Can You Get Life Insurance If You Have Herpes?


A medical condition – any medical condition it seems – is often seen as making it impossible to get life insurance. Even if you can, it often results in your paying higher premiums for the policy you do get. If you have a condition like herpes, you may think that you fall into this category. It’s not an uncommon notion, since herpes is often lumped in with other sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV.

There are probably thousands of people who have herpes who have avoided applying for life insurance because they believe that they will be declined or charged an unaffordable premium. In truth, that’s rarely the case. If you have herpes, and you need life insurance, you should make application and do it without delay. About the only caveat is choosing the right life insurance agent – but more on that in a bit.

What is Herpes?

Herpes, or herpes simplex, is a viral disease. Though it can affect different parts of the body, the most common variants are oral herpes and genital herpes. The exact cause is unknown, but the virus is transported from one person to another by body fluids or by direct contact with lesions.

The symptoms of oral herpes are the presence of cold sores or fever blisters that appear most commonly around the mouth, but can appear on other parts of the face as well. The blisters – which contain infectious virus particles – typically appear for between two and 21 days, and are followed by a remission period.

Genital herpes often becomes inactive (no sores or blisters) although viral shedding is still possible.

Once infected, the virus moves through the sensory nerves to the sensory nerve cell bodies. Once there, they will reside for a lifetime, even though symptoms are no longer apparent. In fact, visible viral activity tends to decline in both frequency and severity, until they disappear completely.

The Life Insurance View of Herpes

Since herpes is not a life-threatening illness, the effect on a life insurance application will be minimal, if there is any at all. Generally speaking, your life insurance application and policy will be underwritten based on the condition of your overall health apart from your herpes condition.

If your overall health is excellent, you’ll most likely get a rating of Preferred +, and pay the lowest possible premium.

This makes a strong case for making sure that your health is otherwise excellent. That means maintaining a proper ratio of weight to height, eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and having regular physicals and doctor visits as needed.

In most cases, the insurance company will require a medical exam, but this is not due to the fact that you have herpes. It is in fact a typical requirement for most life insurance policies. The examiner will come to your home or place of employment, and perform the usual procedures, including checking your height and weight and taking blood and urine specimens. But again, this is not because of your herpes condition.

There Is No Benefit For Failing to Disclose a Herpes Condition

With just about any health related condition, there is always a consideration to simply not disclose it on the application. This can be particularly tempting with conditions such as herpes, particularly if it is in remission or if the visible signs have ended. But it generally will not count against you if you disclose that you have the condition.

More important is that you build trust between yourself, the life insurance agent, and the life insurance company you’re applying to. Since the life insurance company is very likely to find out that you do in fact have the condition, honesty is always the best policy. The fact that you admitted to having herpes will give an insurance underwriter more confidence in your other answers.

Any time that you fail to disclose a health condition on a life insurance application it can only lead to more questions later on. And it can even result in the decline of your policy, if you’ve been less than truthful.

Applying for Life Insurance

If you have been holding off applying for life insurance because of a herpes condition, wait no longer. Your condition will generally not be a factor in the application process. You may very well be eligible for a Preferred + rating, which will get you the best premium rate on your policy.

But in order to be certain of a favorable outcome, you should work with an agent who has experience placing life insurance policies for people with herpes. Even though the disease is non-lethal, different life insurance companies view herpes in different ways. The key to success is always to be sure to apply only to the companies that will take the most favorable view of your condition. Only an experienced life insurance agent – one who works with many different companies – will know who the good companies are. That will save you both time searching, and unnecessary money spent on inflated premiums.