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Personal Finance > Insurance
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High-risk life insurance
graphic October 8, 2001: 7:00 a.m. ET

Think there's no coverage for you?
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NEW YORK (CNNmoney) - If you've been told that you can't get insurance -- for example, if you've had a bypass operation, perhaps, or have diabetes -- don't take "no" for an answer. First check any policy you have for a "guaranteed insurability rider," which gives you the right to buy more coverage at your current rate. Then look into group insurance (which usually doesn't require a medical exam).

If neither option applies, you may be a candidate for "impaired risk" insurance. Although some insurers still use mortality tables based on data from the 1970s, others now rely on clinical medical under-writing, which considers medical advances and lifestyle choices that allow people with health problems to live long lives. To find impaired risk coverage:

• Call a company that specializes in high-risk policies. Among them: CNA (800-437-8854); Mutual of Omaha (402-342-7600); and Guarantee Trust Life Insurance (800-592-7933; particularly for people with HIV).

• Contact Impaired Risk Specialists (888-898-3279) or Underwriting Specialists (800-652-5700). These companies can help you locate impaired-risk policies.

• Check lists of independent and company-affiliated agents who specialize in impaired risk in Who Writes What, published by the National Underwriter (800-543-0874; $10).

• Choose an agent who has experience with high-risk policies and can shop your case to various companies. Many agents are not aware of impaired-risk policies or are contractually bound to companies that don't write them. You may want to work with two agents to see which one offers a better deal. But don't expect to dicker about the quotes you get; they're based on contracts with underwriters and are likely to be firm. graphic





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