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Disability Insurance & Pre-Existing Conditions


Disability insurance and pre-existing conditions are common talking points among those looking for policies. Although health insurers cannot deny you coverage based on your health, the same protections don’t always apply to disability insurance.

As a result, applicants applying for individual disability insurance will need to undergo medical underwriting in order to obtain an offer, sometimes resulting in modifications or denial for coverage. After all, an insurance provider likely won’t want to pay for future complications arising from your pre-existing condition. But does that mean you won’t qualify for coverage for future, unrelated conditions?

In this guide, we’ll discuss disability insurance and pre-existing conditions in depth, including what pre-existing conditions are, whether you can still qualify for insurance when you have them, and how you can find coverage. 

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

Pre-existing conditions are medical conditions you’ve experienced symptoms of or been diagnosed with by a doctor. When related to disability insurance, insurers would consider all medical history. This may include your chronic health conditions, such as Cancer, or Arthritis. However, underwriters will also consider recent treatment or symptoms as pre-existing conditions. This may include, but is not limited to, recent chiropractic care for back pain, taking propranolol for public speaking, sleep apnea, etc.  

Your medical history and conditions can affect the disability insurance policies you qualify for, your coverage, and your policy costs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find comprehensive coverage. 

Can You Get Disability Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions?

Having a pre-existing condition doesn’t mean you can’t get disability insurance. Be aware that when considering whether to insure you, an insurance company’s decision can be based on the condition’s severity, when you received the diagnosis, and your treatment plan.

For example, if you previously had cancer but received successful treatment that resulted in the cancer going into remission, insurance providers may be able to offer coverage. Additionally, they may place fewer restrictions on a policy if you have successfully managed a disease for years, such as sleep apnea, certain mental disorders, or ulcerative colitis.

When you apply for disability insurance, most providers will request your medical history or the completion of a medical exam before they approve you for coverage. You should not attempt to hide any of your medical diagnoses or history. If you omit your pre-existing conditions from your application that would have affected your coverage, an insurer can later argue that you did not disclose a condition that led to your disability and deny you coverage. 

What Is an Exclusion Rider?

Another option an insurer has is to limit your policy, potentially ruling out any coverage related to your specific existing medical condition. This option, called an exclusion rider, allows you to get a company’s insurance policy but excludes coverage related to any complications arising from your pre-existing medical condition. 

For example, if you have a history of back pain, an exclusion rider would allow an insurer to approve you for benefits but would not pay for any future spinal disability.. Additionally, if this back pain is limited to your lower back, some carriers will be able to attach a lumbosacral spine exclusion, rather than a full spine exclusion. You’d still receive insurance coverage for unrelated conditions and injuries.

In some cases, these exclusions are temporary. For example, an insurer may ‌reconsider a condition after treatment shows that a resolution of symptoms has occurred for a specific period of time, ‌and it’s unlikely to be a source of future insurance claims. For example, if you received treatment or care on your lower back pain there would be an exclusion on the approval. But if you are symptom and treatment free for 2-3 years, an insurance company would be able to reconsider removing the exclusion on your existing policy.

Is Disability Insurance Still Worth It If I Have Pre-existing Conditions?

The best time to purchase disability insurance is while you’re young and healthy, but that’s not always possible. If you’ve already received a diagnosis, you may wonder whether it’s worth investing in disability insurance. This is another common talking point among those discussing disability insurance and pre-existing conditions. Ultimately, the right answer depends on your situation.

Getting the right coverage, even with pre-existing conditions, doesn’t have to be as challenging as it seems.

If You Have Pre-Existing Conditions, Get Multiple Quotes 

Finding disability insurance with pre-existing conditions can feel like a daunting task. But finding and maintaining coverage is valuable and will provide financial protection if you become disabled from causes unrelated to your pre-existing condition.

Since finding a comprehensive policy can be challenging, it’s important to speak with an expert. An independent broker can compare multiple insurance plans and determine which might offer the best coverage and benefits for your situation. You are able to discuss the specific medical history that concerns you and the independent broker will shop for you to ensure you obtain the best offer possible.

As an independent broker, we can help you get multiple quotes and find the best policy possible. Each provider has its own medical underwriting guidelines, so where one carrier would deny coverage, another may not. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your concerns and we will assist in shopping for the best disability insurance options.

If you’re ready to look at the disability policies that may be available to you, get a free quote today