You know it for a fact. Life is about choices, and regardless of how much pleasure those choices can provide you, some of them will leave you paying more for life insurance. But have no fear, some of the most likely causes for sky-high insurance rates can be the easiest to fix.
Okay, so you porked up a bit and there’s some excess weight hanging over your belt. When it comes to life insurance rates, the fact that insurers take a close look at your height and compare it to your weight could mean trouble. The typical adult with a healthy Body Mass Index has a number which falls somewhere between 18.5 and 24.9. If your BMI is more than 24.9, I have some bad news for you – you’re considered overweight. So stop with the double-bacon-cheeseburger and two sides of fries bender. You don’t have to be skinny, but you can’t be huge.
Two Packs of Smokes a Day?
While puffing on the occasional cigarette might increase your insurance rates, heavy smokers are in for a shock when it comes to the size of their health insurance premiums. You know the drill: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been telling us for years that smoking increases the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, lung cancer and grisly death from nasty stuff like bronchitis and emphysema. On top of your risk for lung cancer, smoking like a chimney puts a smoker at risk for bad news medical conditions such as bladder cancer, cervical cancer, leukemia, esophageal cancer, cancer of the larynx and mouth, throat cancer and even cancer of the uterus.
As nasty as all those conditions are, if they’re not enough to convince you to quit smoking, dig this: smoking also more than doubles the cost of your life insurance.
Couch Surfing! Yeah!
If your lifestyle has resulted in you wearing a path in the linoleum from your couch to your fridge, you’re on the way to obesity and all the chronic health problems that come along for the ride. You’re on the fast track to sleep apnea, high blood pressure and diabetes. Sweet!
If you can just manage to pump up your physical activity, even moderately, your overall health will benefit and you’ll qualify for lower life insurance premiums.
Living On the Ragged Edge and Skydiving
Dude! You’re a thrill-seeking machine! But hey, all those risky activities from scuba diving, mountain climbing, skydiving, piloting your own homebuilt plane and hiking across Afghanistan are going to pump up your insurance premiums so they’re more buff than your lats. Any insurance company not clinically insane will categorize you as “a high-risk client” and frown upon your “rad alternative lifestyle.”
But don’t think for a minute answering “no” to various lifestyle questions during the underwriting process will keep you off the high-risk list. If you participate in risky activities? Insurance companies will find out, and they’ll think you’re very naughty indeed.
Samantha Roberts, an insurance agent with State Farm, provides you the lowdown:
“All policies are contestable for two years. That is mandated by federal guidelines. If a policy holder does die, the company will thoroughly review the circumstances.”
You Drive Like Dale Earnhardt
Your checkered past follows you like a bad stink. Past traffic incidents – oh that DUI and driving on a suspended license stuff – will strike you down with furious anger when it comes time to figure out how much coverage you can get and your premiums. Going all Bob Marley and firing up the bong or driving under the influence of any mind-altering substance while you’re driving – and getting caught at it – will count just like a full-blown DUI. Insurance companies will surely take that business into account when you have your life insurance assessment.
Cleaning Up Your Act With a Fast Detox
So you think you can quit the smokes for a month, go on a broccoli-only diet for a week and paper over your insane motorcycle-racing adventures to get a better rate? Nope. Insurance companies will pick you over with a fine-toothed comb and look everywhere (including your nether regions) in their quest to assess and evaluate what kind of risk you present as a potential policyholder.
Medical testing, often in the form of a blood test, will reveal your cholesterol levels, liver enzymes, body mass index, blood pressure and heart rate, and that kind of map reveals all when it comes to your health indiscretions and determines your level of risk.
Drink Up, Shriner!
It’s not that insurance companies are spoil-sports or bluenoses, but they will check out your liver enzymes to determine just how much you dig your Busch Light or Jack and Coker. Alcoholism contributes to a whole passel of major health problems and insurers know heavy, heavy drinkers a risk.
Looking Your Age? Just Don’t Look Older
No matter how fine you look and how tight your glutes, your real age affects insurance rates. Along with age, your family history is also taken into consideration as part of the equation. Insurers pay special attention to any history of heart disease or cancer in your history. Not much you can do about that, so relax.
One expert puts the problem in simple terms:
“The higher the risk, the higher the mortality rate.”
But if you look, you can see some light at the end of the tunnel. If you can manage to alter your lifestyle – quit smoking for at least 12 months, lose the weight and start exercising – you can ask your insurer to review your rates. Win.
Stop Posting Pictures Of Yourself On Mount Everest
Posting your risky and awesome lifestyle madness on social media is just never a good idea. Aside from the fact that employers might not dig it, insurance companies are getting in the game and finding out information from Facebook.
And once the cat is out of the bag, you can’t stuff that kitty back in. Once several life insurance companies have rejected you for coverage? It gets really complicated as some life insurance applications ask if you’ve ever been denied coverage. And don’t think those companies have no way of finding out if you applied for life insurance recently. Oh yeah, they do and they will.
Beat of luck out there. Here’s some good news, though, you can get 50 anonymous life insurance quotes here…