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The Impact of Your Health on Your Disability Insurance Rates

When it comes to disability insurance, many factors can influence the rates you are quoted. One of the most significant factors is your health. Insurance companies assess the risk of insuring an individual based on their health status, as it directly impacts the likelihood of a disability claim. In this article, we will explore the impact of your health on your disability insurance rates. We will delve into the specific health conditions that can affect your rates, the importance of medical underwriting, the role of pre-existing conditions, the influence of lifestyle choices, and the potential for rate adjustments over time. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about your disability insurance coverage and potentially secure more favorable rates.

The Role of Medical Underwriting

Medical underwriting is a crucial process that insurance companies use to assess the risk associated with insuring an individual. During this process, insurers evaluate an applicant’s medical history, current health status, and any pre-existing conditions. The information gathered helps insurers determine the likelihood of a disability claim and the appropriate premium rates.

Insurance companies typically request medical records, conduct medical exams, and may even require additional tests or consultations with specialists. The underwriting process allows insurers to gather comprehensive information about an applicant’s health, enabling them to make an informed decision about coverage and pricing.

Impact of Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions can significantly impact disability insurance rates. A pre-existing condition refers to any health condition that an individual has before applying for insurance coverage. These conditions can range from chronic illnesses to previous injuries or surgeries.

Insurance companies view pre-existing conditions as potential risks for future disability claims. As a result, individuals with pre-existing conditions may face higher premium rates or even exclusions for coverage related to those conditions. However, it’s important to note that not all insurance companies treat pre-existing conditions the same way. Some may offer coverage with certain limitations or exclusions, while others may decline coverage altogether.

It’s crucial to disclose any pre-existing conditions accurately during the application process. Failure to do so can result in denied claims or policy cancellations in the future. Additionally, some insurance companies offer guaranteed issue policies that do not require medical underwriting, making them a viable option for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Health Conditions That Affect Disability Insurance Rates

Several health conditions can impact disability insurance rates. Insurance companies consider the severity, prognosis, and potential impact on an individual’s ability to work when assessing the risk associated with these conditions. Here are some examples of health conditions that can affect disability insurance rates:

  • Cancer: Individuals with a history of cancer may face higher rates, depending on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the duration of remission.
  • Heart Disease: Conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attacks, or heart failure can increase the risk of disability and, consequently, insurance rates.
  • Diabetes: Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can impact disability insurance rates, especially if there are complications such as neuropathy or kidney disease.
  • Mental Health Disorders: Conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia can affect rates, as they may impact an individual’s ability to work.
  • Neurological Disorders: Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or epilepsy can increase the risk of disability and influence insurance rates.

These are just a few examples, and the impact of each condition on rates can vary depending on the insurer’s underwriting guidelines and the individual’s specific circumstances.

The Influence of Lifestyle Choices

While pre-existing conditions and health conditions play a significant role in disability insurance rates, lifestyle choices can also have an impact. Insurance companies assess an individual’s lifestyle habits to determine their overall health and the associated risk of disability.

Here are some lifestyle choices that can affect disability insurance rates:

  • Smoking: Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for various health conditions, including heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory disorders. Smokers often face higher disability insurance rates.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver disease, cardiovascular problems, and other health issues. Insurance companies may consider alcohol consumption when determining rates.
  • Drug Use: Illicit drug use can have severe health consequences and increase the risk of disability. Insurance companies may view drug use as a significant risk factor.
  • Occupational Hazards: Certain occupations involve higher risks of injury or illness. Insurance companies may consider the nature of an individual’s job when assessing rates.
  • Physical Activity: Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on overall health. Individuals who engage in regular physical activity may be viewed more favorably by insurance companies.

It’s important to note that insurance companies may require applicants to undergo medical exams or provide additional information to verify lifestyle choices that could impact rates.

Potential for Rate Adjustments Over Time

Disability insurance rates are not set in stone. They can be subject to adjustments over time based on various factors. Insurance companies periodically review policies and may adjust rates to reflect changes in an individual’s health or overall risk profile.

For example, if an individual with a pre-existing condition experiences an improvement in their health or successfully manages their condition, they may be eligible for a rate reduction. Conversely, if an individual’s health deteriorates or they develop new health conditions, their rates may increase upon policy renewal.

It’s essential to review your disability insurance policy regularly and communicate any changes in your health status to your insurance provider. By doing so, you can ensure that your rates accurately reflect your current health and potentially take advantage of rate adjustments.


Your health plays a significant role in determining your disability insurance rates. Insurance companies assess the risk associated with insuring an individual based on their health status, pre-existing conditions, and lifestyle choices. Health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental health disorders, and neurological disorders can impact rates. Lifestyle choices like smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use can also influence rates. Additionally, disability insurance rates can be subject to adjustments over time based on changes in an individual’s health. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about your disability insurance coverage and potentially secure more favorable rates.

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