Do Migraines Affect Life Insurance?


It’s often thought that migraines have no real effect on life insurance, or that they shouldn’t. Sometimes that’s true, but in severe cases they can have a major effect. But don’t let that discourage you – there’s a life insurance policy out there for nearly everyone!

What Are Migraines?

Migraines are severe headaches that are accompanied by increasing and severe pain and even throbbing or pulsing. They can also result in nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. They can be so severe that they can restrict normal activity, and have even been linked to other health conditions, including depression.

A migraine headache can last anywhere from several hours up to several days. The exact cause of migraines is not known, but they’re believed to be the result of a large number of factors, including:

  • Hormonal factors in women – the normal hormone fluctuations which occur with regular menstrual cycles may predispose some women to experience migraines
  • Use of different types of oral contraceptives
  • Various foods, including red wines, aged cheeses, nitrates (preservatives used in smoked meats), monosodium glutamate, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, and dairy products

  • Stress
  • Exposure to strong stimuli such as bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells
  • Even changes in barometric pressure

Migraines are typically treated with anti-nausea drugs and abortive or preventive medications. Pain relievers have mixed results, depending on the nature and severity of the migraines.

How Do Migraines Affect a Life Insurance Application?

Whether or not you will be approved for a life insurance policy – and how much your premium will be – will be based on whether your condition is mild, moderate or severe. An insurance company will use various factors to determine the degree of your migraines, including:

  • When you were first diagnosed
  • What medications you take
  • How often you need to seek treatment
  • Whether or not you have ever been hospitalized for migraines

Your condition may be deemed to be mild if you have had migraines in the past, but did not need to seek medical treatment, and have not had them within the past few years. This level of the condition will make you eligible for the best premium rates on your life insurance policy.

If you have had migraines more recently, and have had to seek treatment or are on an ongoing drug therapy, you can usually still get life insurance, but you’ll be given a standard rating. That means you’ll pay a little bit more for your premium.

If you’re experiencing severe migraines on regular basis, are in need of regular treatment, and have had to be hospitalized, you may be given below standard rates, which means that your premiums will be much higher. But if you have testing done to rule out more serious problems, such as tumors, you may still qualify for the standard rate.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

In the event you are declined for a fully underwritten life insurance policy, one other option is to go for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

The advantage of this type of policy is that there’ll be no medical exam, and no health questions. This means that you will be able to get a policy without disclosing the fact that you have a severe migraine condition.

Guaranteed issue life insurance costs more than regular term life insurance on a per thousand basis. And the amount of the policy is generally limited to $100,000 or less.

There is also a waiting period to collect death benefits on this kind of policy. If you die within the first two or three years of the policy, your beneficiaries will receive either the premiums you paid, or a portion of the death benefit – which will depend on the company that issues the policy. Only after the waiting period will your beneficiaries be entitled to the full face amount of the policy.

Guaranteed issue life insurance is not the perfect life insurance solution, but it’s far better than the alternative – which is to have no life insurance at all. But that may not be your only option either…

What to Do About Getting Life Insurance If You Suffer From Migraines

If you suffer from migraines – particularly if they are severe – you will need help in getting an affordable life insurance policy. Seriously, don’t try to do this on your own. Different insurance companies underwrite the various health conditions in unique ways. Whenever you have a health condition, you need to be able to know who the companies are that will take the most favorable view of your application.

Contact our office and let us help you. We work with many life insurance companies, and know which of them will approve your policy at the best rate – and which are unlikely to do so. We may also be able to show you alternatives to a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, if that has been the recommendation from other insurance companies.