You know you need to purchase life insurance so that your family’s financial security is ensured, but you are concerned about the cost.
Those who pose more of a risk of dying within the policy term will pay higher premiums than those who pose less risk.
Here are steps you can take to show the life insurance company that you have fewer risk factors and save money on premiums, from the office of a prominent life insurance attorney.
How are Life Insurance Premiums Calculated?
Premiums are mainly based on the applicant’s health, gender, and age, along with other factors such as marital status, job, and where the applicant lives. Insurance adjusters give different weight to different factors, but being in good health overall is definitely the most important factor in determining the amount an insured will pay in premiums. Your overall health is one risk factor you can work to improve.
Here are four actionable steps you can take to pay less in life insurance premiums.
Step #1: Lose Weight
Obesity is the cause of many, many health issues for Americans. In February 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the prevalence of obesity among American men was 40.3% among those aged 20–39, 46.4% among those aged 40–59, and 42.2% among those aged 60 and over. The prevalence of obesity among American women was 39.7% among those aged 20–39, 43.3% among those aged 40–59, and 43.3% among those aged 60 and over.
You can see obesity is very common in Americans, therefore these obesity-related health problems are also common:
- High blood pressure, also called hypertension;
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (called Dyslipidemia);
- Type 2 diabetes;
- Coronary disease;
- Gallbladder disease;
- Sleep apnea;
- Overall Body pain and difficulty with functioning physically.
Obesity also affects one’s mental health, in that clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are common among the obese. At the very least, obesity negatively affects one’s quality of life and happiness.
When you apply for life insurance, you must disclose your age, gender, height, and weight. The insurance adjuster will refer to tables that show what weight is considered obese for you.
At that point, even if you have not yet developed any of the aforementioned diseases or conditions, the insurance adjuster knows you are at high-risk for contracting one or more and therefore at greater risk of dying within the policy term. For this reason, you will pay higher premiums.
Whether you are obese or merely a bit overweight, losing weight is the best thing you can do for your overall health, and you will save money on life insurance premiums too.
Step #2: Quit Smoking, Vaping, and Chewing Tobacco
According to the CDC, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, and long-term smoking leads to disease and disability. It is one habit that not only harms your body but harms the bodies of those around you with secondhand smoke. Smoking can cause:
- Heart disease;
- Lung disease;
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
- Chronic bronchitis
- Increased risk for tuberculosis;
- Increased risk for some eye diseases;
- Increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis and other immune system problems.
The CDC reports that exposure to secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults from stroke, lung cancer, or heart disease each year. Approximately 400 infants exposed to secondhand smoke die from sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, severe asthma, or respiratory problems.
Is it no wonder that insurance adjusters weigh your smoking or the smoking of someone in your home very heavily against you?
While vaping, or smoking e-cigarettes, is considered less harmful to the body than smoking, there are still health risks. E-cigarettes contain nicotine just like regular cigarettes do. Nicotine is a toxic substance that both raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, causing an increase in heart rate that could lead to a heart attack.
While e-cigarettes do not contain the over 700 toxic substances found in regular cigarettes, they are addictive and still dangerous, and using them will cause your life insurance premiums to be higher than if you did not vape.
Chewing tobacco or “smokeless tobacco” contains nicotine, is addictive, and increases a users risk of:
- cancer of the mouth,
- Cancer of the esophagus (the passage that connects the throat to the stomach),
- Cancer of the pancreas (a gland that helps with digestion and maintaining proper blood sugar levels)
- Mouth diseases;
- Early delivery or stillbirth;
- Death from heart disease or stroke.
Step #3: Show Proof of Your Recovery
If you’ve been injured and have had to undergo surgery at some point in the past, you should demonstrate recovery from surgery with proof of physical therapy and doctor’s visits evaluating your recovery. This will ameliorate the effect an injury will have upon the insurance adjuster’s calculation.
Alcoholism or Drug Use
If you used to abuse drugs or alcohol but have recovered, be prepared to provide proof of your method of recovery, whether that be through a course of methadone, a stay in a treatment center, or outpatient counseling.
Depression or Anxiety
Mental and emotional health also affect the insurance adjuster’s calculation. If you’ve been depressed or anxious but your condition is currently being treated successfully with medication, be prepared to disclose that. If you ever attempted to commit suicide, you must disclose that as well.
Again, the effect your suicide attempt has on your risk calculation will be ameliorated by how long ago the attempt was, what treatment you sought and were given, and your current mental and emotional health.
Step #4: Be Proactive About Your Overall Health
Especially during the days of COVID-19, you should be proactive about maintaining your overall physical, mental, and emotional health. Incorporating a few of the following into your lifestyle will pay off not only in lower life insurance premiums but a better quality of life.
- Eat healthfully, if not organically;
- Join and use a gym;
- Cultivate a hobby that gets you outside and moving, such as gardening, cycling, softball league, or even just walking the dog;
- Be sure to stretch before and after physical activity;
- Seek out opportunities for positive social interactions;
- Get sufficient sleep;
- Drink enough water (experts suggest half your body weight in ounces);
- Be sure to experience physical intimacy, even if just a hug between friends;
- Practice meditation and/or yoga to combat stress.
Every applicant for life insurance will have risk factors, especially as they age. You can improve yours by taking one or more of these four steps, and you will pay less in insurance premiums.
About The Author:
Veronica Baxter is a blogger and legal assistant living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with Chad Boonswang, Esq., a life insurance beneficiary attorney.