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Does high cholesterol automatically stop you getting life insurance?

Q.

“I have a friend that couldn’t get life insurance because of their raised cholesterol. Is it usual for life insurers to not offer a policy to people with raised cholesterol?” (name withheld)

A.

The short answer is, “yes” and “no”.

If you didn’t find that useful, read on!

When you apply for life insurance, your application is assessed on its merits. No two applications are the same. It also comes down to the individual (the underwriter) that assesses your application - so there is a human element in the assessment as well.

Even if two individuals have the same cholesterol reading, there are a raft of other factors that influence the decision. For example, one individual could be an overweight smoker with a family history of heart disease and the other could be of normal weight (for their height) with no family history. There’s more. One individual with high cholesterol may not even know their last cholesterol reading, or when it was taken - whilst the other may actively manage their cholesterol through diet and exercise, whilst regularly visiting their doctor for cholesterol checkups. Big difference wouldn’t you say. Clearly one of these individuals may well be offered life insurance whilst the other may have a loading applied to their premiums or they may be asked to apply again at a later date once there is more evidence that their cholesterol is being controlled.

At the end of the day, insurance companies are merely trying to assess if you are at greater risk of dying earlier than the average of the population for a person of your gender and age.

And that’s why it’s not quite as straight forward as a “yes” or “no”.

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