Life Insurance with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Life Insurance with COPD.  No need to worry.  Time to explain the in’s and outs of how to be approved!

3 Steps to Gaining Approval With COPD- Don’t be Declined Coverage

Can I get life insurance with COPD?  It’s a question I personally hear almost daily.  Good Life Protection handles hundreds of COPD cases per year.  Is it high risk?  Yes, of course. Many lung conditions are.

What’s the answer to that golden question?

The Answer is YES!!.

You can obtain life insurance with COPD.  Life insurance with COPD does however require some knowledge from the agent and agency to effectively handle your case correctly.  Getting life insurance with COPD shouldn’t be something to shy away from.  It’s 100% possible.  Will the rates always be as cheap as you might hope for?  No, they will not.

What’s the best life insurance with COPD?  We will cover that as well.  COPD life insurance underwriting involves a little more effort and shopping from the life insurance agent.  What do we mean by shopping?  We simply mean that the life insurance agent may need to use all the carriers he has access to help you find the perfect match.

We created this guide to give you a step by step breakdown on how to gain COPD insurance coverage that can help protect you and your family if you were to meet your maker prematurely.  Life insurance with COPD or even life insurance for people on oxygen can be a little trickier to navigate but we are here to help.

Follow the steps in this guide and we promise you will feel a little more confident in your abilities to gain life insurance coverage while battling COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Life Insurance with COPD ( Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease )

Where to Begin- Obtaining Life Insurance with COPD

(AKA- Get your Ducks in a Row)


Step 1 – Analyze and evaluate your current medical condition and the state of your COPD.

Why? The main reason to do this is at Good Life Protection or any other experienced life insurance agency, we will have questions about your COPD.  You might be thinking, what questions are they going to ask when we get this adventure of purchasing life insurance underway?  Here’s some starter questions we will have for you regarding your COPD.

  • Is your COPD mild, moderate or severe or possibly even extreme?
  • When was your COPD first diagnosed?
  • Are you still currently a smoker?
  • Do you require oxygen treatment for your COPD?
  • What medications are being used to treat your COPD?
  • Are you current diagnosed with end stage COPD?
  • Are you diligent about follow up with your physician and following physicians directions?
  • Do you have other medical conditions outside of your COPD diagnosis?
  • Do you have family history of COPD?

More Regarding those Questions

Step 1.5 for Obtaining Life Insurance with COPD

Let’s cover each of these questions in a bit more detail so that you have a better understanding.

Is your COPD mild, moderate or severe?

What do we mean by this?

COPD has 4 stages of progression according to the Lung Institute (mark, link to the lung institute).  To determine your severity of COPD, you typically take what is known as a (FEV1) test.  This is known as a pulmonary function test.

Mild COPD or Stage 1 – Mild COPD with a FEV1 about 80 percent or more of the normal range.  In simple English- Your lungs are still performing at 80% of the normal ranges of someone who doesn’t currently have COPD.

Moderate COPD or Stage 2 – Moderate COPD with a FEV1 between 50 and 80% of the normal ranges.

Severe COPD or Stage 3 – Severe Emphysema with a FEV1 of between 30-50% percent of normal ranges.

Very Severe COPD or Stage 4 – Very Severe or End Stage COPD.  Typically, at this level, your blood oxygen has begun to drop below normal levels.

Getting back on track, we need to know which stage your COPD currently is on this breakdown.  It all has different results and ratings that you can achieve for your life insurance.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how these stages of your COPD could affect your possible ratings or approval chances for life insurance. We will discuss how these ratings effect your price shortly..
Possible rates for COPD

Minimal – which would be defined as using no inhaler or other related impairments would allow you to still achieve standard rates for your life insurance.

Mild- Would allow for routine use of inhalers and you would be looking at Table 2 ratings for your life insurance rates.

Moderate – This usually is accompanied by occasional infections, no steroid use but use of other medications on a regular basis.  This would take you to Table 4 ratings.

Severe- Frequent infections, and not able to perform any rigorous work.  Table 7 ratings for your life insurance.

Extreme- Would not allow for any traditional life insurance.  This form of COPD usually requires oxygen equipment and steroid use on a regular basis.  Don’t worry if you fall into this class, you still have options for life insurance.

Are you still a smoker?

This is one of the other questions we would ask when completing a life insurance application for you.  Why is it important.  2 reasons.

  • Smoker rates will affect your policy by itself not even including the COPD
  • Underwriters will be curious if you still smoke because it’s typically not the advice your doctor gave you. Underwriters love when you follow doctors’ instructions as closely as possible.

This does not mean you would be declined, it just makes a difference at the end of the day.  If you’re still a smoker, just inform your life insurance agent of that and let them find the best life insurance carrier to fit your needs.

Other Considerations Impacting Rates with COPD

As mentioned earlier, other factors will make a difference on the rates or approval you ultimately achieve with COPD.  Medications that you currently take plays a vital role as well.  We aren’t just speaking about your medications for the actual COPD either.  Do you take other medications?  Possibly for…

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol

Think of life insurance as a total scope of your health.  Yes, the COPD impacts the rates, but the life insurance carrier needs to look over the total risk they are facing.  If other factors are involved while underwriting your application, that’s also going to have a negative impact on your final rates.

Other considerations for the outcome of your premiums will include…

  • Family History
  • Driving Record
  • Recent Hospitalizations
  • Financial background including bankruptcy
  • Any alcohol or drug dependency?

So, What’s the Best Rates with COPD?

Well again, this depends greatly on which of the 4 stages of COPD you currently are diagnosed at.

Let’s dive into some of the rates.  For the examples we will use a Male- Age 55 at each stage of COPD and show you the best possible life insurance rates you could expect. We will also display the rates at 250,000.00 worth of life insurance coverage on a 15-year level premium term life insurance policy.

TABLE 2$ 110.43
TABLE 4$ 145.53
TABLE 7$198.16
TABLE 2$ 83.85
TABLE 4$ 110.08
TABLE 7$ 149.42

Step 2 – Best Life Insurance Rates with COPD Speak to Independent Life Insurance Agent

So, by now you have done some homework and expectations should be somewhat reasonable on possible outcomes with obtaining life insurance with COPD.  The next step is to simply begin the process.

Understand that the process will take time.  You need to inform your life insurance agent of all relevant information regarding your health and how much coverage you are seeking.  Allow him to appropriately place you with the carrier he or she thinks would be the best fit for your situation..

Insider Tip-  We are good at our job and have a vast amount of knowledge about underwriting guidelines.  This is what allows us to place you with the correct carriers that will show you approvals and the best possible rates while having COPD.

Your agent will now listen to your goals for your life insurance and ask you to complete an application.  With COPD it’s important to understand that you will not be offered non-medical life insurance.  You simply won’t qualify.  You will need to apply for  a traditional life insurance policy.  This includes beginning the application and having a medical exam at your home.  Relax, they don’t take long, and the life insurance carrier pays for the exam.

After this step is completed its simply just waiting for the underwriting to be completed.

Step 3 – Tailor Your Policy to Fit your Needs

With COPD, you must understand, that you will fall into the rate classes we discussed previously.  However, over time we have caught on to the fact that sometimes you fall a class below our predictions or you do a class better than we expected.

This is not the end of the world.  It means you just got approved for life insurance with COPD.  However, providing wiggle room within the policy on your original application allows us to tailor the policy to keep the life insurance policy within your budget.

Let’s say for instance we were hoping for a standard rating but in the end you achieved the silver medal at table 2.  This may cause your rates to climb a few dollars per month.  At this point, you haven’t paid any premiums and still have the option to drop 5 years off the policy or remove some coverage to get it back within your budget.

We always recommend considering why you applied for life insurance in the first place.  If your family needs the policy that you originally applied for, then you should be happy about your approval with COPD and pay the few extra dollars and maybe skip the Starbucks coffee a day or two a month.

If you simply can’t afford the difference, then adjust the policy and make it fit your budget.  After all it does your family no good if you lapse the policy by not having the funds to continue paying the premiums.

What if you have been declined coverage with COPD before?

If you have already been declined coverage before with COPD or was just recently declined, unfortunately that most likely means you can’t qualify for traditional life insurance policies.  However, there is a fix…and it’s not all that bad all factors considered.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance-

You can always qualify for a no questions asked guaranteed issue life insurance policy.  What’s the catch?

A 2 Year Waiting Period on Full Benefits.  A guaranteed issue life insurance policy will approve you with no questions asked.  Your medical background can’t be used against you.  However, to protect the life insurance carrier it takes 24 months before you will receive the full death benefits.  During this period if you were to pass away your family would receive a full return of all premiums paid plus 10% interest earned.

You see…

That’s virtually a very high savings account and still a viable option to consider.

So, what do these costs?

Let’s look at AIG Guaranteed Issue- The maximum coverage is 25,000.00 Let’s assume you go for the maximum and you are still the 55-year-old individual we mentioned previously.

LIFE insurance with COPD AIG logo$138.24

Wrapping things up

Don’t be discouraged.  You can obtain life insurance with COPD.  At all stages depending on the circumstances.  Don’t let the condition do more damage to your life than it already is and keep protecting your family’s assets and wellbeing top priority.  Work with Good Life Protection to find the correct carrier and policy tailored just for your needs.  We have handled hundreds of COPD related cases and would love to help you too.

Have we missed anything related to your experiences obtaining life insurance with COPD?  We would to hear your feedback.  Give us a call today or leave a comment below.


Resources: Mayoclinic