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Life Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

You may be able to get life insurance with ulcerative colitis for as little as $18.23/month. While having ulcerative colitis can make it more difficult to get life insurance, it's not impossible.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer...

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UPDATED: Jul 6, 2020

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Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes diarrhea with blood, cramping, and abdominal pain. If you suffer from this disease, you might be wondering what the options are for getting life insurance with ulcerative colitis.

While it can be challenging to get life insurance when you have a pre-existing condition, it isn’t impossible. Read on to learn what options are available, including sample life insurance rates for someone with ulcerative colitis, and more.

Ready to buy life insurance with ulcerative colitis? Get life insurance quotes now using our FREE tool above.

Shopping for Life Insurance Quotes With Ulcerative Colitis

Life insurance companies set rates based on your perceived risk level. As a result, the more likely you are to die, the higher your rates will be.

One of the factors they look at is your health history, including pre-existing conditions. If you have serious health issues like ulcerative colitis, your rate is likely to be higher than average.

Life Insurance Rate Classification With Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis

So can you get life insurance with ulcerative colitis? With rare exceptions, you will be able to qualify, though you may pay more for your insurance than people who don’t suffer from this disease.

Average Sample Rates for Life Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

We’ve put together some sample rates tables for people with ulcerative colitis.

Average Monthly Term Life Insurance Rates for Ulcerative Colitis Patients by Rate Class, Age, Gender, and Policy Amount
Rate ClassificationAgeMale
$100,000/
20-Year
Female
$100,000/
20-Year
Male
$250,000/
20-Year
Female
$250,00/
20-Year
Male
$500,00/
20-Year
Female
$500,000/
20-Year
Standard40$18.23$16.10$32.59$28.87$59.94$51.93
Substandard – 50% over Standard40$23.49$20.34$41.67$34.41$75.60$62.63
Substandard – 100% over Standard40$29.57$25.37$53.81$44.03$98.96$81.66
Substandard – 150% over Standard40$35.58$27.08$64.38$53.86$120.49$94.02
Standard50$37.36$29.05$77.31$58.36$143.59$110.95
Substandard – 50% over Standard50$49.22$38.98$98.11$73.17$187.19$137.23
Substandard – 100% over Standard50$63.87$50.22$129.06$94.63$247.74$181.13
Substandard – 150% over Standard50$78.93$60.45$152.46$115.80$293.77$221.02
Standard60$91.85$65.62$204.70$143.50$392.71$273.89
Substandard – 50% over Standard60$126.00$86.10$251.41$175.83$492.75$337.70
Substandard – 100% over Standard60$166.25$113.05$333.37$232.60$655.15$448.42
Substandard – 175% over Standard60$196.66$136.73$403.21$285.59$795.27$550.68
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This table includes standard rates as well as several classes of substandard rates. That’s because the severity and type of your illness will affect your insurance rates.

Some people may qualify for standard insurance rates, but in most cases, you’ll have to pay a substandard rate of between 25 percent and 175 percent greater than the standard rate.

In other words, if the standard rate were $100/month, you might have to pay anywhere between $125 and $275 per month for life insurance if you have ulcerative colitis.

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What are insurance companies looking for when insuring people with ulcerative colitis?

Buying life insurance with pre-existing conditions calls for a distinct set of questions. Since every health ailment poses a unique risk to the insurance carrier, there are questions the underwriter follows to determine your eligibility for coverage and the rates you can qualify for.

The questions you may be asked could make you feel like you’re getting health insurance for ulcerative colitis instead of life insurance. Rest assured that your insurance agent simply wants to get as much information as possible so they can accurately determine your risk level.

Let’s look at some of the questions the underwriter will ask if you have ulcerative colitis.

What was your date of first diagnosis?

Any time you have a pre-existing health condition, you can expect to be asked how long you have lived with it. The intention behind this question is to gauge your risk of death from your disease so that the underwriter can make appropriate rate decisions. It’s all about life expectancy.

What is the life expectancy of someone with ulcerative colitis? In most cases, you should be able to live a full life, but there have been instances where someone died from complications of this disease. If you’ve had ulcerative colitis for more than 10 years, it also increases the risk of colon cancer. This risk could cause the insurer to require a higher rate.

Conversely, if you have had ulcerative colitis for less than six months, there isn’t enough data yet to determine how it will affect you. Some insurers may postpone making a decision until you’ve lived with ulcerative colitis for longer.

What is the type of inflammatory bowel disease present?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two main types of ulcerative colitis the underwriter is looking at: chronic ulcerative colitis and chronic proctitis.

Chronic proctitis refers to there being inflammation only in your rectum. This is a milder form of the disease when compared to inflammation of the entire colon. Underwriters may also look at whether only your left side or your entire colon is impacted by your ulcerative colitis.

The type and the number of episodes you have had, or currently have, will play a significant role in determining your eligibility or the rates you can qualify for.

Diagnostic Tools

Doctors use several diagnostic tools to help determine the severity of your ulcerative colitis. The most common tools include:

  • Blood tests to check for anemia and infection
  • Stool samples to check for the presence of white blood cells and rule out infections and parasites
  • Colonoscopy, with or without biopsy
  • X-rays or CT scans of your colon

In some cases where there is severe inflammation, doctors may perform other tests and procedures such as a sigmoidoscopy, which is like a colonoscopy but examines only the last part of your colon.

What treatments have you tried?

Medication is the most common form of treatment, although your doctor may recommend dietary changes such as drinking more water or limiting your dairy intake before trying medical treatment.

The more medications you are on, the less control insurance underwriters will feel you have over your ulcerative colitis. This could result in higher insurance rates if you’re on a lot of different medications or if you’ve changed medications several times.

Insurance underwriters don’t have access to your full medical records, which are confidential. However, they do have access to prescription databases that will tell them what medications you’ve been prescribed throughout your life. Your insurer may ask you questions about what medications you’re on and for what conditions.

Common medications for ulcerative colitis include mesalazine, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressant drugs.

Immunosuppressant drugs are only used in the most severe cases, as they interfere with your immune system’s functioning and put you at risk of contracting other diseases. In contrast, mesalazine is often the first drug tried when treating ulcerative colitis. Thus, you are more likely to get standard rates if you are on this drug than on others.

Have you ever been hospitalized for ulcerative colitis?

In some extreme cases, medication doesn’t work, and doctors may elect to remove some or all of your colon. This is major surgery with serious health consequences — you will have to wear a bag for collecting excrement for the rest of your life — and insurance companies will consider you a high risk if you have gone this route.

Not all hospitalizations involve surgery, however. Some colonoscopies require a brief hospital stay, and you may also be admitted to the hospital if you have severe symptoms like constant diarrhea and major stomach pain. If you’ve been hospitalized for these reasons, it may not affect your insurance rate as much as surgery does.

Complications

If you take corticosteroids, it can cause bone problems. Most notably, people who are on these medications long-term are at risk of osteoporosis, or weakness of the bones, which makes fractures more common, and children who take these medications are at risk of delayed puberty or their physical growth being stunted.

Some people who have severe ulcerative colitis are at risk of potentially fatal complications such as bowel cancer or toxic megacolon, a condition where gases get trapped inside the colon and can cause it to rupture.

Insurers will take these risks into account when determining your life insurance rate.

What is your build?

It’s common for insurance underwriters to ask applicants this question because being obese or severely underweight can both cause health problems.

When it comes to life insurance with ulcerative colitis, this question is important because sometimes people with chronic ulcerative colitis suffer from rapid weight loss. Thus, being too skinny can be a sign that your condition is more serious than someone who is of average build despite their ulcerative colitis.

What does the underwriting process consist of if you have ulcerative colitis?

Life insurance companies all have their own process for setting rates. However, there are five factors that they generally consider.

Demographics such as your current age, your gender, and your marital status are important considerations because these factors can affect your longevity regardless of whether you have ulcerative colitis.

Your general and family health history is one of the biggest determinants of your life insurance rate. If you suffer from other serious diseases in addition to ulcerative colitis or if you have a family history of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, you’ll probably pay more.

People in high-risk occupations pay more because they risk their lives regularly on the job. Police officers and firefighters are examples of high-risk occupations, as are jobs such as being a stunt double for the movies or being a fighter pilot.

Engaging in high-risk habits results in higher insurance rates. Smoking is the most common high-risk habit. If you smoke, you’ll almost always pay more for life insurance because smoking is associated with heart disease, serious respiratory ailments, and cancer. You’ll also pay more for life insurance if you have a poor driving record, especially a history of DUIs or reckless driving, or if you have a history of drug abuse.

High-risk hobbies such as skydiving or bungee jumping can also impact your insurance rates, as these hobbies put you at risk of serious injuries or death.

Finally, your military status affects your life insurance rates. Active-duty military personnel usually pay higher rates because of the risks associated with being stationed in a combat zone — even if they aren’t on combat duty. Veterans often come home with physical or mental health issues that make them a greater insurance risk.

Life Insurance Medical Exams & Ulcerative Colitis

Insurance companies don’t always require a medical exam. In most cases, however, you’ll have to have one if you have ulcerative colitis.

Unless you’re applying for guaranteed issue no-exam whole life insurance, your insurer will want to see for themselves how serious your condition is and whether you have any complications that might put you at a higher risk of an early death.

Types of Life Insurance You Can Get If You Have Ulcerative Colitis

If you have ulcerative colitis, you still may qualify for several types of life insurance.

Term Life Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

Term life insurance is a time-limited type of insurance that lasts anywhere from 10 to 30 years. This type of insurance is popular because term life insurance quotes are usually cheaper than other types of life insurance. Of course, if you have ulcerative colitis, you may not qualify for the cheapest rates even if you go with a term life policy.

Term life insurance isn’t permanent, and if you die after its expiration date, your family will not receive benefits.

However, many life insurance companies allow you to convert term life insurance to whole life insurance when it expires, often at a lower rate than if you paid for whole life insurance in the first place.

Whole Life Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

Unlike term life insurance, whole life insurance is permanent life insurance. This means that your family is covered no matter when you die.

Most whole life insurance policies grow in cash value over time. This allows you to access funds while you’re still alive in the event of an emergency or to bequeath the policy’s value to a loved one upon your death.

Some life insurance companies offer guaranteed issue whole life insurance for people over the age of 50.

This type of insurance doesn’t require a medical exam and covers everybody regardless of their health status. If your ulcerative colitis is severe enough to interfere with you getting life insurance and you otherwise qualify, this may be an option for you.

Universal Life Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

Universal life insurance is like whole life insurance in that it’s permanent and builds in cash value over time. This type of life insurance offers flexible payments — you can pay as much or as little per month as you want as long as you cover your premiums.

The advantage of universal life insurance is that the insurance company will often invest your payments in higher-yield vehicles, so you can build cash value more quickly. However, sometimes these investments are riskier, so you might lose money if you aren’t careful.

Critical Illness Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

Critical illness insurance allows you to get accelerated death benefits while you are still alive if you’re diagnosed with a major illness and require hospitalization or home health care. These benefits can help you cover medical costs or pay your bills while you’re recovering from the illness and can’t work.

Some critical illness insurance only covers certain illnesses, while other critical illness insurance covers any major illness.

Is ulcerative colitis a critical illness? Well, there is no critical illness insurance specifically for ulcerative colitis, but if you buy non-specific critical illness coverage and then are hospitalized because of your disease, you may qualify for benefits.

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What rate class can I qualify for if I have ulcerative colitis?

Every life insurance company has its own life insurance underwriting guidelines they follow to classify a client’s risk. However, there are four major life insurance risk classes most underwriters use to determine rates.

Life Insurance Rate Classes
Rate ClassDescription
Preferred PlusApplicant is in exceptional health and otherwise presents little risk.
PreferredApplicant is mostly low risk, but may have a minor health issue such as slightly elevated cholesterol.
Standard PlusApplicant is in generally good health and presents lower than average risks, but has several health issues such as being overweight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol which are cause for concern
StandardApplicant is in average health. They may have negative health history such as a family member dying of a stroke.
Preferred SmokerApplicant is in good health despite being a smoker and thus qualifies for lower rates than average for smokers
Standard SmokerApplicant is a smoker and has some minor health issues
SubstandardApplicant has serious health issues or is otherwise a higher insurance risk
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Preferred Plus is the highest rate class and allows you to get better-than-average rates. This rate class is reserved for people who have no major health issues, so in most cases, it wouldn’t apply to people with ulcerative colitis. However, if you’ve been living with ulcerative colitis for more than 10 years, have been medication-free for five years, and have no major symptoms, you may qualify for this class.

Preferred is for people who have one or two indicators of poor health, such as obesity or high blood pressure, but are generally in good health. Again, this is not likely to apply to most people with ulcerative colitis.

Standard is the rate class for people in average health. They have a few risk indicators, such as cancer running in their family, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, but represent an average risk. Surprisingly, if you have had your colon surgically removed and there have been no complications, you may qualify for this rate class despite having had major surgery.

Sub-standard is the rate class assigned to people who represent higher risks to the insurance company and thus must pay higher-than-average rates. Most people with ulcerative colitis fall into this category.

If you were diagnosed more than two years ago and don’t have serious complications, you’ll pay a little more than average, while those who have had multiple severe episodes, especially if they had to be hospitalized, will pay far higher rates. If colon cancer runs in your family, you’ll also likely be placed on the higher end of the substandard rate scale because ulcerative colitis and family history both increase your risk of colon cancer.

How to Get the Best Life Insurance Rates With Ulcerative Colitis

If you have ulcerative colitis, the best way to improve your life insurance rates is to go to your doctor as required and follow all their advice.

If you can keep flare-ups to a minimum and avoid hospital stays or other severe incidents, you are more likely to qualify for a better rate.

The better your general health is, the better your rate is likely to be, too. It’s especially important to avoid smoking, as this habit negatively impacts insurance rates. If you smoke, quitting can go a long way toward lowering your insurance rates.

Do some research ahead of time. It’s usually cheaper to buy the right type of life insurance with the correct amount of coverage for your needs than to adjust your life insurance plan after you’ve already bought it.

Finally, make sure you comparison shop. Life insurance rates differ from company to company, so get multiple quotes from different companies before making a final decision. Make sure you compare similar plans and coverage amounts so you can get the best idea of what the type of insurance you need will cost.

What if ulcerative colitis prevents me from qualifying for life insurance?

The most common reason a life insurance company may decline your application is that you are too newly diagnosed. If you got your diagnosis less than six months ago, many companies may decline to cover you until they have more data about how the disease affects you. In this case, you can try again after sufficient time has passed.

If you don’t want to wait or have been declined for some other reason, you have two options available.

  • If you’re over 50, you may qualify for guaranteed issue whole life insurance
  • If you’re under 50, you may qualify for group life insurance through your employer

Guaranteed issue whole life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam, and as the name implies, you’re guaranteed to be approved. This may be slightly more expensive than term life insurance, but if you can’t get term life, it’s a moot point.

Group life insurance is often cheaper than individual life insurance. It’s usually offered as a benefit for employees of a certain company. While this insurance is tied to your employment, in many cases it’s portable, which means you can transfer it over to your new job if you change jobs. You may also be able to convert it to an individual policy if you retire from your job.

The Bottom Line: Life Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic health condition that can impact your life insurance rates as well as your life. While having this condition may make it more difficult to get life insurance, it’s far from impossible.

Depending on how severe your ulcerative colitis is, when you were diagnosed, and what treatments you’ve undertaken, you may even qualify for standard or lower-than-average rates. In most cases, however, you’ll still have to pay more for life insurance than the average applicant.

You won’t know how much you’re likely to pay for life insurance until you begin comparison shopping. Use our FREE tool below to get multiple quotes for life insurance with ulcerative colitis.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Life Insurance With Ulcerative Colitis

If you’re trying to get life insurance with ulcerative colitis, you may have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions potential policyholders ask.

#1 – Can I get life insurance with ulcerative colitis?

While every situation is different, most people with ulcerative colitis can qualify for life insurance. Depending on the severity of your illness, you might qualify for standard or better rates, though most people with ulcerative colitis must pay substandard, or higher-than-average, rates for life insurance.

#2 – Is ulcerative colitis a pre-existing condition?

Most insurance companies consider ulcerative colitis a pre-existing condition and take it into account when making rate decisions. Keep in mind that this is only one factor that your life insurance company will consider when preparing a rate quote for you.

#3 – Can I get life insurance with Crohn’s disease?

In most cases, people with Crohn’s disease can get life insurance. However, because of the unpredictability of this disease, you most likely will have to pay substandard rates.

#4 – Will it affect my rates if a parent or grandparent has ulcerative colitis but I don’t?

Life insurance companies take your family health history into account when making life insurance decisions, so a family member’s ulcerative colitis might affect your rates — especially if your loved one developed colon cancer because of their disease. However, this is only one factor that may affect your rate.

#5 – Do I need to get life insurance if my ulcerative colitis is under control and I’m generally healthy?

It’s always best to get life insurance no matter what your health status is. You never know when an accident or fatal illness may occur, and about a third of people would face financial hardship from the loss of income after a loved one dies. You can prevent that from happening to your family if you get life insurance now.

#6 – Will I qualify for life insurance if I’ve been hospitalized multiple times for ulcerative colitis?

In most cases, you will, though you may need to pay substandard rates. Your life insurance rate will depend on why you were hospitalized, how frequent the hospitalizations were, and how much time has passed since your last hospitalization.

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ulcerative-colitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353326
  2. https://www.mib.com/mib_faq.html
  3. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/022615/how-age-affects-life-insurance-rates.asp
  4. https://www.who.int/gho/women_and_health/mortality/situation_trends_life_expectancy/en/

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