I am considering obtaining more coverage and one of the questions for preferred coverage is “Have you had a parent, brother, sister who experience angina, stroke, or heart trouble before 60?”. I am looking for some guidance to better understand if this would  include high cholesterol?

I think the answer is no, but I am not sure and have checked with my Mom and brother and they think to always, but I am not 100% sure.  Thank you in advance for your help.

  1. 1313 POINTS
    Lenny Robbins
    Principal, LifeNet Insurance Solutions, Redmond, WA
    No. Cholesterol is not consider heart disease when applying for life insurance coverage. This measurement is considered however, when applying for coverage. A high number may increase the cost of coverage while someone that is taking medication to control this issue may find that a lower cost. As in other cases, you are best to consider speaking to an independent agent that can advise the best course of action.
    Answered on April 10, 2015
  2. 63333 POINTS
    Peggy Mace
    Most of the U.S.
    On that family history question, when they ask if there was heart trouble prior to age 60, they are asking about more serious issues such as coronary bypass, stent(s), defibrillator, pacemaker, etc. Having a parent or close relative who is taking blood pressure medication or cholesterol medication prior to age 60 should not affect you preferred eligibility.
    Answered on April 10, 2015
  3. 11498 POINTS
    Jason Goldenzweig
    Co-Founder, TermInsuranceBrokers.com, Goldenzweig Financial Group, Las Vegas, Nevada
    If your family member is just being treated for high cholesterol, then the answer would be no. Family medical history in life insurance underwriting generally focuses on whether a parent or a sibling of the proposed insured has developed heart disease or cancer prior to the age of 60. Heart disease refers to items such as coronary artery disease, the placement of stents, bypass surgery, pacemaker, heart valve transplant, and other heart conditions. High cholesterol would not require a yes response.

    When looking for coverage, it's important to compare multiple carriers for the coverage. Your full medical history will determine the risk classification you can qualify for - the risk class determines what the rates will be for coverage. In addition, every carrier has their own underwriting guidelines, meaning that each carrier can assign a different risk class to the same medical profile - one carrier may consider standard where another one may consider preferred. Your height/weight profile, prescriptions you're taking, current conditions under treatment, conditions treated in the last 10+ years, any tobacco usage, and other factors affect the risk classifications carriers will consider.

    Determining the availability for preferred rates for your program would be best discussed with an independent insurance agent who can review your medical history, evaluate the risk class considerations, and compare a variety of options for you to make sure you're securing the coverage at the lowest possible cost.

    Depending on how old the existing policy is, whether it's term or permanent insurance, and what the premium is on it, you may want to consider securing a new policy that totals what the coverage would be if kept separately. Especially if it's term insurance, a new policy would allow you to secure a new term rate guarantee where as the existing policy has fewer years remaining.

    I hope the information is helpful - please feel free to contact me for help with your coverage and if you have any other questions. Thanks very much.
    Answered on April 10, 2015
  4. 1554 POINTS
    Marcy Tooker
    Life & Health Insurance Agent, The Tooker Agency, Riverhead NY
    For purposes of your life insurance application's question about family history of heart disease, high cholesterol is not considered. While high cholesterol could lead to heart disease, many people are treated for it but never develop any cardiac problems. I commend you for being so conscious of giving truthful and complete answers to the questions on the application.
    Answered on April 11, 2015
  5. 21750 POINTS
    Jim Winkler
    CEO/Owner, Winkler Financial Group, Houston, Texas
    That is a great question! I'm glad that you asked it, because I believe that you are representative of a lot of people that fear health issues will keep them from getting life insurance, like pre-existing conditions did with health insurance. Many people aren't aware that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) removed that obstacle, so the perception that having a health issue gets in the way of getting, or affording insurance.
    Life insurance qualifications take a close look at your health issues, but aren't as strict as you might think. Most insurers will look at your high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, or diabetes, and if they are being controlled by medications, will not count that against you. It's when these issues aren't being managed that you will have trouble getting or affording the coverage.
    Many companies will also have a "look back" period, where it is only within that period (usually 2-5 years) that major health issues are considered. So if you'd had say, a stroke, but it was 10 years ago, and you've been on medications and have had great health since, a good independent agent can help you find a policy that won't count that stroke against you.
    I am pleased that you were so careful with being truthful with your answers, that says a lot about your character and honesty. You rock!!
    I hope that helps you feel better about the question - they are looking for big things, not the little ones, but if you are still worried, just ask your agent, or drop me a line, and if I can help I will. Thanks for asking!
    Answered on April 11, 2015
  6. 10968 POINTS
    Tim Wilhoit
    Owner, Your Friend 4 Life, Brentwood TN
    The main rule of thumb when answering any questions on a life insurance application is to be 100% truthful. After all we do live in the information age and most of the time the underwriter is checking your answers against data bases. Having said that, you don not have the need to over answer the questions either. The family history questions are very specific to the conditions underwriting would like to know. Therefore, if the question is concerning heart trouble and not specifically cholesterol you are being 100% truthful. However, just from my experience when high cholesterol does run in the genes, you may test high during your paramed exam blood work. Most carriers will rate you higher if your cholesterol ratio is a bit out of balance or your LDL readings are over 250. If the high cholesterol is not genetic, then your family history should not be a factor in raising your premiums. Good luck!
    Answered on April 11, 2015
  7. 11783 POINTS
    Larry GilmorePRO
    Agent Owner, Gilmore Insurance Services, Marysville, Washington State
    The quick answer to your question is you are correct, high cholesterol among family members is not used against you when underwriting life insurance. The questions asked about family history are to give the underwriter an idea about your family genetics. Since DNA testing is currently not allowed in life underwriting, questions about family history attempt to take the place of genetic testing when assessing possible health risks.
    Answered on April 16, 2015
  8. 5877 POINTS
    Stan Cox II
    Insurance Adviser - Broker, SC Insurance Services, Oahu, Hawaii
    High Cholesterol is a risk factor, but not heart disease or "heart trouble". Regarding your specific question relating to family health history primarily they are looking for genetic pre-disposition for certain conditions that you may be likely to develop. For example if both your parents were diabetic it increases the likelihood of you developing diabetes. But high cholesterol is more diet related and not so much genetic related.
    Answered on May 3, 2015
  9. 552 POINTS
    Ruth Ladas
    CEO, RLI - Ruth Ladas Insurance, LLC, Fort Myers, Florida
    Family history of high cholesterol is not the same as heart trouble for purposes of your life insurance application. Your cholesterol history is relevant though and will be picked up on screening blood tests, if the policy you are applying for requires it. You don't mention the details of what life insurance product you are considering. There are so many options available that it is very confusing for consumers shopping on their own. If you are not already, please seek advice from one or more local agents to your location. It cost you nothing to seek the advice of an insurance professional and it gives you added confidence in your insurance purchases.
    Answered on May 10, 2015
  10. 251 POINTS
    Jerry Cantrell
    Insurance Representative, Transamerica Agency Network, Louisville KY
    No, cholesterol is not considered as heart disease on your life insurance application. In fact some insurance companies have lossened up a bit and are allowing preferred rates with cholestrol above 300 as long as the total cholestrol ratio is (total/HDL) 4.5. If you control your cholesterol you can Be approved for the best rate classes.
    Answered on May 11, 2015
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