Kidney Function Tests and life insurance

How do KFT’s affect life insurance rates?

Kidney Function Tests play an important role in determining if kidney disease is present or how severe the disease may be.

This article will  provide you with information on what life insurance companies  look for when evaluating someone with kidney disease. It will also give you information on how to find the absolute lowest rates for someone with kidney disease.

Kidney disease often requires a detailed, expensive and time-consuming investigation in order to make a definite diagnosis.

Many chronic kidney disease slowly destroy kidney tissue and lead to chronic renal failure. The deterioration may take years, even decades. Therefore, underwriters will want detailed follow-up records from current and past attending physicians.

Given a diagnosis of past or present kidney disease, two questions need to be answered when evaluating those with kidney disease:

  1. Is there any current evidence of kidney failure or insufficiency?
  2. Is there any evidence of active kidney disease? 

To resolve question number 1, underwriters look at the current kidney function tests. Blood Urea Nitrogen or BUN and Creatinine are waste products in the blood that used to evaluate the kidney function tests.

The BUN and Creatinine  typically only register elevated when two-thirds of the kidney tissue is damaged. But, these are still the best simple tests available.

The serum creatinine is more specific and more sensitive than the BUN. Therefore, most elevations of BUN (up to 50mg/dl) will be disregarded if the creatinine is normal.

Creatinine clearance studies are another tests that can give more precise information. This test involves a sample of blood and a sample of urine from a 24 hour urine collection. The results are used to calculate the amount of creatinine that has been cleared from the blood and passed into the urine.

This calculation allows for a general evaluation of the amount of blood that is being filtered by the kidneys in a 24 hour time period. Although these tests are not routinely ordered by an insurance company, they can be extremely helpful in evaluation if an insured as completed one recently with their personal physician.

Urine samples in and of itself does not typically  help in the assessment of kidney function. The presence of albumin in the urine indicates a need to know if there is impairment of the kidney function tests.

We will discuss more about urine specimens in detail later in this blog.

What are typical readings of kidney function tests for BUN?kidney function tests and life insurance

When life insurance companies are evaluating the BUN portion of kidney function tests they typically are classified as:

  • Normal

BUN up to 25 mg/100 ml, serum creatinine up to 1.7 mg/100 ml. Creatinine clearance greater than 90ml/min.

  • Mild Impairment-

BUN 26 to 35 mg/100ml, serum creatinine 1.8 to 2.5 mg/100ml.  Creatinine clearance 55 to 90ml/min.

  • Severe impairment

BUN greater than 35 mg/100 ml, sercum creatinine greater than 2.5 mg/100ml. Creatinine clearance less than 55 ML/min.

To resolve question number 2 urine specimens usually provide the answer. Urine specimans are a routine requirement for most amounts of life insurance coverage. The amount of protein together with the number and type of cells and casts in the urine guides to the activity of the kidney disease.

Life insurance underwriters will use these kidney function tests to determine if any rating above the standard risk class is necessary.

In addition to kidney function tests, underwriters will also look at other medical history to determine final ratings. Below are questions that should first be answered when determine eligibility for someone with kidney disease.

Kidney Function Tests and life insurance underwriting questions

  • Name of kidney diagnosis?
  • Are any of the following present? Diabetes, Glomerulonephritis, systemic lupus erthematosus, polycystic kidney disease, other?
  • Current Medications?
  • Recent results of kidney function tests? BUN? SERUM CREATININE, URINALYSIS
  • Height/Weight?
  • Any of the following? Frequent Infection? High Blood Pressure? Cardiovascular Disease?
  • Any tobacco use in 5 years?
  • Any other major health problems?

Finding the best rates with abnormal kidney function tests

So, which companies offer the lowest rates for individuals with abnormal kidney function tests? Luckily you have stumbled upon this blog. We are experts at knowing which life insurance companies offer the lowest rates.

You only want to work with an agent who specializes in finding coverage for those with pre-exisiting medical conditions. In fact, the agent will be your biggest ally in finding the lowest rates.

Most agents have no clue on which companies specialize in this niche market. Additionally, letting one agent shop and negotiate your coverage makes good sense. A knowledgeable life agent will help you shop for coverage without you having to complete multiple applications and exams.

In addition, you won’t be exposed to the medical information bureau (MIB) unnecessarily.   The medical information bureau collects information when you apply for coverage.

So, if you just nilly willy apply to several life insurance companies and get declined, they will all have information in your file. This can make it more difficult to get quality coverage. Life insurance companies don’t like to see several hits on your MIB file with declination or multiple applications. Please keep this in mind when you are looking for coverage.

The right way to do it

So, here is an example of how to get the lowest rates in the industry:

Joe is a 50 year old male with a history of abnormal kidney function tests. His recent BUN readings showed mild impairment and is urine specimens were clear. Joe needs $500,000 of term life coverage.

Joe’s agent collects his information including all medications, height/weight, and other medical history and goes to work.

Joe’s agent talks to about 6 different carriers [personally by phone. He knows which companies do a good job underwriting those with abnormal kidney function tests. Joe’s agent gets a tentative offer for coverage from each insurance company.

Now, it is important to understand that at this point no formal application, exam or blood tests have been completed at this time.

Joe’s agent is just working the phones to see which carrier might offer the best rates SHOULD Joe decide to apply for coverage. By proceeding this way, Joe’s agent saves Joe lots of time and aggravation. It also makes each insurance company compete for his business.

Once each carrier has given their offer Joe’s agent comes back to Joe with the best rates. Joe then decides if he wishes to pursue a formal application with the carrier.

If so, Joe would complete a full application, exam and blood work if required.

This is the only way to go about finding coverage for someone with a pre-existing medical condition. Otherwise, you are just throwing darts at the more than 1,000 life insurance companies that offer coverage.


If you have a history of elevated kidney function tests and have a need for life insurance, we welcome you to contact us for a free consultations. We are experts in the special risk life insurance marketplace. We can be reached at 1-888-393-9003 or



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Mike Raines

I am an independent life insurance agent with over 30 years’ experience. I am an expert in finding coverage for those with past or current medical history such as heart disease, diabetes, post cancer, etc. I also specialize in those that participate in scuba diving, mountain climbing, private pilots, etc. I work with the best life insurance companies in the nation, such as Prudential, AIG, Protective Life, Transamerica to name a few. Each carrier has different opinions on rates and underwriting, and it is my job to match you with the best company. To do that, I need to ask you a few questions about your health and lifestyle to qualify you.

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