The more of a high risk applicant you are, the higher your life insurance premiums will be. This why buying life insurance with high blood pressure can drive your premiums up. Hypertension affects life insurance directly.
This is why the often discussed medical exam is so important; your health determines your premiums. During the medical exam, you’ll be asked a variety of questions about your family health history, your lifestyle and your drug and alcohol use. Also, your height, weight, pulse and blood pressure will be measured.
Applying for Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure
Do you have high blood pressure? You’re not alone. Roughly one in every three adults suffers from some degree of high blood pressure. Unfortunately, this affects not only your health but also your ability to purchase life insurance.
If you have high blood pressure, here’s everything you need to know about how to obtain life insurance.
High Blood Pressure Explained
High blood pressure is a relatively common condition, but it doesn’t mean it’s one which should be taken lightly. Left untreated, high blood pressure leads to heart failure or heart disease, a stroke, or even kidney failure and other health issues.
Your “blood pressure” is actually expressed by the measurement of two different pressures: systolic and diastolic.
- Systolic – This is the blood pressure when the heart beats (blood is being pumped)
- Diastolic – This is the blood pressure when the heart is at rest (blood is not being pumped)
Blood pressure is typically expressed with systolic over diastolic. Normal blood pressure is under 120/79 or below. Pre-hypertension is 120-139/80-89. High blood pressure is 140-159/90-99.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure often shows very few symptoms. A person can have high blood pressure for a long time yet be completely unaware of their condition. Over time, blood pushing against the walls of your arteries will lead to damage to your heart, blood vessels, kidney and other organs.
How Common is High Blood Pressure?
Roughly one third of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. Even worse, high blood pressure is listed as a primary or contributing cause of death for approximately 326,000 people each year. Additionally, high blood pressure costs $70 billion in terms of health care services, medications and lost productivity.
How High Blood Pressure Affects Your Life Insurance
Even if you have high blood pressure, you can still purchase life insurance. Insurance companies look to make sure you’re taking proper precautions to keep your blood pressure under control. Specifically, they want to know:
- How long you’ve had high blood pressure
- What other medical conditions you have
- How effectively can your high blood pressure be controlled
- If you’re a tobacco user
For many people, this is good news. About 70% of people can control their blood pressure with medication. If your medical records show your blood pressure responds well to medication, your premiums can decrease.
Even better, past high blood pressure isn’t usually a relevant factor in insurance premiums. If you’ve had high blood pressure in the past, but have successfully lowered your levels to normal, your insurance premiums should be unaffected.
A Few Simple Tips for Preparation
Before you apply for life insurance, there are a few steps you should take to prepare. This will increase your chances of approval and help you qualify for the best possible rating class. Here’s what to do:
- Have regular check ups as recommended!
- Follow your doctor’s orders to the letter! This includes utilizing all recommended treatments and medications.
- Keep your medical records updated! Insurance companies will penalize you if you’re records are incomplete.
- Stay as healthy as possible! All medical conditions – even those beyond high blood pressure – are considered when determining your premiums. The healthier you are, the lower your premiums will be.
Obviously, you don’t need us to tell you staying healthy is ideal. But some health issues are out of a person’s control. The solution is to simply follow your doctor’s advice and try to keep any health issues, including high blood pressure, as controlled as possible.
In general, if you diet, exercise and regularly take your blood pressure medication, your life insurance premiums will be lower.
If you don’t follow your doctor’s orders, and don’t take care of your health in general, your life insurance premiums will typically be higher.
Our recommendation: Focus on getting a policy at a premium you can afford. Then, shift your focus to improving the class rating. You can do this with lab results and better control.
Let’s Look at Some Real World Examples
The Best Outcome
Beth is a 54 year old woman who applied for life insurance. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure at the age of 51. For the past three years, she changed her lifestyle. Her diet improved, and she started exercising every day. She also began taking blood pressure medication. During this time, she stayed in close contact with her doctor, who keep her medical records updated.
She was Approved at a Preferred rating class with a premium cost of $185 per year.
The Okay Outcome
Jacob was diagnosed with high blood pressure at 55, and applied for life insurance at 56. After diagnosis, his doctor prescribed him high blood pressure medication. While Jacob does take his medication as prescribed, he didn’t change his eating habits or begin an exercise routine. As a result, his follow-up level were inconsistent.
When he applied for life insurance, he was approved for a Standard rating class with a premium of $479 per year.
The Poor Outcome
George applied for life insurance at the age of 46. He figured his young age would help him secure a low premium. Unfortunately, he was wrong. The medical exam during his application revealed he had high blood pressure: 170/200. Even worse, he hadn’t seen a doctor in nine years! There was no indication he was prepared to take measures to lower his blood pressure, so the insurance company rated him as a high risk candidate.
As a result, his application was denied.
The Final Word on High Blood Pressure and Life Insurance
Even if you have high blood pressure, you can still have highly rated life insurance with affordable premiums. The approval and rating class can be very subjective. But with assistance from your agent and doctor, as well as commitment by you to stay healthy, you can still obtain a policy which will provide for your family.