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Sarah calls Dave from Mobile, AL, because she recently applied for life insurance with a child rider. However, she was denied the rider portion due to her son's condition. Dave offers some advice, along with hope for the future.

QUESTION: Sarah in Mobile, AL, recently applied for life insurance with a child rider. The insurance company denied her request for the rider portion, because her son has hemophilia. It’s the first time Sarah has applied for life insurance, and she doesn’t know what to do. She asks Dave for help.

ANSWER: I’m afraid you’re going to have a hard time with this, because it’s very difficult for hemophiliacs to get life insurance — for obvious reasons. That’s not a spiritual statement, it’s a statistical statement.

As a child, the way you can cover him is by building an emergency fund over time as you get rid of debt. You might even beef up your emergency fund a little more than the regular three to six months of expenses. All a child rider is for is in the case that, God forbid, you were to lose a child. Then you would have enough to cover funeral expenses and things like that.

An average funeral today is around $7,000 to $10,000. You could spend more or less if you wanted to, but if you guys have reasonable safeguards this isn’t a scenario you should be facing. I mean, there are some things he just shouldn’t do from a commonsense standpoint. But there are certainly lots of folks who have long, wonderful lives with that particular condition. It just leaves them open to a statistical problem in life insurance tables.

It might be that as research on the disease progresses and as he gets older, there’s a possibility that he could qualify. Twenty-five years ago in the insurance business, if you even said a word like “cancer” anywhere near your name, you were done — no life insurance of any kind. Nowadays, they look at what type of cancer it was, the survival rates, how long ago it was and how long you’ve been in remission. You can actually have had cancer and get life insurance. I’m guessing it’s that way with hemophiliacs right now.

So, I think there’s hope for the future. In the meantime, I would cover it with a slightly beefed up emergency fund. Just add a few thousand to what you would normally set aside for emergencies, because you might face some medical issues as well.