In this piece, we aim to provide a guide when approaching the topic of high cholesterol and life insurance. With a view of gaining the best possible outcome for you in terms of a most comprehensive and best priced policy. We’ll achieve this by getting a clearer understanding of how life insurers underwrite cases and what topics they consider relevant in order to make decisions. We hope to pass on our knowledge and expertise on the subject so that you can get the best results.
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and are considering your options for life insurance for any of the following;
Then reading through the following could well be a handy tool to assist your future high cholesterol life insurance options. And of course, if we don’t manage to answer all your questions here, you are welcome to get in touch with us directly.
Cholesterol is essential to a healthy body. The two variants are commonly described as ‘good’ cholesterol i.e. the HDL variety. And ‘bad’ cholesterol i.e. the LDL variety. The latter is responsible for transporting cholesterol around the body. If there is an excess in the blood stream the deposits can build up in the blood vessel walls. It is this build up and the subsequent reduction on blood flow which is the concern for high cholesterol life insurance providers. The deposits or ‘plaques’ can eventually rupture. This rupture or tearing affect can result in blood clots forming at the site. A blot clot that arrives at the heart or brain can cause heart attack and stroke.
All insurers will ask follow up questions surrounding many medical disclosures. Life insurance with high cholesterol applications are no different. Therefore, it’s important that you have the relevant information to hand so that you give yourself the chance of a more favourable outcome. To aid this, have your most recent cholesterol reading ready. And make sure it is up to date. How recent the reading is will also potentially affect the policy price. Get a new one if necessary, as some insurers want readings to be within the past 6-12 months. Any older and it may increase the premium or you could be asked to complete a medical anyway. So, to save time and hassle, it’s always good to be prepared beforehand.
But what about if your most recent reading was higher than normal? If you use a higher reading for the purposes of a life insurance with high cholesterol application, you will be assessed on this basis. This could mean you pay an increased or ‘rated’ premium. It’s these circumstances where a specialist broker can really help with explaining your options. It may be that you are told the rating is unavoidable across the market with the reading you have. You could choose the hold off and wait until you have a new reading that is lower. Or, if you prefer the reassurance of being covered now, take the offer at a higher price and review once you get a lower reading.
There are no ‘tie in’ periods with life insurance and no penalties for ending a policy. So, you are free to change if and when you like. Therefore, you could decide to take the cover today and change it for a cheaper option once your cholesterol reading has come down and the rating no longer applies.
We know from experience that high cholesterol life insurance customers are paying more than they need to. Don’t be told by a sales agent that you will always have to pay more just because of your condition. There are a lot of insurance professionals out there with targets to hit. That work in environments where it’s all about ‘the numbers’ and the next sale. If you are told there is a rating to a premium, be sure to explore other options before you commit. Make sure you are not being made to pay more simply due to a lazy or unknowledgeable salesperson.
If you have an exiting policy with a higher premium due to cholesterol, take another look at it. Ask a specialist to compare the price you pay with the prices available in the marketplace specific to your current circumstances. A good broker will be able to run the figures based on what you can tell them about your condition to a pretty accurate degree. So, you shouldn’t have to run through various applications before you can decide if it makes sense to switch.
It’s common with life insurance for high cholesterol applications to include other medical disclosures as well. Most other disclosures have no associated significance to high cholesterol. There is no link between cholesterol levels and a hernia for example. However, other conditions and/or factors are considered in more or a holistic sense and can have significance to the course or outcome of an enquiry. High blood pressure can in some cases be directly linked to the narrowing of the walls of blood vessels caused by raised cholesterol. As a result, a life insurer will give attention not only to the high blood pressure disclosure. But, also in the context of blood pressure and cholesterol together. If you need to disclose high blood pressure during an application, make sure you have up to date readings to hand. As with cholesterol readings, try and make sure they are within 6 months old.
Other associated risks to life insurance for high cholesterol cases include diabetes and smoking. As with high blood pressure, disclosing these factors during an application along with high cholesterol will normally result in a request for further medical evidence. This means the insurer wants to know more about your medical conditions and general health before they will offer insurance. These can be in the form of a report from your doctor. With questions either specifically requested or a more general overall health report. In other cases, insurers may ask for a nurse screen to be completed. Which is a mini medical examination. Or, in cases where higher levels of cover have been requested, insurers may ask for a full medical or a combination of this and a report.
More recently, insurers have also started to conduct tele interviews. This is where an insurer’s underwriter telephones a customer directly. They will ask more questions concerning a disclosure to help better understand it. All of these further evidence requests are to enable an insurer to fully understand your circumstances. With the aim of being able to offer cover and at the best possible price. It’s the insurer who pays for all of these reports, so they don’t request them unless they think there is a realistic chance of being able to offer cover. There will be an inevitable delay caused whilst the reports are requested and compiled. So, where possible, factor this into timescales.
A prime example of this can be life insurance in connection to a property purchase. If you need the cover in place to coincide with a completion, give yourself time to allow for it. Any offer of insurance is normally valid for three months or so. It’s better to have an offer on the table ready to activate when required. As apposed to trying to get force through reports or decisions for a deadline and falling short of the mark.
Unfortunately for the person applying for high cholesterol life insurance, their family history will be taken into consideration and assessed. And there are certain conditions which will inevitably increase the cost of a policy. Insurers only ask about immediate family i.e. parents and siblings. If you have lost contact with your family or perhaps you are adopted, don’t panic. You won’t be asked to go off and research your family tree. There is an option for simply, ‘don’t know’ with all insurers. The conditions insurers place most emphasis on in the context of family history are heart attack and stroke. More than a single relative or incidence within the family will almost certainly result in a rating. This is obviously unavoidable in the sense that no one can alter their family’s health history. If it is a factor that applies to you, again make sure you explore all the options. But it may well be that you will have to accept an increase in cost unfortunately.
There is a hereditary condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia which also unfortunately comes with greater scrutiny. If you have been diagnosed with this as a cause for raising your cholesterol, your insurer will almost certainly ask for a doctor’s report. This is due to the nature of the condition making control of cholesterol levels more difficult. Again, if you are someone affected with this condition, leave enough time to get a decision from an insurer applied.
As part of any health and lifestyle follow up questions, you will inevitably be asked about your diligence in controlling the condition. High cholesterol and life insurance rates will be affected by the answers you give. You will almost certainly be asked how often your doctor has recommended you should return for check-ups. And if you keep to these timescales. To support this, you will also be asked when last you attended such a check-up and your answers will be crossed referenced. If when looking back at the diary you decide you are overdue a visit to the doctor, then make the appointment. It’s worth being able to answer accurately that you’ve had a check-up recently rather than having to admit you overlooked it on this occasion.
You will also be asked to confirm any medication you have been prescribed to control high cholesterol. And if you comply with what your doctors recommend. If you have decided to change or stop using medication without your doctor’s approval, this will be detrimental to an application. Similarly, if you and your doctor decided to alter the dosage or type of medication or perhaps try different combinations to better control your conditions, this will have an impact. In scenarios such as this, it suggests to the insurer that the best way of controlling the condition has yet to be confirmed. This will often mean the decision for an application is a ‘postponement’. This is when an insurer is saying they won’t cover you now but come back later. Perhaps in 6 months’ time when the results of the changes are apparent and hopefully better control has been achieved.
The same will often be true if you have been diagnosed with raised cholesterol more recently. For example, a diagnosis within 6 months of applying for life insurance will inevitably result in a postponement. This is simply for the insurer to be able to assess the impact of the condition on the individual. As well as providing enough time to assess if the treatment strategy works adequately in controlling cholesterol levels. In all these circumstances, a specialist broker can prove invaluable. Having a knowledgeable individual to explain the reasons for decisions and how best to more forward from that point is crucial.
There are a couple of different types of ‘no ’insurers use. The postponement (described above), is a no for the time being. Typically, 6 months but could be 12 or 18 months, depending on the disclosure and its details. An example of a reason for a postponement could be as follows. Perhaps you apply for a life insurance policy 3 months after being diagnosed with raised cholesterol and starting a course of treatment. If so, your application could well be postponed for 3-6 months. This allows a little space between diagnosis and any treatment or lifestyle changes to take effect. By waiting to assess how the condition evolves, an insurer can provide a much more accurate and fairer decision.
The other type of ‘no’ is a decline. That’s the scenario when an insurer, “regrettably cannot provide you with the requested policy at this time”. This is due to your circumstances being deemed to be too greater a risk to the insurer. So, what to do? Firstly, check everything. And that does mean everything. People can and will make mistakes inputting your details onto an application. Check all the information you have given for disclosures is correct. Check the numbers are right, the dates correct and any dosages accurate. An extra zero or a decimal point in the wrong place can have a severe impact on any decision. So, check it all. And check all the other information you have given. A date of birth wrongly input which makes you either older or younger can also have disastrous consequences.
If after checking everything you conclude the decision is definitely a decline, don’t despair. Not all insurers are the same. Insurers have different tolerance levels in what they will and will not allow. So, when one may say ‘no’, it’s perfectly feasible that another will say ‘yes’.
This is where experience and knowledge can be such a benefit to the consumer. To a call centre seller who speaks to a hundred different people a day you may have just become a barrier to their next sale. They have targets to hit and they have no idea how to convert you into a sale. Plus, they are not motivated when the next caller is waiting in a queue. A lack of working knowledge can be as harmful to your chances of success. Your adviser may be the nicest person on earth. But if they’ve got no idea why you’ve been told ‘no’ or any plan on how to rectify the issue, it’s you that will lose out.
The best life insurance for high cholesterol is the policy that is available to you, at the right price and as comprehensive as possible. Talking to a broker who is familiar with cases of high cholesterol for life insurance and has a large panel of providers to choose from is a clear benefit. That benefit is enhanced if the broker has a detailed working knowledge of the intricate differences between those insurers. That is in the way they understand the underwriting boundaries and philosophies. In essence, they are able to listen to your needs. Assess your circumstances and disclosures. And explain exactly what your options are and the prices those options come at.
Top tips if you’ve been told it’s a no;
Eating healthily can help you to keep at a good weight, lower your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.Find out more
According to the British Heart Foundation, there are 7.4 million people in the UK living with a heart or circulatory disease. 280 hospital admissions every day are due to a heart attack, and more than 4,500 babies are born every year with a heart defect.Find out more
Would your partner or family be able to support themselves financially if you were to die? Would a loved one be left with debts in the event of your death? And could your family afford to pay for your funeral?Find out more
According to Public Health England data, high blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in England, equivalent to around 12.5 million people in 2015.Find out more
This might not be news to you, but the big companies who advertise on TV use prices that will lure you in. A quote is just that. It’s a standard price and does not reflect an assessment in any way. A quote only becomes an offer of insurance once you have completed an assessment of your personal circumstances. That’s in the form of a ‘health and lifestyle questionnaire’. This is the tool all insurers use to gather all the information they can to try and decide if they can offer you insurance. In some cases, they are unable to make a decision based on this information alone and so request further medical evidence.
Further medical evidence is a blanket term that can mean several things. A ‘General Practitioners Report’ or ‘GPR’, is a report requested from your GP. With your consent, an insurer will write to your doctor and ask for details about a medical condition. It allows the insurer to assess your circumstances at a more detailed level. There are also the options of a ‘Nurse Screen’ or ‘Mini Screen’ as it is also sometimes called. This is a type of basic physical examination. It can take place anywhere you choose from the office, at home or at your GP surgery if you prefer. For higher amount of cover cases, insurers can sometimes ask for a more comprehensive full medical. Sometimes with a specialist in a field. But these requests are rare. And don’t worry. The insurer pays for all of these reports or examinations, so there’s no cost to the potential customer! Again, no quote is accurate until these reports have been fully assessed.
When looking at high cholesterol life insurance options, again this is where a specialist can be key. If you are given a price without consideration of your circumstances first, be wary. As we can see above, off the shelf prices can and will alter once your circumstances are fully assessed. A good broker will take time to ask you specific questions surrounding your disclosure for high cholesterol. They know what the insurers ask and how they assess the answers. They will be able to give you accurate guide prices based on the information you give them and the products you want. Bear this in mind before you choose which company you use to assist with finding your cover. The less questions a company ask before they give you a price, the least chance it has of being accurate.
This article’s aim is to highlight some issues our customers have experienced over the years before they have come to us. It is a useful guide to negotiating a life insurance application with high cholesterol and should go some way to answering many questions around the topic. We are of course, always happy to help should you want additional answers. Let’s look at the main points in summary again.
High cholesterol life insurance is common in the UK. The insurers have the ability built into their applications to ask all the questions. But, make sure you have the answers to give them and that they are accurate. Get up to date readings if you need to. Any try and make sure they are at least within the last 6 months if you can. Have any significant dates to hand such as when you started taking a medication and when you were diagnosed. And don’t shoot yourself in the foot. If your most recent reading is high. Get another. Or, if you can’t wait, use it, but review your cover with your broker as soon as you have a lower one. Remember, there are no tie in periods or penalties with life insurance.
Don’t be convinced you must pay more just because you are getting life insurance with high cholesterol. You should not assume you need to pay more as this may not be the case. The first offer you get may not be the best or the cheapest. If there is a general reluctance from the insurance supplier to look at other options, then be cautious. There are a lot of salespeople out there who value their targets and commissions far more than you getting the best deal. Do not pay more than you need to because of ignorance, laziness or unwilling people.
If you do need to pay more for your cover due to how things are today, ask your broker about timescales to review. As mentioned above, there are no tie in periods or penalties for ending an insurance policy with life cover. If you have been rated, then it’s worth reviewing it regularly or when you have a better set of readings. You do not have to go on paying more than you need to indefinitely. A good broker will schedule in regular reviews. Make sue you pick up the phone as well though if things change. Timing can be key, so be forthcoming when necessary. We have had countless examples over the years of customers going from rated policies to standard pricing ones. And making a decent monthly saving in the process.
Of course, you can do all the running around and market research yourself if you wish. It is time consuming. You will need to complete many applications and perhaps get quite a few reports or medicals here and there. Or you can use a specialist to trim down that workload into a set of market wide options for you to consider and choose from. An easy way to gauge if you have found the right person for the job is to consider how much detail they ask from you. Remember, the fewer the questions, the less chance you have of a quote being accurate. The more detail a broker takes, the greater chance you have of getting a price that will look something like the end product.
There is of course a chance you may have to wait to get covered. Timing can be an important factor. If you have been recently diagnosed, changed the course of medication you use recently, or your condition worsened then it may be necessary to come back to the subject later. Again, a good broker will explain timescales and agree when they should be in contact next to start the process up again.
Was the decision a decline? Firstly, find out why. And don’t settle for vague answers. Make sure you are given concise and accurate reasons. Check all your details and make sure it has all been input accurately to allow for admin mistakes. Mistakes lead to inaccurate decisions which may not apply to you at all! And if the decision is a decline, look for a specialist to guide you through your options.
We know from experience that everyone is different. For everyone who read this and didn’t have any more questions, there will be at least 10 that want answers to so much more. If that’s you, then let us answer them. Get in touch and we’ll be happy to talk you through everything else we didn’t cover here. And if not, we hope you found this useful and used it to go and get the best deal possible!
That means you can nominate somebody to look after the money if you die and there’s a payout before you want the intended recipient to get the money. A common example is parents who want to have the payout go to a child only once the child turns 18 or 21. Putting a policy into trust also ensures that the payout goes to your intended recipient and can’t be seized by creditors if you have any debts when you die. There may also be tax benefits to putting a policy into trust.