Can You Get Life Insurance With HIV/AIDS?

Can You Get Life Insurance With HIV?

Advancements in the management of HIV have led to longer life expectancies — and they could mean more options for life insurance. This is great news if you want to secure peace of mind for your family.

Life insurance options are available whether you’re facing a new diagnosis or managing an old one. But every company has its own set of rules that will impact your premiums and coverage. 

Here’s what you need to know about getting life insurance as a person with HIV. 

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What is HIV?

While exploring options for life insurance with HIV/AIDS, it’s natural to ponder about other conditions such as COPD. Those wondering, can you get life insurance if you have COPD?, will find pertinent information on how to navigate insurance policies with pre-existing conditions.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system. HIV specifically targets CD4 cells, essential for protecting the body against infection. 

HIV is primarily transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids. Many people who get HIV don’t experience symptoms until weeks later. Some remain asymptomatic for years. But diagnosing HIV early is critical to preventing the progression of the disease. 

Over time, as HIV destroys CD4 cells, it uses them to replicate the viral cells. If left untreated, HIV continues to progress. In severe cases, it can turn into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS not only increases the risk of infection but also the risk of certain cancers.

Ongoing treatment is critical for stopping the progression of HIV. Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) involves several medications and is considered the cornerstone of HIV management. 

One of the things ART does is reduce the viral load to undetectable levels. It’s an incredible breakthrough for improving the quality of life for people with HIV. 

Getting Coverage with HIV: What To Expect

Every insurance company has its own requirements when it comes to underwriting for HIV. Generally, they want applicants who are:

  • Actively and consistently using ART therapy to manage their condition
  • Maintaining a healthy CD4 count, since a low count makes you more susceptible to infections
  • Living an active lifestyle and avoiding smoking, drinking, and risky hobbies 
  • Not diagnosed with hepatitis, AIDS, or certain conditions that can lead to aids in an HIV-positive person 
  • Not using any illicit substances 

Some other factors beyond your control will also impact your life insurance options. For instance, many companies will not insure you if your treatment began less than 6-12 months ago. This is because they want proof that you’re sticking to a treatment like ART and getting good results from it.

Overall, the underwriting process for a traditional life insurance policy is quite extensive. In addition to medical records, you may be asked to provide recent test results and a physician’s statement. But guaranteed issue life insurance does not require these things.

What type of life insurance can I get if I’m HIV positive?

If you are HIV positive, getting a traditional life insurance policy will mean many months of exams and tests — and you can still get declined in the end. 

Guaranteed issue policies are perhaps the best option for someone living with HIV. They do not require any medical exams, tests, or health questions. 

With a guaranteed issue policy, your rates are based entirely on age and gender. 

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You never know what battles people may be fighting.

Can I Get Term Life Insurance with HIV?

Term life lasts for a fixed period, usually between 5 and 40 years. If you outlive your policy, it simply expires. 

But, a progressive diagnosis like HIV poses more risk to the insurance company. That means you will have trouble getting a term life policy if you have HIV. 

In most cases, having HIV will automatically disqualify you for term life coverage. 

The Best and Worst Companies for Term Life Insurance with HIV

In 2023, California passed a law preventing life insurance companies from denying coverage based on a positive HIV test alone. If you reside in California, you have an extended list of options.

However, outside of California, options remain limited. 

Currently, no companies that GetSure is affiliated with offer term life policies to people with HIV. This includes American Amicable, Americo, Foresters, Mutual of Omaha, and Prosperity.

Can I Get Whole Life Insurance with HIV?

Whole life insurance, also known as permanent life insurance, is a type of life insurance that never expires. Once you purchase a whole life policy, you can keep it for the remainder of your lifetime. 

If you’re living with HIV, whole life insurance can provide lasting peace of mind — especially as treatment options improve. But, most companies will deny whole life coverage if you have HIV. 

Let’s review the whole life underwriting process and how HIV impacts your options. 

How Whole Life Insurance Companies Underwrite for HIV

It’s rare for someone with HIV to qualify for a simplified issue policy. You may know simplified issue as “no exam” life insurance. It is essentially whole life, but without any exams or tests required.

Many people opt for simplified issue life insurance when they know they won’t qualify for traditional insurance — or they don’t want to jump through hoops to get it.

But HIV is an automatic disqualifier for most simplified issue whole life policies.

Instead, you should seek out a guaranteed issue policy. Here’s what you need to know about them: 

  • Approval: You can’t be denied guaranteed issue whole life as long as you meet the insurer’s age criteria. These policies are usually available to people over 45. 
  • Application: There is no medical exam or health questionnaire involved.
  • Premiums: Your premiums are based entirely on your gender and age.
  • Terms: There’s a 2-year waiting period before you’re eligible for the policy’s full amount. If you pass away during that period, the death benefit will equal the premiums you’ve paid, plus a small amount of interest. 

The Best and Worst Companies for Whole Life Insurance with HIV

Most companies will decline both simplified and guaranteed whole life coverage if you have HIV. This includes Aetna, Americo, CVS Health, Mutual of Omaha, Prosperity, and others.

However, you still have options for guaranteed whole life. For instance, companies like Great Western offer guaranteed issue policies to those with HIV. You need only fit their target age range to get approved. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do life insurance companies test for HIV?

HIV tests are common during the underwriting process for traditional life insurance. If an insurer discovers that you have HIV and you did not disclose it to them, they may not offer you a policy. If they do, it will likely be a graded or modified policy with higher premiums. 

Do I have to tell life insurance that I have HIV?

Lying about your medical history or leaving out important information on an application is a form of life insurance fraud. But, if you are diagnosed with HIV after buying life insurance, your company cannot legally cancel your policy. 

Does undetectable HIV impact my life insurance options? 

For a traditional policy, underwriters will want to see HIV tests return an undetectable viral load. This means your HIV is being well-managed through techniques like ART therapy. However, being HIV positive will still impact the types of policies available to you.