Can you get life insurance if you have kidney disease?
You can get a life insurance policy with chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition characterized by progressive damage and loss of function in the kidneys.  The specifics of your condition, including the stage of your disease and any treatment or medication you’ve been prescribed, will determine the type of coverage and rates you’ll be eligible for.
If your kidney disease has only progressed to stage 1 — which means your kidneys are still working well but you may have signs of kidney damage —  and you’ve demonstrated stability with minimal treatment, you could still receive preferred rates on your life insurance. These rates offer the second most affordable premiums and are usually reserved for people with one or two well-controlled or resolved minor health conditions.
If you have renal failure or need dialysis — or if your kidney disease has reached stages 4 or 5 — your life insurance options will be more limited. 
Can you get life insurance if you’re getting dialysis?
If you’re receiving dialysis, a treatment for people who experience kidney failure, you’ll be eligible for coverage through a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. 
Guaranteed issue is a type of whole life insurance aimed at covering final expenses. Your policy will last the rest of your life as long as you pay the premiums, and usually comes with a death benefit payout between $5,000 and $40,000.
Guaranteed issue policies are the best option for people on dialysis. These policies are typically five to 15 times more expensive than term policies with similar face amounts, but they offer near-certain approval and don’t require a medical exam as part of the application process.
Can you get life insurance if you’ve had a kidney transplant?
If you’ve received a kidney transplant, it’s generally recommended that you wait at least one year after the procedure to apply for life insurance. Life insurance companies will want to see that your body has accepted the new kidney and maintained a stable condition after the transplant.
Once your body adjusts to the transplant, you may be eligible for term life insurance, though the rate you’re eligible for will depend on the complexity of your kidney disease.
Before offering your coverage, the insurance company will confirm details such as your creatine and protein levels, the source of the kidney you received — whether it was from a living donor or a deceased donor — and any medications you’re taking.
How do life insurance companies evaluate kidney disease?
If you’ve been treated for acute kidney failure (which can be caused by infection or an injury, among other possible causes),  insurance companies will want to have a thorough and accurate view of your medical profile before they make a formal offer of coverage.
You should expect a medical exam, a prescription history check, and an attending physician statement (APS) order to be completed during underwriting.
The underwriting process usually takes four to six weeks. During that time, the insurer will verify the personal and health information you submitted on the application. This information will help the insurance company assess your risk and determine a fair rate for the insurance coverage you need.
In this case, the insurer will want to verify specific details about the stage of the disease, any additional conditions affecting your health, and whether you’re following any treatment and taking any prescriptions.
If you have polycystic kidney disease — a genetic disorder that can lead to CKD —  you’re less likely to get a competitive rate. This type of kidney disease is more serious and is less likely to be improved by a healthy lifestyle.
Why does kidney disease affect life insurance rates?
Kidney disease affects how much your life insurance costs because it affects your mortality. People who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease statistically have shorter-than-average life expectancies.
Because your life insurance rates are calculated based on your expected mortality, any condition from your medical or personal history that affects how long you’re expected to live will impact how much you pay for life insurance.
Life insurance options for people with kidney disease
Term life insurance and whole life insurance are the two main types of life insurance policies people with kidney disease are eligible for. Term life insurance is the more affordable option for most people, but can be difficult to be approved for, depending on the details of your kidney disease.
Term life insurance lasts for a specific term, usually between 10 and 40 years. It’s generally the most cost-effective type of insurance. However, it’s not available to everyone. Depending on your health history, you may not be eligible to get term life insurance at an affordable rate.
Whole life insurance can also be a good option, especially for people with complicated health histories, like having kidney disease. Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of whole life insurance that is guaranteed to be approved; you can’t be denied coverage and you don’t have to take a medical exam. Whole life policies are typically five to 15 times more expensive than term life, so people usually get them for smaller amounts to cover final expenses (such as the cost of a funeral).
Life insurance options for dialysis patients
Guaranteed issue life insurance. If you are or have ever been on dialysis, your best option for individual coverage will be guaranteed issue whole life insurance. If this type of insurance is not affordable for you, you may be able to get coverage through the other options below.
Group life insurance. A group policy is typically provided by your employer with a death benefit of one to two times your salary. No medical information is required to apply for this coverage, and you’re guaranteed approval.
Spousal insurance rider. If your spouse has life insurance coverage, they may have the option to get additional coverage for you through a rider.
Best life insurance companies for people with kidney disease
Best term life insurance: Corebridge Financial
Best life insurance for dialysis patients: Mutual of Omaha
Best term life insurance for people with chronic kidney disease
Corebridge Financial (formerly AIG Life & Retirement) is our recommended carrier for people with CKD. It offers competitive rates, and unlike most other insurers, offers term life coverage to people with kidney disease.
Best life insurance for people on dialysis
For people on dialysis or with advanced kidney disease, you’ll still be able to get covered through a guaranteed issue policy. Mutual of Omaha is our recommended carrier for guaranteed issue policies because it offers competitive rates for people age 45 to 85.
How much does life insurance cost if you have kidney disease?
A 45-year-old man whose health has been minimally impacted by kidney disease could get a term life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit payout and a term of 20 years for less than $55 per month. A woman of the same age and the same medical history could get a rate of less than $45 per month for the same policy. The cost of life insurance for someone with kidney disease will vary greatly depending on the stage of disease and treatment required.
20-year term life insurance rates for people with kidney disease
Minimal impact from kidney disease
Mild impact from kidney disease
Significant impact from kidney disease
If the kidney disease is more advanced, a 45-year-old man could expect to pay under $90 per month for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy with a death benefit of $25,000. A 45-year-old woman could expect to pay under $70 per month for the same coverage.
Guaranteed issue life insurance rates for people with chronic kidney disease
$5,000 coverage amount
$15,000 coverage amount
$25,000 coverage amount
How to shop for life insurance with kidney disease
If you have CKD, the life insurance you’re eligible for will depend on the specifics of your diagnosis and treatment. Demonstrating consistency in your health and medical treatment could improve your options for insurance coverage.
Speak with a licensed agent to discuss the details of your case and determine which type of insurance is best for you and the amount you can afford. At Policygenius, our experts are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent, unbiased advice.
What if my application is declined?
If your application for term life insurance is declined for health reasons, such as a history of kidney disease, you have other options, including guaranteed issue life insurance.
It’s best to connect with a licensed insurance agent to talk through the details of your health, your financial needs, and make sure you’re getting the coverage you need at the best price available for you.
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