How Health Affects Life Insurance Premiums

How Health Affects Life Insurance Premiums

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Most life insurance plans are medically underwritten, which means that the insurance company has an underwriter take a look at your medical history (as well as to conduct an interview with a medical practitioner) to evaluate your overall health condition. This evaluation defines what health class an application falls under, which determines the monthly premiums of a life insurance plan. In some insurances, an applicant will be deemed too risky and coverage will be declined (at this point a guaranteed issue life insurance plan is the applicant’s only option).

The following are multiple health conditions that life insurance companies specifically look at, as well as their effect on life insurance premiums.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is fairly common among Canadians, and can unfortunately lead to a variety of other health issues, including strokes.  While life insurance companies are interested in an  blood pressure history of an applicant, if the blood pressure has been treated and is ultimately controlled, there’s a good chance that the application will be approved.


Unless the applicant has had to visit the hospital due to asthma attacks, the condition is unlikely to have a big effect on their insurance premiums.  When controlled, asthma will have little impact on one’s life insurance application.

Heart Disease

Heart related disease is thoroughly investigated by almost every insurance company.  As there are so many forms of heart disease, underwriters will often want to examine the applicant’s family history to better predict the impact the heart disease could potentially have on the insured. The primary concern of the life insurance company is a fatal heart attack.  However, the severity of heart disease will ultimately impact whether or not the individual will be insured, and the rate of their premiums.


While an  life insurance company will want to know about any form of diabetes, Type 2 diabetes has the larger effect on an applicant’s life insurance application.  With the probability to lead to blindness, renal failure, or coronary disease, the younger the person is when they contracted Type 2 diabetes, the more likely the disease will impact their insurance premiums, or ability to obtain life insurance coverage.


Most people assume that if an applicant has had cancer, they won’t be able to obtain medically underwritten life insurance.  But this is not necessarily true.  There are many different forms of cancer, each with it’s own treatment success and fatality rates.  Underwriters will consider those facts, as well as the stage of the cancer in the applicant to determine whether or not to accept the insurance request and at what rate.


There are other health conditions that underwriters look at such as obesity, high cholesterol and a history of depression.

Generally speaking, having one of the medical conditions mentioned above does not necessarily mean that you cannot get a life insurance plan. Treatment of the condition, having the condition under control as well as how long the condition has been treated will positively affect a life insurance application.