Turning New Year's Resolutions into Lower Llfe Insurance Premiums

Friday, January 2, 2015

 

quit-smoking-drink-less-exerciseFor many of us, the abundance of the holiday season is followed by the setting of goals for the year ahead. This process, referred to as New Year’s Resolutions, usually has to do with giving up bad habits such as quitting smoking or drinking, or forming better habits such as getting more exercise and/or losing weight. Setting resolutions is easy; the tough part is keeping them.  But, If you can commit to those resolutions throughout the year, not only will you be happier and healthier – you just may be able to lower your life insurance premiums.

Common health factors that contribute to your life insurance rates

In a nutshell, the healthier you are, the lower your rates will be. Unhealthy individuals will pay higher premiums, and if you are found to be extremely unhealthy, you may not be considered for coverage at all.

The main considerations that go into determining your level of health are your blood pressure, cholesterol level and your body build. If you are a smoker, or a heavy drinker or an alcoholic, your health is impacted greatly, which is why insurance companies look closely at these behaviours.

Butting out

It’s no secret that smoking shortens your life span and makes you vulnerable to all kinds of health issues such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease and emphysema. Not surprisingly, smoking is considered a major risk factor when assessing insurance risk.

To be considered a non-smoker in the eyes of your insurance company, you must not have used any form of tobacco in the last 12 months. That includes cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco or smoking cessation products (like nicotine gum or patches).  The same rule applies for marijuana or hashish use.

See Tips on Making Your Year Smoke-Free from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Drinking less

Like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption has real short and long-term effects on your health. In the short term, high alcohol consumption contributes to poor decisions such as drinking and driving. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease and even cancer.

Sometimes there may be a fine line between being a social drinker and a heavy drinker. If they feel it's warranted, insurance companies may require blood tests or criminal checks to ensure you haven't been convicted of alcohol-related offenses over the previous five years to ensure you are on the right side of that line.

Weighing less

When determining insurance rates, life insurance companies take your body build, which is your height to weight ratio, into consideration.

Being 10 – 15 pounds over your ideal weight is not likely to affect your insurance premiums. But if you weigh considerably more than your ideal weight, the scale may well push you into a higher risk bracket due to health-related weight risks.

Being overweight can lead to secondary health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and kidney disease. Being overweight can also lead to higher insurance rates.

If you’ve lost weight and kept it off for a long period of time, your new weight may correct some of the risk factors that caused your premiums to be higher. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent about the “new you”.

Committing to living a healthier life is the first step. Following through on your goals takes courage, patience, and a strong desire to do what’s right for you. Along the way, turning those goals into your new reality just may lead to the added bonus of lower life insurance premiums.

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