How Might Your Health Affect Life Insurance Premiums?

Life insurance premiums usually depend on the amount of risk an insurer is taking to cover you. To work this out, insurers use a process called underwriting. The underwriting process involves assessing the degree of risk an individual poses to the insurer. It enables insurers to work out how much an applicant should pay in premiums. If an insurer considers the risk too high, you could face rejection. 


So, if you’re someone in perfectly good health (for example, a non-smoker, normal BMI, no existing medical conditions) there’s generally less risk of you dying earlier. Someone who smokes and is overweight might find it harder to secure cheap life insurance because of their health.


Likewise, if you’re older, you may be more susceptible to illnesses caused by old age. Not only that, but you have a shorter life expectancy. That’s why you might find your premiums are higher than someone younger than you. Underwriters will attempt to determine your life expectancy based on the information you provide.


Could smoking affect life insurance?


Smoking can lead to serious health issues, which means it will often cost you more to get insured. Many insurers consider any use of tobacco products or vapes the same as smoking, so keep this in mind when you’re applying.


Are there suitable alternatives for people with poor health or smokers?


If you have been refused life insurance because of your health or you have found quotes to be unaffordable, you can always apply for a guaranteed policy. A guaranteed policy could be an option if you smoke or you have a serious medical condition since health isn’t a factor for eligibility.

If you’re aged between 50 and 80, you could look into over 50s life insurance policies since they’re tailored to the needs of people your age. Over 50s life insurance is guaranteed for any UK resident aged 50-80 regardless of your health.


Will I be asked any health or lifestyle questions?


Many life insurance providers will ask some health and lifestyle questions. Often, they will request information on your age, gender, BMI, smoker status, health conditions, family medical history and alcohol consumption amongst other things. With Choozi, you will fill out one form which covers all health and lifestyle questions and you can then compare providers within minutes.


If you’re applying for a guaranteed life insurance policy, acceptance is guaranteed as long as you’re a UK resident aged 50 to 80. If this is the case, you will be accepted no matter what condition your health is in. Providers may ask you about your smoker status, which could cause a higher rate of premiums if you smoke.


Will I have to get a physical examination?


With Choozi, you will not have to undergo a physical examination to assess the state of your health. You will be asked some health and lifestyle questions during the life insurance and mortgage life insurance application - but this is not a requirement for over 50s life insurance.


The insurer will likely look into the medical details regarding your death when the time for a payout does finally come around, this would indicate whether or not you have misrepresented information on your application.


What lifestyle changes can I make to help secure a lower rate of premiums?


If you’re serious about trying to reduce your premiums, you could make lifestyle changes that might help you secure a lower rate of premiums. If you’re overweight, you could consider trying to shed a few pounds and get fit. Being overweight is often associated with conditions like diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and other health issues. This means it can be riskier for an insurer to cover you. Exercising and eating well can help you reduce your BMI, which in turn could mean lower premiums depending on your individual circumstances.


If you smoke, you could also think about quitting, since non-smokers can secure a lower rate of premiums. You will probably have to quit for a certain period of time (usually 12-24 months) depending on the life insurance provider. 


What happens if I’m dishonest about my health?


You should never be dishonest about your health when applying for life insurance. Lying on your life insurance application could have serious consequences down the line. Your policy may become invalid or your loved ones may not be allowed to claim your death benefit if you’re not truthful about your health or smoker status.


What happens if my health or smoker status changes down the line?


Your health could always change for better or for worse, and your smoker status could change over time if you quit. If this is the case, you may have to inform your insurer, but only if they specifically state this. You may be able to request a change depending on your circumstances.


Again, quitting smoking could lead to cheaper premiums, but you’ll likely have to wait for a certain period before you can request to make a change.


What about joint policies and health?


The same rule often applies to joint policies. Unfortunately, if one party smokes or suffers from a disease or illness, the premiums for a joint policy will likely cost more than that of a couple where neither smoke or have any pre-existing illnesses.


Life insurance for those with poor health


Having poor health, being ill or smoking shouldn’t usually prevent you from securing life insurance cover. It could be a good idea to jump right in and start comparing policies. With these facts in mind, hopefully, you should have a better chance of finding a policy that works for you and your budget.


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