Shopping for life insurance is rarely something that someone looks forward to but it’s a relatively simple process. However, if you not cisgendered (don’t identify as the sex listed on your birth certificate) or you’re transgender, searching for a life insurance plan can take on a whole new layer of stress.
Let’s face it, the insurance industry isn’t renowned for being progressive, which means that it’s taken a while for the application process to fully adapt to the needs of individuals that are not cisgendered, but things are becoming easier!
Why Sex Matters When It Comes to Life Insurance
It’s easy to wonder why your sex matters when it comes to finding a life insurance plan and it’s easy to blame excessive bureaucracy for having to answer questions about whether you were born male or female. However, insurers actually have a very valid reason for asking you to confirm your birth sex—it helps them to accurately calculate the risk of issuing you a life insurance policy.
Genetically males and females have very different health risk profiles, which means that your birth sex gives insurers important information about what health issues you are at increased risk of developing as well as your life expectancy.
Life insurance companies use this information to run a risk analysis on how likely it is that you will pass away during the life of the policy. The process of analyzing an individual’s application to determine policy eligibility and premium cost is known as underwriting. Due to an increased risk profile men generally pay more for life insurance coverage.
How Insurers Calculate Quotes for Individuals needing Transgender Insurance Policies
Unfortunately there is no definitive answer to exactly how insurers will calculate quotes for transgender insurance applicants, as the policies and underwriting processes will vary by insurer. So what does this mean for transgender or non-cisgender identifying individuals? It means that your application could be treated in several ways by a potential insurer:
-Your quote may be based on the sex listed on your birth certificate
If you haven’t received any drug therapy or surgery to transition away from the sex on your birth certificate to the gender you identify as, you will most likely receive a quote based on your sex at birth. This means that if you identify as a different gender than the sex you were born as but have yet to take any medical steps towards sex reassignment then you’ll need to apply as the sex on your birth certificate.
-Your sex may be based on the gender you currently identify as
If you have taken hormone therapy or undergone sex reassignment surgery, your application could potentially be based on the gender that you identify as now. This will vary by insurer. If you have either started hormone therapy or transitioned completely you’ll need to speak to an agent to discuss life insurance options. Some of the things that could affect how the insurer views your application include the length of time you’ve been taking hormone therapy and the number of years since surgery.
Does Everybody Qualify for Life Insurance, Regardless of Sex or Gender?
It depends on the type of policy being applied for! There are a number of policies that are known as guaranteed issue plans, this means that the life insurance policy will be issued regardless of the applicant’s health status. However, the majority of life insurance policies are issued only if the applicant meets the requirements of the underwriting process. Transgender individuals will need to meet the same minimum requirements as cisgendered individuals and may need to be prepared to answer additional questions about their physical and mental health. To qualify for medically underwritten life insurance applicants must be in good health, which means that they have not been diagnosed with any life shortening illnesses, and be within defined health guidelines.
Insurers have their own determinations for health ratings, which are the brackets used to help determine your premium, so one insurer may place more significance on specific health conditions than others. For transgender individuals this means that some insurers may place higher significance on the transition process and the potential health risks involved. For example, they’ll look at your mental health and whether you’ve had the required support through the process. They’ll also take into consideration what hormone therapy you’ve taken and how long you’ve been taking it for. If you’ve undergone sex reassignment surgery they’ll also want to know the exact dates that any surgical procedures were carried out. Whether you can qualify for insurance will depend on the insurer and where you are in the transition process.
Finding a Transgender Insurance Policy
There’s one piece of advice that all people shopping for life insurance should follow: always compare multiple quotes from as many different insurers as possible. Why? Because premiums can vary greatly between insurers, with the difference between quotes adding up to thousands of dollars over the life of the policy. This is especially important for transgender individuals, as being transgender can affect your life insurance coverage options and how your life insurance premiums are calculated. Comparing quotes allows you to find the appropriate insurer for you to get the best-priced plan for your needs.
IntelliQuote is an online life insurance marketplace that lets you compare quotes from many of the best-rated insurers in just a few minutes. Our team of licensed insurance agents are also on hand to answer any questions transgender insurance applicants may have and help guide you to the right plan!