Margaret Huntley Last Updated On: May 16, 2024

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Understanding the Costs of Life Insurance for High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure And Life Insurance

The Risks of High Blood Pressure

According to a recent report issued by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control), approximately half of American adults suffer from high blood pressure. Sometimes called hypertension, high blood pressure poses a risk to overall health and should be treated seriously.

Those with high blood pressure are more likely to experience cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, and kidney failure. 

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Life Insurance for High Blood Pressure

You bet you can! High blood pressure doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance, but it can affect your rates. 

High blood pressure can be a dangerous condition to live with, but it doesn’t necessarily prevent you from getting life insurance unless it’s combined with other health risks. High blood pressure may cause your rates to increase, but you can help keep them down by proactively working on your health or by choosing a less expensive policy.

Because life insurance providers must assess your level of risk to determine your rate, having high blood pressure will likely result in a more expensive life insurance plan. But exactly how your life insurance is affected will vary depending on a few different factors. 

However, if you can prove to your insurer that your high blood pressure condition (like diabetes) is being treated, your rates will drop. Conversely, your premiums will be much more expensive if you’re not treating the cause of your blood pressure. 

Can you be denied life insurance for high blood pressure? No, but it will influence your rates. But if you can prove that you’re treating your condition, you won’t pay quite as steep premiums.

Why Does High Blood Pressure Affect Premiums?

The fact of the matter is that almost half of American adults (47%) have high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension. The trouble with high blood pressure is it puts you at greater risk of heart disease and stroke (both are leading causes of death). 

Here are some hypertension statistics you may want to be aware of:

  • 670,000 Americans died in 2020 due to hypertension (primary or secondary cause)
  • 116 million Americans have high blood pressure 
  • 1 in 4 Americans have their hypertension under control

This is how the American Heart Association defines normal and high blood pressure.

BLOOD PRESSURE CATEGORYSYSTOLIC (Pressure during heart beats)DIASTOLIC (Pressure between heart beats)
Normal<120 mmHg<80 mmHg
Elevated120-129 mmHg<80 mmHg
High BP: Stage 1130-139 mmHg80-89 mmHg
High BP: Stage 2140 mmHg or higher90 mmHg or higher

So, if you want reasonable life insurance premiums, you’ll want to be one of the one in four Americans who control their hypertension with good lifestyle choices.

How Rates Are Calculated for Life Insurance wiht High Blood Pressure

As with any insurance product, insurers calculate your rates based on different factors like age.  When it comes to life insurance underwriting for hypertension, they base your rates on:
  • Age: Insurers are more lenient and offer regular life insurance products to policyholders over the age of 50-60 with hypertension. However, the older you are when you start paying into a life insurance policy, the higher your premiums.
  • Blood Pressure Range: The best insurance rates favor those with blood pressure around 120/80—anything higher means a bump in premiums.
  • Lifestyle: Insurance companies don’t just assign you premiums based on your BP number; they weigh it against your lifestyle. What is your current weight, do you exercise, do you smoke, and what is your diet? If you lead a good lifestyle—especially if you don’t smoke—your rates will be much more affordable.  
What is considered high blood pressure for life insurance? Well, most insurance companies defer to The American Heart Association’s definition of hypertension (as seen in the chart above). Typically, insurers consider 130/80 as high blood pressure.

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Qualifying for Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure

In most cases, high blood pressure alone will not prevent you from qualifying for life insurance unless it is accompanied by other risk factors.

Most life insurance plans will ask for medical underwriting in order to approve you for insurance. Medical underwriting consists of documents such as:

  • Physician reports
  • Hospital records
  • Life insurance medical exam
  • Medical Information Bureau documentation
  • RX report (for prescription drugs)

For those unable to qualify for standard life insurance, guaranteed life insurance is a valid, but more costly, option. 

Types of Life Insurance Available to Those with High Blood Pressure

The good news is that even though you have hypertension, it won’t prevent you from getting a good life insurance policy! Here are the policy options available to you:

  • Whole Life: Whole life is a permanent life insurance product that spans the policyholder’s entire life. With whole life insurance, you will get:
    • A guaranteed death benefit.
    • Most insurance companies require you to do a medical exam.
    • The guaranteed death benefit has a cash value that builds throughout your lifetime (the longer you have whole life insurance in place, the higher the cash value)
    • This life insurance product covers the policyholder’s entire life and comes with a significant payout.
    • Hypertension will lead to higher premiums.
  • Term Life: Unlike whole life, term life means life insurance for a fixed number of years. Typically term life is offered in 10-30 year increments. Here are some other facts about term life insurance:
    • How insurers rate your hypertension (whether it’s controlled) will influence how much you pay.
    • Most insurance companies require you to take a medical exam.
    • Term life is less expensive than whole life.
    • This product is geared towards policyholders that want their funeral expenses and other outstanding debts covered. 
  • Final Expense: Final expense life insurance is not as comprehensive as whole life or term life, as its primary goal is to pay for funeral costs and perhaps assist in paying other bills. Here’s what you need to know about final expense life insurance:
    • You won’t have to do a medical exam.
    • This insurance is ideal for individuals with uncontrolled or very high hypertension or if you have other difficult-to-insure medical conditions.
    • The coverage limit is low—between $5,000-$25,000—and is more expensive than other insurance policies, like term life.
    • It’s also a form of guaranteed life insurance, because you can’t be denied coverage based on health conditions.  

You have options when it comes to your life insurance, even if you have high blood pressure. Of course, your best bet to saving on life insurance is managing your high blood pressure—or preventing it in the first place. More on that next. 

Get a sense of what you can expect to pay by clicking here. You’ll get access to free quotes fast, so you can work life insurance into the budget today. 

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Saving Money on Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure

As is the case when looking for any kind of insurance, shopping around for the best-priced policy is the way to go. Compare quotes and assess your needs to ensure you are finding the best plan for your situation.

There are also some healthy lifestyle tips you can follow to demonstrate to your provider that you are improving your health:

  • Consuming a well-balanced diet
  • Limiting sodium intake
  • Performing regular physical activity
  • Managing/reducing stress
  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking

The better shape that you are in, the better your life insurance policy can take care of you! 

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure

If you want to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, changing your lifestyle can help prevent you from developing hypertension. 

According to the CDC, here’s how to prevent hypertension:

  • Diet: Eat right to avoid high blood pressure. This means eating plenty of fruits and veggies. For more information about how diet can help reduce high blood pressure, check out the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH) DASH eating guide.
  • Healthy Weight: Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). Obesity increases your chances of developing hypertension.
  • Get Active: Follow Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends 2.5 hours a week of moderate exercise (e.g., a brisk walk).
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking raises your blood pressure, so it’s best to give it up if you’re worried about developing hypertension.
  • Limit Your Alcohol: Men shouldn’t consume more than 2 drinks daily, while women should limit themselves to 1 drink per day. 
  • Get Some Quality Sleep: Keep your heart healthy by getting enough quality sleep.

It’s easier said than done, of course, but managing your hypertension can help you enjoy a more fulfilling life and save on everything from healthcare to life insurance. 

Living a healthy lifestyle is a key part of aging well. But so is planning for your future. Life insurance can be a key part of your retirement plan, and help you sail off into the sunset worry free. Find more helpful tips in our retirement planning handbook here

How to Manage Hypertension

If the cat’s already out of the bag, there’s still time to reverse your hypertension. The CDC recommends these tips for managing your high blood pressure:
  • Keep Tabs on Your BP: If you have high blood pressure, measure your BP often.
  • Manage Diabetes: Many people with diabetes also have hypertension, so if you can manage your diabetes, it will help with your BP.
  • Medication: Medication can help with hypertension. Always listen to your doctor, and take your medication as instructed.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Follow the preventative steps as outlined above, like getting enough sleep and exercising.
  • Talk to Your Doctor: Come up with a treatment plan with your doctor or healthcare professional team.
Saving on life insurance is great, but health is the truest wealth. Taking care of yourself is key to enjoying a long and happy life now. 

Final Thoughts on Getting Life Insurance With High Blood Pressure

If you’ve put off getting life insurance, it’s never too late. Even with high blood pressure, you can still purchase top tier life insurance, including whole and term life insurance. 

The most important thing you can do to prevent paying significant premiums for your life insurance is to be upfront and honest with your underwriter about your blood pressure, your lifestyle (including all the positives, like eating well), any pre-existing medical conditions, and how you’re managing your hypertension. If you’re transparent and can prove that what you’re doing to reduce your high blood pressure is working, you may walk away with more affordable rates.

So if you’re one of the quarter of American adults with controlled hypertension, you’ll pay less in premiums than someone still trying to manage their high blood pressure. 

Ready to knock life insurance off your to-do list? Get access to free quotes here, and get back to living your healthiest life with peace of mind. 

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Margaret Huntley Margaret Huntley is a creative writing and philosophy student at Western University. She has been working as a freelance writer for over two years and has written about everything from insurance, to poker, to health and wellness for international businesses.

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