People who have epilepsy face enough challenges in their life. This is especially true with the regrettable stigma that comes with epilepsy, because this negative perception is unfortunately one borne out of ignorance and lack of understanding about the disease.
Epileptics also have to often confront this prejudice when applying for life insurance. Many people in the insurance industry also have limited knowledge about the disease, and may even lump all epileptics in the same mold.
If you are uncertain whether you can qualify for life insurance, or whether you are being charged fairly for the life insurance rates you presently pay, let’s look at how it really works.
Basic Facts about Epilepsy
Epilepsy affects roughly 1% of the population. Clearly, not all epileptics are the same as there are a range of conditions and different types of epileptic disorders that affect how insurance companies rate people with epilepsy. Their decision on how they rate your condition mainly depends on how well your seizures are under control, and how long ago was your last seizure.
Life insurance companies look at the normal life spans of people and how certain diseases may affect a person’s life span. It is a simple fact that the vast majority of epileptics live a normal life span the same as the rest of the general population. Lastly, with today’s medical advancements, most epileptics have their seizures largely under control.
Like any other disease, if you are receiving treatment, following your doctor’s instruction, then you largely have the disease under control like any other disease. If this is the case then you should be treated appropriately by the insurance company.
What Insurance Companies Want to Know About your Epilepsy
When applying for life insurance, the first thing you should always do is to be completely truthful. Don’t fudge the truth – ever! It doesn’t pay and you could either end up being denied coverage, or your family could end up being denied benefits if the company learns you weren’t truthful.
Also, insurance companies share information through the MIB (Medical Information Board), which includes life insurance applications. They do so to prevent potential fraud. Lastly, your medical records will likely be accessed, so the bottom line is to always be truthful.
The main questions the insurance agent will want to know or should be asking includes:
- When were you diagnosed with epilepsy?
- What type of condition do you suffer form and how strong is the condition?
- What treatment and neurological assessments have you had?
- What type of seizures do you have such as Petit Mal, Grand Mal, myoclonic, atonic, simple partial, complex partial, febrile, reflex or nocturnal?
- When did you last experience a seizure?
- How many seizures do have during the course of a year?
- How long do the seizures last, and have you ever had one which lasted more than 30 minutes?
- What medications are you taking?
- Are there any other additional health factors?
How Severity of Epilepsy Affects Life Insurance Rates
Not only does the type of epileptic condition affect how a company will rate you, it will also depend on when you had your last seizure. Unfortunately, milder varieties of epilepsy will put you in better standing so it works roughly like this for many insurance companies;
Less Severe Epilepsy
If you have been diagnosed with seizures such as Petite Mal, Myclonic or Absence, and have not had a seizure in the previous 2 years, there are life insurance companies that will give you standard rates. Not all of them mind you so you need to be aware that not all companies will treat you equally.
However, if you have had a seizure within the past 2 years you will likely have to pay a higher premium.
More Severe Cases
If you’ve been diagnosed with Grand Mal or tonic-clonic seizures, it may all depend on well controlled they are, and whether you have had any seizures within the past 5 years.
If you haven’t had a seizure in the past 5 years, and the longer the better, the more favorably you will be viewed for the insurance rating.
There are some companies that will consider a standard rating if you have been seizure free for 5 years or more, and that’s good news for those afflicted with the more chronic forms of epilepsy.
How to Find the Best Life Insurance Rates
The important thing to know is that not all life insurance companies are the same, and do not treat epileptics the same. So, how do you find the best rates if your have epilepsy?
First, don’t apply directly to an insurance company itself, because you are automatically limited to their particular policies.
Second, go to an insurance agent, but not just any insurance agent. There are two types of insurance agents. Some insurance agents represent only a single company or several insurance companies. These company agents will limit your ability to shop around.
The best way to find the best and most affordable insurance rates if you have epilepsy is to use and independent insurance agent such as myself. Why? Because what I can do is put your policy out to bid to many different companies and find you the insurance company that will treat you fairly.
If you have an existing life insurance policy you should also ask yourself whether you are paying the best rates because maybe you are paying too much already. I can help you there as well.