UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Far too many people forgo the peace of mind term life insurance provides because they’re afraid of the cost. How much you pay depends on the rating a life insurance company gives you after assessing your health and other lifestyle factors.
Term life insurance policies typically use the following rating classes (basically risk categories) to determine premium costs. These are in order from lower risk to higher risk. Lower risk means lower premiums. Higher risk means higher premiums.
- Preferred Plus
- Standard Plus
Rating classes aside, those without life insurance think it’s three times more expensive than it actually is. But even though it costs less than you may have thought, I get that any added expense can make a tight budget even tighter.
Here are five actions you can take today to lower your term life insurance premiums.
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight adds risk of developing certain medical conditions and is linked with higher mortality. If you’ve been maintaining a healthy weight (most insurance companies use the standard height/weight tables to determine “healthy”) consistently over time, it will bode well for you in seeking a lower premium.
Note that insurers will usually ask if you’ve had a weight change in the last twelve months. Most people who have lost a dramatic amount of weight during a short period of time tend to gain some or all of it back. Life insurance companies take that into account as they consider how to rate your policy.
2. Don’t smoke (or use any other nicotine-based products). Stating the obvious, smoking puts you at a higher risk for all sorts of health issues. Don’t pick up the habit, and if you are a smoker, quit as soon as possible. The longer it has been since you ceased smoking, the better the rating you’ll get. For example, here’s how an insurer might rate you according to your smoking status:
- Preferred Plus if you haven’t smoked for 5 or more years.
- Preferred if you haven’t smoked for at least 3 years.
- Standard Plus if you haven’t smoked for at least 2 years.
- Standard if you haven’t smoked for at least 1 year.
3. Get existing medical conditions under control. If you have a health issue (like high cholesterol, asthma, or high blood pressure), it doesn’t mean you can’t get Preferred Plus rates (I can attest to that because I’m on blood pressure medicine and qualified). The key is to have regular follow-ups with your doctor, take your medication as directed, and follow your doctor’s advice to control your condition.
4. Steer clear of hazardous hobbies. Involvement in high-risk activities, like rock climbing, scuba diving, sky diving, and others can result in higher life insurance premiums. Prepare to pay a little more if you actively engage in a hobby that increases your likelihood of injury or worse.
5. Don’t wait to apply for a policy. The older you are, the higher the probability that you’ll suffer from a health condition in the near future. Count on higher premiums if you wait to apply. Life insurance companies provide lower premiums to young, healthy applicants.
But what should you do if you haven’t gotten at least one of the above factors working in your favor? Even though you may get a higher rate initially, you can still benefit from applying now rather than later. As you take action to improve your situation over time, you can ask for reconsideration of your policy’s rating and potentially get your premium lowered.
If you’re one of the 4 in 10 people without life insurance to protect your family, wouldn’t you rest better at night knowing you’ve at least checked in to your options? You can easily determine your life insurance needs and get a no-obligation, confidential quote online. Don’t let fear of the cost stop you from looking out for your loved ones’ future.
Statistics Source: LifeHappens.org