How Does High Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance Rates?

How Does High Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance Rates
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    If your doctor has told you that you have high cholesterol, it’s natural to feel concerned about how it affects your life insurance rates. But the truth is that life insurance providers and doctors define “high cholesterol” differently. Even more confusing, each life insurance company has its own guidelines for what are acceptable cholesterol levels, and they may weigh your other related health factors differently. What is the best life insurance company for high cholesterol? We’re here to answer that and make things as simple as possible for you, and we’ll help you find the best rates possible for your cholesterol level.

    Keep in mind that you can use the quote tool on this page at any time to start getting free insurance quotes. In the meantime, keep reading to learn what you need to know about cholesterol levels and life insurance.

    Why High Cholesterol Is Bad For Life Insurance

    Just what is considered “high” cholesterol, and why is it so bad in they eyes of the life insurance companies? 

    Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood, specifically in the blood’s lipids (fat cells). Your blood needs cholesterol for cell growth and other functions, but when you have high cholesterol, there is too much of it. 

    That said, “High Cholesterol” refers to LDL cholesterol or the “bad cholesterol”, which can cause fatty deposits along your blood vessels and make it difficult for your blood to flow correctly. Because of this, high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart problems.

    Pro Tip: Life insurance companies look primarily at your ratio of HDL Cholesterol (the “good” kind” to Total Cholesterol, which includes both HDL and LDL. You get this ratio by dividing the total by your HDL number, and according to the American Heart Association, a good ratio is a 5 to 1 or lower.

    The Cost of High Cholesterol Life Insurance

    High cholesterol, like any health risk, can increase your rates. 

    The big question is… by how much?

    It depends on many factors that we’ll get into shortly. First, let’s look at what most shoppers with high cholesterol will pay for life insurance.

    Here are rates for a 30-year old male (non smoker) shopping for 30-year term life insurance:

    Health Class$100,000$500,000$750,000
    Preferred Best$11.90$32.01$45.87
    Standard Plus$16.54$49.15$71.14
    Table 1$21.93$78.54$87.64

    As you can see, Health Classes range from “Preferred Best to “Table 1”.

    You’re probably thinking, “What does that all mean?”

    How Does High Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance Rates?

    Life insurance rates are broken up into classes— 

    • Preferred Plus Non Tobacco
    • Preferred Non Tobacco
    • Preferred Tobacco (or just Preferred)
    • Standard Plus
    • Standard Non Tobacco
    • Standard Tobacco
    • Substandard.

    People with Preferred rates generally pay the least for coverage, while those with Substandard rates pay the most.

    So you have a better idea of what this means, for Preferred Plus Non Tobacco, your total cholesterol needs to be below 250 or sometimes 300, or in other words less than a 5.5 ratio.

    For Preferred Non Tobacco your total cholesterol falls between 280 and 300, and the ratio can be higher, around 6. Standard Plus ratios can go as high as 7 and total cholesterol of 300. For Standard Non Tobacco, ratios can go as high as 8 with total cholesterol of 300.

    But of course, different companies have their own guidelines. Let’s look at some examples:

    Health Class

    Life insurance companies use “Health Classes” to base their rates.

    All companies use them…but they don’t classify you the same.

    Each company uses their own guidelines to figure out which health class you’ll be put in which then determines your rate.

    Here’s an example chart of where you could be classified: 

    Health ClassTotal CholesterolCholesterol Ratio
    Preferred Plus250 mg & below5.0 or below
    Preferred280 mg & below6.0 to 5.2
    Standard Plus300 mg & below7.0 to 6.0
    Standard300 mg & below9.6 to 7.0
    Table 2350 mg8.0 +
    Table 5350 mg9.5 +

    Remember: Each company is different with their Health Class rating criteria.  Even within 1 rate class, like “Preferred”. Let’s say you’re a 35 year old woman with a cholesterol ratio of 5.5.

    • With Voya you can’t exceed a 5.2 ratio 
    • Principal you can’t go over a 5.5 ratio

    She will more than likely get a better deal with Principal because she’ll get a better health class rating.

    Do Medications Increase Rates?

    It is a common misconception that life insurance companies will charge you more for being on medication for high cholesterol. 

    While medications in general can result in higher rates, this is not the case with high cholesterol because the medications bring your levels down and decrease your likelihood of heart disease.

    Who are the best life insurance companies for people with high cholesterol?

    CompanyRatingMedication use
    John HancockGoodAllowed
    Lincoln FinancialGoodAllowed
    American GeneralOKAllowed
    ING ReliastarOKAllowed

    Additional Details

    Banner Life

    Banner Life offers the best rates (Preferred Plus) to those with 4.5 ratio or less. A 5.5 ratio or less will likely get Preferred, while a 6.5 ratio or less can get Standard Plus rates. Standard rates are offered to those with an 8.0 ratio or less. All rates require a cholesterol total of 300 or less.

    ING Reliastar

    ING’s best rates generally mean a 5.0 ratio for men and a 4.5 for women. Men with a 5.5 and women with a 5.2 or less will be offered the second best rates, while those with a 6 or less than 6 will get Standard Plus or Standard rates. ING also goes up to a total of 300.


    Prudential is lenient. For all of their ratings, they allow total cholesterol up to 300. You can get Preferred Plus rates with a 5, while a 6 will get you Preferred and a 7 will get you Standard Plus. Prudential and ING provide the most flexibility with your cholesterol numbers.

    Who will give you the best rate?

    SO — if you want to make sure you’re getting the best life insurance policy available, here’s what you need to do…

    Step 1

    Do This Now

    Start by clicking here!

    You’ll see our instant life insurance calculator where you will compare rates from dozens of the top companies.

    Nothing too complicated, it just needs the basics about what you’re wanting, how much coverage, for how long, etc. That way we can understand your situation before we can help you.

    Complete the calculator details as accurately as possible, and be absolutely sure your contact information is correct so we can reach you.

    Step 2

    Here's what will happen next

    Once you’ve filled out the calculator, one of our licensed life insurance agents will reach out to you to provide you all your options and plan out who will provide you the best rate based on your specific health and lifestyle.

    All of the recommendations will be based off of the details you provide. It’s very important that you’re honest and answer your agent’s questions accurately. 

    This is where we really begin working to figure out exactly which company will get you the best rate, and how to make it happen. There are literally hundreds of companies and thousands of policy options available. We’ll make sure you get the best one.

    The Life Insurance Medical Exam

    Most providers will require you to take a medical exam. Any many people are concerned with how to pass a life insurance medical exam.

    • Make sure that you are as healthy as possible when taking the exam.
    • This means rescheduling if you are sick and avoiding drinking alcohol 2-3 days prior.
    • We also recommend getting your exam done in the morning or fasting for at least several hours beforehand, since having food in your system can affect your blood work.

    Remember that while high cholesterol is typically linked to genetics, it is possibly worsened by unhealthy life choices.

    Adopting a healthier lifestyle of a good diet and regular exercise can make your cholesterol levels go down and therefore help with your insurance rates.

    Another way to get the best rates is to not use tobacco products.

    Every life insurance charges higher rates for tobacco users, whether they have high cholesterol or not. Quitting now will decrease your risk of an early death and therefore improve your rates, and it will also show insurance providers that you are conscious of your health and take care of yourself.

    The Bottom Line

    Keep in mind though that these are just general guidelines, and the insurance provider that works best for some may not work best for others. We work with over 60 life insurance companies, and we will find the best rates for you.

    If you have high cholesterol and are interested in learning more about your life insurance options, contact us today. You can also start getting free quotes now with the quote tool on this page.

    Thanks for reading our post, How Does High Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance Rates.  Please leave a comment or question below.

    Michael Quinn

    Michael Quinn

    Michael is a licensed life insurance agent, expert & owner of Life Insurance Blog. LIB has helped thousands of shoppers understand life insurance and secure affordable coverage.

    Share this post with your friends & Family