Life Insurance & High Blood Pressure

    High Blood Pressure, Low Insurance Rates: Your Guide To Buying A Life Plan

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    Life insurance policies are designed to protect your family’s future, but the process of applying for coverage can sometimes be a little complicated. Applicants with high blood pressure, in particular, may find that insurers might assess them to be “too risky” for insurance. But does that mean getting life insurance with high blood pressure is impossible?

    In this guide, we go over all the basic questions surrounding buying life insurance with high blood pressure. That includes the process of applying for life insurance, what your insurance provider looks at, and how you can get the best rates possible despite high blood pressure. 

    Getting Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure

    Being diagnosed with high blood pressure comes with various health concerns and issues, but it can also affect your eligibility for life policies. This section covers whether or not you’ll be able to get a life policy, and some exceptions to either scenario. 

    Can I Get Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure?

    It’s entirely possible to get a life plan when you have high blood pressure readings, but there is one major drawback. Specifically, your life insurance premiums are likely to cost more than someone without any symptoms of hypertension. But this isn’t the case for every person with elevated blood pressure. 

    Individuals with hypertension that have undergone treatment may qualify for lower life insurance rates. This is especially true if the applicant is otherwise healthy or has demonstrable proof that they’re taking steps to manage their condition. Conversely, unmanaged cases of high blood pressure levels may prompt life insurance companies to charge more. 

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    Can I Be Denied Coverage Because Of High Blood Pressure?

    Here’s the truth: it’s rare for life insurance companies to deny life insurance coverage based on blood pressure levels alone. However, if the applicant has a particularly severe case of hypertension or other serious health complications, they may be turned away. That’s because insurers usually consider a combination of various risk factors before they make a decision.

    During the life insurance application process, risk management firms assess if an applicant is a good fit for life insurance. This assessment is based on their medical records, supporting documents, and other relevant health information. 

    Therefore, applicants whose only health issue is their high blood pressure can easily qualify for coverage. But individuals with hypertension that also smoke tobacco, have a high BMI, or have a history of heart disease may be denied. 

    Why Does High Blood Pressure Matter To Life Insurance Companies?

    Generally speaking, your life insurance company would be concerned if you reported high blood pressure, hypertension, or any severe medical conditions on your application. But why exactly does this matter to your insurer? 

    The answer is risk management. All life insurance companies weigh the risks of insuring every applicant through interview questions, routine tests, and a medical exam. This is all done with the end goal of utilizing your medical history to develop a statistically-informed idea of your life expectancy – or how likely you are to pass away during the early years of your life insurance policy. This is otherwise known as your “mortality.” 

    Mortality matters to your life insurance provider because it determines the potential financial losses of insuring you. High blood pressure, in particular, is an important measurement of mortality because it increases the likelihood of kidney failure, heart attack, or stroke – which are the leading causes of death in the United States. 

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    How Having High Blood Pressure Affects Your Life Insurance

    Being diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension comes with various health complications, but keep in mind that it also affects your life insurance. This next section describes everything you need to know about how high blood pressure may hinder you from getting the best rates on your insurance policy. 

    Age Of Onset

    One of the first things your life insurance company considers is your age of onset or the age when you were first diagnosed with hypertension. That said, a typical life insurance agent will generally consider younger applicants to be less risky even with high blood pressure readings. 

    Adults recently diagnosed with high blood pressure that have also experienced stressful life events (divorce, loss of loved ones, etc.) may experience some leniency from their insurance carrier. 

    Severity Of Hypertension

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, is measured through systolic and diastolic pressures. Diastolic pressure is a person’s blood pressure at rest between beats, while systolic pressure is measured during active heartbeats. Blood pressure readings are usually written as systolic pressure over diastolic pressure (ex. 120/80 mmHg). 

    With this in mind, the American Heart Association has broken down different ranges of blood pressure readings into different categories:

    CategorySystolic ReadingDiastolic Reading
    NormalUnder 120andUnder 80
    Elevated 120-129andUnder 80
    High (hypertension stage 1)130-139or80-89
    High (hypertension stage 2)140 or higheror90 or higher
    CrisisOver 180and/orOver 120

    Adults with blood pressure over the range of 120-139/90-89 may start to see increases in their life insurance rates, but prices will scale with the severity of their condition. 

    Specifically, blood pressure readings in the range of 150-160/90-99 are considered very high by insurance companies and may result in significantly higher life insurance premiums. Furthermore, individuals considered to be in crisis by the American Heart Association's standards may be denied coverage altogether.

    Blood Pressure Medication And Treatment

    Another way high blood pressure may affect your life insurance policy is if you’re currently in treatment. 

    Your insurance company will ask if you’re taking blood pressure medications or otherwise making an effort to manage your condition. If you can provide proof that you’ve taken steps to manage your high blood pressure, then your life insurance agent is likely to give you a more desirable life insurance quote.

    Given this, make sure to prepare for the following questions before making any life insurance decisions:

    • What’s your usual diet like? 
    • Do you regularly drink coffee or other caffeine products?
    • Do you smoke or use tobacco products in general?
    • Do you drink alcohol? How often?
    • Do you exercise regularly?
    • How do you manage your stress? 
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    Health Class Or Rating Class

    As previously established, life insurance companies generally make sure to conduct a medical exam. This is done so your insurance company can validate your health information and assign a health class or rate class. Do note that applicants are categorized based on their physical health alongside basic measurements like height and weight.

    These rating classes indicate how risky you are as an individual, and therefore determine the cost of your life insurance policy. Each rating class has its own requirements, and better ratings result in lower overall costs.

    In descending order, the possible health classes are Preferred Plus, Preferred, Standard Plus, Standard, and Substandard:

    • Preferred Plus: includes readings of 140/85 or lower without any blood pressure medications. 
    • Preferred: includes readings of 145/90 or below.
    • Standard Plus: includes readings of 152/92 or lower. Older adults can still qualify with slightly higher results. 
    • Standard: includes readings of 160/90 and below.
    • Substandard: covers all readings above 160/90.

    How To Get Better Insurance Rates With High Blood Pressure

    Buying a life plan when you have high blood pressure can be challenging and expensive. However, you can do a few things to make shopping for a policy easier on your wallet. This next section details five concrete strategies that can help you navigate different life insurance coverage choices to secure your loved ones.

    Visit Your Doctor Regularly

    Visiting your doctor regularly helps lock down lower insurance rates. This is because, through these doctor’s visits, your medical records are kept up to date. That means life insurance companies will be able to track your blood pressure management over time and give you an accurate rating. 

    Keeping up with regular doctor’s visits can help applicants who have undergone treatment for their high blood pressure and successfully bring down their readings over time.

    Manage Other Health Complications

    Applicants get the best life insurance rates from companies when they’re in great health, but that doesn’t mean their medical records have to be pristine. In fact, insurers will generally award lower quotes to applicants that have managed health complications and have the proof to back it up. 

    For example, say a potential policyholder had high cholesterol in the past but has since completed treatment and maintained healthy levels. Given that they also regularly went to their physician and have complete records of their efforts,  they’ll still be able to get affordable rates despite their blood pressure readings. 

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    Quit Smoking 

    While it may seem unrelated at first, quitting your smoking habit can greatly impact life insurance costs when you have high blood pressure. 

    Beyond factors like age and general health, smoking plays a large part in how much your life policy will cost overall. That’s because your life insurance company considers several risk factors when determining your premiums, and removing smoking from the equation lowers your overall risk. 

    Pro tip: insurers will only count applicants as “non-smokers” if they have no history of tobacco use within the last 12 months. 

    Weigh Your Insurance Options: Term Life vs Whole Life

    Taking the time to shop around and compare different life insurance policies can save you thousands of dollars, especially when you have high blood pressure. That said, one of the main things a potential policy owner is likely to ask themselves is if whole life or term life insurance would suit them better. 

    There’s no clear-cut answer that applies to everyone. However, cost-conscious applicants with high blood pressure will find that term life options offer sufficient coverage for relatively affordable rates. Do note that this comes at the risk of outliving their policies and leaving their loved ones with no death benefit to take from once they pass away. On the other hand, whole life policies may suit applicants that have greater financial means. 

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    Work With An Independent Life Insurance Agent

    Every life insurance company has its own rules and protocols that influence policy rates – that’s what makes life insurance comparison shopping so tricky when you have high blood pressure. However, there is a way to get the best rates possible without spending hours researching every insurance company. 

    Enter the independent insurance agent. These third-party professionals have life insurance industry partnerships with several providers, meaning that they can access a vast array of life plans. Independent agents have the requisite know-how to help you find plans designed for applicants with high blood pressure and even negotiate better rates for you.

    Conclusion

    While everyone can benefit from having a life plan, some people may have difficulties qualifying for affordable coverage. Applicants with high blood pressure, in particular, are subject to scrutiny by insurance providers. However, there are still ways to lock down coverage without breaking the bank – and connecting with a financial professional is a great way to start.

    Contact us at Wesley Insurance, LLC to find out how we can help you find the perfect coverage options to suit your needs! 

    Written By Cameron McDowell
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