Can you get life insurance coverage if you have COPD?

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you can still get life insurance, especially if your condition is well-managed. If you have trouble qualifying for a traditional policy due to severe COPD, you can apply for guaranteed issue policies, which do not factor in your health. Keep in mind that guaranteed issue policies can be significantly more expensive and provide a lower death benefit.

4 min to read

Explore Progressive's editorial standards for Answers articles to find out why you can trust the insurance information you find here.

What's the best type of life insurance for COPD?

That will depend on how long you want coverage and if you can qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. If your condition is well-managed and less severe, you might be able to qualify for standard policies like these:

  • Term life is affordable and will expire after a set number of years (usually 10 to 30 years). This may be best if your COPD is well-managed, and your loved ones would only need support if you passed away before retirement age.
  • Whole life will last until you pass away and includes a cash value feature that allows for life insurance loans. This may be best if your COPD is well-managed, and you want to support your beneficiaries with a death benefit no matter when you die.
  • Final expense is a smaller, more affordable type of whole life insurance that's designed for people over 50 to cover their funeral costs and other final expenses.

Learn more about the different types of life insurance and term vs. whole life insurance.

If you don't qualify for traditional policies because of your COPD, there are no-medical-exam life insurance policies, including guaranteed issue life insurance. These will be more expensive and offer smaller coverage amounts, but your health won't determine your eligibility. Simplified issue life insurance policies also don't require a medical exam, but they typically require a brief health questionnaire.

Considering guaranteed issue life insurance?  Call 1-866-912-2477 to talk through your options with a licensed Progressive Life by eFinancial representative.

COPD life insurance underwriting

Life insurance underwriting is the process insurance companies use to set the terms of your policy and your rate, based on your policy type and the information in your application. Pre-existing conditions like COPD, cancer, or a disability are just part of what life insurers will use in underwriting. They'll also factor in your lifestyle, age, overall health, gender, occupation, and more.

If you have COPD and apply for standard life insurance, you'll undergo a life insurance medical exam when you apply. You'll need to submit your medical records to help the insurer determine your overall health and the severity of your condition. COPD factors that may play a role in the underwriting process might include:

  • When you were diagnosed
  • Your treatment plan
  • Medications you're taking
  • Changes to your condition over time
  • If you've been hospitalized

Learn more about life insurance cost factors.

Life insurance riders to consider if you have COPD

Since COPD often gets worse over time, you may benefit from including specific life insurance riders on your policy.

In particular, accelerated death benefit (ADB) riders allow you to access your death benefit while you're still alive if you meet certain health-related conditions. Depending on the rider, this might include qualifying terminal or serious illnesses (for an ADB or terminal illness rider), long-term care needs (for a long-term care rider), and critical or chronic illnesses (for a critical or chronic illness rider). If your COPD progresses to a point where you meet the rider's qualifications, or if you're diagnosed with COPD after getting your policy, you may be able to use some or all of your death benefit to support your needs.

A waiver of premium disability rider may also be helpful. It lets you stop making life insurance payments if you experience a qualifying disability. If you have this rider and your COPD prevents you from working and paying your premium, you may get to keep your coverage even though you can't pay for it.

Riders vary by insurer and typically need to be added when you purchase your policy, so find out what's available when you're shopping for life insurance.

Get a free life insurance quote online in minutes

Learn more about life insurance policies.

Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.