Life insurance is one of the most important purchases you can make in your adult life, but many are intimidated by it because there is no set price. Rather, the price you pay in monthly premiums depends on several factors, which means that you won’t know how much you’ll pay until you actually apply. While you can get a free quote easily, your final price isn’t set in stone until you sign on the dotted line.
Here we’ll discuss the factors that affect your coverage and monthly premiums so you can have an idea of what to expect.
10 Factors that Affect Life Insurance Premiums
Two people that on the surface, seem very similar. Men in their 30s, in relatively good health, with stable jobs. However, when they apply for life insurance, they are given very different quotes. Why? Because there are so many different factors that go into determining an individual’s monthly premiums. Here we’ll take a look at them.
Type of Policy
There are several different kinds of life insurance policies, like term, whole, and no exam. The latter tends to be more expensive than the first two, while whole policies are usually more expensive than term. The type of policy you get will influence how much you pay for coverage. In general, term policies tend to be the most popular due to their affordability.
Length of the Term
If you’re applying for term life insurance (as opposed to whole), the length of your term will affect how much you pay in life insurance premiums. Popular term lengths are 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years, and with each increase, you can expect to pay more in monthly premiums.
Death Benefit Amount
Death benefits can range from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands to the millions. The amount of coverage you need will influence how much you pay in monthly premiums. The lower the amount, the lower the premiums. Additionally, depending on your health (see below), you may qualify for a smaller death benefit but not for a larger one.
Riders are additional features that can be added to your life insurance policy, like Accidental Death or Waiver of Premium. Riders offer extra benefits that you can choose to add to your policy, or not. Depending on the riders you choose, your policy premiums can go up.
When it comes to life insurance, the younger you are, the lower your premiums will be (unless you have a serious health condition). This is why we encourage people to buy life insurance young, especially a policy with fixed rates. When you buy a fixed-rate policy, you lock in low rates for the duration of your term. The alternative is buying life insurance at a later age and paying more in monthly premiums.
Statistically, women live longer than men. Therefore, life insurance rates for women are usually lower than those of men. This is true for each age bracket and smoking status.
When you apply for life insurance, you fill out a fairly detailed application and undergo a medical exam. All of this information is sent to the insurance company’s underwriters, who compare each detail about your health against millions of statistics. It’s the job of underwriters to assess each applicant’s mortality and determine the statistical risk they pose to the insurer. Morbid, yes, but somebody’s gotta do it.
The rule of thumb when it comes to life insurance is, the younger and healthier you are, the lower your monthly premiums will be. This is because young, healthy people are statistically likely to live a long life. When you add other factors like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, BMI, and other medical conditions, the underwriting process becomes a lot more complicated. The two men mentioned in the example above may seem similar on the surface, but if one has diabetes and the other has heart disease, they will be looking at different rates.
According to the CDC, smoking increases the rate of mortality significantly. Therefore, smokers can expect to pay between 5 to 15 times higher than non-smokers for a traditional life insurance policy. This is true regardless of age or gender.
Family Health History
If you have a family history of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, etc., you may receive elevated life insurance premiums. The reason is the same as above. While not all health issues are hereditary, some are and may impact a person’s statistical mortality rate. Therefore, life insurance underwriters consider family health history in addition to your own current health.
People with dangerous hobbies, like rock climbing or bungee jumping, pose a greater statistical risk to insurers than those without. Therefore, their rates will be higher. The same is true for people who have risky jobs, like police officers or firefighters. Driving records can also be a factor here.
Another area that insurers are concerned with is credit. Some insurers will check applicants’ credit to make sure they have the funds to pay monthly premiums. If you’ve gone bankrupt recently, getting coverage may be a problem.
Life Insurance = Peace of Mind
It’s true, the prospect of buying life insurance can be daunting, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Life insurance is one of the best ways to ensure your loved ones are protected in the event that you die early. While we hope this will never happen, being unprepared can make a terrible situation even worse.
Sproutt insurance advisors are available to help determine what kind of life insurance is best for each situation. Simply answer a few questions and we will find the best-value plan for your lifestyle, needs and budget.