Can I Get Life Insurance If I Have a Heart Condition?

Have you recently suffered a heart attack or been diagnosed with a heart condition? If so, you may think that getting a life insurance policy when you have a heart condition is virtually impossible.

Even with the potential unstableness of your ticker, you would be surprised at the options that are available (even if you have a pacemaker).

Most life insurance companies will look at heart conditions as a major red flag. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to get insured. There are still a few ways to get a life insurance policy with a heart condition, you just need to know the right path to get there.

At the end of the day, you may pay more out of pocket now, but if it takes care of all of your expenses when it needs to, I can assure you that your family and loved ones will be grateful.

Dieting & exercise

The first thing you need to do to get approved for life insurance is focus on the health of your body. This means changing your eating habits and exercising daily. Instead of a plate full of fried chicken and greasy french fries, settle for a big salad and glass of water. I know, I know, much easier said than done.

While this may not seem like much, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for insurance companies. With proper dieting and exercise, you will see your life expectancy increase and your waste line decrease.

Life insurance premiums go hand in hand with your mortality and weight. Ease the strain on your wallet (and your heart) by living healthier and avoiding risks that can control in the future.

Follow your doctor’s instructions

On top of eating right and exercising on a regular basis, following your doctor’s instructions is another great step in the right direction to getting approved for life insurance if you have a heart condition.

Some of these instructions will include changes to your eating habits like mentioned above.  They can also include quitting smoking (or other nicotine products), and avoiding strenuous activities while at work.

The doctor may also prescribe medications to combat your heart conditions.

It is also a good idea to keep excellent copies of your health records. Every little piece of information can be enough to sway your application to get approved. Keep multiple copies of your records and it may even be smart to have a backup on a USB drive.

Make sure to read the policies of insurance companies when applying. Some companies may be reluctant to offer you a policy if you’re taking specific medications.

Insurance companies want to see that you’re taking the steps to improve your lifestyle. Listening to your doctor and following their instructions will put you in a better light during the application process.

What if you have or have had a heart attack?

Outside of heart ailments, the biggest concern when applying for a life insurance policy is what to do if you’ve had a heart attack.

All hope is not lost if you want to apply for insurance but there are a number of factors that companies will consider before approving you for a premium.

Factors to consider

  • Age- Your age will be a key factor for insurance companies to consider as they review your application. Depending on when you had your heart attack, you may be at a greater risk to experience more of them based on your age and condition. Having a heart attack in your 50’s is much better than having one in your early 30’s because it may lead to long term heart risks as you get older.
  • Severity of the Heart Attack- While having a heart attack won’t completely eliminate you from approval for life insurance, the severity will be a major component of your application process. If you have a heart attack that damages three or four of your heart vessels, it will be tougher to get approved compared to an one with only one of two vessels blocked.
  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart beats)- Arrhythmia can cause your heart to beat too fast or too slow and you will need a full detail of your diagnosis when providing your medical history to the insurance companies.
  • Valve disease can also be a big deterrent in the application process. Your heart valves maintain the blood flow throughout your heart, and increased pressure on the valves can lead to a variety of symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pains, and fainting spells.

Each of the two previous heart ailments could be major roadblocks in getting your application approved.

If your doctor prescribes medication to combat your Arrhythmia or valve disease, make sure to understand all of the information given to you by the pharmacist.

What medications are you taking?

The types of medications you take will have a direct impact on the overall view of your health by any life insurance company you contact.

Ideally, you want to avoid taking any blood thinners after your heart attack. If it is detrimental that they must be taken, you will want to be off of them for six to nine months before applying for a life insurance policy.

The rates on premiums can be significantly higher if you are on blood thinners or suffering from blood clots. Long-standing heart disease can result in an increase of over 160% from what you would pay without any long term ailments.

Can I get life insurance if I have a heart condition_

Can you get insurance after bypass surgery?

You may be wondering how hard getting accepted for life insurance can be if you recently underwent bypass surgery. After your surgery, you will undergo a rehabilitation program that involves a number of stress tests.

These tests are done approximately every four to six weeks. You shouldn’t expect to be approved for a policy without going through the rehab program (most will be 12 weeks long).  

Outside of the program, you will also need to understand that it’s best to wait a while after your surgery before applying for a life insurance policy.

Understand waiting periods

It isn’t smart to immediately apply for life insurance after bypass surgery (due to the risks of potential complications post surgery). Most of these applications will be denied and are typically viewed as a waste of time.

Generally, it is best to wait at least six months after your surgery to apply. Most insurers will have a grace period before possibly approving the application.

This gives the insurance company the opportunity to look over the information about the surgery. Giving them access to your surgery information and subsequent rehabilitation program afterward will go a long way in you securing a policy.

Work through an independent broker if needed

Navigating through the different life insurance companies to find a policy that works best for your family can seem overwhelming at times. Each company will view heart condiation differently.

Understanding which policies are right for you may become easier with the help of an independent insurance broker.

The broker will be able to pinpoint the companies that will be most likely to approve your application based on your current health status.

You don’t want to waste hours every day searching for a policy that will end up costing you more money in the long run. Hiring a life insurance broker will not only get you the best possible deal but also save you the headache of researching the companies yourself!

What to do if your application is denied

After you have taken the necessary steps to fill out a life insurance application, you are pretty much at the whim of the insurance company.

Improving your eating habits and overall health, while simultaneously listening to any of your doctor’s instructions will only benefit you during the application process.

However, what should you do if you are denied by multiple companies? You shouldn’t simply keep your head down and expect that to be the definitive answer for the rest of your life.

There are still a few more ways to pick up life insurance even if your heart conditions have scared off some of the big name companies.

Apply for simplified life insurance

Simplified or no exam life insurance is the last realistic option if you have been denied previously. Also known as guaranteed acceptance life insurance, you will end up paying a much higher cost for this type of insurance. You may also not have some of the same options available in the policy.

You could be at a disadvantage if the terms of the simplified life insurance policy include a death benefit clause.

This clause is put in place for the company to get itself off the hook for the full amount of insurance money if you were to pass away within a designated time frame – typically within two years.

If the options available through simplified life insurance aren’t enough to cover what your family will need, you may have to purchase an additional plan.


To recap this discussion, if you suffer from heart conditions or have had heart surgery, you aren’t completely eliminated from getting life insurance. Two of the best ways to improve your chances of getting your application accepted are:

  • Changing your diet & exercising daily
  • Following your doctor’s instructions to maintain healthier living

These aren’t the only ways to improve your chances but will put you in the right direction to getting the life insurance policy you desire.
If you are looking for more information about possible life insurance options, reach out to us directly to receive a free quote.