UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Are you worried you won’t qualify for life insurance because you’re not in 100-percent-perfect health?
If you have a medical or health condition, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a life insurance policy—or that you’ll pay top dollar for one. If you’ve taken the initiative to successfully control your condition, you might be able to not only get approved for a policy, but you could also get approved at a favorable rate.
When you apply for life insurance, you will have to take a paramedical exam and the insurance company will consider the results when deciding on how to rate you. During the exam, your height, weight, pulse and blood pressure will be measured. The person will also draw a blood sample and ask for a urine sample to check cholesterol, blood sugar, and other levels. Plus, you’ll need to answer questions about your family history, medical history, lifestyle, and smoking and alcohol usage.
Below are three common conditions life insurance companies pay careful attention to when determining whether or not to insure you and how much they’ll charge you for your policy. If you’re facing any of these health issues but have them under control, you stand a better chance of avoiding excessive premiums.
1. High Blood Pressure
One in three American adults have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
I’m one of them.
With high blood pressure linked to heart attacks, strokes, and other fatal health events, it’s with good reason life insurance companies are cautious when insuring people with the problem. Controlling your high blood pressure, however, will help put you in a more favorable light during the underwriting process.
I can attest to that.
About six months before I applied for a term life policy, I was having episodes of high blood pressure. Having no lifestyle or dietary factors that seemed to contribute to it, my doctor prescribed a medication for me, which nearly immediately got it under control. With a good reading during my paramedical exam and my demonstrating that I’ve taken measures to keep my BP in check, I got the best rating and lowest premium available for someone my age.
2. High Cholesterol
As with blood pressure, cholesterol problems that are managed well won’t necessarily throw you in a poor rating class. Demonstrating control is key. You can still earn a Preferred rating class on your policy even though you have slightly elevated cholesterol. You’ll just need to show it’s under control, with or without medication, and that you are making regular visits to your doctor.
And realize that there’s more to cholesterol than your total cholesterol number. Many insurance companies put more weight on your ratio of HDLs (High-density lipoproteins) to LDLs (low-density lipoproteins). Higher HDL (the good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels could help you get a better premium.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 9.3% of Americans had diabetes in 2012. That’s nearly one out of ten people! Insurance companies will give you a better rating if you can demonstrate that you’ve been managing your condition effectively. Be prepared with information about the medications you’re on, records of doctors’ visits, and other pertinent information to show you’ve taken measures to control your diabetes.
Put the Premium in Your Favor
It’s to your (and your bank account’s) advantage to adopt healthy lifestyle choices and get medical issues under control before applying for life insurance.
Life insurance companies have varied underwriting rules, causing leniency for medical issues to differ from company to company. Consider talking with a trusted insurance expert to help you work through the process of finding an insurance company and a policy that will meet your needs.
And regardless of whether or not you have a health issue that might affect your premium, term life insurance typically offers more affordable options than whole life insurance policies. Term life policies have a fixed length (term), usually 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. In addition to the flexibility in choosing the term, you can also select the amount of coverage. The shorter the term and the lesser the death benefit, the lower the premium. When making those decisions, you’ll want to carefully consider your family’s potential financial situations over time.