Pregnancy can affect life insurance premiums and even insurability. While there are differences in how individual insurers handle applications from pregnant women, the following observations apply:
- A minority of insurers will not insure pregnant women.
- Most insurers recommend that pregnant women apply for a policy during the first trimester.
- The earlier in pregnancy a policy is purchased, the lower the chances of premiums being higher due to the pregnancy.
- Some insurers will accommodate normal weight gain during pregnancy. But others may impose higher premiums on pregnant women due to weight gain.
- Pregnancy related weight-gain may increase insurance premiums, even post-partum. Actively pursuing weight-loss post-partum can help, but premiums also depend on age. Thus, waiting to lose weight before applying for life insurance may result in a zero net benefit.
- Common pregnancy related conditions that can cause premiums to rise include:
- Cholestasis (increased liver enzymes)
- Elevated cholesterol
- Elevated blood pressure (gestational hypertension)
- Gestational diabetes
- Increased weight (see above)
- The presence of the aforementioned complications in a previous pregnancy can also increase premiums. As can labor complications in earlier pregnancies.
- In some cases, prior pregnancy labor complications can result in the permanent denial of life insurance from some companies.
- In some cases, women can reapply for life insurance or re-do their medical exams and obtain lower premiums 6-8 weeks post-partum if their premiums were increased due to pregnancy related conditions. Some sources recommend waiting 1-2 years.
- Some insurers recognize that elevated cholesterol, blood pressure and weight are normal during pregnancy and will modify their criteria. Not all will.
- Pregnancy is likely to amplify the negative impact of smoking on premiums.
- Factors that may raise a pregnant woman’s risk class above “Preferred risk class” include:
- Being over age 40
- High risk pregnancy
- History of pregnancy complications
- History of medical problems requiring on-going monitoring or treatment
- Abnormal (as assessed by a physician) pregnancy weight gain
- Abnormal BMI
- Abnormal blood pressure
- Abnormal lab results
- Post-partum depression and gestational diabetes diagnoses can elevate insurance premiums for up to 5 years.
The best advice if you are planning to begin a family is to apply for insurance in advance. While you may have to pay an extra year of premiums, you will be younger and less likely to be diagnosed with conditions that could raise your premiums or render you uninsurable.
I thank Eleanor Akers for researching and drafting this article.
Sources are listed below.
Bestow Blog on Buying Life Insurance While Pregnant
AIG Direct on Buying Life Insurance While Pregnant
Policy Genius Blog on Life Insurance and Pregnancy
Good Financial Cents Blog on Whether Pregnancy Affects Life Insurance