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Can You Get Life Insurance If You’re Already Dying?

Nov. 11, 2013
2 mins
A close-up of a woman resting her hands on her face

Getting diagnosed with a terminal illness would be devastating in so many ways. But beyond the emotional implications for yourself and your loved ones, there are other things to consider. One of them is the financial wellbeing of your survivors. Is it possible to apply for life insurance when you’re already sick?

Insuring The Ill

The short answer is, yes, you can qualify for a life insurance policy even if you already have pre-existing health problems. The long answer comes down to reading the fine print. There are many “guaranteed” life insurance plans on the market that don’t require any medical exams or ask any health questions as part of the application process.

Of course, insurance companies aren’t going to hand out millions of dollars in coverage no questions asked. Guaranteed plans typically max out at about $25,000 in coverage.

The bigger catch is that these plans include a two-year waiting period before the death benefit kicks in. So if you do die within two years of signing up for the policy, your beneficiaries will only get a payment equal to the monthly premiums you paid, plus interest.

Dealing With Injuries and Illness For The Insured

If you do get a deadly diagnosis after you’ve been approved for an insurance plan, you may be able to take early advantage of the future payout to help with ongoing healthcare-related costs, such as in-home nursing care, or for you to scratch some items off your “bucket list” before you become too ill to do so.

An “accelerated death benefit” is a rider that is included as standard in some plans, or can be added on to others. If you choose to take advantage of the accelerated benefit, you will receive monthly payments from your insurance provider, then the total amount received will be deducted from your beneficiaries’ final insurance settlement.

Another rider that you may want to look into is one that will cover your monthly premiums in the event you become injured or suffer from a debilitating illness that prevents you from being able to earn an income.

Prepare For The Worst

Regardless of your current health, it's always better to get life insurance before you need it, especially if you're still relatively young and healthy. Click here to learn more about your life insurance options (comparing can get you as little as $7 a month).    

Allan Britnell

Toronto-based freelancer Allan Britnell is an award-winning writer with nearly 20 years’ experience. He covers a diverse range of topics, including DIY and professional home renovation projects, nature and the environment, small business, personal finance, and family and health issues. He is also the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, the publication written for small- and medium-sized contracting and custom home building companies. He lives in Toronto with his wife, two daughters, and their dog, Oscar.

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