How can your health or lifestyle affect your insurance rates?
When you apply for individual life or health insurance, you provide answers to detailed questions regarding your health. Your answers provide insurance companies with an idea of your overall health. Based on your answers, insurance companies may ask for additional medical information or tests prior to considering your application for coverage.
The cost of an individual health or life insurance policy takes into account your age, height, weight, medical history, occupation, driving record, your family health history and other personal habits like smoking.
Maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good health habits and seeking regular medical care can be important in lowering your insurance costs. Health and lifestyle information gathered by the insurance company is used to determine whether you get coverage, as well as the premium you are charged.
What are some of the habits that can increase premiums?
Smoking. Smokers pay higher premiums than non-smokers. Even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day, an insurance company could charge you the same premium as a heavy smoker.
If you are a smoker or if you use smokeless tobacco, it may be possible for you to lower your insurance premium by quitting. After you have remained “smoke-free” for a time period specified by your insurance company, you may qualify for the lower, non-smoker premium.
High-risk activities. You will be asked about your hobbies and activities on your application. Insurance companies typically charge higher premiums if you participate in high-risk activities. Some hobbies considered to be high-risk activities include: mountain climbing; horseback or motorcycle riding; flying an airplane or other aviation-related activities (e.g. ultra light flying, hang gliding, or sky diving).
You might be able to lower your insurance premiums by cutting back on your participation in such high-risk activities. Talk with the insurance company or broker about your options.
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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President