How Your Lifestyle Can Affect Your Term Life Insurance Rate

How your lifestyle can affect your term life insurance rates depends on certain medical conditions, jobs, hobbies, and habits that may make you a higher risk prospect. Hazardous occupations and risky leisure activities can drive up your rates. Smokers also pay more for life insurance, but if you can manage to quit you can lower your rates. Use our free quote comparison tool below to see how your lifestyle can affect your term life insurance premiums.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Life insurance companies determine whether they’ll approve you for a policy—and what your premium costs will be—after considering various health and lifestyle factors. Certain medical conditions, jobs, hobbies, and habits make you a higher risk prospect. And that could cost you.

While you don’t have complete control over everything term life insurance companies consider when reviewing your application, you can do a few things to better your chances of getting approved for a preferred rating class and reaping the benefit of the lower term life premium that comes with it.

Don’t Put Yourself in Danger—At Work or at Play

Hazardous occupations and risky leisure activities can drive your premium costs up. If you work as a commercial fisherman, logger, steel/iron worker, pilot, or police officer, expect to pay a higher premium (learn more about how dangerous jobs increase life insurance costs). Likewise, if you engage in adrenaline-rush-invoking hobbies like hang gliding and rock climbing, insurance companies will charge you more than they would someone who plays it safe on their weekends.

Make Exercise and Eating Well a Priority

A sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits can put you at risk for some of the medical conditions that work against you when applying for a life insurance policy. If the paramedical exam required by the insurance company indicates you’re overweight, have high blood pressure, or have a cholesterol level that’s heavy on LDLs and too light on HDLs, it could put you in a less desirable rating class.

Learn to Manage Stress Better

According to statistics provided by the American Psychological Association and American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people in the U.S. regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. If you make an effort to control stress you might avoid overeating, insomnia, and other anxiety-related problems that could cause medical issues over the long term. Exercising, meditation, getting a massage from time to time, and saying “no” to optional responsibilities are a few stress-busting options you might want to explore.

Don’t Smoke

Fact: Smokers pay more for life insurance. But if you successfully quit, you can work your way toward getting a more favorable premium. Most life insurance companies require you to be tobacco/nicotine free for at least 12 months before you qualify for non-tobacco rates. This can even be true when evaluating e-cigarettes and life insurance. To become eligible for the best rating classes, you need to be free of the habit for about 4-5 years. If you’re a smoker looking for life insurance, that’s good incentive to quit sooner rather than later.

Drive Responsibly

If you’ve got a bad driving record on file with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), you’ll either have difficulty getting approved for a policy or you’ll probably pay a higher premium than you would with a clean record. Traffic violations, accidents for which you were at fault, or DUI charges will all cost you in more ways than one. Learn more about how your driving record could affect your life insurance here.

Although many people think they’re completely at the mercy of the life insurance companies’ underwriters, you can make decisions and take actions to improve your chances of getting a good life insurance policy at a good rate.

Be accountable to your loved ones by doing what you can to help give them the peace of mind that a term life insurance policy can bring.

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