Why You’re Paying More (or Less) for Life Insurance

Death takes everyone in the end. Of course, at least until science comes up with a working crystal ball, just when it takes us is usually a matter of uncertainty. Life insurance exists to provide for our loved ones in the event of an untimely death. We buy it in the hopes that we’ll never need it, but the unfortunate many who have found themselves facing financial uncertainty after the death of an uninsured provider would no doubt argue that the alternative is not worth the risk. With the availability of online tools, finding a good rate in Texas is easier than ever. But before you begin shopping, take a few minutes to review the risk factors that go into an insurer’s assessment of your rate.

The risk factors affecting your life insurance rates are divided into categories – height and weight, medical history, family history, working conditions, and lifestyle are the primary ones. (You should also note that credit rating is now considered a risk factor.) Insurers use a complicated algorithm to evaluate risk probability and use it to determine your rate. But common sense will tell you the same thing. Because heart disease is the number-one killer of both men and women in the U.S., any factors that increase your likelihood of a heart attack are going to mean you’ll pay more. A recent study of U.S. obesity put the rate at a staggering 64 percent of the population. You can easily obtain a quote by plugging your height and weight into a simple online calculator, but those won’t give you the whole picture your Texas insurance provider will use to assess your rate.

Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, high cholesterol – all of these factors are going to make a difference in your rate. How much of a difference? A lot: A smoker will pay 50 to 65 percent more for the same policy as a non-smoker. You can do something to better the odds on these kinds of risks, to an extent. Other factors affecting your rates are beyond your control: age, gender, and family medical history. Realize that your insurance provider will ask you to take a medical exam, so go ahead and get used to the idea that you can’t fake your way to a better rate.

But health considerations aren’t the only risk factors that come into play with life insurance rates. If your job requires you to undertake actions that may adversely affect your health or puts you in contact with anything that may increase your risk of an early death, you’ll pay more. You’ll also pay more if your hobbies incline to the “extreme” – skydivers and skiers, take note.

Most of us might consider life insurance a necessary – if minor – evil. If you have a family, it’s a good idea for the simple reason that few people ever see death coming.

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