Do you have autism and are curious about how it will affect your life insurance rates? Well, keep reading because we’re going to show everything you need to know to get an affordable life insurance policy.
Autism is a cognitive disorder that affects over 20 million people worldwide. It’s usually diagnosed in early childhood and is characterized by certain social inhibitions, communication and speech deficiencies, ritualistic behavior and increased stress levels in high sensory environments.
The exact workings of a brain with autism is still not quite understood, and people with autism can require hands-on care for the rest of their lives. However, most live with near complete independence, marrying and having families of their own. In other words, there are hundreds of different notches on the autism spectrum, and no two cases are alike.
The question is: Can you get life insurance with an autism diagnosis? You most certainly can. Keep in mind, though, that autism is known to be associated with a number of different health problems. This means that the process for applying for life insurance with this disorder may take some extra steps. However, affordable life insurance with autism is more than possible.
Factors That Can Affect Your Premiums
Fortunately, a diagnosis of autism is generally viewed better by life insurance companies than other conditions such as heart issues. However, since autism is sometimes associated with certain ailments, and the medication that autistic people take may have problematic side effects, your life insurance agent is going to want to know more. Here are some of the issues that life insurance companies are going to consider, and what steps you can take to get the best policy possible.
What Medication Are You Taking?
Even though there is no known cure for autism, there are still many medications available that can treat the symptoms for ADHD, OCD, behavioral issues and seizures. These include anti-convulsives, SSRIs and antipsychotics. However, many of these medications can have adverse side effects that can seriously harm one’s health, so be sure to list all the pills you’re taking.
How Does Autism Affect Your Everyday Life?
It’s important for autistic individuals to find ways to cope with their disabilities and live as satisfying a life as possible. Life insurance companies want people of stable mental health and need to see how well you can handle your day-to-day life.
What (if any) Health Problems Can be Linked to Your Autism?
Autism is associated with a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart conditions and muscular defects. Be sure to mention any of these to your agent.
How Severe is Your Autism and What Type is it?
Autism can manifest itself through many different combinations of symptoms, and in various degrees of severity. It’s a good idea to have a doctor write up an official diagnosis before going to get qualified for life insurance.
Every individual is unique, but there are generally three main levels of autism.
High Functioning Autism (Level 1)
High functioning autism is typically defined by slight deficiencies in communication and social interaction. Many people don’t even consider high functioning autism as an intellectual disability and people with high functioning autism usually lead entirely independent lives.
Mild Autism (Level 2).
People with mild autism usually exhibit noticeable issues with relating to others, coping with change and handling high sensory environments. Mildly autistic people may need some amount of support.
Severe Autism (Level 3)
People with severe autism experience serious behavioral problems and often have trouble performing simple tasks. People with this diagnosis will likely require a significant amount of care throughout their lives.
Do You Have Any Other High-Risk Medical Conditions?
Autism aside, any other health concerns you may have are going to be of interest to life insurance agencies, so have them all listed for your agent.
Life Insurance for Children With Autism
It’s also important to talk about how to get life insurance for a child with autism. Many people buy whole life insurance policies for their children.
Whole life insurance policies differ from term life insurance policies, as term life is designed for adults who want to make sure their family is financially taken care of if they die. However, whole life insurance policies are more like an investment you make for your children that grows over time and can accumulate cash value.
Buying life insurance for children with autism is a little more complicated. Children with autism under the age of seven are less likely to get approved, and if they get approved, they will usually receive a table rating at best.
If they don’t get approved, though, most companies will let you try again when your child turns fifteen. At that time, they can have a better understanding of how he or she is developing with their autism.
The best option may be, if you want to get a policy for your child, is to add them to your policy as a ‘child rider.’ This means paying a small amount more money on your policy for each of your children.
Then when they grow older you can convert this into a permanent policy for them without having to provide evidence of insurability. For autistic children, this might be the right option for them.
Life Insurance for a Caregiver
If you do not suffer from autism, but are providing care for someone who does, then you need to consider how to best protect them if you die before they do. Good caregivers can be expensive, so it’s important to decide ahead of time what kind of services you want for your loved one and make sure your policy can cover the cost.
Exam Versus Guaranteed Life Insurance
A big question that people have is whether or not it’s better to find a policy that requires an exam, or look for guaranteed insurance with no exam required. It’s almost always better to take an exam, but for patients with high-risk conditions, guaranteed life insurance may be cheaper.
Since autism is usually not considered high-risk, it’s better to take an exam to receive better rates. Because insurance companies don’t want to take risks without knowing what they are, you’re almost certain to pay less by giving them all the information you can.
If, however, you are denied outright for life insurance, there are two things you should do. First, apply for guaranteed insurance. Guaranteed insurance is not ideal, but it’s good for people who can’t get traditional coverage. The next step is to wait for something to change.
Often times, companies will reconsider your case after certain medical results have come out, or if not, then shop around until you find a company that will accept you. This way you’re covered until you can receive traditional insurance. Then all you have to do is switch out your guaranteed policy for the new one.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Rating
Please note that the following points are assuming that the applicant is an adult suffering from autism looking for a term life insurance policy. This does not apply to a child with autism whose parents want to have a whole life insurance policy.
Keep Yourself in Good Physical Health
It’s very rare that somebody will be denied coverage due to autism, as autism usually poses few health risks compared to somebody with, say, diabetes or an aortic valve disorder. However, autism is linked to a number of health issues, including tubular sclerosis, insomnia, allergies, seizure disorders and asthma.
If you don’t have any of these problems, then great. However, if you do have any outstanding health issues, it’s important that you receive regular checkups and take any medication necessary. Also, as a general rule for acquiring life insurance, make sure you eat right, exercise and get enough sleep.
Maintain Good Mental Health
Keeping ourselves mentally healthy is important for every individual without exception. Unfortunately, for people who suffer from autism this can be difficult. Considering that life insurance companies are always looking for people with a stable mental well-being, taking steps to improve your day-to-day life means you can achieve deep emotional fulfillment and possibly lower your rates at the same time.
Have Your Medical Records in Order
Next, remember that life insurance companies often reject applications if they seem disorganized, unspecific and undetailed. Therefore, be sure to write down the dates of all your doctor visits with the doctors names and contact information.
Also, note which medications you’re taking plus the brand and the dose. You’ll want to make sure there are no grey areas in your application which could backfire on you.
Work With a Life Insurance Agent
Finally, find a good life insurance agent or broker. The life insurance industry is complex and every person’s situation is different. An agent can give you personalized advice, suggest the right company for you, work with your complex needs and make their way through the puzzle of paperwork that life insurance entails.
If possible, it’s a good idea to find an agent who has experience working with people with autism. They will better understand how to approach companies and get you the most affordable coverage.
Ratings for Life Insurance with Autism
Preferred plus ratings are reserved for the healthiest of individuals and it is the least expensive. Unfortunately though, fewer than 5 percent of applicants qualify for this rating, even without any medical conditions.
Preferred is more likely. You’ll need to show the life insurance company that you are in essentially good health. And that you have no serious medical concerns to qualify for this rating including your autism.
If your autism is linked to any other disorders such as seizures or tubular sclerosis, you can still get standard class if you have them under control and are taking the proper medication.
Table rating is given to people with medical problems that cannot be overlooked. If you have health problems that continue to play a major role in your life no matter what, table rating is likely. Table rating can still provide you with affordable coverage. However, you may want to shop around to see if any other company will offer you a better policy.
As stated above, if you are denied for life insurance, you still have options. Namely, you can either wait to try again or look for other companies that will accept you. In the meantime, apply for guaranteed life insurance. If it turns out that you can’t find anything better than guaranteed insurance, it’s not the end of the world.
How to Find the Right Company
The fact that there are hundreds of life insurance companies for you to choose from is both a blessing and a curse. With so many companies available, it means that there is a very good chance you will find one suited for you and your needs.
However, it also means that you may have to do a lot of searching before you find the right one. If you’re looking for life insurance with autism, it’s important that you find a company that has a positive history of working with people who suffer from mental disorders.
There are others, but for your convenience, here are a few good places you may want to look into.
These companies have a track record of taking on applicants with mental disorders. This means they have a good understanding of what these conditions entail. And they are likely to look at your application with more of an open mind.
The life insurance industry is a maze of fine print, and finding the best coverage can be a real difficulty. It’s even tougher to get a good policy when you’re suffering from a condition such as autism.
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