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Do you have high blood pressure and are currently shopping for life insurance? Here’s why it can be more affordable than you think.
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Disclaimer: The content supplied here may be impacted by COVID-19. Contact a Policygenius agent for free to find out more.
If you live with a medical condition like high blood pressure you might think affordable insurance rates are not within reach. Since underwriters assess your health from head to toe to determine the risk of insuring you, it would seem likely that any health concerns would get flagged and act as a deterrent.
The reality is, with the proper diet and medication, living with high blood pressure doesn’t prevent you from finding affordable life insurance — you just have to make sure you’re going with the best option.
Ready to find the best life insurance rates and top companies for high blood pressure? Let’s start digging.
Having high blood pressure might impact your monthly insurance premiums
If you have moderately high blood pressure, you can still get competitive rates
Underwriters look at the specifics of your condition to make their risk assessment
Not all life insurance companies treat health conditions the same, so while you may have high rates with one insurer, you may have affordable options with another
While two life insurance companies can offer seemingly identical coverage, the way they judge health conditions can vary. Determining the specifics of the condition and treatment options can cause some life insurance companies to be more forgiving than others. But if your blood pressure is moderately high and you’re controlling it with treatment, you can still get some of the best life insurance rates.
The graph below dives into the blood pressure reading each of our partner life insurance companies requires to get a Preferred Plus or Preferred health classification, or the most competitive premiums, as of October 2020. Keep in mind that insurers evaluate your application holistically and other factors — such as your treatment plan, age, exact blood pressure reading, and any other medical conditions — will influence the health classification you receive.
|LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY||BLOOD PRESSURE READING|
|AIG||High (hypertension) Stage 1|
|Banner||High (hypertension) Stage 1|
|Brighthouse||Controlled with 1 medication|
|Mutual of Omaha||High (hypertension) Stage 1|
|Pacific Life||High (hypertension) Stage 1|
|Principal||High (hypertension) Stage 1 (with caveats)†|
|Protective||High (hypertension) Stage 1 (with caveats)†|
|SBLI||Controlled with 1 medication|
|Transamerica||High (hypertension) Stage 1 (with caveats)†|
† Qualifying for a Preferred Plus or Preferred health rating is dependent on specific blood pressure readings that are approved for each age group.
For someone who is life insurance shopping for the very first time, it might seem like high blood pressure has about as much to do with that process as tapioca pudding has to do with jigsaw puzzles. But the fact is, risk assessment is the bedrock of the underwriting process, and conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression are placed under the microscope when your health is analyzed.
The underwriting process will include a look at your hobbies, lifestyle, medical records, medical exam results, and even your family’s health history. The end goal is to determine the likelihood you’ll pass away while your term life insurance policy is still active.
Once all the data is analyzed, you will be classified based on your risk, which will determine how much you pay each month. A Preferred Plus customer will get a competitive rate while a Substandard customer should expect to pay quite a bit more.
So that brings us back to the topic of high blood pressure. Since this health condition can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke — which are the leading causes of death in the US according to the CDC — it can impact your risk profile and classification.
But there is no need to despair: underwriters don’t use a blanket approach when assessing your risk. Depending on how long you’ve had high blood pressure, how you are treating it, the severity of your symptoms, and other factors, you can still find affordable life insurance.
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If you are currently living with high blood pressure and applying for life insurance, you can expect underwriters to cover their bases the same way they would with other applicants. But along with the standard phone interview questions and medical exam evaluation, they may also look at the following factors that are specific to those with high blood pressure:
Your age factors into your insurance assessment in more ways than one. Underwriters look at the age of each client (more often than not, the younger you are the better your rates will be), but they might also ask you how old you were when you were first diagnosed with high blood pressure. If you have had high blood pressure your entire life you may be evaluated differently than if you’ve developed this condition just in the last year due to a job change, divorce, or other stressful circumstances.
Your blood pressure reading is made up of two sets of numbers: systolic (upper number on a blood pressure reading) and diastolic (lower number on a blood pressure reading). The following blood pressure numbers from the American Heart Association are broken down by category ranging from Normal to Crisis.
|Normal||Under 120||and||Under 80|
|High (hypertension) Stage 1||130-139||or||80-89|
|High (hypertension) Stage 2||140 or higher||or||90 or higher|
|Crisis||Over 180||and/or||Over 120|
A client with numbers in the Elevated or High - Stage 1 range will be assessed differently than someone who is in the High - Stage 2 or Crisis range. When determining the severity of your condition, underwriters will evaluate your prescription history and ask you for a record of your blood pressure readings from the onset of your diagnosis. However, some life insurance companies may want to do a more thorough evaluation and could request medical records up to 10 years in the past.
When you take the insurance medical exam, you will likely be asked what types of blood pressure medications you are taking to manage your condition. If you can produce proof of treatment you will be a more desirable candidate than someone who hasn’t made any lifestyle or medical changes to control their high blood pressure symptoms. To determine how you’re managing your condition, you might be asked the following:
According to the Mayo Clinic, eating a low-sodium, balanced diet, cutting back on coffee and alcohol, quitting smoking, working out regularly, and reducing stress may help you manage your blood pressure symptoms, and lower your numbers.
Your answers to these questions will give the underwriter an idea of how well you’re managing your condition and will determine your life insurance classification and rates. Comparing quotes from different carriers is the best way to find the most affordable coverage.
Due to the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, some insurers are modifying processes and/or imposing coverage restrictions on certain health conditions or age groups. Speak to a Policygenius agent for free to find out how to get the most affordable policy.
If you have high blood pressure, you can still get life insurance coverage at a competitive price. Depending on your blood pressure reading, age, and treatment plan, insurers may even offer you the lowest possible premiums for your demographic.
Every life insurance company underwrites high blood pressure differently, but generally if your blood pressure falls under the ‘high stage 1’ category it is considered high. If your blood pressure is in the ‘high stage 2’ category it may impact your life insurance rates, while a ‘crisis’ level rating may make you ineligible for coverage.
You should speak to your doctor about the best treatment plan for high blood pressure. Keep in mind that it is important to be completely honest about a high blood pressure diagnosis on your life insurance application because any intentional fraud can invalidate your policy.
Reina Marszalek is a managing editor and writer based in New Jersey. Previously, she was the senior editor at DoctorOz.com, answering today's biggest health questions and discovering the latest trends in food and health.
Nupur Gambhir is a life insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. She has researched and written extensively about life insurance since 2019, with specialties in life insurance companies, policy types, and end-of-life planning. Her writing on insurance and finance has appeared on MSN, The Financial Gym, and end-of-life planning service Cake. Previously, she worked in marketing and business development for travel and tech.
Nupur has a B.A. in Economics from Ohio State University.
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