Can Arthritis Affect Your Life Insurance Application?


Arthritis is a common health condition that often will not affect your life insurance application, except under extreme circumstances. Still, it’s good to know little bit about how arthritis relates to life insurance.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis refers to joint inflammation, and when it becomes chronic, it interferes with normal functioning. Inflammation is actually a natural body reaction to disease or injury. It results in swelling, stiffness, and pain. If that lasts too long, or happens too often, it can lead to tissue damage.

It is estimated that as many as 70 million people in the US – or about one out of every three adults – have arthritis in some form. Though it can affect people at any age, it becomes progressively more common with age. In extreme cases, arthritis can lead to lost time at work, and even disability.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and affects an estimated 20 million people. Osteoarthritis is a form of the condition in which the cartilage covering and the bones begins to wear out. As that happens, the bones begin to rub against one another, causing pain and swelling. Though it can occur in any joint in the body, it’s most common in the hands, the spine, hips, and the knees. It can come about as a result of age or even overuse, and is often referred to as a degenerative joint disease.

In addition to osteoarthritis, there is also rheumatoid arthritis. With this condition, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks itself, and causes the joints to swell. As the inflammation spreads to the surrounding joint, both cartilage and bone can become damaged. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, including the skin, eyes, lungs, and nerves, though it is most common in the hands, wrists, knees and feet. The only area of the body of the disease does not affect is the lower back.

How Life Insurance Companies View Arthritis

Arthritis is generally not considered to be as big a risk as many other health conditions are when it comes to applying for life insurance. But that isn’t to say that insurance companies ignore it. They will give serious consideration to the type of arthritis that you have, the degree of pain or limitation that you experience, how long you had the condition, as well as any medications that you take for the condition.

If you have osteoarthritis, and have only mild pain, you’ll most likely be given a preferred rate, which mean that you will pay some of the lowest premium rates available.

In more severe cases of osteoarthritis, you may be assigned a standard rate class, which means you will not obtain the company’s best premium rates. Your condition will be considered severe if it interferes with your ADL’s, or activities of daily living. And naturally, the more the condition interferes with your ADL’s the higher your premium rates will be.

You can also receive standard rate premiums if you have rheumatoid arthritis that is well controlled, including taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

In the most severe cases, you’ll be table rated, which means that you will pay the highest premium rates for traditional life insurance products. At the extreme, such as where you are on disability as a result of the condition, you may have to accept a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, since it involves no exam and no health questions.

Managing Your Arthritis

If you have arthritis at any level, it will be important that you properly manage your condition. That means that you regularly consult your physician, take required medications regularly, and do your best to avoid activities that will aggravate your condition.

You must also be extremely proactive in regard to managing your overall health. If you have arthritis, and develop other health conditions, the premiums on a life insurance policy may become unaffordable. Under extreme circumstances, the combination of certain different health conditions can also make it impossible to get a life insurance policy at all.

Make sure that you’re eating right, getting regular exercise, and avoiding any habits or behaviors that could create additional risk factors. In particular, avoid tobacco and heavy alcohol consumption, and any activities that might cause your arthritis to become even more severe.

Make Sure To Apply to the Right Life Insurance Companies

Another factor that is within your control is to make sure that you apply for life insurance with the companies that have the most favorable view of people with arthritis. This is not standard across the industry. Some life insurance companies may even take a very dim view of those with arthritis, while others will offer products specifically for people with the condition.

We work with many different life insurance companies, and we know the ones who will work best for you if you have arthritis. Life insurance is our business, and we make it a point to stay on top of industry trends, including which companies represent the best ones to apply for coverage if you have most any type of health condition.

If you have arthritis – or any other health condition – give us a call, and let us see if we can help you get the policy that you need, at a price that you can afford.