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How to get life insurance with high blood pressure
Follow your doctor's orders to get the best rates
Many people think they can’t get life insurance if they have high blood pressure, or that they’ll have to pay sky-high premiums. But there are ways to lessen the impact, especially if you’re able to control your blood pressure and know the right steps to take when shopping for a policy.
Can I get life insurance if I have high blood pressure?
Yes, it’s possible to get life insurance if you have high blood pressure. But your premiums will depend on how long you’ve had high blood pressure and whether you’ve been able to get it under control.
If you were diagnosed with high blood pressure in the past, but it’s now at a healthier level due to medication, diet or exercise, you’ll likely qualify for competitive rates.
But if your blood pressure is still high, you’ll likely pay higher rates — especially if you’ve had high blood pressure for a long time or you haven’t seen a doctor for it before.
Can I be denied coverage because of high blood pressure?
Yes, but it’s rare for an underwriter to deny someone coverage based on their high blood pressure alone. You’re more likely to be denied coverage if you have other risk factors on top of high blood pressure, like a high BMI, high cholesterol level, nicotine use or heart disease.
If you’re denied coverage for a medically underwritten policy, you can still get a guaranteed-issue life insurance policy, which doesn’t require a medical history — though you’ll likely pay more and have less coverage.
Why do insurers care about my blood pressure?
Your premiums are based on the likelihood of the insurer having to pay out on the policy. Higher risk applicants pay more for insurance, because it’s more likely that they’ll die before the policy expires.
High blood pressure can be an indication of future health problems, including heart attack or stroke. The longer your blood pressure is elevated, and the higher it is, the higher your risk is for major health problems or even death.
How to manage your blood pressure
It’s essential to take steps to improve your blood pressure – both for your health and to lower your life insurance premiums.
Speak to your doctor about a healthy exercise and diet plan, and take all of your prescribed medications. For those with high blood pressure, the American Heart Association advises limiting your sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. (To give you some context, the average American consumes more than 3,400 mg per day.)
- White bread
- Chips and fries
- Deli meats – e.g. turkey, salami and ham
- Fast food – e.g. burgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets
- Processed cheese
- Canned sauces and condiments – e.g. ketchup and soy sauce
- Bottled salad dressings
- Canned soups
- Frozen meals
Questions you might be asked in relation to high blood pressure
- What was your most recent blood pressure reading?
- When were you first advised that you had high blood pressure? What was the blood pressure reading at that time? What was your blood pressure before you were diagnosed with high blood pressure?
- How often do you see your doctor for check-ups or tests? When is your next check-up?
- Are you currently taking medication for high blood pressure? If so, what’s the medication and dosage?
- Has your treatment or dosage changed over the last month? If so, why?
- Do you manage your high blood pressure in ways other than with medication?
- Has your doctor advised you to take other forms of testing such as ECG, urinalysis or echocardiogram? If so, provide details.
- Has the underlying cause of your high blood pressure been found? If so, provide details.
What to look for when comparing policies with high blood pressure
If you have high blood pressure, there are a number of factors to consider when shopping for life insurance. Look at key areas like:
- How much the insurance coverage will cost
- The level of coverage you get for your money
- What the plan does and does not cover (pay attention to the exclusions)
- The claims process
- Whether the coverage is term life insurance or whole life insurance
- The length of the term, if it’s a term life insurance policy
Compare life insurance providers
Insurers will consider your high blood pressure when determining whether you qualify for life insurance and at what rate. But high blood pressure isn’t a deal-breaker, and you could get a lower rate by managing it successfully and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Carefully consider and compare your options to ensure you’re getting the best policy for your needs and at the best rate.
Frequently asked questions
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