Pregnancy is an exciting time in life, full of anticipation and hope. And it comes with a bunch of things to think about (not to mention challenges like morning sickness!). Getting life insurance may not be as exciting as setting up your baby registry, but it’s important to get it done ASAP.
Many of us here at AboveBoard are parents, and we take pride in making figuring out life insurance one of the easy aspects of growing your family!
Why you shouldn’t wait until AFTER the baby arrives
If you’re already pregnant or planning to become pregnant within the next couple of years, you really need to jump on getting coverage in place ASAP.
Here are a few reasons why it’s a bad idea to wait:
- Common complications during pregnancy can increase the cost of life insurance, even when they are mild and go away upon delivery.
- It’ll be that much harder to get sh!t done once the baby arrives. Pregnancy comes with a growing avalanche of things to do and think about. It gets harder to make time for things. Not having life insurance once your little one is here is a terrible risk that is totally avoidable, so getting it done ASAP is your best bet.
- Fertility treatments can uncover health issues that may make getting life insurance harder and more expensive. Fertility treatments involve looking closer at many aspects of your body and health, and even things that end up being benign can sometimes derail your life insurance application. Most people can get covered during fertility treatments, but it’s best to take the risk off the table by getting covered beforehand.
Here’s what I tell clients:
Lock in coverage before pregnancy or early on in pregnancy, and if you later have a pregnancy complication, your life insurance rates cannot change because you already got covered! If you ultimately decide not to have children and don’t have any other people depending on your income, term life insurance is easy to drop without penalty.
I'm VERY pregnant. Can I still get life insurance?
Good news - the answer is most likely "yes". In the past, pregnancy often meant being ineligible for coverage, but thankfully most carriers have joined the modern age and no longer follow that rule.
Our record here at AboveBoard is getting a client covered 6 days before her delivery with best pricing before her little one arrived (we certainly don’t recommend waiting that long, but we’ve proven it’s possible)!
A recent client of ours, Mina*, applied during her 3rd trimester, was super-healthy, and thankfully did not have any pregnancy complications (*name and other details changed to protect privacy). We had a particularly memorable interaction with her (male) underwriter that involved explaining (several times) that weight gain during pregnancy is a continuous process until delivery (growing a human takes energy and work, dude!). But ultimately we got to where we wanted to be: best pricing before her little one arrived! (And we gained one more data point that more women in insurance would be a good thing.)
While our client was lucky that her pregnancy was smooth sailing, don’t take the chance of waiting: gestational diabetes & hypertension affect approximately 1 in 7 pregnancies (1), and either of those conditions can easily double your insurance rates (or even make you wait until after delivery)! And the problem does not "go away" upon delivery, even if your pregnancy complication does. Those diagnoses can raise your insurance pricing for years afterwards.
In rarer situations, pregnancy-related health events (like a malignant tumor discovered during a c-section) can make someone uninsurable for years.
A good life insurance broker can (and SHOULD) advocate on your behalf - we’ve been able to get best pricing even when a client had gestational diabetes in the past year but fully recovered upon delivery. However, that is truly a best-case scenario and frankly quite rare. Definitely not something that you should ever count on.
Barring complications like gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension, pregnant women without significant medical diagnoses can almost always get coverage. It's just not worth the risk of waiting, if you can avoid it.
I’ve gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. Which weight counts - my pregnancy weight or my pre-pregnancy weight?
This varies by carrier - some treat your current pregnancy weight as your weight, with no recognition of the fact that a healthy pregnancy includes weight gain (I’ll save my feminist rant on how ludicrous this is for another post). Other carriers take a more integrated view of the person, and incorporate the idea that your pre-pregnancy weight is relevant too.
Another factor is whether your pregnancy weight would even increase the cost of your life insurance coverage. For some people, an extra 20-50+ pounds from pregnancy does not change the cost of their life insurance. For other people, it does. That's because most carriers have guidelines mapping different Body Mass Index (BMI) ranges to different pricing tiers, and an increase in weight might still land you in the same pricing tier.
When the difference in weight would matter, we help clients apply to the carrier who will give their specific profile the most favorable treatment. Some carriers are much more progressive on BMI and open to the idea that plenty of healthy people have larger frames. Others are more like the uncool aunt who's always got a comment about your weight at family events. Because different carriers have different ideas about how to price the same applicant, we help find you the best pricing for your profile.
I’m currently pregnant with gestational diabetes / hypertension. What are my options?
If you’re currently pregnant and have already been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension, your options will be very limited. It’s possible a carrier may be willing to cover you, but even when that’s available, the pricing is meaningfully more expensive than what you'd have otherwise qualified for. Unfortunately, this diagnosis usually impacts your life insurance pricing for several years, at a minimum.
When you have a current diagnosis, many carriers will require you to wait until after delivery. This opens up additional risks, which is why we recommend getting some coverage if we're able to find a carrier willing to cover you. Then we try to replace that coverage with better coverage if your health improves.
Once you get a life insurance policy, you’ve locked in your rate and can never do worse. If you reapply later and your pricing goes down because your health meaningfully improved, awesome - you can take the new policy and drop the old one without penalty. But if your health profile does not improve, you’re safe - you’ve already locked in your rate!
When Sylvia*, age 35 and the family breadwinner, came to AboveBoard for life insurance, she was expecting twins and had gestational diabetes that she was managing with diet and exercise, a mild case by any measure. Sylvia had always been a healthy person with a larger frame, and would have easily qualified for the best pricing from a carrier that's receptive to healthy people with higher BMIs.
A high-earning professional, Sylvia was seeking $3 million of 30 year term coverage; she wanted to support her kids through graduate school, and also cover her entire expected working life. Prior to pregnancy, that coverage would have been $151 / month.
But given her current gestational diabetes diagnosis, over 90% of the carriers we polled declined to even consider her application until after delivery. The best response came from a carrier willing to consider her application for her desired $3 million of 30 year term at $585 / month, nearly 4x the rate she would have otherwise qualified for! Sylvia couldn't risk not having any coverage, as her options might get worse if she experienced serious complications on delivery (or worse, the uncommon but horrific possibility of maternal mortality). We ultimately helped Sylvia craft a strategy that pared back her desired coverage to the bare minimum to avert disaster if she died anytime soon, and we hope she enjoys good health for the next couple years, and then we can help her get the coverage she wants at better rates!
Definitely get an instant quote from us and we can advise on whether any carriers are willing to offer life insurance coverage prior to delivery while you have a current diagnosis of gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension.
At AboveBoard we have a unique, ethical approach to advising people in tough insurance situations, and we can help you craft a strategy that considers your budget and protection goals. Resist the urge to "ostrich it", do not put your head in the sand! You incubate a potentially much bigger problem by not taking action.
I had gestational diabetes during pregnancy but already gave birth. What are my options now?
If you're reading this with your pregnancy complications happily in the rearview mirror, that's wonderful! While the fact you had these diagnoses will raise your life insurance pricing with most carriers for at least several years, our unique approach to life insurance for people with a significant factor in their health profile will help suss out your best option.
Depending on the specifics of your health profile, it is possible that you might have great options available. Jolene*, age 38, came to us 6 months after having her second child. She'd had gestational diabetes that required insulin during pregnancy, but thankfully her blood sugar levels had been normal since delivery. A fit, healthy individual who would have qualified for best pricing from any carrier prior to her pregnancy complications, she'd received a sky-high offer from another carrier due to her diagnosis.
AboveBoard got to work sussing out her best options, and while most carriers wanted to charge nearly double what she could have qualified for before gestational diabetes, we found a single carrier open to considering her for best pricing. We were delighted to find this glimmer of hope, and successfully helped her apply for and score that best pricing!
Don’t Wait. Start Now.
Start sooner rather than later. That's the best way to lock in your best-available life insurance option.
I encourage people to start early and get covered before pregnancy or early on in pregnancy, to reduce the risk that pregnancy complications hurt your insurance pricing. If you lock in coverage before pregnancy or early on in pregnancy, and then you later have a pregnancy complication, your life insurance rates cannot change because you already got covered!
But if you missed that window, there are still options. I generally recommend taking the best offer you can get, and you always have the option to try for better-priced coverage later, if your health situation improves. But if your health profile does not improve, at least you have locked in your rate and protected your loved ones. You have successfully averted the potential for disaster.
Here at AboveBoard, we are proud of our independence and client-first approach. We help you suss out your best option in the market, and craft a coverage strategy that perfectly balances your protection and budget goals.
*Names and other personal details are always changed to protect privacy.
(1) Estimated using data from CDC https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html ; March of Dimes https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/gestational-diabetes.aspx ; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/gestational-hypertension