You can still get life insurance as a person living with HIV — a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and which, when untreated, can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. 
Some major life insurance companies don't offer life insurance coverage to people with HIV, but working with an independent broker can help you compare options from multiple insurers.
If you have HIV, there are a couple of coverage options available to you if you need life insurance but are unable to qualify for a traditional policy. You could get a smaller policy through your employer or apply for a burial insurance policy, like guaranteed issue life insurance.
How does HIV affect life insurance eligibility?
When you apply for a life insurance policy, the insurer evaluates your age, gender, health, and other lifestyle factors to determine how risky you are to insure — a process called underwriting.
Though you can live a long life with an HIV diagnosis, insurance companies are generally cautious about the long-term health of people with HIV, since it's a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. People living with HIV can be at greater risk for other health conditions, including heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes. Without treatment, HIV can also progress into AIDS. 
While a few life insurance companies normally offer policies to HIV-positive applicants, those companies declined to offer coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In typical circumstances, some of those insurers won't offer you a policy until at least one year after your initial HIV diagnosis and will want to see at least six months of stable health and treatment before offering you a policy.
You'll likely have to fill out additional paperwork with details of your treatment when you apply (this could include details regarding antiretroviral therapy, viral load, and your CD4 cell count).
Stricter providers will deny coverage unless you can show five years of stable health history and meet additional health and testing criteria.
What types of life insurance are available to people with HIV?
Term life insurance
Term life insurance is a good option for people looking to protect their income and provide their family a financial safety net to cover any debts — for instance, a mortgage or child’s education.
Traditional term life insurance policies can be difficult to qualify for if you’re living with HIV, but some insurance companies have more flexible guidelines than others. You'll also pay more for coverage than someone without the health condition if you're approved, so for accurate quotes, it can be helpful to speak with a licensed agent.
If you're not sure if you'll qualify for term life insurance with a health condition, working with an independent broker can help you compare options from top insurers in one place.
Guaranteed issue life insurance
Guaranteed issue whole life insurance is a type of permanent policy that offers smaller coverage amounts — usually up to $25,000 — and doesn't require a medical exam to apply. Guaranteed issue life insurance is best for people who are seeking a small death benefit to help cover any final expenses such as the cost of a funeral — you might also hear it called a type of burial insurance.
Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are a good option for people who may not qualify for a traditional term life or whole life insurance policy due to health reasons. Coverage is also generally restricted to people age 45 or older. Still, acceptance is nearly guaranteed, so it may be your best option if you’re over 45 and can't find a policy elsewhere.
Group life insurance
If you're too young to qualify for a final expense policy and need coverage now, check if your employer offers group life insurance. You can typically get group life insurance regardless of health status, and your employer may even cover some or all of your premiums.
Most group life insurance plans have a limit — usually around $50,000 or two times your salary — and you can rarely take your plan with you if you lose or change your job. Regardless, group life is an affordable option while you wait to qualify for a more robust policy or a final expense plan.
While guaranteed issue and group life insurance may not offer as much life insurance as you need, having some coverage is better than none. As insurers continue to adjust their underwriting guidelines, you may qualify for a traditional policy in time.
Best life insurance companies for people living with HIV
Best term life insurance: Pacific Life, Prudential, Lincoln Financial
Best guaranteed issue life insurance: Mutual of Omaha
Best term life insurance: Pacific Life
While other insurance companies may not consider people living with HIV for term life insurance policies, Pacific Life offers more flexible guidelines. It can help your approval odds if:
You've seen a physician and have been on antiretroviral treatment for over one year
You've had an undetectable viral load for over one year
You're negative for Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C is in sustained viral remission
Your CD4 cell count is greater than 499 cells/microliter
Prudential will also consider term life insurance applications from people who are HIV positive, though you'll pay more in premiums. Given the insurer's guidelines, this might be a good option for you if you've received treatment and:
You're between age 30 and 60
You're seeking a 10-year or 15-year term
Runner-up: Lincoln Financial
Following California's Equal Insurance HIV Act of 2023,  Lincoln Financial will consider life insurance applications from people living with HIV. Like with other insurers, you'll take a medical exam and Lincoln Financial will request an attending physician statement to get a comprehensive understanding of your health. Lincoln Financial could be a good option for you if:
You live in California
You're between age 30 and 60
Best guaranteed issue life insurance: Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha offers final expense insurance products, including guaranteed issue whole life insurance, that offer lower rates than other insurers. You can apply for up to $25,000 in whole life coverage without a medical exam. Similar to other guaranteed issue policy options, this policy is available to people age 45 and over.
How to apply for life insurance if you’ve been diagnosed with HIV
Compare quotes. It's important to shop the market for life insurance in general, and especially for people who are living with a health condition like HIV. Working with an independent broker like Policygenius can help you get life insurance quotes from multiple insurers and compare options to find out which type of policy will be best for you.
Fill out your application with a licensed agent. A Policygenius expert will ask you questions about your health history and treatment plan, and help you fill out your application details. It'll be helpful for you to disclose any other health conditions or medications you’re managing during your initial call. If you're applying for a guaranteed issue policy, you won’t need to provide as many health details.
Schedule a medical exam. Most people applying for life insurance will need to take a medical exam. The exam is similar to a routine doctor’s visit, and it’s paid for by the insurance company. If you're applying for a guaranteed issue policy, you won’t need to take an exam.
The insurance company will review your application. During underwriting, the insurance company may request additional information to determine if they're able to offer you coverage. Underwriting can take five to six weeks on average for a traditional life insurance policy, but it's much quicker for guaranteed issue policies.
Sign your policy. Once the insurance company comes back with a decision, you're able to sign your policy documents and pay your first premium to activate coverage.
Can your life insurance be canceled if you're diagnosed with HIV?
No, if you're diagnosed with HIV after you have an active life insurance policy, you get to keep your insurance. Your policy can't be canceled as long as you continue to pay the premiums (barring any instances of insurance fraud).
Other health concerns that can affect your life insurance
Certain pre-existing conditions and other health-related concerns can affect your life insurance options or costs. A Policygenius expert can help you find the right policy for your needs.
Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety