Congratulations! You’re expecting a little one. Pregnancy is a joyful time but, soon after the excitement of a positive pregnancy test wears down, you may find yourself full of questions as you prepare for the arrival of your new addition:
Should we paint the nursery gray or blue?
Bottle or breastfeed?
Cloth diapers or disposable?
And there’s another choice for the happy parents-to-be, and it isn’t quite so glamorous: should we get life insurance now, or later?
You want to protect the financial stability of your growing family. But as you consider this, you may find yourself asking more questions, including whether a woman can even get approved for life insurance while pregnant (the answer is yes.) But when is the best time to apply? And what could drive up rates? And how much life insurance should you actually get?
These questions and more are answered below. Keep this article handy (along with the baby books, of course) to ensure that you’ve covered your life insurance needs.
Timing is Everything
Before you grow too concerned, let’s be clear about something: in most cases, pregnancy won’t drastically impact your ability to get life insurance or your rates. That means you can take a deep breath. Educating yourself about the factors that may impact coverage eligibility and rates is the first step.
But there are factors to consider as you shop life insurance while pregnant, and one of them is timing.
Ideally, you would have applied for life insurance before you got pregnant, but you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if that were the case.
The next best alternative is purchasing life insurance immediately after getting pregnant. In these early stages, the chances for complications are low and the pregnancy weight gain hasn’t yet hit.
For these reasons, most life insurance companies will approve coverage in a woman’s first or second trimester of pregnancy. If you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant, your best bet is to start checking rates now.
If you’re past the first or second trimester of your pregnancy, you should still consider getting life insurance. Just remember that the healthier you are, the more likely you’ll be approved at reasonable rates. Factors like weight, blood pressure, age, and cholesterol are considered.
Whatever you do: do not lie on a life insurance application about your pregnancy. Since most companies require a medical exam before approval, your baby bump (or a pregnancy test at the doctor’s office) will be enough to show that your application wasn’t accurate.
Additionally, if an insurance company has reason to believe that you knowingly completed your application with errors, they may deny future claims.
Complications May Impact Your Ability to Get Life Insurance While Pregnant
As your pregnancy advances beyond the first trimester, a variety of complications may arise, all of which could impact your ability to get life insurance while pregnant (all the more reason to apply sooner rather than later!)
It’s believed that nearly one in ten women will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant. Gestational diabetes, like Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, means that your blood sugar is too high. It can cause issues such as preterm delivery or high blood pressure if left untreated. For these reasons, gestational diabetes could impact life insurance coverage while pregnant.
To help reduce your chances of acquiring gestational diabetes, remember to eat healthy while pregnant: eat lots of fiber and lean protein, and minimize processed sugars and carbohydrates (like white bread.)
Preeclampsia is another pregnancy complication that typically arises late in pregnancy, impacting about 5-8% of pregnancies. Preeclampsia’s primary symptom is high blood pressure, but it can also cause several swelling and headaches. If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to kidney damage and seizures. This possibility may cause some life insurance companies to deny your application for coverage.
Preeclampsia’s primary symptom is high blood pressure, but it can also cause several swelling and headaches. If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to kidney damage and seizures. This possibility may cause some life insurance companies to deny your application for life insurance while pregnant.
To help reduce your chances of acquiring preeclampsia while pregnant, be sure to drink plenty of water and reduce your sodium intake. Your physician may also be able to advise you whether you’re high risk and provide additional preventative measures for you to consider.
There are other, less common pregnancy complications such as low amniotic fluid and placenta previa. And while these complications may not cause you do be denied coverage, they may result in your paying unnecessarily high rates for life insurance while pregnant (especially if you’ve been diagnosed at the time of application.)
What About Post-Pregnancy?
Unfortunately, some complications like preeclampsia may last up to six weeks after delivery. This means that, even after giving birth, you may still find it difficult to get life insurance coverage or reasonable rates.
The same issue applies to those experiencing gestational diabetes. This disease could impact life insurance coverage later in life, as women who’ve had the disease are seven times more likely to acquire Type 2 diabetes at some point down the road.
And weight loss shouldn’t be overlooked, either: depending on how much weight you gain during pregnancy (and your BMI in the weeks that follow,) you may find that life insurance rates remain high. All the more reason to maintain a healthy lifestyle (including exercise and low-sodium/low-fat food intake) while pregnant.
And the primary issue with weight gain isn’t just the extra pounds: it can cause its own host of secondary diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease.
Speak with your doctor if you’re concerned about your weight gain during pregnancy to ensure that you’re in the normal range. Maintaining a healthy weight can only serve you well if you do decide to apply for life insurance coverage after pregnancy.
How Much Coverage Should You Get?
One thing is clear: after the baby arrives, your household expenses will increase. Daycare, diapers, formula, doctor’s appointments: babies aren’t cheap!
If something were to happen to you as the mother, you want to ensure that your life insurance coverage is sufficient enough to help your spouse or partner in covering the expenses.
How much life insurance coverage you purchase while pregnant can depend on a variety of factors.
Will you be staying home to care for the baby? If so, this may reduce daycare costs but it will also reduce household income.
Who would take care of the baby if something happened to both you and your spouse/partner? And how much is their coverage? This will impact your own insurance coverage needs to ensure that the new caretaker has ample income for the child’s needs.
And don’t forget things like outstanding loans (mortgage, car payments) and future education expenses for your children. College expenses are growing and, by the time your little one graduates high school, who knows how many tens of thousands of dollars their education will cost.
What Should You Do if You’re Denied Coverage of Life Insurance While Pregnant?
If you’re denied life insurance while pregnant, don’t despair. Instead, keep applying elsewhere. Getting quotes online is easy and free, and it’s very likely that you’ll find a life insurance company willing to extend you coverage while pregnant.
But if you are denied, consider speaking with your life insurance company. It isn’t the end of the world if you choose to wait to get life insurance until after the birth of your baby.
Six to eight weeks following delivery, factors we’ve discussed above (such as weight gain and pregnancy complications) may no longer be an issue. In some cases, waiting until six or eight weeks after birth can even save you thousands of dollars in premiums.
What Types of Life Insurance Exist?
Yet another choice for you to consider: term or permanent life insurance. Depending on the needs of your growing family, you may choose one or the other.
As you probably guessed, term life insurance provides coverage for only a designated amount of time – e.g. 10, 20, or 30 years. In some cases, term life insurance will convert to permanent coverage.
Permanent life insurance, on the other hand, lasts forever: until you die. The benefit to this type of insurance is that premiums never increase.
If you need help determining which option is best for you, give us a call or check out our guidance on the two options.
A Final Word
Though it shouldn’t be difficult for most expecting mothers to obtain life insurance while pregnant, the reality is that many families do experience difficulties with getting approved or securing affordable, reasonable rates.
If you aren’t already covered when you get pregnant, try to apply for coverage as soon as possible. If your insurance company requires a medical exam, go in ASAP: the longer you wait, the more likely your blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. will be at levels that your insurance company may consider worrisome.
But do you want to avoid the medical check altogether? We specialize in providing you with life insurance options that don’t require a visit to the doctor’s office.
And don’t forget that complications, both during and after pregnancy, can cause hiccups, too (and we don’t mean those cute baby hiccups you feel in the middle of the night.) Ensure that you’re asking your physician the right questions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to minimize gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
Call us today for help with navigating the many options of life insurance while pregnant. This is one more choice you don’t need to make alone, and we’re here to help!