I started Insurance Blog by Chris™ because I have a passion for insurance. Here at the blog, our job is to educate and inform people about the best insurance for them. Since then, we have grown into national brands with a large team of researchers helping people understand all forms of insurance.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2021

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Let’s be honest, I know discussing life insurance isn’t exactly the most fun topic. It’s difficult to imagine yourself out of the picture, and your loved ones trying to move forward. Trying to surf through life insurance quotes, types of insurances, and insurance carriers. Add in current health problems or a negative health history, and finding the best life insurance rates can be tricky.

By itself, your high blood pressure shouldn’t prevent you from getting the quality and affordable life insurance you need.

Yes, high blood pressure readings can affect your life insurance premiums. You may not be assigned the best health class and get the very best rates. This condition could even threaten your eligibility for life insurance coverage, especially if you don’t manage it.

But most life insurance applicants with high blood pressure can still get covered by finding the right insurance company and by managing their condition.

Best Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure

Every life insurance company has its own standard of acceptance their underwriters use. The same applicant with the same higher blood pressure levels could snag the Preferred rating class with one company and the Standard rate class with another.

For applicants with a history of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, we recommend these companies first:

AIG

You can buy AIG insurance through an independent agent or on your own through AIG Direct. Either way, you should experience a nuanced underwriting process. The company is likely to consider your higher blood pressure readings in the context of your overall health and medical history.

Even if AIG coverage isn’t right for you, AIG Direct connects with other leading insurers such as Lincoln Financial, Prudential, and Transamerica, increasing your chances of finding quality coverage without the higher rates.

RELATED: 5 Critical Tips You Must Know Before Buying Life Insurance

Banner Life

More and more often we find ourselves recommending coverage from Banner Life. It’s a modern insurer with flexible underwriting for people with medical conditions or deemed higher risk.

Banner works best when you need term life insurance, but its universal policies stand out, too.

John Hancock

With John Hancock insurance you could score a Preferred rating even with a blood pressure range of 140/85. Then, once you’re approved, you can participate in the insurer’s Vitality program to get rewards if you lower your blood pressure readings.

Incentives include gift cards and discounts on online shopping.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha is one of our go-to providers for people with high-risk classifications which include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.

Mutual of Omaha is usually open to a conversation about the applicant’s overall health rather than simply dismissing complex applicants with a denial or inflated premiums.

Protective

Looking for a large policy despite your family history, medical records, or your own history of high blood pressure? Consider Protective Life which offers large term policies online.

You can also buy four different types of universal life insurance.

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How High Blood Pressure Affects Life Insurance

Doctors call high blood pressure the silent killer because this condition damages your body slowly. Often, the damage is well underway before you know you have a medical condition. It leads to more severe problems such as heart failure, heart disease, and kidney failure.

That’s one reason life insurance medical exams include a blood pressure check. High blood pressure could lead to a stroke or a heart attack, which is according to the CDC, the largest cause of death in the United States.

But why do life insurers care about this? Because your premature death would cost them money. It’s not just high blood pressure. Any high-risk health condition, activity, or behavior can lead to higher premiums or a declined application.

RELATED: Check Sample Life Insurance Rates by Age (No Personal Info Required)

Defining High Blood Pressure

The American Heart Association considers normal blood pressure 120/80 or lower.

The first number (120) is your systolic pressure (blood pressure while the heartbeats and pumping blood).

The last number (80) is your diastolic pressure (blood pressure rate while your heart is at rest).

Essentially high blood pressure is when your body pumps the blood through your blood vessels at a very high rate, disrupting the blood distribution to your vital organs.

The association now provides the following guidelines for higher readings:

  Systolic Diastolic
Elevated 120-129 80
Stage 1 Hypertension 130-139 80-89
Stage 2 Hypertension 140+ 90+
Crisis 180+ 120+

Before applying for life insurance you should check your blood pressure. Most supermarkets and pharmacies have blood pressure machines that are reasonably accurate.

For better results, buy an at-home blood pressure monitor. A digitized model works best since it requires very little training to use.

For best results, make an appointment for a checkup with a physician or a nurse practitioner to get a blood pressure check and discuss ways to control your overall health.

High Blood Pressure in Context

Very few life insurance companies immediately decline an application for coverage solely on the basis of a high blood pressure reading.

Most companies will consider more than just your numbers as they assess your eligibility and assign premiums for coverage. They’ll also consider:

  • How Long You’ve Had Hypertension: A new diagnosis can have a bad impact on your life insurance eligibility. Discovering your hypertension during the life insurance medical exam itself can lead to an outright denial of coverage.
  • How You Manage the Condition: Successfully managing your condition over the course of several years tells insurers you’re capable of keeping your diagnosis from affecting your long-term health.
  • Just How High is Your Pressure? Elevated blood pressure or pre-hypertension, won’t affect your application as much as Stage 1 or Stage 2 hypertension.
  • Your Other Health Factors: Blood pressure is just one piece of the puzzle. If you have high blood pressure and you have high cholesterol or a high body-mass index, you’ll have fewer options for quality coverage.

RELATED: Check Sample Life Insurance Rates by Age (No Personal Info Required)

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How You Can Control High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure tends to develop slowly and without obvious symptoms for the patient. If you suddenly have high blood pressure, you may be experiencing a side effect from a medication. This shouldn’t impact your life insurance eligibility.

Normally, developing hypertension takes years. So treating high blood pressure takes time and patience. Several high blood pressure medications can help lower your pressures. A general practitioner can prescribe the right dose.

You should also consider changing your lifestyle — specifically your diet and exercise habits.

  • Eating more salmon, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains and fewer processed meats and canned food can help.
  • Regular exercise such as taking a brisk walk can help.
  • Limiting alcoholic beverages to one or two drinks a day can help.

These changes may take months or even a couple years to make a difference — so be patient!

From the perspective of your life insurance company, any steady and consistent action you take that lowers your blood pressure — whether it’s medicine, lifestyle changes, or both — can help you get better rates.

Getting Lower Premiums with High Blood Pressure

When you need a new life insurance policy and you have elevated or high blood pressure, here’s how to access lower premiums:

  1. Control What You Can Control: Do what you can to control your blood pressure. Even if you can’t lower it completely, every mm/HG of pressure can help. Plus, the long-term commitment you’re showing can also help you get a better classification.
  2. Lower Other Risk Factors: Drive safely, quit smoking, lose a few pounds — all these improvements can improve your rates. Many of these have a bigger influence on premiums than blood pressure — especially smoking.
  3. Find the Right Provider: Choosing from the providers above and even life insurance agent can lead to better results because these insurers have a solid track record of dealing with hypertension as a complicating factor.
  4. Buy the Right-Size Coverage: Buying too much life insurance drives up premiums unnecessarily whether or not you have high blood pressure. When you do have a high-risk factor you have even less room for error here. Unless you need another type of insurance like universal or variable life, stick with a term life insurance policy. Make sure your coverage amount and term length don’t exceed your actual needs.

What if You’ve Been Denied Because of Hypertension?

When our clients have been denied life insurance because of their high blood pressure, it often happened like this:

  • Lack of Knowledge: The applicant for coverage had no idea he or she suffered from high blood pressure until the life insurance medical exam revealed the condition.
  • Stage 2 Readings: The applicant had Stage 2 hypertension (140+/90+) or worse and had no experience managing the condition.
  • Big Policies: The applicant had applied for a large, medically underwritten policy.

This is a worst-case scenario for life insurance. Strikes 1, 2, and 3 all on one pitch.

Typically, all this has happened before we meet the client. Our first piece of advice is to stop trying the same thing. Don’t apply with another company just yet.

Then, we take a step back and look at the overall picture, asking these two questions:

  • How Can We Help?
  • How Can the Client Help?

We can help by offering information about the life insurance industry. Year after year we work with clients who need extra attention to get the coverage they need.

Over time we’ve noticed the way insurers respond to certain medical conditions. We share this information to help save clients time and money.

You can help by controlling the risk factor. You may not be able to cure your hypertension overnight. But you can take small steps every day like working with a physician and maintaining your overall health.

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Should I Lower Blood Pressure Before Getting Coverage?

You can’t control hypertension overnight. However, other aspects of your life could change quickly.

For that reason, we do not recommend waiting to buy life insurance until you’ve lowered your blood pressure.

Instead, you should buy some form of temporary coverage — a 10-year term policy, a quick no-exam simplified issue policy, for instance — and accept the higher-than-desired premiums.

Meanwhile, you should continue working on your overall health and hypertension so you can qualify for a better, more permanent solution in a few months or in a year.