High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two factors insurers look at when evaluating your health for a traditional life insurance application. Having either high blood pressure or high cholesterol can cause your premiums to be more expensive if it isn’t managed properly, but getting affordable rates with either condition is possible.
What do insurance companies consider high blood pressure?
Most life insurance companies will consider a blood pressure higher than 130/80 to be high blood pressure, which can start to affect your premium rates. But having high blood pressure doesn’t automatically make your premiums higher: they will depend on how long you’ve had high blood pressure and whether you manage it well, with or without medication.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure a few years ago but it’s now at a healthier level due to medication, diet or exercise, you’ll likely qualify for competitive and standard rates. But if your blood pressure is still high, you’ll likely pay higher rates — especially if you’ve had high blood pressure for a long time or you haven’t seen a doctor for it before.
What factors impact life insurance for people with high blood pressure?
If you’re applying for life insurance with high blood pressure, the insurance company may have questions or concerns specific to your diagnosis that can affect your premiums. These factors considered are typically the age of diagnosis, the severity (how high your blood pressure is) and any complications related to your high blood pressure, your current treatment for it, and your overall general health.
Age of diagnosis
The age you were when you were first diagnosed with high blood pressure also affects your premiums. For example, if you have had high blood pressure your entire life you may be evaluated differently than if you’ve developed this condition in the last year due to circumstances like increasing weight or losing exercise habits.
Blood pressure severity and complications
Blood pressure is measured with two readings: systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the upper number on a blood pressure reading and measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, and diastolic is the lower number that measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
Depending on how high your blood pressure is, you’ll be rated differently. For example, someone who has a blood pressure of 145/95 will be rated less favourably than someone with a pressure of 139/89. If your blood pressure is extremely high, typically over 180/120, you’ll most likely be declined coverage.
Your blood pressure reading is not the only thing insurers will consider: underwriters will also evaluate your prescription history, review a record of your blood pressure readings from the onset of your diagnosis, and may ask about any complications you’ve experienced.
Some life insurance companies may want a more thorough evaluation and could request medical records up to 10 years in the past.
Being able to manage your high blood pressure is an important factor underwriters consider. Your insurer will likely ask which blood pressure medications you take to manage your condition, what your diet looks like and how often you exercise. If you can produce proof of treatment or a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be considered lower risk and have lower premiums than someone who hasn’t made any changes to their lifestyle to control their symptoms.
Some questions you may be asked regarding your current lifestyle and how you’re managing your condition may be:
- What does your diet look like?
- How much caffeine do you consume?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you drink?
- Do you exercise?
- How do you manage stress?
Your answers to these questions will give the underwriter an idea of how well you’re managing your blood pressure. Someone pursuing lifestyle changes as treatment may receive lower rates than someone who isn’t.
It’s important to remember that high blood pressure is not a cause for denial or high premiums by itself; life insurance companies will consider high blood pressure in the broader context of your overall health. Lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet and weight will be assessed, and good results can mitigate against the risk of your high blood pressure.
Don’t be too concerned if you’re shopping for life insurance with a high blood pressure diagnosis. Though your diagnosis could lead to higher life insurance rates, you may qualify for competitive premiums if your blood pressure is well-managed. Shop around with the help of an insurance broker to help ensure you’re getting the best policy for your lifestyle and needs.
What happens if you’ve been denied life insurance with high blood pressure?
Every life insurance company has its own guidelines for assessing different risks and conditions. Although high blood pressure is associated with serious mortality rates, denials are not common. This means that the reason your life insurance was declined is not because of your high blood pressure, but it may only be one factor or something else entirely.
With medical conditions that can be managed, such as high blood pressure, insurance companies may take into consideration the many ways to control them, such as medication and diet. Most people with high blood pressure can still find affordable coverage as a result.
How can I lower my blood pressure for life insurance?
The best way to lower your blood pressure can vary for each person and their situation. It’s always best to speak to your doctor to create a plan to manage and treat your blood pressure. In general, taking these steps will help you manage your blood pressure:
- Exercising or increasing general activity levels
- Eating foods rich in potassium and reduce sodium intake
- Meditating or doing yoga
- Prioritizing quality sleep
Whether you prepare a month in advance or a year, following these recommendations in the long term will contribute to lowering your blood pressure for a medical exam. You should also always be completely honest about a high blood pressure diagnosis and reading on your life insurance application because any intentional fraud/false information can invalidate your policy.
What is high cholesterol?
High cholesterol refers to the amount of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in your blood. LDL cholesterol is considered as ‘bad’ cholesterol, and if your blood contains too much LDL cholesterol you have high cholesterol. When left untreated, high cholesterol can lead to many health problems, including heart attack or stroke.
What is considered high cholesterol for life insurance?
Cholesterol levels are calculated by the amount of LDL, HDL (high density lipoprotein), and triglycerides (fat) in your blood. Generally, a total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or less will typically put you in the standard rating for life insurance premiums. This means keeping your LDL levels below 129 mg/dL, your HDL Levels above 60 mg/dL, and your triglycerides below 150 mg/dL. Total cholesterol is calculated by adding together your HDL levels, LDL levels, and 20% of your triglyceride levels. Another possible cholesterol ratio can be done by dividing your LDL cholesterol by your HDL. With this, ratios of 5.0 or lower are ideal. Insurance companies will have different guidelines to assess your cholesterol levels as high or not.
Can I get life insurance with high cholesterol?
Just like high blood pressure, you can get life insurance if you have high cholesterol, and you can get it at an affordable rate if you manage your cholesterol levels well or are working on treating it. If you are actively treating your high cholesterol with medication, a change of diet, or weight loss, you’ll be able to apply for lower rates in the future as your cholesterol decreases.
Finding the right life insurance policy for you
Whether you’re actively treating your high blood pressure or high cholesterol or have just been diagnosed with one of the conditions, you can still find affordable life insurance for any situation you may have. Working with a life insurance advisor can help you build the right life insurance plan and package for your needs and lifestyle.
At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from the best life insurance companies in Canada to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We’ve been providing expert life insurance solutions since 2007, including no medical life insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance, to build the best package to give you the protection you need.
Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, including areas such as Ancaster, Aurora, Brampton, Kingston, London, and Ottawa.