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. That said, we are here to 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.
What is High Cholesterol?
Just what is considered “high” cholesterol, and why is it so bad? 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.
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 Life Insurance Medical Exam
Most providers will require you to take a 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 you can get high cholesterol from genetics, it is almost always 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 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.
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.
How Does High Cholesterol Affect Life Insurance Rates
Now that you have a better idea of what life insurance companies are looking at, let’s talk 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 and 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:
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’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.
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, give us a call today at 888-411-1329. You can also start getting free quotes now with the quote tool on this page.
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