There’s no doubt that a life insurance policy can provide valuable protection for your family and give you the reassurances the people you love most are looked after if you die. However, there are several factors that can affect the price and level of cover you will be offered. Some of these factors are outside of your control, while others can change by making different lifestyle choices to improve your health and lower your premiums. We’ve put together a guide to some of the most important factors that will affect your life insurance:
It’s no surprise this tops the list. The older we get inevitably poses an increased risk of our health deteriorating. In an insurers eyes, if you are a young fit policyholder, the chances are you will be paying into your policy for many years before any payout is likely. Therefore the premium is expected to be lower as a result. With age increases the likelihood of ill health and increased risk in insurers opinion. Taking out a longer-term policy earlier could mean you pay a lower premium for longer rather than waiting until the cost of insurance becomes significantly more based on your age.
Another prominent factor that will affect your insurance policy is your current health. A person in good health presents a lower risk of dying for insurers than someone with a pre-existing medical condition or is out of shape. Some insurers will also ask about your family medical history, and this will be taken into consideration. Insurers are particularly interested in the health conditions that any siblings or parents have suffered from – especially if they led to an early death.
In addition, some insurers will request a medical exam be carried out as a condition of cover. This exam will take into account your height, weight, current BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and other key considerations. If you have a condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure making sure this is well managed before taking out a new policy could help you find a more competitive rate for your life insurance.
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The algorithms insurers use statistically profile how long someone is likely to be around. On average, women live a few years longer than men. This means that in many cases, women could pay their premiums for a few years longer than men and therefore may be offered a slightly lower premium.
Smoking has a negative impact on your overall health and will increase your insurance premium as a result. If you are a smoker, you have an increased risk of suffering from certain health conditions, and that’s a red flag for insurers. However, if you give up smoking and have been smoke-free for twelve months or longer, insurers will usually consider you a non-smoker, and you will likely see a reduction in your insurance premium due to the positive health benefits of kicking the smoking habit.
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Some jobs are obviously more dangerous than others and therefore pose an increased life insurance payout risk. If your job is considered high-risk, you might have to pay more for your cover. In addition, you might find that your occupation excludes you from critical illness cover with some insurers. However, high-risk jobs won’t always equal higher premiums, but it is still a factor used in the insurer’s algorithms for assessing risk.
You may not be asked outright by the insurer. Still, they can usually access the Department of Motor Vehicles database to assess in their opinion if you are a safe driver. Any penalties or convictions within the last five years could add some cost to your premium as it indicates you are at an increased risk.
Some insurers may want to know if you have any hobbies which add additional risk. So if abseiling down cliffs or participating in motorbike racing are how you like to spend your weekends, you may have to pay a fair amount more for your life insurance in line with the risk of death or severe injury that activity carries.
There is understandably a price difference between different levels of insurance cover, for example, decreasing life cover premiums are lower than level or whole life insurance policies because the payout decreases over time as your insured debts reduce.
Whole life cover tends to be more expensive than term life insurance because the amount your beneficiary will receive isn’t time-limited to a policy term.
In addition, taking out a joint policy with your spouse could be cheaper; however it is unlikely to offer the same value as two separate life insurance policies.
From an insurers perspective; The longer the policy, the greater the risk of you dying within the policy term. This is why a lengthier policy could result in a higher premium. However, by contrast, taking out a shorter life insurance policy won’t always save you money in the long run, as at the end of the term, you could end up paying more on your following policy if your health has changed or simply as you age. So it’s worth weighing up your options to see what makes the most sense in the long term.
The higher the value of your life insurance, the higher your premiums will be. This is because insurers will be paying out a larger lump sum in the event of your death. So a higher value policy will most likely add a little to your monthly payments, but it will mean your loved ones have enough to live on if you die within the policy term.
These are some of the main factors insurers take into consideration when working out your insurance premium. While there is absolutely nothing you can do about your age, gender and family medical history, you can make wise lifestyle choices, including improving your health and giving up smoking to enjoy the health benefits and even lower life insurance premiums in the future.