Life insurance and high blood pressure
Almost a third (32%) of UK adults have high blood pressure, according to the Office for National Statistics, but does this affect people’s ability to get life insurance? If you have high blood pressure and you’re looking to get financial protection, let’s explore your options.
The term ‘blood pressure’ describes how much force your heart uses to pump the blood that circulates around your body. If you have high blood pressure – sometimes referred to as ‘hypertension’ – it means your heart is having to work harder in order to pump blood around your body. High blood pressure can have serious medical consequences, including kidney disease, strokes and heart attacks.
There are a various health and lifestyle factors that could lead to high blood pressure and potentially restrict your access to cheaper life insurance. These factors include:
- Being overweight
- Eating too many salty foods and not enough vegetables
- Drinking too much alcohol and caffeinated drinks
- Being under stress
The NHS recommends that over 40s should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.
You can explore the NHS website for more examples of health factors that can increase your blood pressure.
Your insurer will calculate your life insurance premiums (the amount you will pay) based on the risk of you making a claim that would trigger a life insurance payout. Since high blood pressure poses a risk to your health, this could increase the cost of life insurance or stop you from getting a policy.
Yes, having high blood pressure alone should not rule you out in terms of getting life insurance. However, there are other factors aside from high blood pressure that affect whether you can take out life insurance and the premiums you’ll pay. These factors include:
- Your age
- Your health and health history
- Your family medical history
- Your smoker status and alcohol consumption
- Your occupation and any dangerous hobbies.
If you’re taking out life insurance you may be considered to have high blood pressure if you record a reading of 140/90mmHg or more at a GP surgery or clinic. Below are some examples from the NHS on what is meant by high, low and ideal blood pressure.
|Blood pressure reading||Test result|
|High||140/90mmHg or more|
|Idea||90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg|
If you have low blood pressure, this does not necessarily indicate a medical problem, but can lead to symptoms like blurred vision, dizziness and fainting.
It’s worth remembering that your blood pressure reading can be affected by the time of day you have the test, as well as the location, as home readings sometimes produce a lower blood pressure result than at a GP surgery or clinic. What’s more, the chances of having a high blood pressure reading increase as you get older. The NHS recommends that adults over 40 years old should have their blood pressure checked at least every 5 years.
Legal & General Life Insurance policies pay if you die and a valid claim is made. So if you died while covered by life insurance it wouldn't matter if you had high blood pressure or not, your loved ones could expect to receive a cash sum.
However, high blood pressure alone is not enough to trigger a Life Insurance payout, it only pays out upon death.
When you take out life insurance, your premiums are set for the length of your policy term, unless you make any changes to the policy. So while making positive changes to your diet, lifestyle and health habits are always a good idea, you won’t be able to lower your life insurance costs just by taking these steps.