Part science, part wild guess, I don’t think anyone wants to really know when it’s all going to end, at least I don’t. According to the Social Security Website I have 45 years left, that’s about 2,340 weekends – maybe I should be out enjoying the weather instead of writing this! But looking at your life expectancy might be able to help you determine how long of a term life policy you should buy, or perhaps make you consider getting a policy to age 100.
The social security website just gives you the average numbers. Here are factors to consider when thinking about your life expectancy. These are the same factors that life insurance companies use when determining the health rating you get, which determines the price of your life insurance policy.
Top 7 Factors that Affect Life Insurance Rates and Life Expectancy
This isn’t one that immediately comes to mind, but women live longer than men. A couple of equal age and health can expect the woman to outlive the man. This translates into slightly lower life insurance rates for women than men.
Cigarette smoking is a major factor that affects life expectancy. If you want to know how much, consider this: A 40 year old male non smoker in good health will pay $615 Annually for a $500,000 30 year term policy (with SBLI). That same 40 year old cigarette smoker will pay $3,150 Annually. A difference of $2,535 annually or $76,050 over the course of that policy.
The more you weigh, the greater you pay for life insurance. Why? Because with an increase in weight comes an increase of potential health conditions and an increase in the risk for heart disease and lower life expectancy. Let’s go back to our 40 year old male non smoker. A 6’0 Male at about 200 pounds could get Preferred Plus on a $500,000 30 year term at $615 annually. At 6’0 245 pounds he would qualify for Standard Rates, paying $1,310 annually. Over 30 years that’s a difference of $20,850.
If you have a need for speed, or reckless driving, you have a higher chance of getting into a car accident, which means potentially a lower life expectancy. That’s why your driving record can affect life insurance rates. If you have DUIs in the past 10 years, that will also increase your rates or and more than 2 in 10 years will deny you from getting coverage.
Uncontrolled blood pressure can have significant effects on life expectancy. Often called the silent killer, many people don’t know that they have hypertension unless they visit their doctor. Make sure to get your blood pressure checked and if it’s high, it can be controlled with medication.
An occasional drink shouldn’t affect your life expectancy, but there is a reason life insurance companies ask if you have ever abused alcohol, or drink on average more than three drinks per day. Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to liver disease and even brain damage. Life insurance companies do test for liver enzyme levels, and an elevation from normal results can lead to higher pricing or a decline of coverage.
Your family history may be a factor in your life expectancy. Understanding your family history can provide insight into some risks you face – with proper diet and exercise you can often overcome many of these factors, however some can be genetic. From a life insurance perspective, life insurance companies take into account family history of heart disease and if your parent’s died under age 70. Many companies also will price you higher if you have a family history of cancer, however ING and Banner Life will not.
Using a life expectancy table, along with evaluating your own risks could be a good exercise when looking into buying a life insurance policy. It’s also a good exercise to understand how life insurance underwriters determine risk and the pricing for your life insurance policy.