Does High Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance?

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    Life Insurance For People With High Cholesterol

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    Having high cholesterol can affect the likelihood of getting affordable insurance. In fact, some applicants may even get their applications denied outright. 

    But how exactly does cholesterol impact life insurance premiums, and what can you do to secure lower rates? Read on to find out. 

    Cholesterol Levels And Your Health

    Cholesterol refers to the fatty part of your blood that transports nutrients between your organs, and it can also be a great indicator of your overall heart health. With this in mind, there are two types of cholesterol present in your blood. These are the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. 

    But how does this affect your health? Too much “bad” cholesterol can result in an elevated risk for heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. On the other hand, “good” HDL cholesterol manages your LDL levels by flushing it out of your body. That means if your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels are balanced out by good cholesterol (HDL), you’re less likely to experience heart disease and other complications associated with high cholesterol levels. This balance is measured by the LDL/HDL ratio or the cholesterol ratio

    How Does Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance Rates? 

    Having high total cholesterol levels comes with various health risks that include coronary artery disease, heart attacks, or stroke – but it can also affect the likelihood of getting a life insurance policy. This section describes how a typical life insurance company assesses an applicant with high cholesterol. 

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    What Insurance Underwriters Look At

    Your life insurance underwriter is in charge of determining your life insurance quotes based on how “risky” it is to insure you – and cholesterol is a large part of identifying that risk. Factors like your family history, physical health, lifestyle, and occupation all influence the amount you’ll end up paying. With this in mind, life insurance companies gather relevant information through medical exams and health-related questions. 

    Therefore, people looking to get life insurance with high cholesterol need to be ready to answer the following questions:

    • When were they diagnosed with high cholesterol? 
    • What were their most recent readings?
    • Are they currently using any cholesterol medication?
    • Do they have any other significant health issues?
    • Does their family have a history of heart disease or stroke? 

    However, this doesn’t mean that every insurance company requires their applicants to be in perfect health to qualify for affordable life insurance. In reality, people with high cholesterol levels can still get the life insurance coverage they need if there’s evidence of efforts to manage their cholesterol ratio. That means regular exercise, a change in diet, and maintenance medication may all impact your life insurance policy rates. 

    Life Insurance Medical Exam

    Another way your cholesterol readings can affect your life insurance is during the medical exam. Most insurance carriers in the United States require applicants to undergo a medical exam with an accredited medical professional. This process helps insurers in two ways: by validating your health information and assessing you for other health problems that may impact your life insurance premiums.

    Beyond the basic measurements of height and weight, these exams also require applicants to undergo blood and urine tests. Because of this, your total cholesterol level, as well as your LDL/HDL ratio, both play a large part in your assessment

    With this in mind, people with high cholesterol can do a few things before their exam to get the best cholesterol reading possible:

    • Fast for at least eight hours before the exam: We recommend scheduling your life insurance exam as early in the morning as possible to make the fasting process easier.
    • Stay hydrated: Drinking several glasses of water before the exam helps flush substances that result in elevated cholesterol readings.
    • No fatty food: Eating fatty food is one of the major contributors to high cholesterol levels. That’s why we recommend eating clean 24 hours before your exam. 
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    Life Insurance Risk

    Earlier, we established that risk is a key factor in determining the costs of applying for life insurance. That means anything that affects your mortality or the likelihood of premature death will directly impact your insurance premiums. Therefore, insurance companies look at factors like your total cholesterol level, whether or not you’re a smoker, and your history of serious illness when determining your rates.

    However, not all high cholesterol or smoker applicants receive the same rates. That’s because insurance companies generally assign potential policyholders into a specific health class or risk class. A general rule of thumb is that less risky applicants can lock down lower quotes. Therefore, people in Preferred Plus will have more attractive rates than Preferred and so on. 

    With this in mind, people looking to buy life insurance with high cholesterol are usually evaluated based on their total cholesterol level alongside their good cholesterol (HDL) or bad cholesterol (LDL) ratio. The “optimal” statistics are 200 mg/dL total cholesterol with a 5.0 LDL/HDL ratio. 

    Health ClassTotal CholesterolRatio
    Preferred Plus220 mg/dL or less5.0 or less
    Preferred221 - 250 mg/dL5.1 - 6.0 
    Standard Plus251 - 280 mg/dL6.1 - 7.0
    Standard281 - 350 mg/dL7.1 - 8.0

    How To Get Affordable Life Insurance With High Cholesterol

    Shopping for life insurance with high cholesterol may be challenging, but there are a few things you can do to get lower rates. This section lists some of our top tips for getting affordable life insurance despite having high cholesterol.

    Manage Your Cholesterol

    If a high cholesterol level is the one thing between you and getting a Preferred Plus rating from your life insurance company, investing in your health can pay off tremendously. Here are some concrete changes you can make to bring down your LDL level:

    • Eat fruits and veggies instead of red meat and fried food.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Visit your doctor to get medication. 

    Do note that this will only work if you can afford to wait at least a year before applying. 

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    Keep Updated Medical Records

    Just because you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol doesn’t mean you’re completely ineligible for lower insurance rates. If you’ve taken steps to actively manage your condition, then you might be able to negotiate better rates. However, because life insurance companies require evidence, you’ll have to make regular trips to your physician to keep your records up-to-date. 

    No-Exam Life Insurance

    It can be discouraging when high cholesterol results in high life insurance rates or even getting your application denied outright. Luckily, some insurance companies offer no-exam life insurance to applicants with significant health issues. Whether you have high cholesterol, blood pressure, or a history of cancer in the family, this type of insurance can get you coverage when you need it most.

    However, no-exam life insurance does come with some drawbacks. Potential policyholders may find that their life insurance company charges significantly more for no-exam policies while also being less likely to offer more than $350,000 worth of coverage. In some cases, an insurance company may even refuse to pay out the full death benefit if you pass away within two years of the policy’s activation date. 

    Work With An Independent Life Insurance Agent

    Part of buying the perfect policy for a person with high cholesterol is research. Every insurance company or agency has its policies and application criteria that may suit various people differently. Given this, finding the life insurance policy that fits you best can be taxing. That’s why we recommend connecting with an independent insurance agent. 

    Independent insurance agents have access to a large selection of life insurance policies from different insurers. That means they can direct you toward better plans designed to cater to applicants with high cholesterol and even help you negotiate for more affordable rates. 

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    Quit Smoking

    While it may seem unrelated, quitting your smoking habit might be able to help you secure low policy rates if you have high cholesterol. That’s because several factors play into your health or risk class, and eliminating one of them may result in a lower overall risk level. 

    Do note that insurers generally require their applicants to have no history of tobacco use within the last 12 months before considering them non-smokers. 

    Reconsider Your Options

    It’s true that almost anyone can benefit from having a life insurance plan. But there are some situations when families can weather the loss of a loved one without purchasing a costly life plan. This is especially true if you have a healthy financial plan, have money stashed away in other assets and investments, or have pre-existing estate plans that can cover your loved one’s needs after you pass away. 

    Therefore, if your life insurance quotes seem to cost more than they’re worth, you may want to consider investing in other options. Specifically, applicants who can’t get regular life policies due to age or health may find it more beneficial than shelling out regular payments. 

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    Conclusion

    Buying a life plan when you have high cholesterol can be both complicated and costly. Insurers base your premiums on the risk of insuring you, and high levels of cholesterol are a major deciding factor. Despite this, there are a few strategies you can use to get affordable rates – but these can take a long time before they pay off. 

    Regardless, connecting with financial professionals can make the process of finding the perfect life plan much easier. Contact us at Wesley LLC to find out how we can help you! 

    Written By Cameron McDowell
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