Life Insurance and Cholesterol - The Good, The Bad, The Ratio

Life Insurance

The lab results obtained from your life insurance medical exam is one of the factors used in determining your rate class for your policy. One of the results is your cholesterol level. As we know, high cholesterol can put you at risk for certain medical impairments, including coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack. Generally, the higher risk of these impairments equates to a higher risk of death which will impact life insurance rates.

Your cholesterol score is made up of the following levels:

  • HDL - this is considered the “good cholesterol”. A higher level of HDL is generally considered better for you. Usually, lower levels of HDL can put you at a higher risk for heart disease.
  • LDL - this is considered “bad cholesterol”. A low level of LDL is generally better for overall heart health.
  • Triglycerides - a type of fat in the body. These levels can vary depending on gender and age.

Life insurance companies will take into consideration your cholesterol levels including the ratio. A high ratio may increase a life insurance rating, potentially causing a higher premium.Your total cholesterol is determined by adding HDL, LDL, and 20% of triglyceride level.To calculate your cholesterol ratio you would divide your HDL (good) cholesterol into your total cholesterol.

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, contributed by Thomas Behrenbeck, MD. Ph.D., the goal is to keep your cholesterol ratio 5-to-1 or lower. A lower ratio can indicate a lower risk of heart disease and other ailments. (

Too low of a total cholesterol level can have health risks, as well. There may be an increase of risk of cancer, depression, anxiety, preterm birth and low birth weight if your cholesterol is low while you are pregnant. (

When applying for life insurance, it is important to include all medical diagnoses you may have, including the medications you take for them. Even if you have a diagnosis of high cholesterol, you can still obtain a good life insurance rating if you are taking medication and your cholesterol is within normal limits. Of course, you should always consult with your physician regarding any irregular lab results.

About the author: Teri Costen has been in the life insurance business for over 20 years. She is a mother of three who enjoys working out, taking aerobic kickboxing classes, and making stained glass. Teri believes that finding the right life insurance policy helps protect your family and loved ones. You can contact Teri at 1-800-651-1953 or