Simple Life Insurance Guide: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) impacts life in many ways. If you are here – chances are you are researching how to obtain life insurance for yourself, a loved one, or a client with CKD. While getting favorable life insurance with CKD is not impossible, it can be difficult. Many will find securing life insurance to be a complicated and time-consuming process. While working under the guidance of an experienced professional will increase the probability of success and reduce the stress of navigating an already complex world of life insurance, it is wise to gain context and learn what to expect on your journey. In this article, we present a recent successful put in force for contextual purposes – and highlight questions we are commonly asked by those looking for life insurance with CKD.

 

 

Chronic Kidney Disease
Stage Description GFR (mL/min)
1 Kidney damage with normal or high GFR > 90
2 Mild CKD 60-89
3A Moderate CKD 45-59
3B Moderate CKD 30-44
4 Severe CKD 15-29
5 End stage CKD <15

 

A financial advisor recently brought us a man about sixty years of age with stage 3A chronic kidney disease. He was previously denied life insurance coverage through another carrier due to the severity of his diagnosis. Fortunately, despite still having stage 3A CKD and documented hypertension, the man is currently protected with life insurance.

As an ex-smoker who lives a busy life as a working professional, the man already presented a rather challenging case. He underwent surgery to remove a presumed-to-be cancerous tumor from a part of his kidney. Fortunately, the tumor was benign. 

After being referred in by their financial advisor, EMG met with the client and laid out a strategic plan. The process involved expeditiously diving into medical history, ordering additional medical examinations, crafting a strong narrative, then leveraging years of experience to navigate various carrier coverage options. What worked well in this instance was the man received an early diagnosis and intervention, with a documented stabilization of improved GFR levels over time. After presenting a fact-based narrative that the disease was not progressing further, compounded with additional lifestyle changes and compliance to his treatment plan – EMG successfully secured a policy for the man despite being denied by other carriers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kidney Disease and Life Insurance:

Can you get life insurance with kidney disease?

Yes, people with kidney disease can obtain life insurance. There are numerous factors taken into consideration by insurance providers when determining whether or not a person with chronic kidney disease will qualify for life insurance. Including, but not limited to:

  • Age is one of the most important, as people over the age of sixty are at an increased risk. 
  • The stage and progression of the disease —higher stages of CKD (declining kidney function) and volatile GFR levels over time tend to pose challenges to underwriters. 
  • Insurance carriers will investigate family medical history, searching for blood-related family members who have (or had) chronic kidney disease. 
  • A person’s pre-existing medical conditions—especially hypertension.

Every insurance carrier’s approach is nuanced when determining a client’s insurance coverage. Seasoned insurance professionals with well-rounded resources and years of industry experience are the best way to align a person’s needs with the appropriate carrier and coverage plans available on the market. Without the assistance of such professionals, navigating the changing landscape of life insurance becomes frustrating, at best, for the everyday person. Instead of trying independently, save yourself time and seek the support of experienced professionals.

Can kidney dialysis patients get life insurance?

Yes, some people with CKD who are also on dialysis can obtain certain policies. Often, the primary types are (1) a guaranteed issue life insurance policy (final expense insurance) and (2) an accidental death policy. And while many people with CKD can secure certain types of life insurance policies, there are some potential roadblocks. In these instances, it is best to seek the support of an experienced professional – as every case is different and requires a nuanced, personalized approach.

Can kidney transplant patients get life insurance?

Yes, it is possible for people who received kidney transplants to obtain life insurance; however, more information is often requested by the insurance carriers to make a final determination on eligibility. Be prepared to provide information related to why the transplant occurred. Carriers evaluate whether or not the transplant resulted from lifestyle choices (alcohol, cigarettes, physical inactivity, etc.) or pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance carriers also gauge how well the body has accepted the new kidney, the duration since the transplant, and the source of the kidney (living person or cadaver). Generally, a transplant recipient should wait for one to two years before applying for life insurance.

What kind of life insurance policies can I get with kidney disease?

Ultimately, life insurance decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. It is important to temper your expectations when seeking life insurance as someone who has CKD. Those diagnosed with CKD often require a nuanced approach to obtain life insurance, and policy configurations depend on the details of the case presented.. 

What causes and/or aggravates kidney disease?

Pre-existing conditions are some of the primary causes and aggravators of kidney disease, most notably:

  • Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure, is the most common cause of kidney disease). 
  • Glomerulonephritis (a disease that irritates blood vessels in the kidneys). 
  • Acute kidney injury (kidney failure that happens very quickly, often as a result of injuries, major blood loss, or reactions to medicines). 
  • Autoimmune disease (e.g., lupus and IgA nephropathy), which can worsen conditions by causing the immune systems to attack the kidneys and other bodily organs.


A family history of certain illnesses may also cause CKD. Polycystic kidney disease (a genetic disease that causes cysts to grow in the kidneys), and kidney cancer (a type of cancer that grows in the kidneys) are two of the most common that insurance carriers want to be aware of. 

And, much like with other chronic conditions, lifestyle choices can also play a role in aggravating CKD. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity are known aggravators of CKD. 

What information should I know and gather in preparation to obtain life insurance as someone with CKD?

To have the best chance of obtaining life insurance, a person with CKD should gather as much information—in as much detail as possible—about the following:

  • Underlying causes and all other related symptoms
  • Relevant family medical history
  • Stage of CKD, based on medical testing
  • Historical patterns (whether the CKD is stable, slow/fast, etc.)
  • Blood pressure levels, as well as any potential indication of cardiac disease 
  • Diabetes tests (and whether or not a predisposition to diabetes is due to their weight, family history, or any other reason)
  • Medical prescriptions and/or current treatments, if any, for their condition(s)

Remember: There’s hope for obtaining life insurance with kidney disease!

Regardless of what roadblocks and challenges CKD might force a person to overcome throughout their journey, there are still ways to protect both themselves and their loved ones.

Over the last 40 years, EMG has developed a track record of securing the most appropriate plans possible for each individual. If you have additional questions or are unsure where to start when seeking the best possible life insurance for yourself, a loved one, or a client – we want to help. Connect with an insurance professional today at EMG and receive the support you need.