Can You Get Life Insurance With High Cholesterol?

When I was diagnosed with high cholesterol a few years ago, one of my first concerns was how it would impact my ability to get life insurance. I have young kids and wanted to make sure they'd be provided for if anything happened to me prematurely. But I had heard having high cholesterol could make you uninsurable. After doing my research, I was relieved to find there are still options for those with elevated cholesterol levels.

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How High Cholesterol Affects Life Insurance

Life insurance companies ask about your cholesterol levels because high total and LDL cholesterol can indicate a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Some things to know:

  • Higher premiums - You'll likely pay more for coverage with high cholesterol versus normal levels. How much depends on the severity.

  • Potential rate classes - Insurers may rate you as high risk with high cholesterol, leading to higher premium costs.

  • Additional testing - You may need to provide recent cholesterol panels, medical records, or even a cardiac stress test.

  • Coverage limitations - Some insurers limit policy types, lengths, and amounts for high cholesterol applicants.

So while high cholesterol makes getting a policy more expensive, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be declined as long as your overall health is otherwise good.

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Tips for Reducing Rates

If you have high cholesterol, here are some tips that can potentially help reduce your costs:

  • Improve your cholesterol - Lowering your total and LDL numbers through medication, diet, and exercise can possibly improve your rate class.

  • Choose term life - Term life insurance is always more affordable than permanent policies. Opting for 10-20 years can save money.

  • Buy young - Rates rise with age, so get coverage in your 20s or 30s if possible.

  • Pick the right amount - Calculate only the amount needed to cover debts, expenses, income replacement, etc. Overage means overpaying.

  • Comparison shop - Get quotes from at least 3-5 highly rated companies to find the best premium for your situation.

  • Check lifestyle discounts - Look for insurers offering lower rates for healthy habits like maintaining normal weight and not smoking.

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Types of Policies for High Cholesterol

Here are some common policy types to consider if you have elevated cholesterol:

  • Term life - Provides affordable coverage for 10-30 years. Most suitable for high cholesterol applicants who are otherwise healthy.

  • Guaranteed issue - Requires limited or no medical questions but has capped benefit amounts. Can be a fallback if declined elsewhere.

  • Accidental death - Only pays if death is from an accident. Good supplemental option if cholesterol makes term life unaffordable.

  • Whole or universal life - Permanent insurance with level premiums. Costs more but accumulates cash value. Can be an alternative if term life isn't an option.

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Working With an Independent Agent

I'd recommend working with an independent insurance agent if you have high cholesterol. An agent acts as your advocate by:

  • Helping you identify the most affordable policy options
  • Determining the coverage amount you need
  • Comparing rates from multiple insurers to find you the best deal
  • Negotiating offers and discounts on your behalf

I used an independent agent to shop my policy and ultimately secured an affordable 20-year term life plan with a highly rated insurer. Having an expert guide me through the process gave me peace of mind.

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The Takeaway

The main point I want to drive home is that high cholesterol does not automatically disqualify you from getting life insurance. Yes, it can be more expensive, but coverage is often still possible. Be prepared to shop around, get creative with policy types and terms, and take steps to improve your cholesterol. With some persistence and expert help, you can still protect your loved ones even with high cholesterol.