Polycystic kidney disease-Can I get term life coverage?
Poly cystic kidney disease can make it more difficult to find life insurance protection.. Much depends on the severity of the disease.
This article will explain what poly cystic kidney disease is and offer tips on how to find the best rates for coverage. We will also look at some of the possible underwriting outcomes for certain diagnosis of poly cystic kidney disease.
There is no argument that someone with a family history or a current history of poly-cystic kidney disease will find obtaining life insurance challenging. But, there are some tips to make the search easier.
The absolute number one tip in finding the most affordable life insurance with poly cystic kidney disease is to use a “special risk“ broker.
A special risk life insurance broker will have unique knowledge an experience over most life brokers. A special risk broker should represent multiple companies. These companies should all specialize in underwriting life insurance with poly cystic kidney disease.
It is important to remember that the special risk market is a very small niche of life insurance carriers. You wouldn’t go to a general practitioner for brain surgery. So, you also shouldn’t use a life insurance company that has no experience writing life insurance with poly cystic kidney disease.
There are over 1,000 life insurance companies doing business in the United States. Perhaps only 20 or less do true special risk underwriting.
How do life companies rate life insurance with polycystic kidney disease?
Poly cystic kidney disease is a medical condition in which the kidneys develop multiple enlarging fluid filled sacs. A child with one affected parent has about a 50% chance of inheriting the disease.
PKD progresses slowly and is often initially asymptomatic. Sometimes it is discovered by ultrasound in childhood. Onset of clinical symptoms is usually in early or middle adult life and may include back pain, hematuria, infection, and colic due to kidney stones.
In a third of cases, cysts are also present in the liver, and in 10-35% of cases there are intracranial aneurysms. Hypertension is also found in about 50% of the cases.
Life insurance companies that underwrite PKD will want to take a good look at a prospects medical history. In particular, they will be interested in recent kidney function test along with any ultrasound results. Also, factors such as history of high blood pressure will be considered.
Half of patients develop abnormal lab work indicative of kidney impairment within 10 years of onset, the course is variable and renal failure may not occur for more than 20 years.
Kidney Function Tests can help resolve the question of any current evidence of kidney failure of insufficiency. A urine sample can help determine if their is any active kidney disease.
Let’s discuss some of the typical underwriting outcomes of those with poly cystic kidney disease. Life insurance companies use a rating system based on what is known as an alphabetical table rating.
A table rating typically indicates how much additional premium surcharge would be added to the standard rate for the age and sex of the applicant. The lower the table rating the lower the premium surcharge. Each table rating typically adds 25% premium surcharge to the policy.
As an example, someone who is issued a policy with an approved table B rating would have a 50% (25 x 2) rating surcharge added to the standard rate for their age and sex.
Underwriting Family History for polycystic kidney disease
It is important to note that those with a family history of poly cystic kidney disease and are between the ages of 0-40 would typically not be insurable by any insurance company. But, individuals may qualify for some type of guaranteed issue or graded death benefit type policy. If you need just a small policy amount of coverage then these type policies may offer a solution.
Family History but no evidence of disease-
Someone age 41 and over with a family history of poly cystic kidney disease and with no evidence of the disease themselves may qualify for standard rates if they have had a normal ultrasound.
So, someone with no history of the disease but has not had an ultrasound completed would be considered on an individual basis.
Ultrasound diagnosis of PKD with no other significant medical history-
Ages 0-49 un-insurable except for guaranteed issue
Ages 50-59 Possible table D (100%)
60 and up- Possible table B (50%)
Ultrasound diagnosis of PKD with high blood pressure abnormal urinalysis-
These prospects would be considered on an individual basis, but typically this cases would be hard to insure other than guaranteed issue type coverage.
How to proceed in finding out if you are insurable?
When working with a special risk broker it is important to gather as much information upfront regarding your medical history. Your special risk broker can then speak directly to the insurance companies that may accept you for coverage.
Keep in mind that this process should be done without actually completing an application and without doing a medical exam.
The process that a knowledgeable special risk agent will do is called an informal application. This process allows your agent to shop and negotiate with all the carriers and provide you with rates from the lowest carriers.
Once it is determined that the rates are acceptable, then and only then would you proceed with a formal application and medical exam. But, this is an informal process. It is important to remember that your final rates are not in stone until all formal medical requirements are completed.
Questions needed to apply informally
Below you will find the questions that your special risk agent will ask. Typically, this will give enough information to see if an insurance company is willing to make an offer thru the informal process.
- Do any other family members have polycystic kidney disease?
- Was the disease diagnosed by ultrasound?
- What are your current blood pressure readings?
- What are the results of your most recent urinalysis? I.E. Red blood Count, White blood count, Protein/Creatinine ratio? Protein?
- What were results of kidney function tests? Blood urea nitrogen (BUN), Serum Creatinine?
- Are you currently taking any medications?
- Have you used tobacco in past 5 years?
- Any other major health problems? I.E. Diabetes, cancer, hearth disease?
In addition to the questions above, it is important for the carrier to know how much protection you need and what type of coverage you are looking for such as term or whole life? Is it personal coverage or business protection?
Once the above information is received your special risk agent can then shop the marketplace to find if coverage is available and at what price.
I recently had a 27 year old male who needed $1,000,000 of term life insurance. He was engaged to be married and wanted to protect his future income earnings and provide for his new wife.
He presented with poly cystic kidney disease that had shown up during testing just a few years before. This was inherited PKD. On my initial conversation with the underwriter he was willing to offer a rated policy just do to the history of PKD. But, the underwriter had not reviewed any medical records or doctors reports.
The prospect was totally healthy otherwise and exercised regularly. He did have mild blood pressure history. One the underwriter received all medical records he came back with a much much better offer for the client.
Needless to say the client was ecstatic to get a much lower rate than tentatively quoted in the beginning. It’s important to remember than all prospects for coverage are looked at separately. This again is one another reason why it’s important to use an expert agent who specializes in carriers that underwrite PKD.
It is also important to remember that if coverage cannot be found thru the traditional underwriting methods you may still qualify for coverage with guaranteed issue plans.
If you have a need for life insurance and have a history of poly cystic kidney disease, please contact us for a free evaluation. You can reach us at 1-888-393-9003 or firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for reading this blog!