Blood pressure refers to the force used to push your blood into and out of the arteries in your heart.
If your blood pressure levels get high, it can cause serious damage to your body.
You are at risk for things like heart diseases, heart failure, or even a stroke.
With these risks, you pose a greater risk to life insurance companies who, as a result, charge you higher premiums for coverage.
Before we take a dive into everything you need to know about life insurance with high blood pressure.
Life Insurance and High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, called hypertension, can exist for years without showing symptoms.
So, you might very well feel fine until you get a checkup prior to your life insurance policy issuance only to learn that you have high blood pressure and are just months away from having a stoke.
When taking your readings, you will see two numbers listed, one over the other. These numbers relate to systolic and diastolic pressure readings.
Systolic is the pressure associated with the heartbeats while your blood is pumping while diastolic refers to the pressure when your heart is resting in between beats. A normal reading might be 120/80mmHg or lower. The systolic number is the top number, and the diastolic is the bottom number.
With that in mind, insurance companies are going to evaluate the severity of your case, and what secondary problems you might have as a result.
They are going to see:
Two Types of Hypertension
Primary hypertension is sometimes referred to as essential. 95% of cases are considered essential. This just means there is no underlying cause of the high blood pressure.
So, if you take medications to regulate your blood pressure, you will see lower premiums from your life insurance company.
The last 5% of cases are comprised of secondary, referred to as inessential, hypertension.
This means that there is an underlying cause which has resulted in high blood pressure. Adrenal gland tumors, kidney abnormalities, and congenital defects in the aorta are the three most common causes of secondary hypertension.
If you have secondary hypertension you will need to take blood pressure medication to indicate control over the condition. A key difference is that the companies will need to review the underlying cause separately from hypertension.
How Hypertension Affects Life Insurance Rates
Life insurance rates for people with hypertension can be slightly higher than rates for people in the preferred health class who have no additional health problems. How much higher?
Well, truly this depends on the degree of hypertension and high blood pressure you have. The worse your health, the higher your life insurance rates will be.
For people who have slight hypertension, but are otherwise healthy, you will have life insurance rates that are only slightly higher than people in the preferred health class.
For those with extreme hypertension and other health problems that result of high blood pressure, your life insurance rates may be much higher than those in the preferred health class.
Factors That Affect Life Insurance Rates With High Blood Pressure
When applying for life insurance, unless it is for a no exam policy, life insurance companies will typically ask health-related questions.
For people with high blood pressure, there will be additional questions they will ask to help them determine how your high blood pressure will affect your life insurance rates.
Common questions that life insurance companies will ask about your high blood pressure
When Were You Last Treated for High Blood Pressure?
Life insurance companies will ask when the last time you received treatment for your high blood pressure was. They will also want to know about the treatment, and how often you have had them in the past.
What Medications are You Taking for High Blood Pressure?
Expect some questions about your prescription history for high blood pressure. Life insurance companies will want to have this information so that they can better understand what type of effect your blood pressure has on your overall health.
When Were You Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure?
This can also have a role in your life insurance rates. Depending on when you were diagnosed, you may have different premiums.
For instance, someone who has had high blood pressure for years but has not needed treatment and who has managed it well may be less of a risk than someone who has just received a diagnosis and does not yet have their blood pressure under control.
Do You Have a Family History of High Blood Pressure?
Family health history can be a big determinant of rates because some diseases and health conditions have an increased chance of occurring in people who have a family history with them.
Also, family health history is used to determine how your condition may develop in the future. Perhaps your family member developed additional conditions in relation to high blood pressure over time. This typically just includes your immediate family; parents and siblings.
Have You Ever Been Hospitalized Due to Your High Blood Pressure?
Being hospitalized for previous high blood pressure problems affects your life insurance rates.
However, high blood pressure is a very manageable health condition if you stay on top of it. For that reason, even people with a family history of high blood pressure who are currently on medication may be eligible for low life insurance rates as long as they are able to keep their blood pressure under control.
How Other Related Blood Pressure Conditions Affect Life Insurance
Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol puts you at risk for secondary health conditions which will land you in a “high risk” health category.
Thankfully, just like your blood pressure, life insurance companies reward those who manage their condition with lower premiums.
It is equally important with high cholesterol that you reduce things like trans fats, sugars, and saturated fats from your diet while you simultaneously work to reduce your weight.
Both will work naturally to reduce LDL and HDL levels, which results in lower premiums for new applicants.
Low Blood Pressure
Now, there is always an issue with low pressure too. This is equally dangerous for people because it indicates an issue with your heart. Low blood pressure is called hypotension and it is diagnosed if your readings are less than 90/60.
Like its hypertension counterpart, you may very well suffer from low blood pressure without showing any symptoms. You certainly don’t want to find out during a life insurance exam, so it is important to visit your doctor regularly and perhaps even monitor your readings at home.
Low blood pressure does not bring with it the same risks like high blood pressure, but it is still a red flag for your risk level. Insurance companies will want to evaluate secondary conditions like anemia, depression, history of suicide attempts, genetic predispositions, heart problems, or diabetes.
You likely won’t be denied coverage because of hypotension. The best outcome is that you are otherwise healthy and receive a preferred health class. The worst outcome is that you receive a table rating for substandard health classes. What determines where you are placed is what other conditions you have, if any.
Life Insurance Table Ratings for People With High Blood Pressure
If you receive a substandard table rating, then you will be charged based on what table rating you receive, be it a letter or a number.
Below is an example of a table rating and what you would pay as a result:
|Table Rating||Percent Extra||Total Percent Paid||Final Price|
|Standard Table A||25%||125%||$625|
|Standard Table B||50%||150%||$750|
|Standard Table C||75%||175%||$875|
|Standard Table D||100%||200%||$1,000|
|Standard Table E||125%||225%||$1,125|
|Standard Table F||150%||250%||$1,250|
|Standard Table G||175%||275%||$1,375|
How High Blood Pressure Affects Your Health Rating
As seen above, there are many table ratings that life insurance companies use to determine rates. But what health rating do you qualify as depending on your blood pressure?
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Preferred Plus: 140/85 or lower
Where blood pressure is concerned, they distinguish between what is called “pre-hypertension” and “high”.
Pre-hypertension means you have above normal readings and are close to falling into a “high blood pressure” category.
Numbers between 120-139/80-89 fall into this category. So you can still obtain preferred plus health classes with “pre-hypertension”.
Standard Plus: 152/92 or lower
Numbers between 140-152/90-92 are distinguished as high risk, hypertension which lands you in the standard category.
However, this middle of the road category is still a good place for which to aim if you have severe hypertension and are trying to make improvements.
Substandard: above 160/90
Anything above 160/90 is considered high, or severe hypertension. With numbers this high, you are much more likely to have a stroke or heart attack soon.
If you fall under this category, it is in your best interest to take steps toward managing your condition if for no other reason than your long-term survival.
A secondary benefit is that managing your condition at this stage can also help you receive lower life insurance rates.
What if I am Denied Coverage?
If you are in a situation where you are denied life insurance coverage because of high blood pressure, it is not the end of the world, there are still life insurance options open to you.
No medical exam life insurance policies allow you to receive coverage without the need for a medical exam. For people who are willing to answer a few health-related questions, you can obtain affordable life insurance coverage even if you were denied for traditional life insurance policies.
If you are denied coverage on what is called a simplified issue life insurance policy which is the type of no exam policy with just a few health questions are asked, you are still eligible for guaranteed issue life insurance which a no exam policy with no medical exam and no health questions.
Both these types of coverage are limited in the amount you can get, depending on the company. For a majority of policies, coverage ranges from $10,000 to $25,000, but some companies offer no exam policies with up to $100,000 of coverage.
Life insurance rates on no exam policies are higher than traditional life insurance premiums in terms of cost per thousand dollars of coverage, but they still offer affordable life insurance for people with high blood pressure who otherwise are uninsurable.
Can You Improve Your Life Insurance Rates With Medication?
The good news is, yes you can. Medication is not a deal breaker for high blood pressure like it is for other conditions. In fact, life insurance companies are going to look more favorably on your application if you can demonstrate that you have used medication, diet, and/or exercise to keep your blood pressure low.
If you visit your doctor regularly, indicative of your attempts to control the condition, it also bodes well for your premiums; life insurance companies view not going to the doctor as indicative of not caring about your condition or at least not trying to improve it which equals a higher risk for them.
How Expensive is Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure?
When you set about choosing your life insurance company it is in your best interest to make sure that:
- The insurance company allows for blood pressure medication and on medication, you will still qualify for top-rate policies
- Any health concerns aside from high blood pressure must be considered separately
Which Life Insurance Company is Best for People With High Blood Pressure?
While there is no one life insurance company that is best for people with high blood pressure, the companies in this list are often regarded as some of the best at providing affordable life insurance coverage for people with blood pressure problems.
|Company||What They Are Best For|
|Haven Life||Fast coverage with hypertension|
|Banner Life||Customer service and flexibility with hypertension|
|Prudential||Chewing tobacco users with hypertension|
|AIG||Company size applicants with hypertension|
|Transamerica||Flexible prices and lenient table ratings|
|Protective Life Insurance||Flexible prices and lenient table ratings|
|Voya Financial||Flexible prices and lenient table ratings|
|Mutual of Omaha||Flexible prices and lenient table ratings|
|Lincoln||Flexible prices and lenient table ratings|
|Brighthouse Financial||Flexible prices and lenient table ratings|