Topic 2: What Determines Your Life Insurance Premium?

You and your friend are nearly the exact same age, and both of you applied for the same Life Insurance policy. Your friend’s proposal was accepted, whereas your Life Insurance Advisor came back to you with an increased premium requirement for the same life cover. Confused? Besides your age, here are a few factors that may have influenced this outcome.

Statistically, Women tend to outlive Men by 5 to 7 years in India. This means that they are required to pay premiums for a higher number of years compared to men, but the quantum of annual premium is reduced. What this essentially means is that all other factors being equal, Women could end up paying slightly lower annual premiums than men for the same policy.

Smoking & Drinking Habits
All right, this one’s a no brainer. Smoking causes millions of deaths worldwide, and is directly or indirectly responsible for at least 15 different types of cancer. Heavy drinking has similar ill effects on your health, damaging the liver and other vital organs, and reducing overall life expectancy. Your smoking and drinking habits are bound to have a material impact on your life insurance premiums. Yet another reason to ditch the cancer stick and stick to your ‘two drinks a day’ limit.

Present Health Condition
Some policies (especially the ones in which the life cover is high) will require you to undergo a medical examination to allow the insurance company to better understand your present health condition. Irregularities with respect to your heart health, for instance, can lead to an increased premium; or to the insurance company not issuing the policy at all. Any serious issues with respect to your present medical condition are bound to influence your premium amount.

Family’s Medical History
You may be in the pink of health, but if you have a family history of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, or cancer, it may lead an upward revision in premium estimates. Diseases that tend to be hereditary in nature will obviously have a more material impact on your premiums.

Occupation & Lifestyle
The job you’ve chosen will materially impact your mortality risk – and your subsequent Life Insurance premiums. For instance, the percentage of fatalities every year is far higher for coal miners as compared to those employed in white collar jobs. Your hobbies and pastimes affect your risk of dying as well – if you enjoy tightrope walking or cliffhanging in your spare time, you can be sure that your Life Insurance Company won’t be quite so kind while computing your premium requirement.

A Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 is likely to be viewed as unfavorable by your Life Insurance provider, and will likely lead to higher premiums. Your BMI crosses 40 - and you may become uninsurable. Just another reason to start your morning run and shed a few useless pounds.

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