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Making the decision to buy a life insurance policy is a major step, involving a host of different motivations such as retirement planning, mortgage protection, and replacing lost income after the "breadwinner" of the family unexpectedly passes away.
But many people worry about the costs or about being turned away by life insurance companies due to health conditions. Is this fear well-founded? And in what ways does your health impact the premiums you are going to face for a life insurance policy?
The Underwriting Process
Regardless of which insurer you choose and what your health level may be, there is going to be some kind of an underwriting process when you apply for a new life insurance policy. "Underwriting is simply the process by which the insurer assesses its overall risk in insuring you based on a variety of factors.
Some health questions will be asked concerning your health history, any medications you are currently on, and any conditions you may suffer from. Family health histories are typically probed, and things like your weight, age, gender, cholesterol level, blood pressure, whether you smoke or drink at all, and what type of job you have will all come into play.
Normally, a short health exam will be conducted. It may be done at your home, at a clinic, or at the insurer's office. It will be rather short and simple and is only designed to determine your overall health and wellness and whether you have any serious health conditions.
Note that it is almost impossible to "fail" the health examination. It's just a matter of how high your rates are going to be based on what kind of health you are found to be in.
Smoking Is A Huge Factor
Those who smoke tobacco products often see rates twice as high or more than those who don't for the exact same policy. This will vary from insurer to insurer, but everyone is going to ask if you smoke.
There are good reasons for the concern over smoking too. Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, and smokers die 10 years younger than non-smokers on average. If you quit, however, you can lower your rate so it's only 10% or 20% higher than someone who never smoked in his life. You would then have to retake your medical exam to get the new rate.
Other Important Factors
There are some factors affecting your premiums that you can't change. By applying while relatively young, for example, you can lock in lower rates for the life of the policy. Gender matters too because women live 5 years longer than men, on average. That's why men have rates that are 25% to 40% higher.
Health risks are higher based on your career choice as well - and premiums mirror that added risk. High-risk professions like police officer, firefighter, construction worker, and deep-sea fisherman are going to involve a premium bump in most cases.
Lifestyle choices, such as engaging in dangerous sports activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, and cliff climbing can also be relevant. Finally, your driving record, credit score, having a college degree, and a host of other criteria may be used by some insurance companies to gauge overall risk.
In some cases, you may want to opt for no-exam life insurance to avoid the hassle, but usually, these have higher rates. Talk to an experienced insurance agent for assistance in formulating your most beneficial policy. For immediate help, contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting today!