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What is High Risk Life Insurance?

Updated on September 13, 2011

Life insurance, which is there to help pay bills after someone dies and cover the costs of a funeral as well as help surviving family members cope financially, can be unfortunately hard to get for those who might need it the very most. People in poor health who have had serious physical problems can have a hard time getting the life insurance they need. Life insurance companies in many cases are required to issue policies, and if they require a physical examination before issuing a policy, people with serious health problems may be turned down flat. This is where high risk life insurance can help.

High risk life insurance is designed for those people who want to buy insurance but are considered a high risk. To put it bluntly, a high risk customer in this type of situation is someone who, more than the average customer, has a higher risk of dying before they've paid enough on the policy to cover the cost of the payout. People who've had heart attacks, heart surgery and strokes are examples of people who may have a hard time finding insurance.

Even people who have ongoing conditions that damage their health like diabetes, high blood pressure or HIV infection have a higher risk of dying earlier than people without those problems. Someone like this who takes out a policy is less likely to pay on that policy for a long time as someone in good health. So a high risk life insurance policy is designed for people who have health problems and can't get other life insurance.

If you currently have a policy and are worried about the price going up because of health problems, look for something called a rider of guaranteed insurability in your existing policy. This will let you buy more coverage at the cost you're currently paying, and can be a financial help. There is also a type of life insurance that doesn't require a medical exam or any type of medical information, usually called term or group life insurance.

It's more expensive and doesn't cover as well as other policies, but it's an option for people in a high risk group. If those don't work, then high risk life insurance is an option. This insurance is going to cost more and may have more limitations, but it's usually far better than having no insurance if the worst should happen. There's not much room for negotiation in high risk life insurance policies, but you can shop between various companies to get the best rate.


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