Life Insurance For Special Needs Adults And Children

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Understanding Life Insurance For Special Needs

Life insurance for special needs individuals covers a broad spectrum of conditions. These can range from developmental disabilities and chronic illnesses to physical disabilities. The intent is to provide financial security for these individuals, particularly after the primary caregivers are no longer able to support them.

Case Example: Life Insurance for Autistic Children

Autistic children, as a specific example, often face challenges in obtaining life insurance. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) varies widely in its impact, making underwriting a complex process. Insurers may consider the severity of the condition, associated health issues, and the child’s overall care needs.

Life Insurance For Special Needs

Dealing with Denied Coverage

If coverage is denied, there are several steps to consider:

  1. Review the Denial: Understand the specific reasons for denial. It could be related to the perceived risk or missing information.
  2. Consult with Specialists: Speak to insurance advisors who specialize in high-risk or special needs cases. They might offer alternatives.
  3. Explore Different Insurers: Different companies have varying policies and risk appetites. Explore those known for covering special needs cases.
  4. Consider a Guaranteed Issue Policy: Some insurers offer policies that do not require medical underwriting, though these might come with higher premiums or limited benefits.

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Insider Insights

  1. Underwriting Challenges: Generally, it’s more challenging to pass underwriting for special needs individuals, especially if they have severe conditions.
  2. Options for Older Individuals: If the special needs person is over 40, individual policies become more accessible.
  3. Child Riders: Some insurers offer child riders, allowing a child to be included in a parent’s policy. However, underwriting may still be required.
  4. Guarantee Issue Child Rider: This unique option allows a child to be included in the parent’s policy without individual underwriting, provided the parent is eligible for coverage.
  5. Conversion to Individual Policy: The child rider coverage can later be converted into a permanent policy owned by the adult child.
Life Insurance Special Needs

Comparing Life Insurance Options for Special Needs

Type of PolicyAge GroupUnderwriting RequiredPolicy ConversionRemarks
Individual Policy40+ yearsYesNot applicableSuitable for older special needs adults
Child RiderUnder 18 yearsUsuallyYesCan be converted to an individual policy
Guarantee Issue Child RiderUnder 18 yearsNoYesAs long as parents qualify, the child is covered


Navigating life insurance for special needs individuals requires understanding the variety of options available and the specific challenges involved. From autistic children facing underwriting hurdles to adults over 40 finding more accessible policies, the landscape is diverse. Specialized policies like the guarantee issue child rider offer unique solutions, ensuring coverage without the standard underwriting process. Understanding these options can lead to a satisfying experience, knowing that financial security is attainable for special needs individuals.

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Questions From Our Readers

Can someone with special needs get life insurance?

Life insurance companies provide coverage for individuals with disabilities as long as the disability does not affect their life expectancy. In case the disability does affect life expectancy, it can impact the person’s ability to obtain various forms of coverage.

Does autism count as a permanent disability?

Autism is eligible for disability benefits according to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as long as the applicant meets the requirements. It is also recognized as a disability by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Is autism considered a disability for insurance purposes?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considers autism as a disability. Those diagnosed with autism, whether adults or children, may be eligible for Social Security benefits. These benefits can include disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To know more about autism and available disability benefits, please keep reading.

How does an autism diagnosis affect insurance?

Previously, people with ASD could be at risk of being denied or losing healthcare coverage. However, this is no longer the case, as ASD is now considered a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition refers to a medical condition one had before enrolling or applying for a healthcare policy.

What can you do if you want to obtain life insurance for yourself and your autistic daughter, especially if she has been denied by another company?

A viable option could be to purchase a term life insurance policy for yourself through a company like Banner Life, and add a guaranteed issue (GI) child rider for your daughter. Since your daughter may face challenges getting through traditional underwriting due to her autism, the guaranteed issue rider, available for children under 18, can be a suitable solution. It’s important to note that this isn’t a standalone policy for your daughter but a rider attached to the parent’s policy. When applying for the parent’s term policy, you can include the rider for your daughter, ensuring she has some coverage. This approach allows for coverage without the need for underwriting for your daughter.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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