Transgender life insurance
Searching for life insurance as a transgender individual is complicated, but the good news is more insurance companies are updating their coverage policies, and transgender life insurance is now a thing.
Can I get transgender life insurance coverage?
Things are getting better for all LGBT people. You can not only get transgender life insurance, but some carriers benefit you more as a transgender person depending on your goals for coverage. Let’s look at which carriers are the most trans-friendly and give you an idea of how insurance carriers view and underwrite transgender life insurance coverage.
What type of life insurance is best for transgender folks?
There are two types of life insurance, term life and whole life. Term life insurance lasts for a specified length of time. Whole life will last your entire life.
Term life insurance is best for 90% of those who want life insurance. That’s due to the amount of coverage you can purchase with small premiums. I recently asked over 40 experts about which coverage is best, term versus whole life insurance. An overwhelming majority of respondents chose term life insurance.
When you start searching for life insurance quotes, most rates you’ll see online are for term life insurance. For this article, my research and outreach focus on term life insurance.
Do insurance carriers recognize me as a transgender person?
There’s no single answer to how insurance carriers will underwrite you. Every insurance company will have different underwriting guidelines. Some are more conducive to the transgender community than others.
Some carriers follow state guidelines, specific to where you live. An insurance agent can get the specifics for you from each insurance carrier.
Gender is a significant factor when getting life insurance quotes, along with age, health and tobacco usage. All things being equal, rates for men are higher than rates for women. The reason is that women typically live longer than men.
That said, you must decide what’s most important to you. Is getting the lowest insurance rate possible more important to you or is getting coverage based on your gender identity? I reached out to ten of the top life insurance carriers and asked what sex they would assign a transgender person. Below are the results:
|Insurance Carrier||Gender Assignment||Additional Notes|
|Accordia Life||Based on gender at birth||N/A|
|Allianz Life||Based on gender at birth||N/A|
|Assurity Life||Based on gender at birth||N/A|
|Haven Life||Based on gender identity||Haven Life and MassMutual believe in gender inclusivity.|
|John Hancock||Based on gender at birth||If reassignment surgery has been completed, will underwrite based on reassignment.|
|Principal Life||Based on gender identity||N/A|
|Prudential||Based on gender identity||Carrier will underwrite for gender at birth with specific conditions, such as breast cancer for a trans male.|
|Sagicor Life||Based on gender at birth||N/A|
|Standard Life||Based on gender identity||If medical interventions have been initiated to help them adapt to being their new gender.|
|TransAmerica||Based on gender at birth||If reassignment surgery has been completed, will underwrite based on reassignment.|
Be aware of the types of questions you’ll be asked. Each carrier wants to know: Each carrier has its own policy for how it’ll determine your insurability and underwrite your policy. I was amazed by the results and shocked that 80% of these carriers stated that I was the first person to inquire about transgender life insurance.
- Did you have gender reassignment surgery? If so, how long has it been since the surgery?
- Have you undergone psychological treatment to assist you with your gender identity transition?
- Do you suffer from gender-specific medical conditions?
Examples of gender-specific medical conditions include breast cancer and testicular cancer. Someone transitioning from male to female could have had testicular cancer and someone transitioning from female to male could have had breast cancer.
What name should transgender folks use when applying for life insurance?
You definitely want to check with each individual carrier that you are thinking about applying for, but there two things to consider:
- Have you legally changed your name in your state?
- Do you have documentation showing your name has changed?
Since many traditional insurance carriers require answering questions to an agent in person, filling out paperwork, getting a medical exam, and waiting on results, it is likely that you will be asked to provide documentation showing your legal name.
Are there more friendly carriers than others for transgender life insurance?
Haven Life, Principal, and Prudential are the more trans-friendly insurance carriers and will acknowledge your gender identity. To be clear, all the carriers on this list are trans-friendly. It’s just that these three have better transgender life insurance policies.
These three carriers are great starting points for getting coverage, as they have the fewest restrictions on how they’ll identify your gender in their underwriting.
Do I need a health exam to get life insurance?
Unfortunately many life insurance carriers are going to require a medical exam of some sort before completing the underwriting process. This can be as invasive as having to go to your doctor’s office for a complete exam and blood work up to having an affiliated health care professional representing the insurance underwriter meet you at your home or place of work for a basic exam and blood work. There isn’t a charge to you for this service.
John did this when he applied for insurance through HavenLife, which is one of the more progressive insurance carriers for transgender folks.
There are a few carriers that do not require a medical exam when applying. Typically you will find that the coverage for these carriers is shorter terms than most carriers. Many in the 2-10 year range. In addition, insurance is typically term life insurance, which may be a good fit for you and your loved ones because it usually costs less.
Do I need to work with an insurance agent to get insurance coverage?
No, but you probably should.
There are newer carriers, such as Ladder Life and Haven Life, that offer life insurance without needing an agent. However, depending on your situation, it might be best to go through an insurance agent.
Trust me, I understand. Talking about your situation isn’t always be easy.
If you’re a part of the LGBTQ community like me, you likely deal with the assumption that if you’re male, your spouse is female and vice versa. I’m always in correction mode. The difference with purchasing transgender life insurance is that licensed agents, such as me, are bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines and privacy laws. Insurance carriers also hold us accountable for doing our best with each client.
The best way to talk to an insurance agent is to be honest, upfront and hold nothing back. The agent is like your doctor or lawyer; they won’t judge you or make you uncomfortable. They only want to get you the best insurance coverage for you and your family. GLADD has an excellent resource for teaching people about the transgender community. Email this guide to your agent if you think it’ll help them better understand you.
If you are upfront with your insurance agent, they can place you with the carrier that best fits yours and your family’s needs.
Get your transgender life insurance
We’ve come a long way as a community. As we enter this new arena of transgender acceptance, there will be many more questions, and hopefully, we’ll get to a streamlined process with which gender identity won’t be a factor in the underwriting process. Until then, we still need life insurance to cover ourselves for our families and loved ones.
No matter your situation, you need life insurance. If you need help starting the process or have questions, please contact me.
Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning we’ll receive payment at no cost to you if you buy through these links. We only recommend products we use or thoroughly vet and would recommend to our moms. Buying too many of these is how you live fabulously broke. To live fabulously with financial security, start here.
This is a guest post by our friend, JC Matthews. Matthews is the Co-Founder & CEO of Simply Insurance. He is a licensed life and health insurance agent with over nine years of experience in the industry. He is an entrepreneur, insurance educator, field underwriter and nascent writer. Matthews is on a Journey to get one million families insured.
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