Considerations trans people should make when applying for life insurance coverage.
Gender is a funny thing. In the west, gender is thought of as a kind of universal historical category. As Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí writes in The Invention of Women, western cultures believe that “Gender categories are universal and timeless [...].”
These categories, however, aren’t universal or fixed. 1.6 million people in the US aged 13+ identify with some trans identity. Yet when it comes to industries like life insurance, some companies may be slow in keeping up with these varying identities. So what does transgender friendly insurance look like? How are insurance companies evolving to meet these not-so-new needs?
The Wyshbox Blog
- What does it mean to be trans?
- Transgender friendly insurance
- Other concerns about transgender friendly insurance
- Tips for getting/applying for life insurance as a trans person
What does it mean to be trans?
Fundamentally, neither gender nor sex are set binary categories, meaning they have just two categories. Both are dynamic spectrums that are socially constructed and can change over time. In the US in particular, there’s a reliance on a gender binary—male and female—that informs a lot of public, political, and private life.
Trans identities—which can include identities like non-binary, gender noncomforming, genderfluid, and genderqueer—challenge these gender and sex binary ideas.
Transgender friendly life insurance
What does this have to do with life insurance? First off, being trans won’t stop you from applying and receiving life insurance coverage. Companies can’t discriminate against you for being transgender. However, there may be some uncomfortable situations along the way.
Let’s look at applications. When it comes to applying for a policy, some companies may require that you apply under the gender you were assigned at birth, rather than your actual gender identity. This is because a lot of the underwriting process has to do with gender and sex. See, cis-women typically pay lower monthly costs than cis-men due to things like average US life expectancy and gendered occupational roles.
Some companies may even go so far as to require proof of medical transition or hormone medication to confirm your stated identity. This doesn’t really mesh with populations of trans people who are valid in their identities without medically transitioning. Ultimately, this isn’t true for all companies, so it’s important to shop around and compare insurers to one another.
Other concerns about transgender friendly life insurance
There are other health considerations when applying as a trans person. For example, trans people are disproportionately affected by mental illnesses, often due to cissexism, violence, homelessness, and barriers to healthcare, among others. During the underwriting process, companies typically will want to know about any diagnosed mental illnesses or conditions, any medications you may be taking such as hormones, or if you’ve undergone gender reassignment therapy.
Tips for getting/applying for life insurance as a trans person
If you’re applying for a permanent life insurance policy, it might be helpful to find an agent or broker who knows the industry and can help you navigate the waters. And there are organizations that specialize in providing financial services to LGBTQIA communities.
If you’re looking for term life insurance policies, you may not need a broker, but you’ll still probably need to shop around and research your options. Consider your monthly costs, yes, but also the amount of coverage you might receive and any additional benefits. Even if you’re transgender, insurance doesn’t have to be complicated or mysterious. You can get coverage. You just have to know where to look.