Does a Disability Affect Life Insurance Costs?

Quick Answer

Your life insurance premiums could be higher if you have a disability that is known to lead to health complications or shorten your lifespan. Insurance providers also consider your age, gender, lifestyle and overall health.

A family is laughing with each other while they eat food and celebrate.

Life insurance is an important way to provide for your loved ones when you pass. Living with a disability may make it more challenging to secure a life insurance policy and can impact how much you pay—but it doesn't prevent you from getting life insurance. Here's what you need to know about how having a disability could affect your life insurance costs.

How a Disability Affects Life Insurance Costs

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from being denied certain services, it does allow life insurance providers to consider the risks involved when determining coverage and price. A disability may influence how much you pay for life insurance if it is known to lead to health complications or shorten your lifespan. For example, conditions such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy—which have been proven to impact life expectancy—may come with higher premiums.

The amount you'll pay for life insurance will vary by situation and provider. When determining coverage and cost, life insurance providers may consider factors such as how the disability is managed and its severity.

Other Factors That Affect Life Insurance Costs

Insurance providers also assess the following factors when deciding how much to charge for coverage:

  • Age: Life insurance premiums are generally more affordable when you're young.
  • Sex: Men typically pay more for life insurance than women because their life expectancy is shorter. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the average life expectancy for females is 80.5 years of age, compared with 75.1 for males.
  • Health: If you have a serious medical condition, like high blood pressure or heart disease, you'll pay higher life insurance premiums. Policies are usually cheaper if you're in good health.
  • Risk factors: Smoking and other risky behaviors such as excessive speeding tickets, or even high-risk hobbies such as skydiving, could also drive up life insurance costs.
  • Policy type: Permanent life insurance provides coverage for your entire life. Term insurance is far more affordable but only covers you for a set period—anywhere between one and 30 years.
  • Coverage amount: The higher the death benefit—the amount your beneficiaries will receive when you pass away—the more you'll pay for life insurance premiums.

How to Qualify for Life Insurance With a Disability

In addition to factors related to your disability, prioritizing your health can help you qualify for life insurance coverage. This can include getting regular checkups with your doctor and following any medication and lifestyle recommendations they offer. Some insurance providers require a physical exam and bloodwork, and indicators that you're unwell could result in the denial of your application. You might explore no-exam options to increase your chances of getting approved.

Before applying for a policy, find a reputable life insurance agent who has experience working with buyers with disabilities. They will likely know which providers offer policies to individuals with certain conditions. If you apply on your own through an online insurance matching platform or directly with providers, it could be more challenging to find an insurer who will approve you. You'll also want to apply for an appropriate amount of coverage to improve your approval odds.

Get the Life Insurance Coverage You Need

Buying life insurance when you have a disability isn't impossible, and you may be able to qualify for a policy that works with your budget.

If you're ineligible for traditional life insurance because of your disability, there are other options. Consider guaranteed issue life insurance or a burial insurance policy. Both offer a small death benefit but do not require blood work or a physical exam. While this may not be ideal, it could be a good starting point.

If you're currently employed, a group life insurance plan through your employer is also a good option. You may be able to get a substantial amount of coverage at a discounted rate without going through medical underwriting.