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Life insurance with Cerebral Palsy

Researcher & Writer
April 10, 2020

Every year, medical professionals in America diagnose more than 10,000 babies with cerebral palsy. If you or someone you love has cerebral palsy you may be wondering if it's possible to get a life insurance policy. The short answer is maybe. We'll review your options for life insurance coverage in this article. 

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects a person’s control over movement. There multiple types of cerebral palsy, depending on the type of movement problem. For example, spastic cerebral palsy is when muscles are stiff to move and reflexes and range of movement are overstated.

Cerebral palsy is not a genetic disorder, but it occurs at birth or very early on. It can happen due to:

  • Jaundice
  • Infection
  • Trauma of birth
  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • Rh incompatibility between child and mother
  • Head injury
  • Breech birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Newborn seizures

If you have a family member that has cerebral palsy but you do not, then you will not have to worry about it impacting your life insurance eligibility.

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Will cerebral palsy affect my life span?

This is a question that both you and your life insurance company will want to try to figure out. Life insurance companies issue and deny policies based on the risk of early demise. The higher chance you have of dying earlier than your peers, the more likely it is you will be rejected. Cerebral palsy is not a degenerative disease. This means that cerebral palsy does not necessarily get worse with time. This is good news as far as getting a life insurance policy goes.

Of course, every case of cerebral palsy is different, and in some cases you may have a shorter life expectancy than other people your age or other people with cerebral palsy. The main things include:

  • Do you have seizures? Not everyone who has cerebral palsy suffers from seizures. However, people with seizures have a higher chance of early mortality than those without seizures. Medication can help control your seizures, thus minimizing your risk.
  • Do you have a difficult time feeding yourself? If you are unable to self-feed, then your life expectancy may be cut short. This is because you are reliant on someone else, and you may have a oral problem which could ultimately cause you to choke.
  • Do you have any intellectual disability? Sometimes people with cerebral palsy also suffer a mental disability. It may come as a surprise, but people with mental disabilities have a lower life expectancy than those with normal cognitive functioning.

Other things that could affect your age of mortality when you have cerebral palsy are:

  • Severity- the more severe your impairments, the higher your chance of early mortality
  • Reliance on Caretakers- the less independently you can function, the more likely it is your life span will be affected
  • Mobility- the less mobile you are, the more at risk you are of a premature demise
  • Impaired vision- some CP patients have impaired vision. If you do, then you could have an early mortality
  • Respiratory issues- breathing, swallowing or chewing problems could cut your life short

A life insurance agent will carefully consider if you have any or all of the above issues associated with your cerebral palsy before underwriting your policy. The more risk of an early mortality, the higher your premium, and possibly your chance of being denied a policy.

Can I get a standard rating on life insurance with cerebral palsy?

Even in the best case scenario that you show very few motor, perceptual or cognitive symptoms, it will be quite unlikely that you will get a standard rating. Of course, nothing is impossible, but you should be prepared to pay at least a minimum premium for your life insurance policy. 

For those with a more severe case of cerebral palsy, choosing burial life insurance from among the top final expense companies for life insurance or a high risk life insurance policy may be the best (and only) options.

Will every life insurance company treat me the same?

If you have been rejected before, the good news is that there may be a life insurance company out there that will underwrite your life insurance policy. The bad news is, it’s difficult for the average person to know which life insurance policy is the most suitable for him or her.

While there are definitely some life insurance companies that are better for patients with cerebral palsy than others, there’s no such thing as the perfect life insurance company for cerebral palsy patients. The reason for this is because no two people are alike. Life insurance companies will consider every aspect of your life and health—not just your cerebral palsy. Because of these variables, the life insurance provider that is right for your friend who also has cerebral palsy might not be the one that is right for you.

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