UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
As if having a heart condition or related risk factor isn’t unnerving enough, the worry of not being able to provide or afford to provide financial peace of mind for your loved ones could compound the stress of a medical issue.
Naturally, life insurance companies are interested in how healthy your heart is as they assess their risk in granting you coverage. People with or at risk for cardiovascular disease, or even a family history of it, could end up paying higher premiums for their policies. A drop of one rating class (e.g., Super Preferred to Preferred) could mean an increase of 25% or more in the cost of your insurance policy. And under certain circumstances, an insurance company might deny you coverage.
If You’re Thinking About Applying for a Life Insurance Policy, Keep These Two Things in Mind:
1. You need to be completely honest about your current health status and medical history.
Lying, misleading, or omitting crucial information about your health will likely get you rated at a higher premium or denied a policy. And if you’re granted a policy, die, and the insurance company discovers you lied or misrepresented information on your application, it could either lower the benefit your family receives or the company will altogether refuse the claim.
2. Although you may not be able to help that you have a heart condition or risk factor, doing what you can to keep issues under control will work in your favor.
For example, if you have blood pressure that’s typically higher than the ideal normal reading of less than 120/80, you might consider seeing a doctor and getting it under control before you apply for life insurance. I have first-hand experience with this one. My blood pressure had been running high, but because I didn’t have other risk factors and was under a physician’s care to keep my BP under control, I still got a preferred plus rating when I applied for term life insurance.
The same goes for cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol (a measure of your HDL, LDL, and other components) of below 200 and a ratio of LDLs and HDLs of 5.0 or less are considered ideal. As with blood pressure, if your levels are outside of the preferred levels, getting them under control before applying for life insurance will serve your wallet well.
How do Insurance Companies Check Your Heart Health?
When you apply for insurance, you’ll need to share about your medical history (and family medical history) by answering questions on the application. You’ll also need to undergo a paramedical exam that includes blood tests, blood pressure check, and urinalysis. Depending on your age, history, and the amount of coverage requested (if larger than normal), the insurance company might also ask you to go through an electrocardiogram (EKG) and/or a stress (treadmill) test to further evaluate your heart health.
Realize that all insurance companies have different policies and procedures, so the requirements, considerations, and rates will vary from one to another.
How Can You Get the Best Life Insurance Rate?
If you’ve avoided looking into life insurance because of the cost, you might be pleasantly surprised if you explore the option of term life insurance. You’ll need to go through the same type of health assessments as you would when applying for whole life insurance, but term life policies offer premiums that could be substantially lower. They’re simple, straightforward policies without the bells and whistles that run up premium rates.
You can quickly and easily get a preliminary term life quote online. To find out if a term life policy might be the right choice for you and your family, talk with a trusted insurance professional who can explain how it works and answer your questions.