Ron Attias is a licensed insurance broker. He has no particular loyalty to any one insurance company, so he is able to shop all major insurance carriers. This means that you always get the BEST plan at the LOWEST price. Each plan can be customized to fit your specific healthcare needs and budget.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 9, 2019

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Getting life insurance with high blood pressure isn’t as difficult or expensive as you may think. If high blood pressure is your only health ailment, it’s well controlled, and within the acceptable ranges, you may even be eligible for the Preferred Plus rate with some companies. However, when combining high blood pressure with other pre-existing conditions such as build, high cholesterol, or family history, you may pay substantially more or will be declined coverage.

In this post, I will go over the questions the underwriter will ask you, the associated rates you can expect, and a few of the companies you should consider applying to if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Blood pressure is measured by the amount of force that is pushed against the arteries’ walls as the heart pumps blood. Over time, the force damages the arteries which can lead to arrhythmia, heart attack, or stroke. The blood pressure is recorded in two figures: The systolic number indicates the force when the heart beats, and the diastolic number indicates the force when the heart rests.

Blood Pressure Ranges

blood pressure ranges

Source: Understanding blood pressure readings

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What Are the Insurance Companies Looking for When Insuring Individuals with High Blood Pressure?

Considering each medical condition poses a precise risk when applying for life insurance. Each situation requires various questions the underwriter will ask. There is no one consensus among medical professionals on what is acceptable as hypertension.

However, most authorities consider systolic pressure over 139 mmHg and diastolic pressure over 89 mmHg as high-risk. The underwriter will want to see readings for at least 12 months.

Other risk factors, such as build, lipid levels, diabetes, and family history will all play a significant role in determining your health class. Let’s take a look at the primary questions you will need to answer.

1. Date of First Diagnosis

No surprise here. As mentioned above, the underwriter will want to see at least 12 months of readings when assessing your risk to the insurer. If you were diagnosed three months ago, you might need to wait longer before applying. The longer you have had it, the better it is as long as it’s under control.

2. What Was the Most Recent Blood Pressure Reading?

Blood pressure readings will have a noticeable impact on your rates. If it is within normal ranges, the underwriting process will continue. If it’s abnormal, the underwriter will halt the process until you can show that the hypertension is under control. Any time your blood pressure readings are over 170/95 mmHg, you may need to wait before applying for coverage.

3. Are You on Any Medications?

The type of medications you use to control the ailment tells the company about other risks you may have. There are a few types, such as diuretics, which increase urination to get rid of excess salt, beta blockers which reduce blood volume and therefore lower the pressure on your heart, or ace inhibitors which cause the blood vessels to narrow and decrease the production of angiotensin and control the pressure.

The type of medications will reveal more about your condition. Note that some companies do not allow the use of medicines for approval at the best rates. Others will still give you the plus rate if it’s under control. Knowing which company to apply to will make all the difference.

4. Do You Have Any of the Following?

  • Chest pain or coronary disease
  • Enlarged heart
  • Aneurysm
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Overweight

Having high blood pressure has many health risks, such as damaging your arteries, which can lead to stroke or kidney damage among many others. By asking this question, the underwriter is trying to figure out if there is an underlying matter associated with your current condition.

High blood pressure is called the silent killer because there are no apparent symptoms to pay attention to until it’s too late. The underwriter’s job is to make sure there is nothing else under the hood.

5. Have You Completed a Stress Electrocardiogram (Treadmill Test) in the past Year?

This question isn’t for those who have their readings under control. Nonetheless, this is another way the underwriter gauges a risk. There are a few studies that indicate a correlation between your heart’s behavior during exercise and a sign of artery problems that could lead to further damage or heart attack. If you have had issues with abnormal readings, the underwriter may ask for this test.

6. Have You Had an Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is an image of your heart produced by a sound wave. The doctor may request this test to identify heart disease. It is done to determine problems with the valves or chambers of your heart. If you have had such a test, make sure to provide the company with a copy of results.

What Other Questions Will the Underwriter Ask?

Yes, the underwriting process is daunting and annoying at times. After all, you can understand that the insurance companies are on the hook for billions should you prematurely die, so they make sure they do their due diligence before taking on clients. Below are a few more questions you will need to answer:

  • Current age
  • Gender
  • State of residence
  • Height and weight
  • Income and liabilities
  • Occupation
  • High-risk hobbies (if any)
  • Current and past health history
  • Family history
  • Foreign travel
  • Smoking habits
  • Alcohol habits
  • Driving history
  • Criminal history
  • Prescription usage

What Rate Class Can I Qualify for If I Have Hypertension?

Estimating life insurance rates is a tricky business. Have you seen the questions above? This scenario will only be applicable provided high blood pressure is your ONLY condition.

  • Preferred plus rate is for those who have a blood pressure level of 140/85. An older individual over the age 60 is allowed 150/85.
  • Preferred rate is for those who have a high blood pressure level of 150/90.
  • Standard plus is for those who have a high blood pressure level of 155/88.
  • Standard rate is for those who have a high blood pressure level of 160/90.
  • Table rate is for those who have a high blood pressure level higher than 160/90.

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Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure Sample Monthly Rates

40-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 Preferred Plus $10.92 $19.01 $32.68
 Preferred  $12.81 $21.93 $37.53
 Standard Plus $17.33 $28.55 $51.29
 Standard $17.97 $32.72 $59.25
 Table B $23.41 $40.69 $74.36
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40-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 Preferred Plus $10.23 $15.26 $25.37
 Preferred  $11.27 $18.92 $31.82
 Standard Plus $13.93 $24.04 $40.70
 Standard $15.82 $27.95 $47.21
 Table B $18.31 $33.47 $58.48
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50-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 Preferred Plus $22.27 $40.85 $74.39
 Preferred  $26.23 $48.29 $89.15
 Standard Plus $34.67 $64.08 $120.60
 Standard $36.28 $74.82 $140.24
 Table B $49.42 $93.54 $178.33
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50-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 Preferred Plus $18.09 $31.56 $56.67
 Preferred  $19.69 $37.54 $67.14
 Standard Plus $27.27 $49.41 $91.50
 Standard $28.29 $57.49 $107.43
 Table B $38.33 $71.54 $134.68
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60-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 Preferred Plus $53.23 $110.03 $205.97
 Preferred  $63.12 $124.91 $240.80
 Standard Plus $81.76 $164.38 $321.20
 Standard $92.47 $199.48 $383.72
 Table B $120.06 $243.99 $479.23
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60-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term

 Health Class $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 Preferred Plus $36.98 $77.90 $144.96
 Preferred  $42.48 $88.15 $168.13
 Standard Plus $57.79 $116.10 $223.37
 Standard $63.82 $139.75 $267.65
 Table B $84.10 $171.57 $332.47
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Bottom Line

The underwriting process is packed with questions, scenarios, and predictions. Some companies want to see 12 months of readings, while others need 24 months. Some will rate you for using medications to control hypertension while others may overlook it and give you the best rate as long as it’s well controlled.

You can’t get that information by running the quotes and choosing the lowest rate from a list. Instead, you should work with a broker who knows how to make your life insurance purchase a breeze.

If the last thing you want to do is to read life insurance underwriting guides and fine print, run the quotes on this page.