Purchasing Life Insurance After Being Diagnosed with Buerger’s Disease

Whenever we get a call from a client who says that they have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition called Buerger’s disease, the first thing that we want to know for sure is:

“Which Buerger’s disease do you have?”

Do you have B-U-E-R-G-E-R’s disease which is a disease that affects the small and medium blood vessels in the legs, hands and feet?


Do you have B-E-R-G-E-R’s disease which affects one’s kidneys?

You see…

There’s a big difference between these two diseases, despite the fact that they sound very similar and are spelled nearly exactly the same!

Additionally, both of these conditions are going to face very different obstacles when it comes to getting approved for a term or whole exam required life insurance policy.

This is why we want to make sure that we’re all on the same page right from the get go!

Then once we’ve that we’ve got that sorted out…

We can then move on to learning more about the “severity” of our clients Buerger’s disease so that we can get a better idea about what “types” of life insurance policies our client may or may not be eligible for, as well as what “rate” class they might receive.

Buerger’s Disease.

Buerger’s disease (thromboangiitis obliterans) is a rare disease that affects the arteries and the veins in both the legs and arms of its patients.  With Buerger’s disease, patient’s arteries and veins will become inflamed causing swelling which ultimately decrease blood flow throughout the lower extremities which can possibly create blockages and blood clots (thrombi).

Ultimately, those affected with Buerger’s disease will begin suffering from damaged skin tissue increasing ones’ risk for infection and gangrene.,

Smoking… the main issue when it comes to Buerger’s Disease.

Smoking, or use of some other form of tobacco product is responsible for virtually every case of Buerger’s disease, and only quitting all forms of tobacco use can prevent Buerger’s disease from progressing.

Symptoms of Buerger’s disease will often include:

  • Pain in the hands, legs or feet.
  • Inflammation along the veins and arteries.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon.
  • Painful open sores on the fingers and toes.

Treatment for Buerger’s disease.

Other than a complete abstinence of all tobacco products, there really isn’t any type of treatment for Buerger’s disease other than simply trying to manage and minimize the damaging effects it will have.

For this reason, you will find that when it comes to applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy, unless you have completely quit using all forms of tobacco and have been completely tobacco free for a minimum of two years, your life insurance application will be automatically declined.

For these individuals…

There really are only two options when it comes to being able to purchase a life insurance policy.

  • Either they are going to quit using tobacco and apply for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy after they’ve been tobacco free for two years.
  • Or they are going to continue using tobacco, in which case, their choices will be limited to a guaranteed issue or simplified issue life insurance policy which is a life insurance policy that will not require an applicant to take a medical exam or answer any health related questions.

Now before we get too excited…

Let us briefly point out that while a guaranteed issue life insurance policy (if available in your state) is really only going to have two requirements:

  • First, you need to be a US citizen.
  • And second, you need to be at least 40 years old and not older than 85 years of age.

Which for most folks isn’t going to be an issue, guaranteed issue life insurance policies are also going to have some pretty significant drawbacks or disadvantages you should be aware of before you decide to purchase one.

First, guaranteed issue life insurance policies are only going to offer around $25,000 dollars in life insurance coverage.  So, if you think you’re going to need more coverage than that, chances are, a guaranteed issue life insurance policy might not be the right fit for you.

Second, guaranteed issue life insurance policies can be pretty expensive when you compare the price you are paying vs the actual amount of coverage you are receiving.

Lastly, guaranteed issue life insurance policies are going to contain what is called a Graded Death Benefit Clause, which is going to limit when your guaranteed issue life insurance policy will begin covering “natural” or “illness based” causes of death.

For a more complete breakdown of both the Pros and Cons of a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, we would recommend that you visit our article: Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance or simply give us a call.

Now for those who have:

“Seen the light”


Given up their tobacco use…


Have been tobacco free for over two years….

The good news for you is that you may now be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy, we’ll just need to fully understand the “severity” of your Buerger’s disease so that we can better determine what rate class you may be eligible for.

Common questions that will be used to determine the severity of your Buerger’s disease.

  • When were you first diagnosed with Buerger’s disease?
  • Are you currently using any form of tobacco products?
  • When was the last time you used any form of tobacco products?
  • What symptoms did you experience as a result of your Buerger’s disease?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke or blood clots?
  • Are you currently working now?
  • In the past 12 months have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?

From here, the insurance companies will generally have a pretty good idea what “types” of life insurance you should be eligible and what “price” you will likely be required to pay.

But it’s important to remember…

That until an insurance underwriter has had an opportunity to review your life insurance application, review your medical exam results and look at your medical records, we won’t know for sure whether or not you’ll be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy, or which of the 12 possible rate classes you may or may not qualify for.

What we do know is…

That “in general” Buerger’s disease applicants, who have shown a stable health history for at least 2 years after quitting smoking, “should” be eligible for what is called a “table rating”.

Which means that while you probably won’t be able to qualify for a Standard or better life insurance rate, at least now you’ll have a pretty good chance at getting approved for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and won’t have to settle on purchasing a guaranteed issue life insurance policy if that isn’t the right policy for you!

But when it comes to what you will and won’t be eligible for…

Let us worry about that, you see here at TermLife2Go, because much of our business if centered around helping those more “challenging” applicants find a qualify life insurance policy, we’ve become experts and placing difficult cases.

So, what are you waiting for?  Give us a call today or visit our Life Insurance Quotes page and see what we can do for you!

Leave a Comment