with COPD. But, let’s review all of your options so you can make the right choice. 

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You never know what battles people may be fighting.

What is COPD?

If you’re concerned about the breadth of your coverage, especially if you have conditions like COPD, you might be wondering, does life insurance cover heart attacks and other serious health events? Get informed about your policy details to ensure peace of mind.

COPD involves chronic inflammation in the airways, making it harder to breathe. Oftentimes, COPD involves more than one lung condition. For instance, emphysema and chronic bronchitis often contribute to COPD symptoms. 

If you have COPD, you may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, and persistent cough. Severe or poorly managed COPD can even make exercising difficult. Fortunately, treatment strategies have been developed to help.

Managing COPD may mean: 

  • Lifestyle changes, like losing weight and quitting smoking 
  • Medications to reduce inflammation and relax the airways 
  • Efforts to improve lung function, like physical exercise and breathing techniques 
  • Oxygen therapy to compensate for impaired lung function 
  • Surgical interventions, including lung transplants 

Unfortunately, COPD is progressive in nature, meaning it will worsen as time passes. But, proper management can help slow its progression and reduce symptoms.

Closely following a COPD treatment plan will improve your quality of life and help you find an affordable life insurance policy. 

Getting Coverage with COPD: What To Expect

It’s entirely possible to get life insurance with COPD, even if it’s severe. However, insurers will look to your current treatment plan and overall health when assessing their risk. 

In most cases, COPD is caused by long-term exposure to irritants — like cigarette smoke. If you have a history of smoking, that will automatically increase your life insurance premiums. If you are still smoking, you may have difficulty finding coverage. 

Regardless of what caused your COPD, the underwriting process is straightforward for simplified issue policies. Life insurance companies will base your rates on information, like: 

  • When were you first diagnosed with COPD? 
  • Are you adhering to your doctor’s recommended plan? 
  • Do you use a nebulizer or take any inhaled medications? 
  • Are you using tobacco or have you in the past? 
  • Are you making positive lifestyle choices? 

With a simplified issue policy, you won’t need to take any medical exam or tests to get coverage. 

Choose kindness.

You never know what battles people may be fighting.

Can I Get Term Life Insurance with COPD?

When you sign up for term life, you can choose an expiration date between 5 and 40 years. If you outlive your policy, your coverage simply goes away. 

Because there’s a chance your policy simply expires, term life is more affordable than whole life. This gives you the option to buy a substantially larger policy for a fraction of the price compared to whole life. 

If COPD has significantly affected your life expectancy, buying term life might be a wise move. However, each company has its own underwriting guidelines when it comes to insuring someone with COPD.  

How Term Life Insurance Companies Underwrite for COPD

Certain medications like inhaled corticosteroids can be an effective way to manage your COPD. But, taking those medications can lead to an automatic decline from some life insurance companies. 

This is because some companies use factors like steroid medications as a quick way to assess the severity of your condition. The good news is, there are companies that don’t — more on that below.

But, tobacco use is one factor you’ll have a harder time getting around. If you are using tobacco and you have COPD, many companies will deny term life coverage. Even if you did not have COPD, tobacco use would affect your options. 

If you’re in relatively good health and managing your condition well, term life may still be an option for you. 

The Best and Worst Companies for Term Life Insurance with COPD

Many companies will outright deny term life insurance coverage to someone for having COPD. These include American Amicable, Americo, and Mutual of Omaha.

Foresters will deny coverage if you are a tobacco user. They also deny coverage if you’re using certain medications, like inhaled corticosteroids. 

Some companies restrict eligibility based on whether or not you’re actively receiving treatment. For instance, Prosperity will deny your term life application if you have been treated for COPD in the last 5 years. 

The good news? You can still get a simplified issue whole life policy with COPD. Keep reading to see if this option is right for you. 

Can I Get Whole Life Insurance with COPD?

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent policy. That means coverage will last for the rest of your lifetime unless you cancel. 

While more expensive, whole life allows you to lock in peace of mind.  Your premiums won’t go up and your coverage will never decrease, even as you age. 

Getting whole life insurance with COPD is possible. Especially if you break it down into the different types of whole life insurance available. For instance, while you might not qualify for simplified issue whole life, anyone can qualify for guaranteed issue whole life.

As with term life insurance, your whole life premiums will depend on your current health status. Let’s look at the underwriting process so you can see how your COPD diagnosis may impact your options. 

How Whole Life Insurance Companies Underwrite for COPD

Due to its progressive nature, it’s hard for someone with COPD to qualify for level benefits on whole life. However, some companies offer “graded” benefits. 

Graded benefits means that your death benefit starts out limited, usually for the first 1-3 years. This waiting period helps the insurance company manage their risk. If you outlive that period, you’ll have full coverage for the remainder of your lifetime. 

As you shop around your whole life, make sure you know the general rules of different companies to ensure you get the best options. 

The Best and Worst Companies for Whole Life Insurance with COPD

A handful of companies will outright deny whole life coverage, no matter the severity of your COPD. This includes Americo and Sons of Norway. However, there are still excellent options.

Aetna, AIG, and American Home Life all offer level whole life coverage as long as you meet certain criteria. For instance, Aetna will offer you a policy as long you do not use tobacco or certain medications. 

No matter what medications you take, many companies still offer graded policies. Great Western, Liberty Bankers, Mutual of Omaha, Prosperity, and Transamerica all fit that category.

Here’s your best option. Foresters offer level premiums with no waiting period. That makes them a great candidate.