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Image of a man getting his blood pressure read for Quotacy blog Life Insurance and Hypertension: Buyer's Guide

Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure: Buyer’s Guide

September 13, 2023
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common medical condition that can lead to serious health issues if not well-managed. Life insurance companies carefully evaluate a hypertension diagnosis, but having high blood pressure doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for life insurance.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how life insurance underwriters examine this condition, and help you understand how you can still get approved for life insurance with high blood pressure.

Why Do Insurance Companies Care About High Blood Pressure?

Life insurance companies take hypertension seriously because it significantly increases the risk of complications such as heart disease and stroke. Therefore, if you have high blood pressure, you’re often seen as a greater risk to insure.

Life insurance companies are all about managing risk. The more risk they take on by insuring you, the higher your policy premiums will be.

Underwriting High Blood Pressure

During the application process, the insurance company will assess your overall health, lifestyle, family history, occupation, and other factors. This helps them gauge your likelihood of passing away during the policy term. This evaluation process is known as underwriting.

Learn about the different individual factors your life insurance company will look at.

Once you’re evaluated, you’ll be categorized into a specific rate class. These rate classes, also called risk classes, determine the cost of your life insurance policy.

The most common risk classifications fall into one of three groups: preferred, standard, and substandard.

  • Preferred classes are reserved for the healthiest individuals and offer the best pricing.
  • Standard risk classes are for people with average health and life expectancy.
  • Substandard classes are for high-risk individuals.
  • Tobacco users have their own standard and preferred classes.

Substandard applicants are typically given a table rating. Being table rated means you’re required to pay a specific percentage extra on top of the standard rate.

Learn more about table rating pricing here: What Is a Substandard Risk in Life Insurance?

Can I Get Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure?

Yes, you can still obtain life insurance if you have high blood pressure. The risk class you qualify for will depend on how well you manage your condition, along with other personal factors.

It’s not just your hypertension that life insurance underwriters will consider. They’ll also take into account your age, gender, family medical history, any other health conditions you may have, and lifestyle habits like alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

To give you a clearer understanding, let’s look at some real-life examples that show how high blood pressure can affect both your ability to get life insurance and the cost of your policy.

Real Life Case Studies*

To give you a better idea of pricing and getting life insurance with high blood pressure, review the examples below.

Case Study #1

Applicant 1 applies for a 20-year term policy with $250,000 in coverage.

  • She’s a healthy 48-year-old executive who had her insurance exam performed towards the end of an unusually busy day. Her blood pressure was noted to be elevated at 150/100.
  • Follow-up with her doctor showed a repeat blood pressure of 116/72, which is consistent with measurements on multiple prior visits.

She can qualify for Preferred Plus ratings and pay monthly premiums as low as $27 per month.

Case Study #2

Applicant 2 applies for a 20-year term policy with $250,000 in coverage.

  • He’s a 56-year-old truck driver who has been treated for hypertension for the past 10 years.
  • His blood pressure during his life insurance medical exam was 154/94. After reviewing his medical records, it was discovered that those measurements are consistent with those of past doctor physicals.
  • Compliance with his medication has not always been ideal, but the applicant has never smoked nor been treated for any other medical conditions.

He can qualify for Standard ratings and pay monthly premiums as low as $122 per month.

Case Study #3

Applicant 3 applies for a 20-year term policy with $250,000 in coverage.

  • He’s a 25-year-old office worker who is slightly overweight and uses an inhaler about 3 times per week for asthma.
  • He had surgery in the past to clear his esophagus because of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).
  • His blood pressure is 125/85 on average.

He can qualify for a Table 2 rating and pay monthly premiums as low as $31.50 per month.

(Table 2 rating price is calculated as 50% on top of the Standard pricing.)

Case Study #4

Applicant 4 is a 62-year-old retiree.

  • She smokes a pack of cigarettes each day.
  • She has not seen a physician in many years, but her exam notes that she has been treated for hypertension and had a stroke many years ago.
  • Her exam blood pressure was 180/120, her EKG showed left ventricular hypertrophy, and her insurance labs revealed elevated blood glucose, HGA1C, cholesterol, creatinine, and nt-proBNP levels.

She would likely be declined for traditional life insurance, but eligible for guaranteed-issue life insurance.

*The examples shown are for illustrative purposes only. Your rates may be higher or lower.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

Tips on Getting Approved for Coverage

Having high blood pressure doesn’t mean that you can’t get approved for life insurance. However, it does require a more thoughtful approach to ensure you get the best policy at an affordable rate.

Here are some key tips that could help you:

  • Work with a Broker: If you have hypertension, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers aren’t tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market. They can compare different policies and choose the one that’s most favorable for someone with high blood pressure.
  • Manage Your Condition: Show that you are actively managing your hypertension through regular check-ups, medication, and a healthy lifestyle. Insurance companies often look more favorably upon applicants who are taking care of their health.
  • Prepare for the Medical Exam: Your blood pressure readings during the medical exam will significantly influence your rates. If possible, schedule the exam at a time when you’re relaxed, and avoid any activities that might temporarily elevate your blood pressure, like heavy exercise or consuming caffeine, before the exam.
  • Disclose All Relevant Information: Be honest and transparent about your medical history on your application. This helps your agent make sure you’re matched with the best insurer for your situation. Not to mention, concealing information about your hypertension could lead to denial of a claim later on.
  • Reevaluate Your Policy Periodically: As you manage and possibly improve your hypertension, you may qualify for better rates in the future. Regularly review your policy with your broker to ensure it continues to meet your needs and budget.
  • Don’t Get Discouraged: Every insurer has different underwriting guidelines, and what might be a decline or a high premium with one company might be an approval at a reasonable rate with another. That’s where a broker’s expertise in the market can really make a difference.
  • Start Early: The younger and healthier you are when you apply, the more likely you are to secure a more favorable rate. Don’t wait until other health issues possibly arise.

Best Life Insurance for Those With High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, finding coverage isn’t impossible. While the cost may be slightly higher, the options available to you are generally the same as for those with normal levels. Let’s explore your options.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is the most popular choice for families due to its simplicity and affordability.

  • Duration: You can select a specific term length, usually between 10-40 years. This timeline ideally should align with the period when financial support for your dependents is most needed.
  • Purpose: Primarily designed for income replacement, this policy doesn’t offer lifelong coverage, making it a cost-effective option.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage and can include additional features that might increase the cost. Here’s a breakdown of the different types:

  • Whole Life Insurance: This offers guaranteed death benefits, cash value growth, and fixed rates, making it one of the pricier options. Participating whole life policies may even earn dividends.
  • Universal Life Insurance (UL): UL offers flexibility, allowing adjustments to both death benefits and premiums to accommodate life changes. While it may have fewer guarantees, this adaptability can be attractive to many.
  • Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance (GUL): For those seeking lifelong coverage without the extra features and associated costs, GUL is an appealing choice. It provides essential permanent coverage at a more budget-friendly price point.

To give you an idea of the difference in cost between the various life insurance options, see the table below. The applicant is a male who qualifies for Standard non-tobacco rates. Your actual rates may be higher or lower depending on your individual health status.

Comparing Monthly Premiums: Term vs Guaranteed
Universal vs Universal vs Whole Life
Policy Type
(Coverage: $250K)
Monthly Premium
(Age 30)
Monthly Premium
(Age 40)
Monthly Premium
(Age 50)
30-Year Term$33.05$50.14$122.42
Whole (dividend-earning)$253.17$386.50$596.39

Guaranteed-Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed-issue life insurance is a type of permanent insurance that doesn’t require any medical underwriting. It’s typically available to people aged 50-80.

If you’ve been denied life insurance in the past due to your hypertension diagnosis, this policy may be a suitable option. One thing to note is that guaranteed-issue policies typically have much lower coverage amounts available. These policies are often purchased to provide loved ones enough funds to cover a funeral.

The Cost of Guaranteed-Issue Life Insurance
Coverage AmountMonthly Premium
(Age 50)
Monthly Premium
(Age 60)
Monthly Premium
(Age 70)

The best life insurance for those with high blood pressure is dependent on your insurability, finances, and goals. Your Quotacy agent can help you decide if you’re unsure.

Get Quotes and Apply Online With Quotacy

Navigating the complex world of life insurance can be challenging, especially when companies evaluate risk factors differently. For example, an applicant considered a Table 2 risk by one company might qualify for Standard Plus rates with another. That’s where Quotacy comes in.

As an independent broker, Quotacy has access to the policy and pricing of many different top-rated insurance companies. This means if you have a health issue, such as hypertension, we won’t just look at one option. We’ll comparison shop across our network to make sure you’re getting matched with the insurer that will treat you most favorably.

In addition, as a broker, we have a fiduciary responsibility to you, the client, before the insurance company. We’re in your corner, doing all we can to find you the best coverage possible.

Are you ready to take the next step? Get a term life insurance quote now and begin the process.

After you apply online, a dedicated Quotacy agent will take over, shopping your case with our top-rated life insurance companies to ensure you receive the best possible price. Don’t leave your future to chance. Let us help you find the right coverage today.

Note: Life insurance quotes used in this article are accurate as of September 13, 2023. These are only estimates and your life insurance costs may be higher or lower.


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