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From the Learning Center

How Does Life Insurance for Disabled Individuals Work?

By the Bestow Team·March 24, 2023·4 Minute Read

In this Article

Life insurance can help provide the people in your life with a financial safety net of sorts should you pass away. For example, a life insurance payout can be used to cover medical debt, a mortgage, or the cost of your funeral

But how does getting life insurance work if you’re disabled? Fact is, 25% of adults in the U.S. have some form of disability. But fear not. When it comes to life insurance for people with disabilities, there are options. 

This article will help explain the role disabilities can play in determining life insurance eligibility and rates.

Life Insurance for People with Disabilities

While there is no specific type of life insurance for disabled individuals, the good news is that having a disability does not prohibit you from getting approved for a life insurance policy. 

Every person who applies for life insurance goes through an underwriting process. Once your life insurance application is submitted, an insurance underwriter will review your personal, health, and lifestyle information to determine your risk level and to assign you an insurance classification.

Your risk level, insurance classification, and other factors determine whether you are eligible for life insurance and what your rates will be. To put it directly, a life insurance underwriter’s job is to assess the risk of offering an applicant insurance or to determine the likelihood that a death may occur while you are insured. predict how likely you are to die while insured.

Underwriters examine your age, height, and weight,and medical history. They review your hobbies and your lifestyle choices (smoking and drinking habits, for instance). 

Some insurance companies may require you to submit a medical exam when you apply for coverage. In this case, the underwriter will comb through the results of your medical exam, lab tests, and health history. If the insurer you work with offers no-exam life insurance, they will likely use technology to review your health status instead.

Underwriters know that the insurance company they work for provides life insurance for people with disabilities. They are less focused on disabilities in general. Instead, underwriters look at the type of disability applicants have and the disability’s correlation to lifespan.

Is there life insurance for disabled veterans?

The Department of Veteran Affairs has announced plans to roll out an insurance program called Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife). Launching in January 2023, VALife will provide guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance coverage without a medical exam to Veterans under the age of eighty with any level of service-connected disability. The coverage range available through this program is $10,000 to $40,000.

What is Considered a Disability?

The life insurance industry classifies a disability much like the CDC: a disability is any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).

If you are searching for information on life insurance for disabled individuals, know that if any of the following are impaired, limited, or restricted, the applicant could be considered as disabled: 

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Movement
  • Memory
  • Cognitive function
  • Communication 
  • Communicating
  • Mental health
  • Social relationships

Are Rates Higher on Life Insurance for Disabled People?

It’s important to remember that life insurance carriers are in the life expectancy business. If a disability doesn’t have a considerable impact on lifespan, it likely won’t significantly influence eligibility or rates. 

Insurers consider other factors regarding life insurance for disabled people too — like how well managed your disability is, what medication it requires, or any associated hospital visits you may have had. If you are looking into life insurance for a disabled person or yourself, it’s helpful to know the other factors life insurance companies consider when you apply for life insurance and how they can affect your insurability. 

How To Improve Life Insurance Eligibility

Some things that insurance companies look into are out of your control (like family medical history), but others are changeable. Take a look at some of the things that underwriters take into consideration when reviewing your insurability: 

  • Your age. Younger people tend to be more insurable.
  • Your height and weight. Height and weight can reflect health.
  • Your family’s medical history. Your parents’ and siblings’ health matters to insurers.
  • Your employment status. Life insurance companies consider employment a sign of good health and likelihood of making premium payments.
  • Your smoking status. Smoking is considered a risky habit.
  • Your alcohol consumption. Less is more when it comes to life insurance.
  • Your life interests. Reading novels is a low risk hobby. Skydiving? Not so much. 
  • Your current health and your medical history. Some insurers require a medical exam, and others offer no-medical life insurance.

The cost of life insurance for people with disabilities might be lower if you can eliminate some of the other risk factors above. 

Apply for Term Life Insurance Online

If you’re curious about term life insurance for people with disabilities, you can always start with a free quote. If you decide to apply for coverage, most insurance companies will review your medical history and do a soft credit pull (which doesn’t affect your credit score).

Forbes - Ranked #1 “Best Life Insurance Company” in the U.S. by thousands of real customers. No medical exams required. Get a quote.

Some insurance companies require a medical exam and have a long waiting period. But not Bestow. 

With Bestow, term life insurance is fast and easy — you can apply online in minutes. Want to know more? Check out the Bestow Learning Center to read about the underwriting process, different types of life insurance, and more. 

Key Takeaways

  • Disabilities do not disqualify people from getting life insurance, but everyone has to apply to see if they qualify. 
  • Insurers look at risk factors when determining eligibility and rates. Some disabilities that do not decrease lifespan will typically not affect insurability. 
  • If you are shopping for life insurance as a disabled individual and are concerned about insurability, there are other factors you can focus on to improve insurability, like smoking status and how often you drink alcohol.