Heart disease: Insurers fear the 'big one'
Heart disease will always flag a life insurance underwriter for the simple reason that "the big one," a massive heart attack, can be sudden and deadly. Heart disease itself encompasses a wide range of diseases and conditions, from atherosclerosis to a prolapsed mitral valve. Because the severity and progression of heart disease can be difficult to document, underwriters typically take a second look at the applicant's family tree for guidance.
"We do consider family history in our underwriting assessments," says Bloom. "Generally, this is associated with immediate family members -- father, mother, sister, brother -- who may have developed heart disease or had a stroke."
Will heart disease keep you out of the preferred risk class?
"In general, coronary artery disease in a 40-year-old would usually be looked at carefully and could be something that is rated (not preferred)," says Goldstein. "If it is actually very, very severe to where the heart has significant damage to it so that it is not pumping effectively, it could actually be a situation that is not insurable."
Our 40-year-old man may be asked to undergo an electrocardiogram prior to becoming insured.