Life Insurance with Sleep Apnea

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Regarding life insurance, one of the most critical factors affecting your eligibility and premium rates is your health. For example, sleep apnea is a common condition affecting millions worldwide. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, you may wonder if it will affect your ability to get life insurance or the cost of your policy. In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about life insurance with sleep apnea, including what it is, how it can impact your life insurance, and what you can do to get the best coverage at the most affordable rates.

Understanding Sleep Apnea and its Impact on Health

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. It can lead to various health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and complex sleep apnea syndrome (CSAS).

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when the muscles in the throat relax and block the airway. CSA, conversely, is caused by a failure of the brain to signal the muscles to breathe. CSAS is a combination of OSA and CSA.

Sleep apnea can be diagnosed through a sleep study, and treatment options include lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol, as well as using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Life Insurance

When you apply for life insurance, the insurer will ask you questions about your health, including whether you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. This is because sleep apnea is considered a preexisting condition, which means it is a condition that existed before you applied for coverage.

Sleep apnea can impact your ability to get life insurance or the cost of your policy. If your sleep apnea is mild and well-controlled, you may be able to get life insurance at standard rates. However, if your sleep apnea is severe or uncontrolled, you may be classified as a high-risk applicant and have to pay higher premiums or be denied coverage altogether.

Can I Get Life Insurance If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Some life insurance companies may not cover you if you have this condition. Your rates may also go up. It all depends on your situation and the life insurance company.

Since life insurance companies insure your life, they consider any factors that could lead to an early death. That’s why they carefully consider your health and medical history during application. If a health condition makes you more likely to die young, it increases the insurer’s risk.

Life insurance companies look at each applicant on a case-by-case basis. So, if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, the company will consider all the factors involved, such as how severe your condition is and what treatment options are available. Your age, height, weight, occupation, and hobbies will also be considered. In many cases, people with sleep apnea can still get life insurance coverage.

How to Get Life Insurance with Sleep Apnea

If you have sleep apnea and are looking for life insurance coverage, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting coverage and getting the best rates possible:

Work with an independent insurance agent: An independent insurance agent can help you find the best life insurance policy for your needs and budget. They can also help you navigate the underwriting process and work with insurers who are more likely to accept applicants with sleep apnea.

Be upfront about your condition: It’s essential, to be honest about your sleep apnea when applying for life insurance. If you are dishonest and the insurer finds out later, it could lead to your policy being canceled or your claims being denied.

Get your condition under control: If you have sleep apnea, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and get your condition under control. This can help improve your chances of getting approved for life insurance and getting better rates.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Life Insurance with Sleep Apnea

Several factors can affect the cost of your life insurance policy if applied with sleep apnea, including:

  • The severity of your sleep apnea: If your sleep apnea is severe, you may have to pay higher premiums than someone with mild sleep apnea.
  • Age: Younger applicants with sleep apnea may have lower premiums than older applicants.
  • Overall health: If you have other health issues besides sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure or obesity, you may have to pay higher premiums.
  • Type of policy: Certain policies, such as term life insurance, may be more affordable than whole life insurance if you have sleep apnea.
  • Insurance company: Different insurance companies have different underwriting guidelines and may offer different rates for applicants with sleep apnea.

Tips for Choosing the Best Life Insurance Policy with Sleep Apnea

When it comes to choosing the best life insurance policy for sleep apnea, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Shop around: Get quotes from multiple insurance companies to compare rates and coverage options.
  • Consider term life insurance: If you’re looking for affordable coverage, term life insurance may be a good option. It provides coverage for a period of 10, 20, or 30 years.
  • Look for guaranteed issue policies: If you’re having trouble getting approved for traditional life insurance, look for guaranteed issue policies. These policies don’t require a medical exam but may have lower coverage limits and higher premiums.
  • Work with an independent insurance agent: An independent insurance agent can help you navigate the underwriting process and find the best policy for your needs and budget.

Underwriting for Life Insurance with Sleep Apnea

Rating for sleep apnea is determined by the severity of the disease as measured by the number of apnea and hypopnea episodes per hour (apnea-hypopnea index or AHI) and by the degree of hypoxia (low blood oxygen level).

Favorable features include mild disease (low AHI and minimal hypoxia), consistent CPAP/BiPAP, controlled blood pressure, no risky driving events, and no co-existing heart or lung disease.

Favorable cases are generally not rated for life insurance.

For example, a client compliant with CPAP and normal blood pressure would not be rated and eligible for preferred classifications.

What Insurance Companies Look For With Sleep Apnea

  • Age of applicant
  • Type of sleep apnea: central or obstructive
  • Treatment
  • Severity and duration of symptoms
  • Sleep study results
  • Compliance and frequency of CPAP or Bi-PAP use

Getting Life Insurance Coverage With Sleep Apnea

  • Effective treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea can be considered for coverage.
  • Severe sleep apnea that is effectively treated can be considered in most cases. However, untreated severe sleep apnea cases could be declined in some cases.

Sleep Apnea Life Insurance Companies (We Recommend)

American General is one of the top-rated life insurance companies in the United States. The company was founded in 1919 and had an excellent rating. American General is very favorable to applicants with sleep apnea who comply with treatment recommendations. AG can consider preferred rates for those consistent with treatment, making it an excellent option for those with sleep apnea.

Disclaimer: We are licensed life insurance agents for AIG. If you need a quote or want to apply, contact us below. There is no charge for the service. However, we strongly discourage applying without the assistance of an agent because if you apply on your own and get declined coverage, for whatever reason, no other life insurance company will consider you for coverage for approximately two years.

What If I’m Declined Coverage?

Even if an insurer declined your life insurance application, you could still purchase life insurance through a guaranteed policy.

What Is A Guaranteed Issue Policy?

A guaranteed issue policy is life insurance that does not depend on your health. This means you can get life insurance even if you have had a stroke and have been declined. However, there are a few drawbacks that you should consider before getting this type of policy.

Many insurers that offer guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a limit on the death benefit. This amount is usually between $25,000 and $30,000, depending on your age.

If you die from natural causes, your family must wait for two or three years before the company will pay the full death benefit. Most companies, however, will pay a benefit equal to the total premiums paid plus 5 to 10 percent.

Since the insurer is unsure how healthy you are, they will charge you more for your life insurance policy than someone healthier.

Although there are some disadvantages to guaranteed issue life insurance, it is still a better option than asking your loved ones to pay your final expenses.


Sleep apnea can impact your ability to get life insurance and the cost of your policy, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage. By being honest about your condition, getting it under control, and working with an independent insurance agent, you can find the best life insurance policy for your needs and budget. Remember to shop around, consider different policies, and choose a policy that provides the coverage you need at a price you can afford. With the right approach, you can get the life insurance coverage you need to protect your loved ones and give you peace of mind.

How To Get Life Insurance With Sleep Apnea

Need Help Getting Life Insurance Coverage?

If you have a preexisting medical condition and want to buy life insurance, you will need help from an expert. This person can help ensure you get coverage so you don’t get declined.

Warning: Applying for life insurance without a medical exam can be risky. If you are declined coverage, it could be at least two years before you can get any life insurance.

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Have You Been Declined Life Insurance Coverage Before?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

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

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