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Qualifying for Life Insurance with Asthma (2017 update).

Now if you yourself have never suffered from a severe asthma attack or haven’t seen someone close to you have a severe attack, you may be wondering:

“What’s the big deal, about getting life insurance when you’ve been diagnosed with asthma?”

But if you do suffer from “asthma” or you have seen a loved one have a “serious” attack, you know that asthma can be a very serious medical condition and is one that should not be taken lightly.

In fact…

According to American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, approximately 10 Americans will die each and every day from asthma and an astounding 250,000 people worldwide will die each and every year!

Additionally, asthma causes:

  • Nearly 2 million emergency room visits,
  • 14 million doctor visits,
  • And over 400,000 hospital stays each and every year.

Which costs us as a society nearly 56 billion dollars annually!

This is why…

Life insurance companies don’t simply “assume” that asthma isn’t something that they need to be concerned about during the underwriting process.   In fact most life insurance companies are going to ask you a ton of questions about your asthma so that they can properly “calculate” how severe our condition actually is.

Asthma defined.

Asthma is a defined a respiratory condition that is characterized by spasms within the bronchi of the lungs that cause a narrowing of a patient’s airways.  During an asthma attack, the lining of the lungs airways will become swollen or inflamed and will secrete a thinker than usual mucus, further inhibiting normal breathing.

Symptoms of asthma may include:

  • A dry raspy cough usually accompanied by phlegm.
  • Difficult breathing during exercise.
  • Fast mouth breathing.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • And throat irritation.

Treatment options:

Rescue inhalers which utilize albuterol will often be used to minimize the effects of an actual asthma attack while steroids can be used in “controller” inhalers to help manage day to day symptoms.

Severe asthma cases may also require “long-acting” inhalers which are designed to keep airways open for a longer period of time and will generally use stronger medications such as formoterol, salmeterol and tiotropium as well as oral steroids.

Self-care methods of treatment can also be employed by the patients themselves which would include not using any tobacco or nicotine products as well as avoiding any other environment factors which could potentially trigger an asthma attack.

Applying for life insurance with an asthma.

One of the first questions we always like to ask here at InsuranceBrokersUSA when trying to help someone find the right life insurance policy for them and their family is:

“How much life insurance coverage are you looking for?”

You see… knowing how much life insurance coverage that you’re looking for will be one of the most important factors in determining which “type” of life insurance policy we should look at first!

For example:

If you’re simply looking for small whole life insurance policy that would provide enough coverage to pay for your burial, it’s quite possible that either simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance could be a good fit for you.  Plus, these types of policies won’t require you to take a medical exam.

Further, you may be interested in guaranteed acceptance life insurance that won’t even require answers to any health-related questions, so you can literally be insured in 24 hours or less!

The main problem with these types of life insurance policies is that they will typically only provide about $25,000 dollars in coverage, and many will contain what is called a graded death benefit clause which will prevent your policy from covering natural causes of death for a set period of time (typically 2-3 years) from the in force date of your policy.

But you never know

For some folks, a guaranteed issue life insurance policy is a perfect solution to their problem, which is great as long as they are fully aware of what they are purchasing and completely understand what the graded death policy states.


For those looking for more coverage however…
A guaranteed issue life insurance policy probably isn’t going to get it done.   This is why we’ll the want to turn our attention to term or whole life insurance requiring an exam.

These are fully underwritten life insurance policies that will require an applicant to take a medical exam and answer a series of health and lifestyle questions in order to be able to qualify for coverage.

Common questions you’ll likely be asked pertaining to your Asthma:

In addition to your “normal” life insurance application questions such as:

  • Age?
  • Height and weight?
  • In the past 12 months have you used any tobacco or nicotine products?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes?
  • Has any of your immediate family members (mother, father, brother or sister) ever been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes?
  • Are you currently taking any prescription medications to treat any conditions other than your asthma?
  • Do you have any issues with your driver’s license, such as a suspended license, multiple moving violations and/or DIU?
  • Do you actively participate in any dangerous hobbies?
  • Do you have any set plans to travel outside of the United States in the next 2 years?
  • Are you planning to travel to any potentially dangerous locations such as North Korea, Haiti, Syria or Iraq?
  • Are you currently working now?
  • During the past year, have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?
  • Etc, etc..

Individuals who have been diagnosed with asthma will also be asked questions specifically regarding their pre-existing medical condition.

These questions will generally sound something like this:

  • When were you first diagnosed with asthma?
  • How long have you been treating your asthma?
  • What medications are you currently using to treat your asthma?
  • Have those medications remained the same for the past 12 months?
  • How many asthma attacks have you suffered in the past 6 months? In the past year?
  • Have you ever needed to visit the emergency room due to an asthma attack?
  • Have you ever need to be hospitalized (stay overnight) due to an asthma attack?
  • In the past 12 months have you used any tobacco or nicotine products?
  • In the past 12 months have you used any marijuana products?
  • Are you currently working now?
  • In the past 12 months have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?

From here…

We should have a pretty good idea about what “type” of life insurance you may or may not be eligible for as well as what “price” you may have to pay for your insurance.

But it’s important to note…

That until an insurance underwriter has completely reviewed all of your information, we won’t know for sure what you will or won’t qualify for.  That being said however, it’s pretty safe to say that if you only have a “mild” case of asthma and you aren’t currently taking any medications AND you don’t smoke, you should be eligible for just about any rate class available including a Preferred rating.


If you have a more “severe” case, which may have required you to visit the hospital over the past year or you only have a “mild” case but also use tobacco or nicotine, you’re probably going to find it much more difficult to get insured for a fully underwritten term or whole life insurance policy.

The good news…

Is that because we here at InsuranceBrokersUSA have chosen to remain an independent life insurance brokerage, we’re able to work with dozens of different life insurance companies simultaneously so that, when it comes to helping our clients find the best life insurance policy that they can qualify for we don’t need to simply rely on one or two different options!

So, what are you waiting for?  Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!

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