Can I buy life insurance if I have multiple sclerosis?
Yes, many people who have multiple sclerosis can buy life insurance, though the policies available depend on the progression of the disease, current age, age at diagnosis, and other factors. Because MS is such a variable disease with wide-ranging symptoms and treatments, there is a large spectrum of possible life insurance rates.
For people with MS applying for life insurance, it is important to shop the market to find the best insurance company — and the best rates — for you. A Policygenius agent experienced with finding coverage for people with MS can help you find the right policy for you.
Best life insurance companies for multiple sclerosis
Each life insurance company evaluates risk differently, and some companies are more likely to cover people diagnosed with MS than others. The best life insurance company for you will be the one that offers you the best rates.
We chose the companies that, in our experience, generally offer the best rates for life insurance coverage to people with MS. However, your unique health history may mean that your best company isn’t listed here. A Policygenius agent can help you choose the best life insurance company for you.
Best overall: Prudential
Best for relapsing-remitting MS: Lincoln Financial
Best for primary-progressive MS: Prudential
Best overall for people with multiple sclerosis
Prudential is the overall best life insurance company for people with MS, based on our work with over a dozen of the country’s top insurers. While Prudential’s rates can be higher than some competitors, it offers policies to people with certain health histories — including MS — that other insurers decline. Prudential has high financial ratings, including an AM Best Rating of A+, making them a solid choice for any life insurance applicant.
Cheapest for people with multiple sclerosis
Transamerica is the cheapest life insurance company for people with MS, though any diagnosis of MS generally means you'll get a more expensive premium. Transamerica has low premiums for people of all ages. Plus, people who apply with Transamerica typically receive their offers faster than people who apply with other companies.
Best for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)
For some people with relapsing-remitting MS (RMMS), a type of MS with clearly defined attacks, Lincoln Financial offers lower life insurance risk classifications than many competitors.  This means you may qualify for lower rates with Lincoln Financial, which generally has lower premiums across age groups than many other companies.
Best for primary-progressive MS (PPMS)
In addition to being our top pick overall for people with MS, Prudential is also our top pick for people with primary-progressive MS (PPMS). The more progressive and disabling your diagnosis of MS is, the harder it is to get coverage for life insurance. We‘ve found that Prudential is the best option for some people with this form of MS to get traditional life insurance.
How much does life insurance cost if you have multiple sclerosis?
Life insurance costs for people with MS can vary widely based on disease progression and other factors. When you buy life insurance, the company assesses your overall risk using your medical history, prognosis, and other diagnoses, assigning you a risk classification that correlates with premium rates. The tables below show average possible rates for a male who was diagnosed less than 10 years ago and has mild to moderate relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).
20-year term life insurance rates for people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)
$500,000 coverage amount
20-year term life insurance rates for people with primary-progressive MS (PPMS)
How to buy life insurance if you have MS
Do you need to have a medical exam to get covered?
In order to get traditional life insurance with MS, you will need to take a medical exam — a normal part of nearly all traditional life insurance applications. A medical technician will come to your home and administer a verbal questionnaire during which you’ll go over your medical history again. Then you’ll have a physical exam with a weight check, blood draw, urine sample, and blood pressure draw.
Can MS show up on a blood test during a life insurance exam?
MS is a disease of the central nervous system and cannot be diagnosed through a blood test, so it will not show up during a life insurance exam blood test.
The life insurance blood test generally measures the following:
Hepatitis B antigen
Hepatitis C antibody
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (for men over 50)
What will insurers ask about your multiple sclerosis?
Life insurance companies will want to know all about your MS diagnosis in order to understand your health history and evaluate your risk classification. You’ll need to share all diagnoses, treatments, surgeries, and medications that you’re on, for example. For people with MS, they will specifically want to know:
Age of onset
Frequency of symptoms
Progression of the disease
Current treatment(s) and how you’re responding to treatment
Any medications you’re on
Ability to perform the activities of daily living (ADL)
Why it’s important to disclose your multiple sclerosis diagnosis when applying for life insurance
If you have MS or any other disease, you must disclose it to the life insurance company during your application. If you lie on your life insurance application, you could be denied coverage and could be prevented from applying again, even to a different company.
How will having multiple sclerosis affect your life insurance application?
When you apply for life insurance, insurers look at your full health history in order to assign you a risk classification, set your rates, and offer you a policy. Each life insurance company evaluates risk differently, and an MS diagnosis will affect how they evaluate your application.
You'll have to go through the full underwriting process and take a medical exam in order to get traditional term or whole life insurance. Although some companies offer instant-decision term life insurance, which allows qualified applicants to skip the medical exam and get a term life policy faster, having MS will disqualify you from this type of policy. You’ll have to go through the full underwriting process, which can take up to six weeks or more, and you’ll take a medical exam.
How does underwriting work for term life insurance with multiple sclerosis?
After you complete your application and your medical exam, the insurance company’s underwriters will evaluate your materials. If you have MS, it’s very likely they will request more information directly from your doctor(s), called attending physician statement (APS), which can make the process take longer. Sometimes for people with complicated health histories, you may need to answer a few more questions. Once the underwriters have evaluated your application, they’ll let you know if they will offer you a policy, and what your risk classification and rate will be.
Can underwriters obtain your medical information even with existing HIPAA privacy laws?
Yes, underwriters can legally access your medical information because, in order to apply for insurance, you’ll need to sign a HIPAA life insurance waiver. This waiver allows them to ask your providers for your health and medical history in order to evaluate you for a life insurance policy. They cannot use the information for anything else.
Best life insurance policy types if you have multiple sclerosis
Term life is one of the most affordable life insurance coverage options on the market, only lasts for a set term, and comes with few rules and tax restrictions. Term life is the best option for most people looking to protect their income and provide their family with a financial safety net to cover any debts — including a mortgage or any other type of personal loans.
Whole life and other types of permanent life insurance are good options for people looking to use life insurance to diversify their investment portfolio or those with long-term financial obligations or coverage needs, like dependents who require lifelong care. Whole life never expires and comes with a cash value that earns interest in addition to the death benefit payout. Because of that, it’s usually five to 15 times more expensive than traditional term policies. If you’re already maximizing your contributions to tax-advantaged accounts like a Roth IRA or a 401(k) and are seeking another investment option, whole life might work for you.
Living benefit riders
Living benefit riders on life insurance are add-ons to your policy that ensure some of your life insurance death benefit is accessible while you’re alive if you meet certain criteria. Most companies offer an accelerated death benefit rider for terminal illness, which allows you to access a portion of your death benefit while still alive if diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness, for free, though each company has its own criteria for when the rider is activated. Most are activated when you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and expected to have six to 24 months to live, depending on the company. Other living benefits riders, including long-term care riders, may not be available to people with MS.
Life insurance options if you’re denied coverage
Some people with MS will not be able to purchase traditional life insurance due to the progression of the disease. They still may have options for life insurance coverage, however.
Final expense insurance
Final expense insurance, also known as burial insurance, is a type of life insurance intended to cover your end-of-life expenses like a funeral or outstanding medical debts. Coverage limits are low, usually maxing out at $25,000. Final expense policies are easier to qualify for than traditional policies if you have MS. There are two types.
Simplified issue life insurance: A type of whole life insurance that doesn’t require a medical exam and instead relies on a medical questionnaire. Simplified issue is more expensive than traditional life. Not everyone with MS will qualify, but some people may be able to get coverage.
Guaranteed issue life insurance: A type of whole life insurance that offers almost-certain approval, as it doesn’t ask medical questions. Premiums are higher than traditional life insurance or simplified issue life insurance. Only people over 45 or 50, depending on the company, can apply for guaranteed issue life insurance.
Group life insurance
People with MS who do not qualify for traditional term or whole life insurance may still be able to get covered through group life insurance, which is a policy that covers you through work or a trade organization. These policies generally do not have medical requirements, though coverage is usually maxed out at one or two times your salary.
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