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How to get life insurance for people with high cholesterol
Shopping around will help you get the best rates even if you have high cholesterol.
Learning that you have high cholesterol can make your search for life insurance more stressful. But you can still find affordable life insurance if you’re willing to shop around for the right policy.
Can I get life insurance if I have high cholesterol?
In most cases, having high cholesterol on its own won’t stop you from getting life insurance, but you might pay more for your premiums than someone with lower cholesterol numbers.
High cholesterol could be linked to other conditions that increase your risk of dying, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Having high cholesterol could be viewed by insurers as a higher risk for any of these conditions, which drives up premiums.
Life insurance companies use classifications to determine what you’ll pay for your policy, and your cholesterol is just one part of your health classification. The importance your insurer places on cholesterol and how you’re classified varies between companies. But that also means if you don’t like the rates from one insurer, you can shop around to find a better deal.
How do cholesterol levels affect life insurance rates?
Insurance companies look at two main cholesterol figures when determining your classification: your total cholesterol number and the ratio of your total cholesterol to your HDL, or good cholesterol level.
HDL is considered “good” cholesterol because it keeps other forms of cholesterol in check and lowers your risk of heart disease. To get your HDL-to-total-cholesterol ratio, divide your total cholesterol by your HDL number. For example, if your total cholesterol is 240 and your HDL is 60, your ratio is four.
A ratio of five for an adult man is considered average, but an acceptable ratio or total cholesterol number varies by insurer. With one insurer, a ratio of six might put you in a lower health classification, where another might not consider the ratio number at all.
How do I get life insurance when I have high cholesterol?
Making lifestyle changes to bring down your total cholesterol or increase your HDL can really help, but also takes time. In the meantime, consider the following:
- Take your cholesterol medications. Taking cholesterol medication is a positive sign to underwriters that you’re addressing your condition. If the medication brings your numbers down to a controlled level, you may still get a preferred rate on your life insurance.
- Offset with an underwriting credit. If high cholesterol is your only health issue, you may be able to offset the negative hit to your classification with positive credits. For example, having a low-risk family history, getting routine health screenings and proving good results on cardiac tests.
- Get a policy that doesn’t require a medical exam. You may end up paying more for less coverage, but if you want to skip the medical exam altogether, consider a no-exam policy.
- Apply now and ask for a rate reduction later. Some companies will let you reapply after a year or so once you’ve had a chance to work on your cholesterol. You may have to go through the underwriting process again, but if you’ve improved your condition your rates may go down.
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Can I get a policy without a medical exam?
Several life insurance companies offer coverage without a medical exam, but be prepared to pay more for your policy and face coverage limitations. The types of policies don’t require a medical exam are:
- Group life insurance. The most common form of no-exam life insurance is the group policy offered through your employer. Typically, you can get coverage in multiples of your salary at a discounted premium, but the coverage is limited. For example, you could get triple your salary without an exam, but have to take a medical exam if you want a coverage amount beyond that.
- Simplified issue life insurance. Get a simplified issue term or permanent policies by answering a medical questionnaire and submitting a phone interview. Most insurers can require you to take a medical exam if the questionnaire reveals a potential major health risk.
- Guaranteed issue life insurance. These are typically low-cap whole life insurance policies designed for seniors who are looking to cover end-of-life expenses. You may be capped at $50,000 of guaranteed issue coverage and the premiums tend to be expensive, but you won’t have to take a medical exam or complete a questionnaire.
- Instant approval life insurance. A few online-only insurers offer coverage with accelerated underwriting. These companies use algorithms to scour public information, such as your driving and prescription records. Signing up may require medical history questions, and based on your answers, you may have to provide further information, such as a physician’s statement or medical exam.
A high cholesterol diagnosis doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting a good deal on life insurance, but it can make finding preferred rates a little harder. Following your doctor’s orders can show underwriters that you’re managing your condition and may help improve your underwriting class. But most importantly, comparing life insurance companies can make sure you get the coverage you need at the best possible price.
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