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Life insurance for people with HIV

Life insurers are averse to risk, and there's no riskier medical condition than HIV. Despite advances in the treatment of HIV, there are no life insurers that currently underwrite whole or term life insurance for applicants with HIV. Guaranteed Trust Life Insurance Co. dabbled in the business of offering "impaired risk" life insurance for those with HIV but ceased offering such policies in June 2004.

Nonetheless, there are other insurance strategies available for those with HIV:

  • Find out if you are eligible for a group life insurance policy through work or a trade or alumni association. These policies underwrite the group as a whole, not the individuals. Even with a group life policy, however, benefits may be capped at a low level unless you can provide "evidence of insurability," which an HIV applicant won't be able to do. 
  • Consider a "guaranteed issue" final expense policy. These whole life policies usually provide a benefit of $25,000 to $30,000 (depending on the company) without regard to health conditions. To find out who sells guaranteed issue life insurance policies in your state, contact your state department of insurance.

    Guaranteed issue life insurance policies carry a "graded benefit." This means that if you die within the first two or three years (terms vary by policy), your beneficiaries receive only a portion of the benefit, or none, or a return of premiums paid plus interest; if you die after the initial period has passed, beneficiaries receive the full benefit. Be aware that these policies are costly and usually won't be sold to someone over age 70. If you die in an accident during the initial specified period, the policy will usually pay.

  • Consider an accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policy. These policies can also be purchased without regard to health conditions and will provide your beneficiaries with the benefit should you die in an accident. If you die from a health condition, or even old age, the policy does not pay out.

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