Can you get life insurance if You're transgender?

If you’re transgender, you can still get life insurance coverage, though it might require some extra paperwork.

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By

Nupur GambhirSenior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertNupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.&Tory CrowleyAssociate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance AgentTory Crowley is an associate life insurance and annuities editor and a licensed insurance agent at Policygenius. Previously, she worked directly with clients at Policygenius, advising nearly 3,000 of them on life insurance options. She has also worked at the Daily News and various nonprofit organizations.

Edited by

Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAntonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate Content DirectorAntonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

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If you’re transgender, you can still get life insurance coverage at a competitive price. When you’re applying for life insurance, some insurers will honor your actual gender, but many will underwrite you based on the gender you were assigned at birth.

In addition, even though gender confirmation surgery and hormone therapy are taken into account during the underwriting process, they won’t negatively impact how much you pay for your policy.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule, which is why it’s important to shop around for a provider that will work with your profile. 

Insurers can’t discriminate against you because you’re transgender and doing so is illegal.

Key takeaways

  • If youre planning to undergo gender confirmation surgery, insurers will postpone your application until after your surgery.

  • A gender dysphoria diagnosis isnt considered a mental illness and shouldnt impact your life insurance application.

  • Insurers have different guidelines for how they evaluate your gender and how it plays into your overall risk. Transgender individuals should shop around to find a life insurance company that honors their actual gender and offers them the best rate.

Life insurance underwriting for transgender applicants

The life insurance underwriting process determines your health classification and what you pay for your premiums based on your risk of dying. Men and women tend to have different mortality rates, based on a combination of age, sex, and body mass index.

Each application is evaluated on an individual basis and if you ask different underwriters, you’ll probably get a lot of different answers as to how, exactly, they reach their final decision.

Some insurers will underwrite you based on your actual gender and may even have application guidelines about it. They may require that your gender is listed in any of your official documents (such as your driver’s license or passport) or only honor your actual gender if you’ve undergone transition surgery or are taking hormone therapy. 

At this point, however, many life insurance companies will still only underwrite you based on the gender you were assigned at birth. We recommend shopping around for a life insurance policy to find an insurer that underwrites you based on your actual gender identity.

If you’re nonbinary, this isn’t an option on life insurance applications at this time. If you identify as LGBTQ, this will not impact your eligibility for life insurance.

→ Average life insurance cost per month

Underwriting and gender confirmation surgery

Previous gender confirmation surgery doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance coverage, nor should it impact the life insurance premiums you get.

But if you plan to undergo gender confirmation surgery, many life insurance companies will postpone your application until after your surgery.

This is largely due to the risk associated with surgery, rather than the specific surgery or surgeries involved.

Remember that insurers are evaluating the risk of you dying at any given age, above all else. If you have any scheduled surgery life insurance companies will want to wait until you’ve recovered to make sure there are no complications.

You may be asked for an attending physician statement (or APS), which is a letter from your doctor that verifies your health. Insurers sometimes ask applicants for this, but typically require it from any applicant that has had surgery or a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes.

If your application is postponed, some insurers may allow you to backdate your policy. This allows you accept your policy with a lower premium, even though you aren’t able to put the policy in force right away.

The caveat with backdating a policy is that you’ll have to pay back premiums for every month that your application was postponed until it becomes active.

→ Learn more about the best life insurance companies on the market

Prescription checks

Alongside the life insurance medical exam, insurers look at your prescription history to better understand your medical background.

If you’re taking hormone therapy, this will show up on your prescription history check. Hormone therapy probably won’t increase your life insurance rates, but again, each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Ready to shop for life insurance?

Mental health and life insurance

Depression is one of the most common medical conditions affecting transgender applicants. Transgender people may also experience higher rates of mental illness than cisgender people. [1]  

And while life insurance companies typically won’t give you higher premiums because you’re transgender, your premiums still depend on your medical profile, including your mental health history.

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, the underwriter will want to understand the severity of your mental illness and your treatment history.

If you’ve received a professional medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, [2] it won’t be treated as a mental illness. However, life insurance companies will look at this on an individual basis and may refer to their medical staff for a more thorough evaluation.

Ready to shop for life insurance?

Coverage options for transgender applicants

Although life insurance companies can be slow to react to change, you can still get life insurance coverage if you’re transgender. Many insurers offer transgender applicants the best possible health classification and some will underwrite you based on your actual gender.

Your application may be postponed or require further evaluation depending on what type of gender-affirming medical care you’re pursuing. This might just require some extra paperwork and a longer application process.

A postponement doesn’t necessarily indicate an increase in your life insurance premiums. If you’re asked to postpone your application and need coverage immediately, you may be able to get temporary life insurance

Every life insurance application — and applicant — is different, and life insurance companies evaluate them that way. Shopping around with a life insurance broker is the best way to find an insurer that will offer you the best coverage based on your profile.

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

More about finding your best life insurance policy

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 oureditorial standards.

  1. American Journal of Preventive Medicine

    . "

    Gender Minority Mental Health in the U.S.: Results of a National Survey on College Campuses

    ." Accessed April 03, 2023.

  2. American Psychiatry Association

    . "

    What is Gender Dysphoria?

    ." Accessed April 03, 2023.

Authors

Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

Tory Crowley is an associate life insurance and annuities editor and a licensed insurance agent at Policygenius. Previously, she worked directly with clients at Policygenius, advising nearly 3,000 of them on life insurance options. She has also worked at the Daily News and various nonprofit organizations.

Editor

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

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