January, 22 2018


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GGT and Life Insurance- What You Need to Know

GGT and Life Insurance- What You Need to Know

Has GGT Affected Your Life Insurance Application?

A common reason for rate increases and declines in life insurance is due to the GGT liver function test.  Most people have never even heard of GGT before.  This is why it’s comes as such a surprise to many when they are notified of elevated levels from their life insurance exam.

What is GGT?

GGT stands for Gamma-glutamyltransferase, which is an enzyme that is present in many areas of the body including the kidneys, pancreatic cells and most notably the liver.  Elevations in the GGT blood test can indicate liver problems or other potential health issues. The GGT test is currently the most sensitive indicator of liver damage and disease.

What Causes  Elevated GGT Levels?

One of the most common causes of elevated GGT levels is due to excessive alcohol consumption, either over a long period of time or weeks prior to the test. However, increased GGT levels can also be caused by other serious health issues.

Also, numerous drugs can raise GGT levels, including barbiturates and phenytoin. GGT elevation has also been occasionally reported following NSAIDs, St. John’s wort, Kava, and aspirin.  Elevated levels of GGT can also be due to heart failure. (Cited: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-glutamyl_transpeptidase#cite_note-ruttmann-20)

GGT Levels Life Insurance Normal Range

Reference Ranges- Normal Values

Remember, every life insurance has their own underwriting guidelines.  The numbers below are considered normal range.  However, GGT underwriting criteria will vary from one insurance company to the next, in addition to other underwriting factors.


1-6 years: 7-19 U/L

7-9 years: 9-22 U/L

10-13 years: 9-24 U/L

14-15 years: 9-26 U/L

16-17 years: 9-27 U/L

18-35 years: 9-31 U/L

36-40 years: 8-35 U/L

41-45 years: 9-37 U/L

46-50 years: 10-39 U/L

51-54 years: 10-42 U/L

55 years: 11-45 U/L

> or =56 years: 12-48 U/L


>1 year: 6-29 U/L

(Cited: Mayo Clinic http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/8677)

Has Your GGT Affected Your Life Insurance Rates?

If you applied for life insurance recently and your price changed or if you were declined altogether due to your GGT levels, you have several options.  First, every life insurance company has different underwriting guidelines.  While one company may increase your rate or decline you others may not. There are over 900 life insurance companies in America today.  Similar to other insurances, some life insurance companies are favorable is certain categories of underwriting while others are stricter.  Additionally, some companies offer healthy credits; meaning,  if you are healthy in many areas, they may still offer a good rate or insure you if something adverse comes back on the lab work or another underwriting factor.

What to Do If You Have Elevated GGT Levels

It’s important to work with an independent broker who can shop the top companies to ensure you receive the best rate.  If you applied and your rate did increase or you were declined due to GGT, and you know your GGT and liver function levels, the agent can do a “quick quote” (send an email to the underwrites of the different insurance company) to see if another company will insure you and who will offer the best price with your specific GGT level reading.

However, if your GGT reading was extremely elevated and after a quick quote, no other companies will insure you, you can opt for an accidental death policy.  This policy would only cover accidental deaths only but it is good bridge policy until you can go to your doctor and figure out what is causing the elevated GGT levels.  Once you get the levels back to normal you can apply for the term or whole life insurance again and cancel the accidental policy.

GGT Test Life Insurance Tips to Get the Best Results

If you are going to apply for life insurance and want to receive the best GGT results, there are a few things you can do to help get the best results.  First, if you have been consuming an excess amount of alcohol you may want to cut back or stop drinking altogether leading up to the test.  Also, consult with your doctor to see if something else may be causing the increase levels such as a prescription or over the counter medication or supplement.  Additionally, to see if another more serious health issue may be the cause.

GGT & Life Insurance- Bottom Line

If your GGT levels affected your life insurance rates, you’re not alone.  The first thing to do, for your own health, is go to the doctor and find the cause.  In regards to life insurance, there may be numerous other companies that may still offer life insurance and at a good price.  It’s important to work with an independent agent or broker who can shop around and do a “quick quote” to see which insurance company will offer coverage and which insurer will offer it at the best price with your GGT level. 

*This article is written for information purposes only and is not offering any medical advice. Please consult a licensed physician for any health concerns or questions.