Married to the Empire

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life Insurance for the Uninsurable

I did something today that goes against my personal financial policy: I accepted an offer over the phone.

My husband has kidney disease. We discovered it years ago when we were applying for life insurance. The insurance company required a urine test, and all tests kept coming back funny on him. A regular doctor, a nephrologist, and a kidney biopsy later, we learned he has IgA Nephropathy, which is a form of kidney disease.

Suddenly, our plans for getting him any life insurance evaporated at the moment of diagnosis. Kidney disease is the big black mark in the insurance industry. No one would cover him. I even went so far as to call the National Kidney Foundation to ask if they knew of any companies that cover kidney patients. They had no answers for me. In fact, they said no one had ever called to ask that question before!

Steven is not completely without insurance, as he does have a policy through his work, which covers one year's salary. It's adequate, but hardly enough, considering I no longer work out of the home. (However, I do keep my teaching credentials updated, just in case.)

So what was today's phone offer? Our mortgate company called to offer accidental life insurance. It's free for the first 30 days while we look over the policy, and after that, there's a small monthly fee tacked onto the bill for our mortgage. (No, this is not merely mortgage insurance meant to pay off the house in case of death, if anyone is wondering; this is a form of life insurance. Period.)

Ordinarily, I would never accept something over the phone that involves money, but I decided to take a chance on this. Steven's health is generally fine right now. I don't fear his dying from kidney failure or anything, but I do worry as he commutes daily to and from Dallas. Car accidents happen, and one day, it could be him. It just makes sense to get the extra coverage, especially as accidental life insurance is the only kind we can get on him.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, in case anyone else needs to know options. I can't begin to tell you how frustrated I've been reading the blogs of other SAHWs who matter-of-factly state that they'll be A-OK if their husbands die (in spite of no job skills or degrees in many cases--don't get me started on the naivete of that!) because they have large life insurance policies. The implication is always that everyone should do that if the wife is at home. I agree; but reality has played out very differently for us due to kidney disease. It's always good to have contingency plans, and those plans are going to look different for every family due to various circumstances. If you can't get regular life insurance, look for it in other forms.


Anonymous said...

ask for the policy contract, and read the fine print very very closely. YOu already stated that what they were selling was 'accidental life insurance' - that won't cover you if he dies from a pre-existing condition. And sometimes (depending on which company is actually underwriting the policy) 'accidental' can be very specific and/or exclusionary. (if he gets hit by a bus on any day except Feb.29, it won't cover him. If he dies in a car crash, plane crash, etc. etc. he isn't covered.) Get the policy, take your 30 day free look, and really read the details. I'll bet you 50:1, you won't want the policy.

Cassie said...

I think it was a wise idea for you to get this. My husband commutes daily as well and I always fear something may happen to him on his commute. At least you can check things out for free for 30 days and if it doesn't seem worth it to you (but I think it will), you can always cancel. :)

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Anon, believe me, I'll read the policy over carefully. I'm fully aware that this doesn't cover a pre-existing condition. My husband's kidney disease prevents him from getting a normal insurance policy, hence our seeking out alternatives. Believe me, I would love nothing more than to be able to pay for a regular term life policy or even a whole life policy for him, but no one will give him one.

If his kidney function decreases so much that he's nearing death, we'll be reevaluating our lives completely, such as my going back to work. Right now, his kidneys really aren't an issue. His chances of dying these days are from car accidents or other things of that nature.

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

I am linking this sometime this week- insurance is a HUGE issues and I think many people seem awfully blase about it. Under the current system, we are basically uninsurable without a group plan because of some health issues we have and/or had in the past. I worry more about losing our insurance than losing our income. Thanks for dealing with this topic!