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Life Insurance, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Frequently Asked Questions

In this article, we delve into the world of life insurance options available to those with Von Willebrand’s Disease. From understanding the condition to exploring different policy types, we aim to provide valuable insights and guidance for individuals navigating the complexities of life insurance with Von Willebrand’s Disease.

Understanding Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s Disease is named after Erik Adolf von Willebrand, a Finnish physician who first described the disorder in the 1920s. It is the most common inherited bleeding disorder, affecting approximately 1% of the global population. The disease is characterized by impaired clotting ability due to a deficiency or malfunction of the Von Willebrand factor, which plays a crucial role in platelet adhesion and clot formation.


Von Willebrand’s Disease is primarily caused by genetic mutations that affect the production or function of the Von Willebrand factor. It is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, meaning that if one parent carries the gene mutation, there is a 50% chance of passing it on to their children. However, some cases may also occur due to spontaneous genetic mutations.


The severity and presentation of Von Willebrand’s Disease can vary widely among affected individuals. Common symptoms include:

    • Easy or excessive bruising
    • Frequent or prolonged nosebleeds
    • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods in women
    • Bleeding gums
    • Excessive bleeding after dental work, surgery, or injury
    • Gastrointestinal bleeding


Treatment for Von Willebrand’s Disease aims to prevent or control bleeding episodes and improve overall quality of life. Common treatment options include:

    • Desmopressin (DDAVP): A medication that stimulates the release of stored Von Willebrand factor and increases clotting ability.
    • Replacement therapy: Infusing Von Willebrand factor concentrates or fresh frozen plasma to replenish the deficient protein.
    • Birth control pills or hormonal therapy: Used to manage heavy menstrual bleeding in women.
    • Topical medications: Applied to the nose or gums to control bleeding.

Worst-Case Scenario:

While most individuals with Von Willebrand’s Disease lead normal lives with appropriate management, there can be potential complications in severe cases. These may include:

    • Uncontrollable bleeding episodes requiring medical intervention
    • Hemorrhagic episodes in vital organs, such as the brain or gastrointestinal tract
    • Complications during surgeries or invasive procedures
    • Chronic anemia due to recurrent bleeding

Understanding Von Willebrand’s Disease and its potential implications is crucial for individuals living with the condition, their families, and healthcare providers. With proper diagnosis, ongoing management, and appropriate treatment, individuals with Von Willebrand’s Disease can lead fulfilling lives while minimizing the impact of the disorder on their overall well-being.

Impact on One’s Life Insurance Application

The severity of Von Willebrand’s Disease can have a significant impact on an individual’s life insurance application. Insurance companies assess risk based on various factors, including the applicant’s health condition. When it comes to Von Willebrand’s Disease, the severity of the condition often determines the rates and eligibility for life insurance coverage. Here’s an overview of how the severity of Von Willebrand’s Disease can influence an individual’s life insurance application:

  • Mild Von Willebrand’s Disease: Individuals with mild Von Willebrand’s Disease typically have a milder deficiency in the Von Willebrand factor and may experience infrequent or less severe bleeding episodes. In such cases, it is possible to qualify for preferred rates or even standard rates, depending on other health factors. Insurance companies may consider the condition manageable and pose a lower risk.
  • Moderate Von Willebrand’s Disease: Moderate cases of Von Willebrand’s Disease involve a more significant deficiency in the Von Willebrand factor, leading to more frequent bleeding episodes and potential complications. For individuals with moderate Von Willebrand’s Disease, standard rates are usually the best they can qualify for. Insurance companies may perceive a slightly higher risk compared to those with mild cases but still consider the condition manageable with proper treatment and care.
  • Severe Von Willebrand’s Disease: Severe cases of Von Willebrand’s Disease involve a substantial deficiency or dysfunction of the Von Willebrand factor, leading to frequent and severe bleeding episodes. In these cases, obtaining life insurance coverage may be more challenging. Insurance companies may offer substandard or table rates, which means higher premiums compared to standard rates. In some cases, insurance companies may even deny coverage due to the perceived higher risk associated with the condition.

It’s important to note that each insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines and may assess Von Willebrand’s Disease differently. Factors such as an individual’s overall health, treatment compliance, and management of the condition can also influence the rates and eligibility for life insurance coverage.

Factors that will be considered

When assessing life insurance applications from individuals with Von Willebrand’s Disease, insurance companies take several factors into consideration to determine eligibility and rates. These factors help insurers assess the risk associated with the condition and tailor coverage accordingly. Here are some key factors that insurance companies typically consider:

  1. Medical History: Insurance companies will review an applicant’s medical records, including diagnostic tests, treatment history, and any hospitalizations related to Von Willebrand’s Disease. The severity and frequency of bleeding episodes, as well as the overall management and control of the condition, play a crucial role in underwriting decisions.
  2. Symptom Severity: The severity of Von Willebrand’s Disease symptoms experienced by the applicant is an important factor. Insurance companies will assess whether the individual has experienced minor bleeding episodes, such as occasional nosebleeds or bruising, or more significant episodes requiring medical intervention.
  3. Treatment Compliance: Adherence to treatment and management protocols is closely evaluated. Insurance companies want assurance that the applicant is actively managing their condition, following prescribed treatments, and seeking regular medical care. Compliance with medications, such as desmopressin or other clotting factor replacements, can positively impact the underwriting process.
  4. Complications and Hospitalizations: Any significant complications related to Von Willebrand’s Disease, such as hospitalizations due to bleeding episodes, will be considered. The frequency, severity, and impact of these complications on the applicant’s overall health and well-being can influence the underwriting decision.
  5. Overall Health: The applicant’s overall health, apart from Von Willebrand’s Disease, will be evaluated. Insurance companies will consider factors such as age, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and any other co-existing medical conditions. A comprehensive view of the individual’s health helps insurers assess the overall risk profile.
  6. Treatment Response: The response to treatment is an essential consideration. If an individual responds well to treatment and experiences minimal bleeding episodes or complications, it can positively impact the underwriting decision. Conversely, if treatment responses are less favorable or the condition is challenging to manage, it may affect the rates and eligibility.
  7. Follow-Up and Monitoring: Regular follow-up appointments with healthcare providers and compliance with monitoring protocols are essential. Insurance companies look for individuals who actively engage in monitoring their condition and adjust treatment plans as needed.
  8. Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors can influence the underwriting decision. Insurance companies may consider the applicant’s occupation, hobbies, travel plans, and other activities that may increase the risk of bleeding episodes or potential complications.

Tips to improve one’s chances of qualifying for coverage

Obtaining life insurance coverage with Von Willebrand’s Disease can present challenges, but there are steps individuals can take to improve their chances of qualifying for coverage and potentially securing more favorable rates. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Maintain Regular Medical Care and Treatment: Consistent medical care and adherence to treatment plans are essential. Regularly visit your healthcare provider, follow their recommendations, and stay up to date with medications or therapies prescribed for Von Willebrand’s Disease. Demonstrating proactive management of your condition can positively impact the underwriting process.
  2. Control and Manage Von Willebrand’s Disease Effectively: Work closely with your healthcare team to develop an effective management plan. This may involve monitoring bleeding episodes, adjusting medication dosages as needed, and implementing preventive measures. By effectively managing Von Willebrand’s Disease, you can reduce the frequency and severity of bleeding episodes, which can be viewed favorably by insurance companies.
  3. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle: Embrace a healthy lifestyle that promotes overall well-being. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, avoiding tobacco products, and limiting alcohol consumption. A healthy lifestyle demonstrates a commitment to overall health and can have a positive impact on the underwriting decision.
  4. Work with an Experienced Insurance Agent: Partner with an insurance agent or broker who has experience working with individuals with Von Willebrand’s Disease or other high-risk medical conditions. They can guide you through the underwriting process, advocate on your behalf, and help you find insurance companies that are more likely to offer favorable rates for your specific situation.
  5. Provide Accurate and Detailed Information: When completing your life insurance application, be transparent and provide accurate and detailed information about your medical history, including Von Willebrand’s Disease. Failure to disclose or providing incomplete information can lead to complications or even policy cancellation later on. Honesty and transparency are essential throughout the application process.

It’s important to remember that the availability of coverage and rates may vary depending on the insurance company and its underwriting guidelines. Working closely with a knowledgeable insurance professional will help you navigate the process, explore different options, and increase your chances of finding suitable life insurance coverage that meets your needs.

Final thoughts…

Obtaining life insurance coverage with Von Willebrand’s Disease may pose unique challenges, but it is certainly possible to secure financial protection for yourself and your loved ones. By understanding the factors that insurance companies consider, actively managing your condition, and working with experienced insurance professionals, you can improve your chances of qualifying for coverage and potentially securing more favorable rates.

Remember to maintain regular medical care, follow treatment protocols, lead a healthy lifestyle, and provide accurate information during the application process. While it may require extra effort and diligence, the peace of mind that comes with having life insurance can provide valuable financial security for individuals living with Von Willebrand’s Disease. Seek professional guidance, explore your options, and take proactive steps towards securing the coverage you deserve.