Shopping for life insurance is something that many avoid, due to the combined factors of enormous hassle and a hesitance to contemplate mortality. In addition, pricey premiums can make the task even more daunting. Here are the ten most common health factors that can send your premiums through the roof.
- Tobacco Use – The use of tobacco is the number-one factor in outrageous life insurance premiums. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the nation, leading to heart disease, lung cancer and other life-threatening problems. Putting away the smokes for as little as two years can change your status to non-smoking rates, leading to up to 30% decreases in premiums.
- High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is another factor that can change your life insurance rating class during the underwriting process.
- High Cholesterol – Lowering your cholesterol can lower your life insurance premiums by keeping you out of the more expensive rating classes. Dietary and lifestyle changes can make a difference in the health of your body and your wallet when it comes to cholesterol levels.
- Excessive Drinking – Part of the paramedical exam for many life insurance companies includes a test for liver enzymes, which are greatly affected by drinking heavily. Even light, social drinkers should opt not to imbibe in the days leading up to an exam.
- Dangerous Working Conditions – What you do for a living can affect your premiums, especially if the conditions of your occupation expose you to hazardous materials.
- High-Risk Hobbies – Hobbies that routinely put you in harm’s way will affect the amount you have to pay for life insurance. Though it may be tempting to “forget” that you have daredevil pastimes, it’s important to remember that anything less than full disclosure can lead to your company’s refusal to pay out a death benefit.
- Family History – Although it’s utterly out of your control, the health history of your family members will be questioned heavily during the exam process. Cancer, diabetes and other conditions that can be considered hereditary will factor into your underwriter’s decision.
- Cancer Survival – Surviving cancer is a cause for triumphant celebration, but it can make obtaining life insurance very difficult. Patients who have been in remission for at least five years may see some reduction in premiums, depending on the policies of each company.
- Obesity – Obesity is another leading cause of death that can arguably be prevented. In addition to making a difference in your health and quality of life, doing your best to lose that extra weight can save a small fortune in premiums.
- Diabetes – Securing affordable life insurance can be difficult for diabetics, but it isn’t impossible. Diabetes that’s well-controlled and carefully monitored may not preclude you from a favorable rating class, especially with a company that specializes in coverage for diabetes sufferers.
Though the health questions and exams can make the process an arduous one, it’s important to remember that the lack of coverage can cause complete financial devastation for a family in the event of a primary earner’s untimely death. Making an effort to get the factors that are within your control to a manageable level can help make the process as painless as possible.