Life Insurance Quotes with Blindness or Visual Impairment
There are many causes and many forms of visual impairment that can lead to a partial or total loss of a person’s vision. The loss of vision is traumatic and impacts a person’s life and the life of his or her family members in a number of ways.
Depending on how a person lost their vision, there may be additional medical issues to consider as well. For example, if a person lost their sight in an accident, there may be other trauma to the head or the face to consider. If a person loses sight due to a medical condition or a neurological disorder, such as diabetes or glaucoma, secondary medical issues such as high blood pressure may be something that can negatively impact their health as well.
Any degree of visual impairment, from simple cases of double vision, all the way up to complete and total blindness, is a serious situation. However, in many cases, the affected person may still be able to obtain life insurance.
The policy you obtain and the amount of the premium you have to pay depends on a number of factors. However, if blindness is related to a condition that significantly decreases life expectancy, then a life insurance company may have good cause to deny coverage.
How a loss of vision affects the body
The manner in which a person becomes blind will directly impact how that loss of vision impacts the overall health of a person. Some of the more common ways a person can lose their sight include:
Accidents. When a person is involved in an accident and suffers either a partial or complete loss of vision, the effect is jarring. A primary window to the world is immediately taken away and the emotional toll can be just a devastating as the physical toll. There may be secondary injury issues to deal with, such as in the event of a car accident, and those issues may be ongoing. For this reason, life insurance companies will generally demand a one-year waiting period after an accident to allow a person to stabilize both physically and mentally.
Glaucoma. Glaucoma is actually a group of eye disorders that progressively damage the optic nerve. It is the second most common cause of blindness in the world. The exact cause of glaucoma isn’t known but it is believed that increased pressure in the eye gradually causes intraocular pressure to increase and cause nerve damage. This build up of pressure is one of the key secondary health issues that underwriters look for when deciding whether or not to issue a life insurance policy. Glaucoma can’t be cured, but the effects can be mitigated to some degree with eye drops and in some cases, eye surgery
Age-related macular degeneration. This is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60 years old. The retina is the light-sensing nerve at the back of the eye, and when a small portion of the retina, known the macula, deteriorates, it can lead to a significant loss of vision. Because macular degeneration can be hereditary, it is something to monitor and it will be noted as part of any life insurance application. In addition, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol may also be increased risk factors for developing the disease.
Diabetic retinopathy. Many people with diabetes develop a condition called retinopathy. High blood sugar in blood vessels in the eye cause them to get weak and this leads to blood and other liquids leaking into the retina. Fluids that leak into the center of the eye will lead to blurry vision. Eventually the broken blood vessels create scar tissue which further increases damage and may cause the retina to move away from the wall of the eye. Retinopathy can also cause the macula to swell, which can damage vision significantly, up to and including legal blindness.
Factors to consider when applying for life insurance if you have a vision impairment
When applying for a life insurance policy, some of the things that a company will look at in determining whether or not to issue a policy may include:
How long have you been blind/visually impaired? If you lost your sight due to an accident, then determining the exact date will be easy. But if you lost your sight due to a medical condition, blindness may come on over a period of time. If you became blind due to an accident, then you will most likely be able to get term life insurance one year after your loss of sight. However, if you lost your site due to a neurological condition, then a life insurance company will probably reject your application for a standard policy and may offer you the opportunity to be evaluated for a graded death benefit policy. A graded death benefit policy only pays out limited benefits during the first few years the policy is in force.
How much assistance do you need with daily living activities? Some people who are blind are able to function at a fairly high level in their home environment. Others may require a lot of assistance to help them with meals, bathing, household chores and other routine tasks. A life insurance company will want to know what kind of support system is in place for a blind person before they consider writing a policy. Because blindness increases the risk of accidents and injuries across the board, they will want to know that the blind person has enough protection built into their daily routine.
How often are you monitored for your visual impairment? An underwriter will want to know how often you see an ophthalmologist. This will reassure the life insurance company that the blindness is being closely monitored and that additional complications, if they crop up, can be dealt with in a timely way.
What other medical conditions do you have? If your blindness has been caused by an accident, then there’s a good chance you will have no other underlying medical conditions. But if your blindness was caused by something else, then you may also suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, cancer or a number of other serious issues. This could lead to denial for a standard policy or a significant impact on the rating you do receive. The poorer the rating, the higher your premium will be.
What medications are you currently taking in relation to your blindness? If you suffer from a neurological condition that created the blindness, then you might be taking medications to combat the effects of the condition. Many medications have side effects that can adversely affect your health, and an underwriter will need to know this in advance.
If you have a medical condition such as glaucoma, what is your family history with this disease? Studies have shown that if a person has a family history of glaucoma or other similar eye diseases, then the chances for an applicant developing glaucoma are increased. Although developing glaucoma cannot be prevented, if there is a pre-existing awareness that it runs in a family, then steps can be taken early on to decrease the onset in an applicant through ongoing monitoring.