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Getting life insurance with a heart condition

If you live with a heart condition or heart disease, you have life insurance options. Compare quotes to see how your diagnosis may affect the cost of your premium.

Headshot of Logan Sachon

By

Logan SachonLogan SachonSenior Managing Editor, Life Insurance & ResearchLogan Sachon is the senior managing editor of life insurance and research at Policygenius, where she edits life insurance content and leads life insurance surveys and data studies. As a journalist, her work has appeared in The Guardian, Business Insider, CNN Money, BuzzFeed, Money Under 30, VICE, New York Magazine, and elsewhere.

Edited by

Adam MorganAdam MorganEditorial DirectorAdam Morgan is an editorial director at Policygenius who leads the life insurance team. Previously, he led editorial teams matrixed across multiple financial publications at Red Ventures — including Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Million Mile Secrets, and others.

Published|10 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

Can I buy life insurance if I have heart issues?

Yes, many people with heart issues can purchase life insurance. Your rates and policy options will depend on several factors, including your diagnosis and treatments, family health history, and current health. People without related risk factors — such as smoking — will be more likely to qualify for life insurance. The policies you qualify for and the rates you pay will depend on these factors, plus your age, sex, and other risk factors. Here are how some common heart conditions may affect your life insurance application. 

Heart attack

If you’ve had a heart attack, most life insurance companies will want you to be at least six months out from the event before they’ll look at your application. Most companies will also only consider your application if you had the heart attack at age 45 or older (some will consider you at age 40), since having a heart attack at a younger age makes you higher risk. 

Heart disease

There are many types of heart disease, but the most common type in the U.S. is coronary artery disease (CAD). [1] Whether you can get life insurance with heart disease depends on your age, diagnosis, treatment, and overall health. For example, if you have CAD, insurers will be looking at both existing and treating blockages, clotting history, and any related diagnoses, like high blood pressure or diabetes. The outcome of your application could be Standard rates, table ratings, or decline, depending on these factors. 

Heart bypass

If you’ve had a heart bypass — also called coronary bypass surgery, a treatment used to treat blocked arteries from CAD — you may be able to get life insurance. Many insurance companies will consider applicants who have had heart bypass surgery, though they’ll likely want you to be at least three months (and often as long as six or 12 months) post-surgery before you apply. 

Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)

An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heart — it may beat too slow, too fast, or in an irregular rhythm. [2] The most common type of heart arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib. [3]

If you have heart arrhythmia, your life insurance options will depend on several factors, including whether you’ve also been diagnosed with heart disease. People with bradycardia (slow heart rate) can usually qualify for better rates than people with tachycardia (fast heart rate). People with atrial fibrillation (AFib) can get Standard or Preferred rates without co-conditions, and people with AFib and a pacemaker can qualify for table ratings

Congestive heart failure 

People will congestive heart failure will not be able to get traditional life insurance. However, they will be able to purchase guaranteed issue whole life insurance, which is low-coverage-amount final expense policy for people who cannot qualify for standard life insurance policies. (You can read more about final expense policies and other alternatives to standard life insurance below)

Heart transplant 

People who have had heart transplants also will not be able to purchase traditional term or whole life insurance policies. Like people with congestive heart failure and other serious health conditions, they will be able to purchase guaranteed issue whole life insurance instead. 

Congenital heart defects 

Some people with congenital heart defects can get life insurance depending on their diagnosis and condition. For example, people with a bicuspid aortic valve birth defect can possibly qualify for Standard rates or table ratings if they don’t have accompanying related conditions. A Policygenius agent will be able to talk through your health history and help you choose the best company for your profile and needs.

Best life insurance companies for people with a heart condition

The best life insurance companies for people with heart conditions must fulfill at least one of two requirements: they must assign lower risk classifications to people with heart conditions than their competitors might, and or, they need to have lower rates for higher risk classifications than competitors. Because each person’s health history is different, the best insurance company may even be different for two people with the same heart condition. These are the companies that do those things best for people with heart conditions, but because everyone’s situation is unique, a Policygenius agent can help you pick which company will be the right fit for your specific situation — and give you the most affordable rates.

Methodology: How we chose the best life insurance companies for people with heart conditions

We don't get paid for our company reviews and use an extensive rubric of criteria covering policy details, price, financial confidence, third-party ratings, and customer experience to assign unbiased ratings out of five stars. Any recommendations we make are based on internal and external expert opinions and data from our Policygenius Price Index, which uses real-time rate data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. Our ratings and reviews can help point you to an insurer you can rely on for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you is dependent on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can work with you through the application process so you’re getting coverage from the best insurer for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

→ Read more about our reviews methodology here

Best overall life insurance for people with heart conditions

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2023 Policygenius award winner

AIG

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.6

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

30+ year terms

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With competitive pricing and a range of flexible term periods for its Select-a-Term product, AIG is a solid option for many life insurance shoppers.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive pricing for all ages

  • Favorable underwriting for people with heart conditions and diabetes

  • Good for current and recently pregnant people, including people with gestational diabetes

Cons

  • Not the best for people with mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression

  • No no-medical-exam term option

AIG is often able to offer people with heart conditions coverage when other companies won’t. Additionally, for people with some conditions, including heart conditions, it often assigns them lower risk classifications (which means lower rates). Plus, AIG has some of the best rates across health classifications,  even for people with table ratings

Cheapest life insurance for people with heart conditions

AIG  

In addition to being the best overall insurer for people with heart conditions, AIG is also the most affordable. When shopping the market with Policygenius, people with heart conditions most often find their best rates with AIG.

Best life insurance after a heart attack

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2023 Policygenius award winner

Lincoln Financial

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.8

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Lincoln Financial offers a diverse array of life insurance policies, including competitive no-med and high-net-worth options.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Affordable rates

  • Good for many existing health conditions, including depression, stroke, and heart conditions

  • Good for marijuana users, including daily users

Cons

  • Term life not available in New York

Lincoln Financial is a good option for people who have had a heart attack because it will consider your application within three months of the event (most other companies won’t allow you to apply until six months or even a year has passed). Lincoln Financial is also a solid choice because it offers competitive rates for people with pre-existing conditions, including heart conditions. 

Best life insurance after a heart attack for young people

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2023 Policygenius award winner

Prudential

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starEmpty gray star

4.1

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With nearly four million policyholders and 150 years to its name, Prudential offers competitive coverage options for seniors, as well as people with some of the most common medical conditions, including asthma, depression, and fibromyalgia.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Good for people over 60

  • More flexible income requirements than some other insurers

  • Considers applicants with a variety of immigration statuses (visas and green cards)

Cons

  • Younger applicants will likely find better prices elsewhere

  • No-med option can end up requiring a medical exam most of the time

If you have a heart attack before age 40, many life insurance companies won’t consider your application. Prudential is one that will, if your event was between the ages of 35 and 39. Women in this age bracket will get slightly lower rates than men, but either way, your rates will be table ratings, and more expensive than most life insurance premiums. 

Best life insurance for people with heart disease 

AIG

Many people with heart disease will find their best rates at AIG. There are many types of heart disease, and your life insurance prospects will depend on what type and severity of heart disease you have. For people with pericarditis (swelling of the saclike tissue around the heart), aortic stenosis (a type of valve disease), mitral stenosis (another type of valve disease), or other similar types of heart disease, AIG will be able to offer the best rates. 

Best life insurance after a heart bypass 

AIG 

If you’ve had heart bypass surgery, AIG will likely be able to give you best rates once you’re several months out from your procedure. You’ll need to share why you had your surgery, whether you had any complications, and what medications you’re taking. Heart risk factors like smoking or high blood pressure could lead to a declined application. Rates are likely table ratings, which are more expensive than Standard rates. 

Best life insurance for people with arrhythmia

Protective

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.8

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

30+ year terms

Why we chose it

Protective has some of the most affordable and comprehensive life insurance options available.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive rates for all ages and health classifications

  • Good for people with mental health conditions, kidney conditions, and some cancers, including prostate cancer

  • Term lengths up to 40 years

Cons

  • Not available in New York

  • Not great for people who have had bankruptcy, marijuana users, or visa holders

  • No no-medical-exam policy options

Protective is a solid choice for people with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Many people with irregular heartbeats who have no evidence of heart disease can qualify for low rates with Protective. People with bradycardia with no pacemaker can qualify for Standard rates, while people with tachycardia will generally qualify for table ratings. People with AFib may qualify for Preferred rates with Protective if they’ve experienced a single episode and up to table ratings if they have a pacemaker. 

How much does life insurance cost if you have a heart condition?

If you have a heart condition, your life insurance premium costs will depend on your age, diagnosis, treatment, and overall health. We have pulled rates for people who have experienced a heart attack after the age of 40. Some people with certain heart conditions may qualify for better rates than those listed below, while other people will have more expensive premiums. Talk to a Policygenius agent to learn about your options and find your best rates.

20-year term life insurance rates for people after a heart attack

Age

$500,000 coverage amount 

45

$209.41

50

$272.11

55

$462.14

60

$689.64

65

$1,324.20

Methodology: Approximate estimated monthly rates are calculated for a male non-smoker obtaining a $500,000, 20-year term policy. Typically, the younger you are at the time of heart attack, the higher your premiums will be, so different health classifications were used to calculate rates accordingly. Rates at age 45 were calculated using an average of Substandard T5 health classifications; ages 50 and 55 were calculated using an average of Substandard T4 health classifications; and rates at age 60 and 65 are calculated using an average of T3 health classifications. Quotes are based on a composite of policies from AIG, Banner, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

How to buy life insurance if you have a heart condition

Shopping the market is essential when buying life insurance, and that’s especially true for people with heart conditions or other serious health conditions. One company may offer you competitive rates, while another may not offer you a policy at all. At Policygenius, we work with top insurance companies to help people find the most affordable rates for their specific situation. 

  1. Get quotes. You’ll start your search for coverage by answering a few questions about yourself, including your basic medical history. Some people may get life insurance quotes online immediately, though most people with heart conditions may need to share a little more information with our experts in order to give you accurate quotes. 

  2. Talk to a licensed agent. Whether you get immediate quotes or not, a Policygenius expert will contact you to discuss your coverage options and the best life insurance policies for your needs. 

  3. Submit your application. Your agent will fill out the application with you over the phone, and then send it to you to sign electronically. 

  4. Schedule a medical exam. Most people applying for life insurance will need to take a medical exam. A medical technician will come to your home, at no cost to you. 

  5. Wait while your application goes through underwriting. During underwriting, the life insurance company may have follow-up questions, or may request medical records from your doctors (more on that below). 

  6. Get your offer and sign your policy. 

Do I need to have a medical exam to get covered?

People with heart conditions will likely need a medical exam in order to get life insurance. The insurance company will probably also request an attending physician statement (APS) from your doctor or doctors to learn more about your diagnoses and health. (Your Policygenius agent will work with the insurance company to request these for you). 

Some people who don’t qualify for traditional term or whole life insurance may be able to get covered through other types of life insurance that do not require a medical exam, but these are substantially more expensive.

Why it’s important to disclose your heart medical history when applying for life insurance

When you apply for life insurance, you must share your complete medical history. Lying or omitting information on your life insurance application can be considered fraud, which could result in a denial of your application, prevent you from applying for life insurance in the future, or if your policy is approved, could result in your policy being canceled or your family’s claim being denied. 

Because the life insurance underwriting process is so thorough, your full health history is likely to come to light during the application process anyway. It’s best to be forthright upfront, not only so that you aren’t penalized for lying, but so your Policygenius agent can help you find the best insurance company for your specific health history. 

How will having heart issues affect my life insurance application?

When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company will look at your health history and family health history. If you have a heart condition, there are some specific questions you’ll need to answer about your heart health, including: 

  • What was the date of your first diagnosis or onset of symptoms? 

  • Have you had any surgeries or procedures, including bypass, stents, or angioplasty? 

  • How many surgeries or procedures have you had in total? 

  • What treatments have you had? 

  • What medications are you on?

Best life insurance policy types if you have heart conditions

The best insurance policy types for people with heart conditions include term, permanent, and final expense insurance. The best policy type for you will be the one that offers you the most coverage for the lowest rates. Your Policygenius agent can help you identify the most affordable policy for your situation. 

Term life insurance

Term life insurance is the most popular and most affordable life insurance type. Term provides coverage for a set amount of time (the term length), and then expires, so you’re only paying for coverage when you need it most, during the time your income is needed to support and protect your family. Many people with heart conditions will qualify for term coverage, though some with more serious conditions, or who were diagnosed before age 40, may not qualify. 

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance policies last your entire life and don’t expire. These policies, which include whole life and guaranteed universal life insurance, cost five to 15 times more than term life insurance and are generally best for people who need lifelong coverage or have higher net worths. Because many heart problems  can make your insurance premiums much more expensive, permanent policies like whole and guaranteed universal life can be cost prohibitive for those with a history of heart issues.  

Life insurance riders

Life insurance riders are add-ons to your life insurance policy that expand your coverage and may make some benefits available to you while you’re still alive. Living-benefit riders allow you to access part of the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness or, in some cases, if you become disabled. The most common type is an accelerated death benefit rider, which is included with most term policies free of charge. 

Life insurance options if you’re denied standard coverage

If you’re declined coverage for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy, you may still have options for coverage. 

Simplified issue life insurance 

Simplified issue life insurance is a type of final expense whole life insurance that doesn’t require a medical exam and instead relies on a medical questionnaire. With lower coverage amounts and higher premiums, it’s designed to cover people who don’t qualify for traditional term or whole life policies, though not everyone is eligible. People with congestive heart failure, new diagnoses of heart disease, or who have had heart surgery or heart transplant will likely not qualify. 

Guaranteed issue life insurance 

People over 45 who don’t qualify for simplified issue life insurance may qualify for guaranteed issue life insurance, another type of whole life insurance that is often used for final expenses. These policies offer near-certain approval, but coverage limits are low and premiums are costly. 

Group life insurance

Group life insurance is another option for people who cannot qualify for traditional term coverage due to heart conditions, or are too young or priced out of guaranteed issue policies. Group policies are usually offered through employers and rarely have medical requirements. Most financial advisors say that group life coverage is generally not enough, because coverage limits are capped and the coverage is rarely portable if you leave your job, but for people who cannot qualify for or afford a personal policy, group policies are a good fallback. 

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.

Frequently asked questions

Can you get life insurance if you have a heart condition?

Yes, depending on your diagnosis and age, you may qualify for traditional life insurance. People with more serious conditions may qualify for final expense life insurance policies.

Does life insurance cover people with heart failure?

A person with heart failure will not be able to purchase a new traditional life insurance policy, though they will be able to buy a final expense life insurance policy called guaranteed issue whole life insurance.

What will disqualify you from life insurance?

People who’ve had very recent serious health events or diagnoses are generally unable to purchase life insurance. But in many cases, once they recover and are several months out from the diagnosis, they can reapply.

What is considered heart disease for insurance?

Heart disease is a broad term that encompasses many diseases of the heart. The most common is coronary artery disease (CAD), while other conditions include irregular heartbeat and congenital heart defects.

Can you get life insurance after heart surgery?

Yes, it’s possible to get life insurance after heart surgery. However, you’ll need to be recovered for several months before you can apply.

Can I get life insurance with a heart murmur?

Yes, it’s possible to get life insurance with a heart murmur. In fact, if you have no symptoms and have not required treatment, it may be possible to get the best rates.

Which insurance is best for heart patients?

AIG is the best life insurance company for heart patients. It offers competitive rates to people with a variety of heart conditions, plus a solid guaranteed issue option for people who don’t qualify for traditional life insurance.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. CDC

    . "

    About Heart Disease

    ." Accessed December 14, 2022.

  2. Mayo Clinic

    . "

    Heart arrhythmia

    ." Accessed December 14, 2022.

  3. CDC

    . "

    Atrial Fibrillation

    ." Accessed December 14, 2022.

Corrections

No corrections since publication.

Author

Logan Sachon is the senior managing editor of life insurance and research at Policygenius, where she edits life insurance content and leads life insurance surveys and data studies. As a journalist, her work has appeared in The Guardian, Business Insider, CNN Money, BuzzFeed, Money Under 30, VICE, New York Magazine, and elsewhere.

Editor

Adam Morgan is an editorial director at Policygenius who leads the life insurance team. Previously, he led editorial teams matrixed across multiple financial publications at Red Ventures — including Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Million Mile Secrets, and others.

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