A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 2, 2017

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Don't miss these facts...

  • High blood pressure is the pressure of the blood on the arteries as the heart beats
  • High blood pressure at first has few symptoms but if it is not treated will cause severe damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels and kidneys
  • Life insurance underwriting professions take into consideration all aspects an applicant who has high blood pressure
  • If an applicant for life insurance is following doctor’s guidelines and taking his or her medication, a better life insurance rating will follow
  • Poor medical habits and lackluster medical follow-up will result in poor life insurance ratings to a decline.


High blood pressure, also called hypertension, that occurs over sustained amount of time is not good for our health because it causes the heart to overwork.

From the standpoint of the individual, there are usually no perceptible symptoms, and the condition can be ongoing for some years before symptoms do occur.

It is important for people to have regular checkups with their doctor and to have their blood pressure checked periodically. High blood pressure is one of the major causes of coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, vascular disease, and chronic kidney disease.

Our arteries are somewhat elastic, which when younger they flex more with fluctuations in blood pressure.

But as we age, the arteries become less elastic, and if they start to acquire plaque that accumulates more and more, there is less room and give for the blood to pass through, further causing the blood pressure to rise more.

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Blood Pressure Readings

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Blood pressure is measured as the force that is exerted against the arteries as the blood is pumped by the heart through our body. A blood pressure reading in a middle aged adult will run in the neighborhood of 120 over 80.

The two numbers in a blood pressure reading are significant. The top number reflects how much pressure is being placed against the arteries when the heart is in the pumping or contraction phase.

The lower number reflects the amount of pressure when the heart is in a relaxed state. When the heart contracts it is called the systolic phase, and when the heart is at rest, it is called the diastolic phase.

A high blood pressure reading would be in the areas of 160/99 or higher, and if that is a consistent reading, a person should have a checkup with their doctor.

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Causes of High Blood Pressure

  • Smoking tobacco
  • People who are overweight
  • Diet, too much fatty foods and sugar based foods
  • Lack of consistent exercise
  • People who are elderly
  • People who drink alcohol excessively
  • People with relatives with high blood pressure
  • People who have sleep apnea

If you have high blood pressure can you still get life insurance?

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Life insurance is a science predicated upon many risk factors that make up the decision of whether to insure and individual or not.

There is lots of data to examine, and much of that data is based upon medical facts that have been proven in the past to affect a person’s health either positively or negatively.

When a person buys a life insurance policy, the life insurance company has to make a commitment for many years if they decide to insure a person.

Blood pressure is a disease that doesn’t normally cause a person to die right away, but over time it can certainly be a major factor if left untreated.

When a person who has high blood pressure and that individual applies for life insurance, the home office life underwriters of the company will want to know how long he or she has had elevated blood pressure, is treatment currently being given, what is the treatment and what is the medication for that treatment.

Then they will want to know if there any other factors that would elevate the risk, such as height and weight, whether the applicant drinks alcohol, uses tobacco, and what the cholesterol count is.

More Information Needed

Sometimes there will be additional blood pressure readings or even a request from the underwriters of the applicant medical records from his or her doctor.

This is done to simply get a broader picture of how the individual’s health has progressed and is that health trend is getting better or is it getting worse?

A second blood pressure reading might be required, just to get substantiation of the initial reading was either too high or too low, based on past results.

If other factors are present that will enhance the risk, such as overweight and high cholesterol, a second reading may be required to assess the risk.

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The Longer it Goes, The Worse It Gets

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Blood pressure is a symptomless disease, at first. However as the condition goes on and on perhaps without being treated, an individual can have telltale symptoms. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Shorness of Breath
  • Easily Fatigued
  • Confusion
  • Blood in the urine
  • Chest Pain
  • A pounding in the chest, ears, or neck

Some of these symptoms are also symptoms of heart failure, and if an individual has any of these symptoms, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Sometimes the symptoms happen together. After all, we are dealing with connected systems inside of our bodies that are co-dependent on a lot of things going right most of the time. Year and years of high blood pressure will wear down the system.

Year and years of high blood pressure will wear down the system. Most people should have their blood pressure taken my a medical person at least twice a year, or they should get a home blood pressure machine to keep track.

Treatment for high blood pressure is as simple as taking a pill, which is the standard process for treating the condition over time while under medical supervision.

The Life Insurance Decision

The underwriting decision that is made regarding how to finally rate the applicant with high blood pressure varies from a decline to a mild rating, depending on all of the factors that go into measuring how hypertension will affect the applicant in the future.

If the individual is under a doctor’s care, taking medication regularly, and that procedure is keeping the blood pressure normal, perhaps a mild rating is appropriate.

However, if the medical history shows that the person rarely sees a doctor, doesn’t take his or her medication, and the person has other factors such as smoking, obesity, and alcohol abuse, the result might be a decline.

Then there will be ratings of premiums anywhere in between too, depending upon circumstances.

So, the bottom line answer on underwriting a person with high blood pressure is that it depends on all of the factors that are present now, and have been present in the past.

In Conclusion

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Underwriting people with high blood pressure can have very good results for the applicant if they are under the care of a doctor and following all of the guidelines set forth by medical personnel.

However, if a person has high blood pressure and is not following doctor’s directives, then the result can be a higher rating for premiums or a decline.

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