Heart Health: The Impact on Your Term Life Insurance

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Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites. You can find him on Twitter.

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UPDATED: Sep 17, 2020

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Life insurance companies look at several different health factors when they review your application for term life insurance. Last week, we talked about the heart and more specifically, what information the company collects about your heart on the paramedical exam.

Now that we know what is collected, we can look more closely at how that information is used to determine the rating class you will receive and ultimately, how much money you will pay for your term life policy. 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 term life insurance policy.

Heart Rate

Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Life insurance companies look to your heart rate as an indicator of overall heart health. Normal heart rates for an average adult are generally in the range of 60 – 100 beats per minute. Very fit individuals or athletes could see heart rates as low as 40 – 60 beats per minute.

Life insurance companies don’t have specific heart rate guidelines you must meet, but they may require additional testing or medical records if your heart rate appears abnormal.

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Blood Pressure

Life insurance companies use blood pressure readings to help determine if you have hypertension. Companies are concerned about the presence of hypertension because it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Treatment for hypertension is usually looked upon favorably by companies, provided blood pressure is well-controlled.

Here are standard life insurance underwriting guidelines for blood pressure and the corresponding rating class you are likely to receive. (Note: These guidelines are for ages 70 and below.)

Life Insurance Underwriting Ratings for Blood Pressure
Health ConditionSuper Preferred RatingPreferred RatingStandard Plus Rating
Blood Pressure Reading135/85145/85150/90
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Total Cholesterol

Like hypertension, a high cholesterol level is a major risk factor for heart disease or stroke. High cholesterol can be caused by an unhealthy diet, inadequate exercise, being overweight or can even run in your family. Once again, treatment for high cholesterol is usually looked upon favorably by companies, provided blood pressure remains well-controlled.

Here are standard life insurance company guidelines for total cholesterol and the corresponding rating class you are likely to receive.

Life Insurance Underwriting Ratings for Cholesterol
Health ConditionSuper Preferred RatingPreferred RatingStandard Plus Rating
Total Cholesterol250270300
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Cholesterol/HDL Ratio

You may have heard HDL (high-density lipoprotein) referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol, and for a good reason. HDL helps to clear fat from the blood stream which, of course, is good for your heart. Life insurance companies want to see high levels of HDL in your blood. To check this, they look at your cholesterol/HDL ratio, which is a measurement of how much of your total cholesterol is made up of HDL. The lower your total cholesterol and higher your HDL, the lower your ratio will be. You want a low ratio.

Here are standard life insurance company guidelines for cholesterol/HDL ratio and the corresponding rating class you are likely to receive.

Life Insurance Underwriting Ratings for Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
Health ConditionSuper Preferred RatingPreferred RatingStandard Plus Rating
Cholesterol/HDL Ratio5.05.56.0
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In our next post, we’ll move beyond these basic requirements and discuss how life insurance companies use EKG’s, medical records and family history when reviewing your application for term life insurance.

Related Posts:

Things Life Insurance Companies Look At

What to Expect From a Life Insurance Medical Exam

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