July 29, 2020
How would Hypertension (raised blood pressure) affect a life insurance application?

How would Hypertension affect a life insurance application?

Our client

We were approached by a non-smoking male client, aged 39 who was looking for life insurance. Unfortunately, he had been diagnosed with hypertension at the age of just 31!  His last blood pressure reading was 130/85 and well-controlled by one type of drug. His cholesterol reading was 5.8 (controlled by a statin) and his BMI was 29. He had no additional complications such as heart or kidney problems.

What is hypertension how is it measured?

Hypertension (HTN) or raised blood pressure is sometimes called arterial hypertension. It is a chronic medical condition which causes the blood pressure in the arteries to become elevated. This requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and diastolic. This depends on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole). Normal blood pressure at rest is within a range of 100-140mmHg (systolic) the top reading and 60-90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading).

High blood pressure is said to be present if it is persistently at or above 140/90 mmHg.

Hypertension is a major risk factor for:

  • Stroke
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attacks)
  • Heart failure
  • Aneurysms of the arteries (e.g. aortic aneurysm)
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Chronic kidney disease

Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure is associated with a shortened life expectancy. Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of associated health complications. Although, drug treatment is often necessary for people where lifestyle changes prove ineffective or insufficient.

How might this condition affect a life insurance application?

Life insurance (and sometimes critical illness insurance) can still be arranged. However, an insurance company will take into account several factors before they decide whether to offer cover:

  • Your last blood pressure reading
  • The type and quantity of medication which you are taking
  • When you were diagnosed
  • Your family history
  • Whether you smoke
  • Your age
  • Your height and weight (BMI)
  • Any associated conditions 

Our process

When a client has a pre-existing condition or has suffered a serious illness in the past, the first thing we do is pick up the phone and speak to underwriters at many of the UK’s leading insurance companies.

Discussing all of our client’s medical history helps us to identify the best company to apply to. It avoids wasting time applying to companies who may be too expensive or worse, decline an application.  

This involves us contacting many and in some cases all, of the UK’s leading insurers to discuss your requirements. The purpose of this is to establish how they might treat an application.

Will they add a ‘loading’ to the premium? (this is an additional amount on top of the standard monthly premium to reflect their additional risk)

Would an insurer exclude certain conditions?

Will they decline an application? We want to avoid wasting your time and ours by making applications which might be declined.

The outcome

The good news for those with hypertension is that it is possible to achieve a basic premium with no increase (standard terms). However, it is more common for life insurance premiums to be increased by 50%-150%.

We discussed our client’s situation with several leading insurance companies. The offers ranged from standard terms to premiums with a 75% loading.  During our research, we discovered that there were only three companies prepared to offer cover on standard terms.

We were happy to arrange £70,000 of level term life or earlier terminal illness cover on standard terms, over a term of 21 years for an underwritten premium of £7.97 a month.

If our client had made an application for cover with the insurance company who originally ‘quoted’ the cheapest premium (£7.46 a month), he would have actually ended up paying £9.33 a month.  This is because they would have loaded his premium by 25%.  A saving of approximately £342 over the full term of the policy.

If you have a medical condition which you think may affect a life or critical illness insurance application, you need to speak to a specialist adviser who can offer you expert advice.

The ‘cheapest’ deal is not necessarily going to end up actually being the cheapest or best deal for you, once the underwriting has been completed.

All our case studies are based on actual client scenarios, many of which pre-date 2020.  We are confident that the acceptance decision made by the insurers would still be offered. Although it is likely that the rates will have changed, your own circumstances will determine whether what amount will be payable by you and would be fully discussed with you before any plan is implemented.

Please note that any premiums mentioned are indicative only and based on this specific case study/ example, which is shown for information purposes only. Your own circumstances will determine whether the amount payable is more or less than the figure quoted.

Next steps

Whilst you are welcome to get a quote online but we would recommend you talk to one of our advisers.

Any quote that your adviser provides you with will take into account your circumstances, your medical history, as well as your budget!

An online quote is just that – a quote – it isn’t a definite offer of cover. What really matters is the premium you are offered, after your application has been assessed.

Call Freephone 0800 644 4468 – Monday to Thursday from 09.00 to 19.00 and on Friday between 09.00 and 17.00.

Please feel free to read our Independent client reviews, or read about the team at Future Proof

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Take a look at our handy guides ‘What Cover is Right for me?’

Do you suffer from a medical condition and concerned you can’t secure Life Insurance?  Please view our ‘Medical Guides’ for further information.

Whilst we will make every endeavour to help someone to arrange insurance, there is no guarantee of success.  All applications are subject to underwriting.

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