4 Common Health Conditions That Affect Your Insurance Application

When applying for life insurance, you’ll be evaluated based on a number of factors like age, profession, and your health. Your current and past health conditions, in particular, play a large determining role when it comes to both your acceptance for protection and the premium you will pay.

The fact that your health condition is directly tied to your insurance application isn’t something that surprises most people. What does come as a surprise to some is when the thought of a seemingly “minor” issue turns out to be the leading factor for a denial. Insurance companies give these conditions a “red flag” because of their chances of developing into a more severe medical issue.

This week, we’ve created a short list of the most common conditions and illnesses that can cause you a headache when it comes to your life insurance application.

Your Cholesterol Levels

According to a government survey, in recent years the number of Canadians aged 6 to 79 with unhealthy levels of total cholesterol was about 39%. This is a common issue for many people and it is more closely looked at by your insurer than you might think.

Cholesterol travels through your body in two types of packages called lipoproteins. One is called low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and the other is high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Your physician will be looking for an ideal balance between the two that will determine your healthy cholesterol level.

A good level of LDL cholesterol is typically less than 3.0 mmol/L. A healthy HDL level, on the other hand, should be just above 1.0mmol/L. If your numbers are close to these two levels, you shouldn’t have any issues.

When combined, these measurements give you your total cholesterol level. Below 5.2mmol/L is the desired range for insurance companies, this level means your cholesterol is in a good place and won’t typically lead to any illnesses. Anything over 6.2mmol/L is considered high and is usually the amount that leads to future health problems.

Acid Reflux & Gastrointestinal Issues

In Canada, acid reflux is the most common acid-related condition that humans suffer from. This disease is so common that around 10% to 20% of all men, women, and even children in the western world actually suffer from it.

People often make light of a little heartburn from time to time, but the same should not be said of the more serious acid reflux disease. Acid reflux can lead to more harmful issues including ulcers and even potentially cancer. It’s because of this risk that insurers keep a look out for people with acid reflux and other gastrointestinal problems.

If you have a milder case of the disease and are able to manage it with over the counter medication, you can most likely apply and get approved for preferred insurance rates. But as the condition worsens and you need more prescriptions and procedures, you will face a tougher time getting covered.

Crohn’s disease is another gastrointestinal issue that can increase the risk of more serious issues like osteoporosis, liver disease, and colon cancer. This condition alongside acid reflux and colitis are just some of the most common issues that lead to application issues and higher premiums.

Sleep Apnea

To the surprise of many, sleep apnea is a common condition that many insurers hold as highly risky. This condition affects your breathing as you sleep, often stopping and starting it repeatedly. Sleep apnea is usually monitored and kept under control with the use of a CPAP machine depending on its severity.

This issue is typically linked to high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, making it a condition that your insurer will definitely look out for. As long as you are seeking medical attention for your case and are regularly treating it, your insurer will take that into consideration when you apply.


According to an article published by the CBC, around 25% of Canadian adults are obese. This is a staggering number and it makes the issue of obesity a high concern for many insurance companies. There is a multitude of issues that can arise from obesity such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, making it a very high-risk issue for insurers.

When you apply for coverage your insurer will look to your BMI (Body Mass Index) to determine your rates and if you qualify for insurance. According to the World Health Organization, a normal BMI range is typically anywhere from 18.5 to 24.9, where obese is usually measured at 30 or higher.

Once you start to approach the lower to mid-30s you could face issues with acceptance or higher insurance premiums. The normal numbers of the low to mid-20s shouldn’t give you any issue with your provider as you should be less likely to develop any future health issues related to your weight.

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