What an Unhealthy Lifestyle Really Costs You in Life Insurance Rates
We’ve all heard the famous phrase YOLO, or “you only live once.” Nobody knows that is more true than life insurance companies – especially when they’re paying out a claim!
Unfortunately, unhealthy lifestyles in the U.S. have lead many to early – and preventable – health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which can in turn, lead to more serious complications, and possibly even to an early death.
Because of this, many applicants for life insurance coverage have presented much higher risk of claim to the insurers – and in order to compensate for this higher risk, insurance carriers have to raise premium rates.
The True Cost of an Unhealthy Lifestyle.
Although life insurance companies use age and gender as a key benchmark of calculating an applicant’s premium cost, another primary factor is BMI, or body mass index.
This is essentially a calculation of one’s height in relation to their body weight – and it is used in measuring fat, as well as the health risks that are related to it.
According to the U.S. government, roughly one-third of adults that live in the U.S. today are considered to be obese. Having some extra pounds can mean more than just buying bigger clothes, though, It can actually lessen your life expectancy.
Obesity and higher BMI can be a direct result of living an unhealthy lifestyle such as making poor eating choices and not exercising – and, because these issues can lead to more serious health ailments, some applicants may not be eligible for life insurance coverage at all.
Those that are eligible may be classified as Substandard, meaning that even though they will have coverage, they will pay more in premium for the same amount of protection than someone who is in good, or even in average health.
In some cases, an insurer will use the flat extra method of pricing a policy for someone with health issues. Here, the carrier will simply charge an additional dollar amount per $1,000 in death benefit. This flat extra amount of premium may be a permanent addition to the premium or it could be temporary.
How Much More Does Each Additional Rate Class Cost?
Lets a take a look at a real life insurance quote, ran with our all rate quote engine technology. We ran a quote for a 37 year old non smoking male – take a look at the difference in the price at a Preferred Plus Rate (best rate) versus a Standard Rate.
The Preferred Plus price is only $27.90 a month while the Standard rate is nearly double the cost, at $54.00. Your rate class is determined by the underwriting process. A life insurance company will award you a rate class based on your overall health and where the underwriting results fall within the companies guidelines. Your rate class is the biggest factor in the price you pay for any type of life insurance.
We cover what a rate class is and how to qualify in detail in our buyer’s guide. You can learn more about what makes up a rate class here.
How to Lower Your Rate for Coverage
Other than the obvious answer which is work with us….
While not all health factors are within your control such as your family health history and your genes, there are some issues that you can take into your own hands that can make a significant difference in the rates that you’ll pay.
Just some of the ways that you can do so include:
- Losing weight
- Quitting smoking (if applicable)
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a more healthy diet
- Maintain a good driving record
By doing so, not only will you pay less for your life insurance coverage, but it will also likely pay off in the form of you having more energy and just overall feeling great. It will also make sure you are around for the people who need you most when it matters.