Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A health scare, like a stroke, is often a big motivator to buy life insurance.
Not too many events compel us to take action as much as a reminder of our mortality.
Can you still qualify for coverage after a stroke? Yes.
However, you need to prepare to answer some important questions about your stroke and overall health.
Think of this resource as a comprehensive guide to finding the best life insurance policy you can qualify for, including the specific questions you will be asked, the ideal companies to look at, and your next steps.
Table Of Contents
Life Insurance After Stroke
Be prepared to answer 10 important questions about your stroke before you submit a life insurance application.
Underwriters are in the business of assessing risk to determine whether or not you qualify for coverage, and just how much to charge you.
A medical event, like a stroke, will be zeroed in on during the application process if you are applying for traditional coverage, like 10-year term life insurance.
Plan to answer the following questions.
1. What was the date of your stroke?
Ideally, a significant amount of time has passed since you experienced your stroke.
Why? One stroke often leads to another.
Life Insurance After Stroke
|Type||Approval Wait Time|
|Mini-stroke (TIA)||3 - 12 months|
If it has been 12 months or longer (some carriers will approve sooner) since your stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), traditional coverage may be an option.
If it has been less than 12 months, look to a product like guaranteed issue life insurance, and then reapply after it has been a year since the event.
Note – guaranteed issue is a form of no exam life insurance, with limited face amounts and minimal underwriting.
Usually, for a preferred health class, your stroke needs to have occurred at least 10 years ago.
2. How old were you?
Generally-speaking, underwriters prefer to see strokes occur later in life.
Often, a stroke that occurs before age 55 is an indicator of a serious medical condition.
3. What type of stroke did you experience?
Life insurance carriers view Transient Ischemic Attacks, Ischemic, and full-blown (Hemorrhagic) strokes differently.
Most strokes (87%) are ischemic strokes.– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
TIAs, also referred to as mini-strokes, usually do not carry the same amount of risk as ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.
Additionally, you will need to let underwriters know just how many of each type of stroke you have experienced. As you likely know, TIAs are often a precursor to a stroke.
Important – often, underwriters prefer you received imaging (MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound) to confirm the type of stroke you experienced.
4. What were your symptoms?
Specifically, carriers want to understand how serious your symptoms related to your stroke were.
What, if any, of these symptoms did you experience?
- Muscular weakness or paralysis
- Visual impairments
- Speech difficulties
- Whole-body fatigue or dizziness
- Numbness in limbs
- Mental confusion
- Facial numbness
(Source: Mayo Clinic)
5. What are your remaining effects?
Depending on the type of and severity of your stroke, you may be experiencing long-term symptoms.
The effects of a stroke depend on several factors, including the location of the obstruction and how much brain tissue is affected.– American Stroke Association
Communicate to the underwriter if you have any of the following:
- Speech problems
- Memory loss
- Behavioral or personality changes
- Vision problems
6. What medications do you take?
Prescriptions are regularly checked during the application process.
Underwriters assess the benefits and potential risks of prescribed drugs when evaluating an application.
Commonly, patients are prescribed alteplase, blood thinners, statins, antihypertensive, or ACE inhibitor medications.
Different types of drugs are placed in different types of risk classes by life insurance companies.
But, overall, underwriters want to see proactive, responsible action towards your health, including taking the medication you are prescribed.
7. Was there an underlying cause?
More times than not, strokes occur as a result of an existing medical condition.
Plan to disclose if you have any of the following:
- previous TIAs or strokes
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- heart disease
- sickle cell disease
Important – your ability to be approved for traditional coverage may be negatively impacted if you have an underlying health problem.
An independent agent can help you navigate through your options.
8. Are you seeking follow-up care?
Do you regularly visit your doctor? Do you follow your physician’s advice?
Life insurance companies view consistent doctor visits and responsible health choices favorably.
That way, there is a record of your medical status. If not, underwriters have no way of verifying your current health.
9. Is there a family history of stroke?
You will be asked about the health history of close, blood-related family members, like your siblings and parents.
Often, stroke, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure runs in families.
Note – if your family member was diagnosed with a health condition later in life, like 60 years or older, most life insurance carriers do not view it as a risk to you.
10. What is your current health status?
Again, in the name of risk-assessment, underwriters want an understanding of your overall health.
Are you following a healthy diet? Do you get regular exercise?
Unfortunately, strokes often occur in conjunction with other health conditions.
Bottom line – diligent action geared towards the care of your health is viewed positively, while multiple health conditions may make it difficult to find affordable term coverage, like 20-year term life insurance.
Best Life Insurance Companies With History Of Stroke
Life insurance companies vary in how they view and assess different health conditions. Some carriers tend to underwrite a history of stroke more leniently than others.
Keep in mind – a paramedical exam will (almost always) be ordered by these companies due to your health history:
Life insurance IS available after experiencing a stroke.
However, you will need to meet specific criteria in order to qualify for term coverage:
- 3 months (often longer) since a TIA
- 12 months since a stroke
- 10 years since stroke for preferred rates
- Demonstration of proactive medical care
- Positive lifestyle choices
For many, at least temporarily, the best option is to buy a guaranteed issue life insurance policy until the minimum amount of required time has passed.
There are two important steps to take:
- Partner with an independent agent. That way, you will have access to multiple companies, a crucial step in finding coverage after a major health event.
- Document your health. In order to find the best policy for your circumstances, write down your medical history, prescriptions, and physician information.
A great place to get started is with a free quote.