Life Insurance and High Blood Pressure

Do you suffer from high blood pressure? Fid out what you need to know before getting life insurance.

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a medical condition where the pressure inside your arteries become elevated due to the contraction of the cell walls. This contraction causes the heart to have to work harder to maintain regular blood flow. If the condition is left untreated it can result in stroke, heart attack, heart failure, aneurysms of the arteries, kidney disease and peripheral arterial disease.

Can I get life insurance if I have high blood pressure?

Yes, it's possible for you to get life insurance if you have high-blood pressure. An underwriter needs to assess the condition and see if it is controlled, unresponsive or malignant. The underwriter may need to obtain more information and undertake further medical examination with an approved heart specialist. There may be a premium loading applied depending on the applicants management of their high-blood pressure.

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Cover for pre-existing conditions are assessed on a case by case basis during the application process. You may be subject to an increase in premiums or a specific exclusion.
Cover for pre-existing conditions are assessed on a case by case basis. You may need to speak to the underwriter over the phone. Make sure you select the 'Tailored' option on site.

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Managing your blood pressure is essential

If you are someone who suffers from high blood pressure, it is important to take steps to manage the issue, such as taking appropriate medication prescribed by your doctor and making changes to your diet and exercise regime to improve health. However, it is also important to consider how your high blood pressure could affect your family. While your illness may not affect your family directly, it may lead to your premature death, which could have a profound impact on your loved ones.

What is an insurer looking for when testing my high blood pressure?

In order to boost your chances of getting affordable life insurance cover as a sufferer of high blood pressure, you need to do some research and compare the plans and options available. There are various ways to compare travel insurance policies. A simple and convenient way to survey insurance market is to use the Internet, which enables you to look for cover from the comfort and privacy of your own home and at a time that suits you. This can help to make the process of finding suitable and affordable life insurance cover far easier and faster. You will also find a great choice of providers and plans online, which means that you are more likely to find cover that is suited to your needs.

Questions you might be asked in relation to high blood pressure

  • When were you first advised that you had high blood pressure? What was the blood pressure reading at that time? What was your blood pressure before you were diagnosed with high blood pressure?
  • How often for you see your doctor for check-ups or tests? When is your next check-up?
  • Are you currently taking medication for high blood pressure, and if so was is the medication and dosage?
  • Has your treatment or dosage changed over the last month? If so, why has it changed?
  • Do you manage your high blood pressure in ways other than with medication?
  • Has your doctor advised you to take other forms of testing such as ECG, urinalysis or echocardiogram? If so, provide extra details.
  • Has the underlying cause of your high blood pressure been found? If so, provide details.

Many adults suffer from high-blood pressure and it would be extremely rare for an underwriter to deny someone coverage based on their high-blood pressure alone. Underwriters will usually look to see if there is a presence of any other conditions with the high-blood pressure before adjusting the premium. This may include, a high BMI, high cholesterol level, whether they smoke etc. An underwriter will want to assess if the applicants hypertension is:

  • Controlled. Are there steps being taken by the insured to manage their blood pressure? Adjustments to the perceived level of risk that the applicant carries may be made if the underwriter feels that the hypertension has been poorly controlled due to non-compliance with prescribed medical treatment.
  • Unresponsive. Has treatment taken by the applicant been unsuccessful in managing their blood pressure?
  • Malignant.Whether it is malignant. Severe hypertension that comes on very quickly which can cause impairment to one or more of the body's organ systems.

It is important to remember that underwriters assess each case separately. In the event that the applicant does indicate that they suffer from high-blood pressure, further testing will be required before a decision is made on whether to accept the applicant and what premium to charge.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2011/12 (4364.0) October 2012

Make sure you disclose your condition

Each time an applicant is taking out life insurance they must disclose all “known” information that may impact the underwriters assessment of their application. This is known as the applicants “Duty of Disclosure” and failure to disclose any known conditions can result in the policyholders claim becoming void in the event that a claim is made. Insurance companies will take the necessary steps to verify the cause of death/illness before a claim payment is made. Falsifying your insurance application is not having your claim denied and leaving your family with nothing just to save on premium payments.

What to Look for When You Compare Life Insurance Cover for Applicants with High Blood Pressure

There are a number of things that you should pay careful attention to when looking for life insurance for sufferers of high blood pressure. This includes looking at key areas such as:

  • How much the insurance cover will cost
  • The level of coverage you get for your money
  • What the plan does and does not cover (pay careful attention to the exclusions)
  • The claims process
  • Whether the cover is term life insurance or whole life insurance
  • The term of the plan

What are the causes of high blood pressure?

Primary hypertension is the most common form of high blood pressure and accounts for around 90-95% of all cases. It generally develops later in peoples lives but the causes can be difficult to define. Some key causes of primary hypertension are believed to be:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Excessive weight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Family medical history
  • High sodium intake
  • Stress

The cause of secondary hypertension can be traced to an identifiable cause. The main cause of secondary hypertension is Renal disease though it can also be caused by:

  • Endocrine conditions
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Pregnancy
  • Prescribed medicines
  • Illegal drugs

Tips to reducing your high blood pressure

While it may be difficult to trace the actual causes of high-blood pressure, there are some key lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce high blood pressure and cut your life insurance premiums. Some of these may be relevant to other risk factors that people are assessed on e.g smoking. You can reduce your blood pressure by:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Lowering salt Intake
  • Maintaining a healthy BMI
  • Maintaining a regular exercise routine
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Quiting smoking
  • Cutting back on coffee

Richard Laycock

Richard is the Insurance Editor at finder, and has been wrangling insurance Product Disclosure Statements for the last 4 years. When he’s not helping Aussies make sense of the fine print, he can be found testing the quality of Aperol Spritzes in his new found home of New York. Richard studied Journalism at Macquarie University and The Missouri School of Journalism, and has a Tier 1 certification in General Advice for Life Insurance. He has also been published in CSO Australia and Dynamic Business.

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