High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious medical condition that can lead to life-threatening health issues if left untreated. Unfortunately, it can also make getting life insurance more challenging and expensive.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about qualifying for life insurance with high blood pressure, including:
- An overview of high blood pressure and how it impacts life insurance
- What insurance companies look for when underwriting high blood pressure
- Tips for getting affordable life insurance with hypertension
- The best life insurance companies for high blood pressure
- Sample rates for coverage
- Frequently asked questions about high blood pressure and life insurance
Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing against the walls of the arteries. When that pressure becomes consistently too high, it causes damage over time and is called high blood pressure or hypertension.
About 45% of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s an extremely common condition, but it can seriously impact your health if left unmanaged.
High blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, which can lead to complications like:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Vision loss
That’s why having high blood pressure can make it more difficult and expensive to get approved for life insurance coverage. Insurance companies know it raises the risk of premature death, so they view applicants with hypertension as riskier investments.
The good news is that well-controlled high blood pressure usually won’t prevent you from getting life insurance at an affordable rate. It just requires careful shopping, preparation, and working with the right insurance company.
Comparison of Life Insurance Companies for High Blood Pressure
|Insurance Company||Sample Monthly Rates for $500k Term Policy for 40 Year Old||Underwriting Approach||Policy Options|
|Banner Life||Stage 1: $40 – $90 <br>Stage 2: $60 – $250+||Competitive even for higher risk profiles||Term policies up to $5 million|
|Haven Life||Stage 1: $50 – $100 <br>Stage 2: $80 – $300+||Simplified no-exam policies up to $3 million||Term life up to $3 million|
|Lincoln Financial||Stage 1: $60 – $120 <br>Stage 2: $90 – $200+||Approves cases with well-controlled hypertension||Term and permanent policies|
|Prudential||Stage 1: $50 – $110 <br>Stage 2: $70 – $220+||Flexible guidelines for Preferred and standard policies||Term, whole, universal, and variable life|
|Protective||Stage 1: $70 – $150 <br>Stage 2: $100 – $350+||Offers high-risk life insurance options||Term, whole, and universal life|
|SBLI||Stage 1: $80 – $160 <br>Stage 2: $110 – $500+||Specializes in high-risk life insurance cases||Term life insurance|
When you apply for life insurance with high blood pressure, the insurance company will look closely at several factors to determine your eligibility and rates, including:Your medical history – How long have you had high blood pressure? When were you diagnosed? Have you had any heart or stroke events? Companies will review your medical records.
Current blood pressure readings – Insurers will require your latest blood pressure numbers. The closer you are to normal readings, the better.
Medications – What medications are you taking to control your hypertension? The type and dose can matter, as well as how long you’ve been on them.
Other health factors – Weight, cholesterol, and lifestyle habits like smoking and alcohol use will also be considered. The higher your overall health and well-being, the better.
Treatment and control – Insurers will look at the treatment you’re receiving and how well your blood pressure is being controlled. They want to see that you’re committed to managing it.
Let’s take a closer look at what good control typically means when applying for life insurance with hypertension.
In general, life insurance companies look for recent average blood pressure readings below 140/90 mmHg to qualify for a standard policy with no rating.
According to the American Heart Association guidelines:
- Normal blood pressure: Below 120/80 mmHg
- Elevated: 120-129/ under 80 mmHg
- Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139/80-89 mmHg
- Stage 2 hypertension: 140 and above/90 and above mmHg
Applicants in the Stage 1 range may qualify for standard rates, while Stage 2 often leads to higher premiums. However, every insurance company evaluates each case individually based on your overall health profile.
For the best chances of getting an affordable policy:
- Aim for blood pressure readings consistently under 140/90 mmHg
- Be sure you’ve had good control for at least 6-12 months prior to applying
- Continue taking medications as prescribed and follow doctor’s treatment plans
Tracking and managing your high blood pressure is key to getting approved at favorable rates.
Here are some top tips for finding life insurance at a good price even if you have high blood pressure:
Compare quotes from several insurers. Rates can vary significantly, so shop around. Get quotes from at least 10 companies.
Opt for term life coverage. Term life insurance provides pure death benefit protection at the lowest cost, unlike permanent life insurance that has investment components that add fees.
Consider group or work life insurance. The underwriting is typically more lenient, plus they can’t decline coverage due to hypertension if you’re accepted into the group policy.
Improve other health factors. For example, lose weight, quit smoking, lower cholesterol, control diabetes or sleep apnea, and exercise regularly. This can help offset high blood pressure risk.
Work with an independent agent or broker. They have experience dealing with high blood pressure cases and can help you find the right insurer.
Look into “simplified issue” policies. These don’t require a medical exam and use basic health questions to underwrite. They’re an option for smaller face amounts of coverage, typically $100k to $500k.
Taking these steps can help you secure the most affordable life insurance rate possible given your situation. Getting quotes from top carriers and working with an experienced agent is key.
While every life insurance company looks at high blood pressure a little differently in their underwriting, some top insurers include:
- Banner Life: Competitive rates even for higher risk profiles, offer policy amounts up to $5 million.
- Haven Life: Simplified no-exam policies up to $3 million, great for moderate coverage needs.
- Lincoln Financial: Strong reputation for approving cases with well-controlled high blood pressure.
- Prudential: Flexible underwriting guidelines for Preferred and standard policies.
- Protective: Offers high-risk life insurance policy options if you don’t qualify for standard coverage.
- SBLI: Specializes in high-risk life insurance, including for medical conditions like high blood pressure.
- Transamerica: Provides renewable term periods allowing reassessment of health changes over time.
- Zurich Life: Known for competitive pricing and innovative underwriting of tougher cases.
Work with an independent life insurance agent to determine which company could be the best fit for you. Make sure to compare rates from multiple carriers side-by-side.
Life insurance rates for high blood pressure can cover a wide range, depending on the severity of your condition, your treatment and control, and other individual factors.
Here are some examples of estimated monthly rates for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy for a 40 year old:
- Normal blood pressure: $30 to $60 per month
- Well-controlled Stage 1 hypertension: $40 to $90 per month
- Stage 2 hypertension: $60 to $250+ per month
For a $1 million policy, the monthly costs roughly double:
- Normal blood pressure: $60 to $120
- Well-controlled Stage 1: $80 to $180
- Stage 2 hypertension: $120 to $500+
Other factors like medical history, age, lifestyle habits, and gender can impact your actual quoted rate. It’s important to use these only as a general guideline and to get quotes specific to your unique health profile.
Do I need a medical exam for life insurance if I have high blood pressure?
Most traditional term and permanent life insurance policies will require a medical exam, including blood and urine testing. However, some insurers offer “simplified issue” no-exam policies for smaller coverage amounts.
How long do I have to control my high blood pressure before applying?
Most insurers look for at least 6 to 12 months of controlled numbers through medication and lifestyle before they will consider you for standard rates. The longer history of control the better.
Can pre-hypertension or elevated blood pressure affect life insurance rates?
You can qualify for standard rates if your readings fall in the pre-hypertensive (120-129/under 80 mmHg) or elevated (130-139/80-89 mmHg) ranges. Carriers mainly worry about Stage 1 hypertension (over 140/90 mmHg) or higher when raising rates.
What if I have white coat hypertension?
If your blood pressure tested high at the doctor’s office but normalizes outside, you may look into getting an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring test to show insurance companies your true average pressure over time rather than just one reading.
Can I still get a policy if I was previously declined for life insurance due to high blood pressure?
Yes, you have options if declined previously. Continuing to improve your blood pressure numbers and lifestyle habits for 6+ months gives you a good shot at getting approved, either by reapplying to the same carrier or seeking coverage from a high-risk specialty insurer.
How long after a heart attack or stroke due to high blood pressure do I need to wait before qualifying for life insurance?
After a major cardiovascular event, most insurers require at least 12 months of stability on medications and treatment before they will reconsider you for coverage. Rates will likely be higher due to increased risk.
The Bottom Line
High blood pressure doesn’t have to be a barrier to getting life insurance, even if you’ve been turned down before. The key is demonstrating commitment to treatment and lifestyle changes so that your hypertension is well-controlled.
By shopping many carriers, working with an experienced agent, opting for term life insurance, and taking steps to improve your health, quality coverage at reasonable rates is very achievable. With some diligence, you can secure the life insurance protection you need.