Life Insurance With COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious health condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Unfortunately, this condition can make it more difficult to obtain life insurance coverage. However, there are options available for those with COPD who want to get life insurance protection.

This article is designed to help educate those living with COPD about obtaining life insurance coverage. You’ll also find helpful tips and resources to make obtaining life insurance coverage easier. With this knowledge, you can take steps toward securing the financial protection you need while living with COPD.

Life Insurance Options With COPD

Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) do have access to simplified issue life insurance.

On the term life insurance side, of the 11 carriers we surveyed, every single one of them would immediately decline an applicant who currently has COPD. As we’ll discuss in more detail below, if your last COPD treatment is far enough in the past (5+ years), you will have the ability to get no-exam term life insurane with select carriers.

As you might expect, underwriting for no-exam whole life insurance (also known as burial insurance or final expense insurance) is considerably more lenient than for term life policies. While it is by no means easy to get immediate coverage and/or preferred rates with COPD, there are certain carriers, such as Transamerica and others, who will offer this type of coverage to those with current COPD.

In particular, carriers will be looking to see how far in the past your last COPD treatment was, and if you’re currently being treated, the number and manner in which you take your COPD medications (e.g., via a nebulizer).

Guaranteed issue life insurance is another option if you would like to forgo answering health questions. Because the insurance company lacks visibility into your health, your rates will be higher than traditional life insurance. Also, you will have a two-year waiting period before you qualify for a payout equal to your full coverage amount.

Product Coverage Available
Term Life Insurance No
Final Expense Insurance Yes
Guaranteed Issue Insurance Yes

How Common is COPD in the United States?

The prevalence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in the United States is alarming. According to the American Lung Association, more than 12.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD; however, due to the often ‘silent’ nature of the disease, it is believed that millions more may be living with undiagnosed COPD. COPD can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, and approximately 15% of all deaths from respiratory disease in America are attributed to COPD.

Sadly, many people do not even recognize they suffer from COPD until it has advanced significantly or required hospitalization for an acute exacerbation. This means individuals may live for years without knowing they have a serious and life-threatening condition. As such, the burden of COPD on individuals, families, and society is immense, with healthcare costs in the US currently estimated to exceed $50 billion annually.

Why Life Insurance Companies Care About COPD?

Life insurance companies are primarily concerned with the mortality risk associated with COPD. Those who suffer from this condition are at greater risk of premature death due to complications such as respiratory and heart failure, associated cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, lung cancer, and respiratory infections. COPD is also one of the most common diseases in people with HIV. Life insurance rates for HIV also take a hit as it increases mortality risk.

Furthermore, treatment for COPD is not always successful in slowing down the progression of the disease, which increases the risk of premature death even further. For these reasons, life insurance companies often view those living with COPD as high-risk clients who may require higher premiums or have difficulty obtaining coverage altogether.

The severity of the applicant’s symptoms and lung function tests will be considered when determining eligibility for a life insurance policy. Insurance providers may also look for evidence that the individual is taking steps to slow down the progression of their COPD and reduce any future mortality risk.

Common Questions Asked by Carriers


Term Life Insurance When You have COPD

Term life insurance is a type of insurance that provides financial coverage for a fixed period of time, usually in the event of death. It offers protection to beneficiaries and helps them financially if the policyholder passes away during the term of their policy.

Term Life Insurance Application Questions About COPD

Individuals who have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) would be declined for simplified issue term life insurance.

While in the table above, we show only two companies’ underwriting criteria, based on our survey of 11 no-exam term life insurance companies, we can say confidently that the outcomes shown above are representative of the industry as whole.

In other words, you can expect all no-exam term life insurance companies to decline individuals with current COPD.

Final Expense Life Insurance when you have COPD

Final Expense life insurance is a type of policy designed to provide funds for final expenses such as funeral costs, medical bills, and other debts. It can help provide financial security for both the insured and their family in the event of death.

Final Expense Application Questions: COPD

About The Author