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A “Behind the Scenes” Look at High Blood Pressure and Life Insurance

Misconceptions explained about getting life insurance with hypertension

If you’re in the market for life insurance and have high blood pressure, this article may contain some surprises for you.

We’re going to clear up a few misconceptions people commonly have.

3 Lies about Getting Life Insurance with High Blood Pressure

Here are a few of the most common myths I hear from people with hypertension, whether they are taking medication or not:

  1. “If I Have High Blood Pressure, I can’t Qualify for the Best Rates.”
  2. “Taking Medication for HBP will disqualify me for the best rates.”
  3. “If I was prescribed medication, but I’m NOT taking it, I can get better rates.”

These are all untrue!  We’ll cover each of these in more detail below.  As always, let’s start with an example.

Sample Client with High Blood Pressure

A client of mine called recently hoping to add to his coverage, needing $250,000 of 30 year term life insurance.

He’s 48 years old and in fantastic health.  No hazardous hobbies or occupation.

He takes no medications except one year ago, he was prescribed Atenolol to control high blood pressure, or hypertension.  Before taking the medication, his average blood pressure readings were around 150/90, but now his levels are back within normal range and had been stable for over a year.

Before calling, he ran some online quotes and assumed that based on his excellent health, he should qualify for any insurance company’s best rating class.  Would you agree?

How Blood Pressure Medication Affects Life Insurance Rating

Insurance carriers actually prefer you take medication so that your blood pressure levels will be under good control.

Many of them will even allow you to qualify for the best health rating, even taking medication.

What my client did know was that some life insurance companies don’t allow you to qualify for their best rating if you take blood pressure/hypertension medication.  Some others prefer your blood pressure has been under control for longer than one year.  In my client’s case, he ran his quote and the following companies came up as having the best, preferred plus rates for his inquiry:

Sample Preferred Best Rates – $250,000, 30 Year Term Life Insurance

– 48 year old male, non smoker, setting the blood pressure treatment aside.

Banner Life – $675.00 per year

Savings Bank Life (SBLI) – $680.00 per year

Genworth Life – $681.88 per year

So if you’re my client doing an online quote request and these are your top three results, which company do you apply to?  Without the help of an agent guiding you along, and without knowing how blood pressure medication affects life insurance ratings, you’d probably call up Banner Life and submit an application.  But you’d be wrong!

In fact, Banner would probably not be the best choice for my client, since his blood pressure has only been well controlled for 1 year.  Per each company’s underwriting guidelines, the requirement for their best rating with regards to blood pressure is as follows:

Banner, SBLI, & Genworth’s “Best” Guidelines on Blood Pressure

– Banner Life on Blood Pressure: Currently well controlled with or without treatment, with the average readings in the past two years not greater than 136/86

– SBLI on Blood Pressure: No treatment, past or present
135/85 up to age 60, 145/90 age 61 and over

– Genworth on Blood Pressure: Treated or untreated, current and past readings cannot exceed 135/85 at age 50 and under, or 140/85 at age 51 to 64.  Guidelines are even more lenient over age 65.

So you see that if my client had applied to Banner, he may not qualify for their $675 per year rate since his blood pressure has not been under control for the past 2 years.  SBLI doesn’t allow blood pressure treatment, so he couldn’t get their $680 per year premium.  Your winner is Genworth, where he will likely qualify for their best rating at $681.88 per year.

“What if I don’t take my medication?”

You might think your blood pressure is so mild and you’re in such good shape that you don’t need to take your medication.  However, this is actually NOT going to help you get a good life insurance approval.

From a life insurance underwriter’s perspective, the only time you should not be taking medication your doctor has prescribed to you is when your doctor has not recommended you stop taking it.  If you do it on your own, this actually hurts your case.

Whole Life or Term Life Insurance on Blood Pressure Medication

The ratings above do not apply only to guaranteed term life insurance or strictly to whole life insurance.  Underwriting is similar in both cases, although sometimes companies will let a little more slide when approving a higher premium, whole life policy.

As always, when you’re dealing with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any other medical impairment, please understand that we specialize in high risk life insurance cases.  It is critical to speak to an independent agent contracted with multiple life insurance companies for the best possible rating and lowest premium.

*Written by Chris Huntley. Huntley Wealth Insurance and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.
Chris Huntley
Chris Huntley is the owner of Huntley Wealth Insurance, a San Diego life insurance agency. You can find him on Google + and Facebook. Over the past 8 years, Chris has consulted with over 2000 individuals about their insurance needs. He is a proud husband and father to three adorable girls.
Chris Huntley
Chris Huntley

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