Kidney Disease and Life Insurance


Kidney disease is one of the more complicated high risk factors when applying for life insurance. There isn’t just one type of kidney disease, but several, and each can make it more difficult to buy life insurance.

Different kinds of kidney disease

Kidney disease can be either congenital – meaning you’re born with it – or acquired, which is to say that it is a disease that you develop later in life. Examples of congenital kidney disease include renal dysphasia, polycystic, cysternia and Alport’s Syndrome.

Acquired kidney disease can include lupus nephritis, renal failure, nephropathy and even kidney stones.

Some forms, such as kidney stones, can come and go but are seldom life-threatening. Other forms of kidney disease are progressive, and represent a higher risk from a life insurance perspective.

Different levels of the disease

Level and severity of kidney disease is an important consideration for life insurance companies. If the disease is considered mild or moderate, you may be able get a standard risk classification, at least with certain insurance companies. Occasional episodes of kidney stones will certainly fit this classification.

If your condition is in a moderate classification, you may still be able to get coverage – again from certain companies – but at a substandard level. This means that your policy application will be approved, but your premiums will be set at a level above the standard rate.

If the disease is severe, it will generally be impossible to get any type of life insurance at all.

How life insurers will view your application

In addition to the level that the disease is judged to be at, the insurance company will also consider:

  • How long you have had kidney disease
  • How well you’ve managed the condition
  • Treatments, medications or surgeries that are a direct result of having kidney disease
  • Any complications that have developed as a result of the condition
  • Your overall health, apart from the effects of kidney disease

These factors – in one direction or the other – primarily relate to mild or moderate levels of the disease.

What you can do to increase the likelihood of approval at the best rates

There are steps that you can take to increase the likelihood that you’ll be approved for life insurance, and even affect the premium level you will pay.

Be proactive in managing your condition. Kidney disease usually requires a modified diet, that involves eliminating salt, as well as sodium from processed foods. Also work closely with your healthcare providers, carefully following up on treatments and regimens prescribed to you. Regular interaction with the medical community is generally viewed more positively by life insurance underwriters.

Avoid habits and activities will have a negative effect on your overall health. Any time you apply for life insurance, the company is looking not just at a specific condition, but your overall health. Take the normal steps to maintain good health – avoid high-fat, high-salt foods, maintain proper body weight, get at least a moderate amount of exercise, and be sure to get plenty of sleep. Also avoid negative health behaviors, such as smoking and excess alcohol consumption.

Get your doctor involved in the life insurance application. If you have been working with a physician for several years, trying getting him or her involved in the life insurance application process. Your doctor may be able to address your condition, as well as treatment therapies, in a way that will impress life insurance underwriters.

Make your application if/when you’re in remission. If your kidney disease enters intermission, and you have a relatively long period without symptoms, that would be the ideal time to apply for life insurance. It is an indication that the disease is properly managed and under control.

Apply for a lower amount of coverage. A life insurance company might approve your application with a smaller amount of coverage. Though they may decline a policy requesting $500,000, they might approve one for $100,000. This has the obvious benefit of lowering your annual premiums as well.

Get a good life insurance agent to help with the process

A life insurance agent who works with several different insurance companies will know which companies are more likely to approve an application for a person who has kidney disease. This may be the single most important step you’ll take in getting life insurance if you have kidney disease. There are some companies that will not insure a person with kidney disease, while others may consider it to be a profitable niche. The latter are the companies that you want to work with.

A knowledgeable insurance agent will know exactly who those companies are, and that will save you time and money in getting approved.