Life insurance is a crucial financial product that provides financial protection to your loved ones in case of your untimely demise. However, your life insurance premiums can be significantly affected by factors such as your health, lifestyle habits, age, and occupation. Among the most significant factors that affect life insurance premiums are smoking and being overweight. In this article, we will discuss how being a smoker or overweight can impact your life insurance rates and what you can do to find affordable coverage.
How Smoking Affects Life Insurance Premiums
Smoking is one of the most significant factors that affect life insurance premiums. This is because smoking increases the risk of several life-threatening health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths in the United States every year.
As a smoker, you are likely to pay significantly higher life insurance premiums than non-smokers. This is because insurance companies consider smokers to be high-risk individuals who are more likely to die prematurely due to smoking-related health conditions.
According to the American Cancer Society, smokers can pay up to two or three times more for life insurance than non-smokers. In some cases, smokers may even be denied coverage altogether.
How Being Overweight Affects Life Insurance Premiums
Being overweight or obese is another significant factor that affects life insurance premiums. Obesity increases the risk of several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. According to the CDC, more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese.
Insurance companies use a metric called Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether someone is overweight or obese. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.
Insurance companies consider overweight and obese individuals to be high-risk individuals who are more likely to develop health problems that can lead to premature death. As a result, overweight and obese individuals may be required to pay higher life insurance premiums than those who are at a healthy weight.
According to a study by Health IQ, individuals with a BMI of 35 or higher can pay up to 51% more for life insurance than those with a BMI of 25 or lower.
How to Find Affordable Life Insurance Coverage
If you are a smoker or overweight, you may be wondering if it is possible to find affordable life insurance coverage. The good news is that there are several things you can do to improve your chances of finding affordable coverage:
Quit smoking: Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and your life insurance premiums. Most insurance companies require individuals to be smoke-free for at least 12 months before they can qualify for non-smoker rates.
Lose weight: Losing weight can also help you improve your chances of finding affordable life insurance coverage. Insurance companies use BMI as a metric to determine your risk level, so losing weight and getting your BMI within a healthy range can help you qualify for lower premiums.
Shop around: Shopping around and comparing life insurance quotes from multiple insurance companies can help you find the best rates. Be sure to compare the coverage limits, deductibles, and premiums of different policies to find the one that meets your needs and budget.
Work with an independent insurance agent: Working with an independent insurance agent can help you find the best life insurance policy for your needs. Independent agents work with multiple insurance companies and can help you compare rates and coverage options from different providers.
Consider term life insurance: Term life insurance is typically the most affordable type of life insurance coverage. It provides coverage for a specific period of time, such as 10 or 20 years.