A very common issue we run across quite often in the life insurance business is high blood pressure. There are a lot of variables in determining ones high blood pressure in order to quote the life insurance case accurately. We often see people who try to buy life insurance online with no experience and they are disillusioned about the premium price difference in an online quote from a lead website and the reality of their situation. Here are some basic rules of thumb about underwriting for high blood pressure.
The two main concerns of a life insurance underwriter when it comes to high blood pressure are control and time. When a person is first diagnosed with high blood pressure or HBP, it is usually an incidental finding. Incidental finding would be no symptoms yet having a medical professional take your blood pressure reading and seeing it is high or above normal range. Dangerously high blood pressure known as a malignant type which leads to high risk of heart attack or stroke are usually uninsurable for most life insurance policies. The most common type of HBP is benign essential which again is the incidental finding type.
There are two numbers associated with blood pressure readings. The top number is known as systolic number in millimeters of mercury. This pressure measurement is the amount of pressure during the heartbeat. The bottom number is known as the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure in between heartbeats or when the heart rests. A normal resting blood pressure for an adult is 120/80. If either or both of these numbers are inflated you could be diagnosed with HBP.
From an underwriter’s standpoint, they have high limits to consider when an applicant will be rated up or possibly declined for life insurance based on these readings. Most life insurance company underwriters use these limits. For the systolic no higher than 160 and for the diastolic no higher than 92. There for a person with controlled blood pressure of no more than 160/92 could be considered a standard risk.
The last concern is time. How long has the blood pressure been under control either with or without medication? Most life insurance company underwriters like to see two years of control. It can take up to a year or so to regulate a person’s medicine to control their HBP. Once controlled, the underwriter will want it controlled with little or no fluctuation for two years. The longer HBP is controlled the better the rate should be.
Remember the factors that can attribute to HBP like smoking, overweight, lack of exercise and even genetics. If you have HBP your best bet is to use an experienced independent life insurance broker to find the best options for your unique situation.
“One way to get high blood pressure is to go mountain climbing over molehills”. —Earl Wilson
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Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, grandfather of 1, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, employee benefit specialist, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger, author and team leader with over 29 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.