This blog article discusses the effects an aneurysm has on a life insurance application.
We first cover aneurysms in general. We then offer tips on fast-tracking your application as well as likely underwriting outcomes.
What is an Aneurysm?
An aneurysm is the local swelling of a blood vessel due to some sort of damage to the artery or a weakening of the artery’s walls. Blood pressure exerts force on the weakened area of the artery, which then swells up with blood. The amount of swelling depends on the blood pressure along with the amount of damage to the artery.
Aneurysms are very dangerous and can even be life threatening if they rupture before they are detected and treated.
Anyone can get an aneurysm, although they are most common in men and people over the age of 65.
Types of Aneurysms
Generally speaking there are two main types of aneurysms:
- Aortic aneurysms
- Cerebral aneurysms
Aortic aneurysms occur in the aorta (the artery that goes from the heart down to the abdomen), and can be further sub-divided into abdominal or thoracic aneurysms.
A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs higher up in the aorta, while abdominal aortic aneurysms occur in the lower part of the aorta.
Cerebral aneurysms occur in the brain and can be fatal if they rupture. If a brain aneurysm undergoes significant growth it will press up against the brain, thereby leading to various neurological symptoms.
Different types of aneurysms have differing symptoms, so we list symptoms below for each type of aneurysm.
Note that most of the following symptoms will not occur unless the aneurysm sees significant growth (small aneurysms usually go undetected).
Symptoms of a thoracic aortic aneurysm are:
- Some pain or discomfort in the chest
- Pain in the jaw, back or neck
- Hoarse voice
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing or wheezing
- Difficulty swallowing
Symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm are:
- Pain in the abdomen that can is either constant or comes and goes
- Throbbing sensation in the abdomen
- Back pain that can spread (e.g. to the legs, pelvis or buttocks)
- Fever and weight loss if inflammation occurs
- “Cold foot”, which is one or more discoloured toes that result from a clot that blocks off blood flow to the feet (where the blood clot breaks away from the aneurysm)
Symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm are:
- Sudden, painful headache (sometimes reported as a headache that the person never felt before)
- Bouts of nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the neck
- Dizziness and fainting
- Dilated pupils
- Double vision
- General malaise (e.g. weakness)
- Some difficulty speaking
The following lists the major factors underwriters consider when processing a life insurance application from a person who has had an aneurysm:
- Type of aneurysm
- Location of aneurysm
- The date when the aneurysm was diagnosed
- Cause of aneurysm
- Size of aneurysm
- Stability of aneurysm
- If aneurysm still exists
- Any treatment received
- The applicant’s smoking history
- Efforts made to control the applicant’s blood pressure
(Note that “underwriting” refers to the insurance company’s investigation of an applicant’s health and life style situation that effects eligibility and rates. This includes medical questions as well as the applicant’s medical records).
How to Speed Up Your Application
People that have had an aneurysm can speed up the processing of their life insurance application by having the following ready to go:
- An APS (Attending Physician Statement)
- All medical test details
- Date that the aneurysm was diagnosed
- Cause of aneurysm
- Size and stability of aneurysm
- Description of treatment received
- Present condition of aneurysm
- Smoking history
- Any steps taken to control blood pressure
Likely Underwriting Decisions
The following describes the most likely underwriting decisions for people who have had an aneurysm.
If you have had surgery note that many companies will offer a rated life insurance policy 6 – 12 months after surgery.
- If not operated on and the aneurysm has been small and stable for at least 2 years then coverage is available at 150% – 200% of standard rates.
- If not operated on and the aneurysm is fairly large (e.g. greater than 5 cm or 2.5 inches wide) then coverage will probably be declined.
- If operated on then you should be able to get coverage at roughly 150% of the standard premium
- Most often declined regardless of treatment.
- If the aneurysm is not operated on but is small and stable with no complications then you should be able to get coverage at 150% of standard premiums.
- If not operated on and the aneurysm is fairly large then most often underwriting is postponed until treatment.
- If the aneurysm is successfully operated on and there are no complications then you should be able to get coverage at normal, standard premium rates.
Thank you for reading this blog article about aneurysms and life insurance applications.
You may be able to get life insurance coverage if you have had an aneurysm. This depends on factors such as the type of aneurysm, whether or not surgery was performed, as well as the size of the aneurysm.
Please contact us at 1-866-369-4474 if you have had an aneurysm and need assistance getting life insurance coverage. As brokers we are here to help!