If you are shopping for affordable life insurance and have been dealing with high cholesterol, you’ve likely decided that you are facing some rate challenges.
The reality of the matter is that physicians are generally more concerned about cholesterol levels than insurance underwriters. Generally, if you’ve been taking medication and the levels appear to be dropping, most life insurance companies will likely show minimal concern.
Managing cholesterol levels is something that millions of Americans are dealing with and, fortunately, obtaining affordable high cholesterol life insurance is not that difficult.
Quick Topic Links
- How High Cholesterol Affects Life Insurance Premiums
- How to Prepare for a Life Insurance Application
- Will My Company Reconsider My Health Class?
- Best Companies for People with High Cholesterol
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Get Quotes Now
What do Insurers Consider High Cholesterol?
Insurance underwriting is all about the numbers. What me mean is there are different levels of cholesterol that correspond with the different rate classifications you’ll be assigned to.
Although underwriting guidelines by most insurance companies rely on a set of standards that the industry has set over time, your rate classification could go from a preferred-plus rate (lowest prices) up to a standard smoker rate highest prices).
|Rate Class||Cholesterol Level|
|Preferred Plus||Many insurance companies will assign their best rate class if the applicant’s cholesterol level is less than 230 mg/dl and the ratio is less than 5.0|
|Preferred||Preferred is the second-best rate class and is assigned as long as the cholesterol level is lower than 260 mg/dl and the HDL ratio is less than 6.0.|
|Standard Plus||The Standard Plus rate is the third-best rate class and is assigned if the cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dl and the HDL ratio is 7.0 or lower.|
|Standard||Applicant’s with cholesterol levels of 300-350 mg/dl and an HDL ratio of 8.0 or lower will generally be assigned a standard rate.|
|Preferred Smoker||When an applicant’s cholesterol level is between 120 and 300 (with or without medication) and the HDL is 5.5 or lower, the preferred smoker rate class is generally assigned.|
|Standard Smoker||When an applicant’s total cholesterol level is 300 or lower (with or without medication) and the HDL ratio is 8.0 or lower, the applicant will be rated as a standard smoker.|
|Table Rating||Companies that have very conservative underwriting guidelines will typically use table ratings which is an upcharge added to the highest rate class which could be permanent or temporary.|
How does High Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance Premiums?
If you are looking for the lowest possible insurance rates, it makes sense to look at a policy that is fully underwritten, even when there are many no medical exam policies out there to choose from.
By taking the fully underwritten route, you’ll benefit because there is typically no limit on the face amount and your underwriter will order the most up-to-date medical information that will reflect that you are properly managing your cholesterol level.
A fully underwritten life insurance policy starts with the following underwriting information:
- A medical exam that includes weight, height, and blood pressure measurement, as well as a blood and urine sample and questions concerning your lifestyle and the health history of immediate family members.
- A report ordered from the Medical Information Bureau
- A report from a national RX database
- A motor vehicle report going back 3 – 5 years.
After gathering the data, the underwriter is in a position to confirm your current cholesterol levels and compare them with historical data. Doing so will provide clear evidence that you and your physician are taking the necessary steps to manage and reduce your cholesterol levels.
The table below demonstrates how your health class (rate class) will affect how much you can expect to pay for life insurance based on the rate class you qualify for.
These are actual rates for a 30-year old male for a $500,000 20-year term life insurance policy:
|Health Class||Monthly Premium|
As illustrated by this rate chart, whenever an applicant can indicate that they are a low risk for an insurance company and are assigned an above-average rate class, the cost of life insurance is greatly reduced.
How Should People with High Cholesterol Prepare for a Term Life Insurance Application?
If you have dealt with cholesterol issues in the past or are dealing with higher than normal levels now, there are certain measures you can take to prepare for a term life insurance application.
Taking these measures in advance will help you present yourself as a risk the insurance company is glad to accept and you’ll qualify for the lowest rates possible.
Step #1 – Start addressing your cholesterol levels now, especially if you’ve been reluctant to do so. Seeing a doctor is certainly important but there are steps you can take on your own.
- Lifestyle Changes – If you smoke cigarettes or cigars (or vape), reach out to any of the various resources that are available so you can quit.
- Diet Changes – Reduce the amount of red meat, fried foods, and fatty foods that you consume. Start thinking of your protein as a side dish and make vegetables the center of your plate.
- Exercise – Lately, most gyms have become off-limits in many cities but that doesn’t prevent you from walking and doing exercises at home. You’ll know it’s helping because you’ll start feeling better and sleeping better.
- Speak to your doctor – If you haven’t been to see your doctor lately, now is a good time to make an appointment. When your doctor confirms your cholesterol issues, he or she will prescribe certain medications that will help you get your cholesterol under control and reduced.
- Wait – If you have life insurance now, consider waiting until your cholesterol levels have been reduced before applying for term life insurance. If you quit smoking, congratulations. However, you need to be tobacco-free for at least 12 months before an insurer will consider you a non-smoker.
Most tobacco users who are planning to buy life insurance are under the assumption that if they quit smoking after their policy is issued, their insurance rates will go down. Nope, that’s not the case. Your rates will go down about a year later but typically not unless you cancel your policy and purchase a new one.
There are two problems with this. Your new policy will reflect your new age and other health issues could crop up in the meantime. In most cases, waiting (if you’re already insured) is the best way to go.
Also, it’s important that applicants understand taking medication for cholesterol is not a bad thing. Not taking the necessary steps to manage your cholesterol is what will make an underwriter bump you into an unfavorable rating class.
Will Insurers Reconsider Health Classifications?
Depending on your insurance company and the type of policy you have been issued, it is possible to get your company to reconsider your rate class because of health issues or lifestyle changes you’ve made.
You should understand in advance, however, that reconsideration means lower rates and companies are not always willing to do so once a policy has been issued.
Companies that accept reconsideration requests do so on a case-by-case basis and ordinarily do not have written guidelines of what will and will not be accepted.
If you feel like a health issue like high cholesterol was responsible for your rating and have taken the steps necessary to manage it and reduce it, by all means, contact the company and ask what they need in terms of proof to re-underwrite your life insurance policy.
These are the steps we recommend based on our experience with reconsideration requests:
- Wait at least a year after your policy has been issued to make your reconsideration request, especially if your request is based on your quitting smoking or other lifestyle changes.
- You will need another medical exam and it may or may not be paid for by the insurance company. Any other mitigation evidence you have should be submitted as well.
- Present your reconsideration evidence to the underwriter in a package of data rather than offering it on an item by item basis. Get your ducks in a row ahead of time.
- After you’ve submitted your data to the underwriter and they are not willing to reduce your rates, don’t worry, you’re still covered as long as you continue to pay your premiums. You have plenty of time to decide if you want to cancel the policy and reapply with that company or elsewhere. But, do not cancel your in-force policy without a replacement policy in place.
If you decide to cancel and go elsewhere, leave your current policy in force and contact your agent to find out which companies would be the best fit for your new health circumstances.
Most independent agents will know in advance which of the many companies they represent will be the best fit for your circumstances and budget.
Best Life Insurance Companies for People with High Cholesterol
To find the best life insurance company when you are dealing with high cholesterol, choose an experienced and reputable independent agent who is willing to shop your case with every company he or she represents.
Although it’s certainly possible that you can find the best policy going through a captive agent that generally represents only one or two companies, it will likely take a considerable amount of your time to contact multiple agents.
Using an independent agent who represents the majority of the top-rated companies allows you to get rates from all the companies simultaneously.
Most independent agents who specialize in hard-to-place cases are very familiar with the underwriting guidelines of every company they represent and can quickly offer a company that is considered “cholesterol friendly.”
Frequently asked Questions
Can I still qualify for affordable life insurance when I have high cholesterol?
It’s unusual for a life insurance company to decline an application unless your cholesterol is so high that it’s life-threatening. However, even if that’s the case, your agent can offer non-medical life insurance where there is no medical underwriting.
I’ve been taking medication for high cholesterol. Will the insurance company take this into consideration?
Yes, if you’ve been taking medication and the levels appear to be dropping, most life insurance companies will likely show minimal concern.
I’ve just started taking medication for high cholesterol. Should I apply now for coverage or wait a while?
When you apply for a life insurance policy that requires a medical exam, the exam is typically scheduled within days of applying for insurance. Regretfully this will not likely be enough time to reduce your cholesterol. If your cholesterol is on the high side, wait at least a few months after you begin taking medication to apply for coverage.
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