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How to lower life insurance premiums
Secure the best rate by staying healthy and keeping tabs on beneficiary needs.
Life insurance companies reserve their best rates for young, healthy and financially stable applicants. But there are a few ways you can lower your current premiums, or score a better rate next time you apply.
How can I get a lower life insurance rate?
To set your rate, insurers assess a range of factors, including your age, health and lifestyle. Here’s how you can increase your chances of reaching a higher rate class — and get a lower rate:
- Achieve — and maintain — a healthy weight. Underwriters consider BMI when crafting life insurance quotes because being overweight or obese has been linked to serious health conditions. If your BMI is high, your risk factor goes up — and so does your monthly premium.
- Stop using nicotine-based products. Smoking is seen as a red flag by life insurance providers. So is the use of e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and other nicotine-based products. Since part of the application process is a test to check for nicotine, companies will know your habits even if you lie upfront. The longer it’s been since you quit, the better your rates will be.
- Listen to your doctor. Even if you have an existing medical condition like high blood pressure, getting it under control can help you get a better policy. Keep up with regular visits to your doctor and take prescribed medications as necessary.
- Keep tabs on your financial needs. As your life evolves and changes, so will your financial needs and the needs of your beneficiaries. For example, your coverage will likely be higher when you have dependents or young kids. But later in life, as your children make their own lives, you may be able to lower coverage.
- Apply sooner rather than later. The younger and healthier you are, the lower your premium will be. Policies tend to get more expensive as you age since health conditions tend to snowball as birthdays accumulate. Locking down a rate now can help protect against future unknowns.
- Wait for some time to pass before applying for reconsideration. If you’ve quit smoking or your health has improved significantly, you can apply for reconsideration. To get the best possible rate with your new criteria, try to hold off for one to two years.
How much can I save on life insurance by improving my health?
Health is one of the most important elements in keeping life insurance premiums affordable. If you’re overweight and paying higher premiums for it, eating right and exercising regularly can get your BMI to an acceptable level, help control existing medical conditions and lower the overall risk to providers.
Life insurance premiums for smokers tend to be at least twice as expensive as premiums for nonsmokers. After quitting smoking for at least a year, you may get moved into the nonsmoker bucket. And your overall health could improve as well, which lowers rates even further.
How to decrease your current life insurance premium
Already have a policy in place? These are a few paths you can take to reduce your premium:
- Adjust your permanent policy’s premium. If you have a universal life insurance policy, you have the flexibility to change your premium and death benefit as needed. You can also use any cash value you’ve accumulated to cover your premium payments.
- Lower your coverage amount. Most insurers will allow you to decrease the face value of your policy at least once, usually after you’ve had the policy for three years. By decreasing your coverage, you’ll get a lower premium — but keep in mind this also means your beneficiaries won’t receive as much money when you die.
- Opt to pay your premiums annually. If you can afford to pay your premiums annually — rather than monthly, quarterly or semiannually — you could save between 2% and 8% on your premium. The discount depends on your insurer.
Watch our short video below where we breakdown what goes into the cost of your life insurance policy.
Compare rates from these life insurance companies
What is reconsideration?
After making changes to your health or comparing policies, you can ask your life insurer to reassess your rate class and premium. This process is called reconsideration. You might need to wait a year or two after you first opened your policy to be eligible for reconsideration, depending on your insurer.
Your insurer may ask you to take another medical exam so the policy can be underwritten again with this new information about your health. Then, if your insurer decides your risk has gone down, your premiums might go down as well.
What should I watch out for after changing my life insurance policy?
If you lower your coverage amount to help make monthly premiums more affordable, be mindful of scenarios that could have a negative impact, including:
- Has your health changed? You may have left yourself exposed to new conditions that surface after your original medical underwriting.
- Could your beneficiaries survive financially? If a loved one is permanently injured in an accident or suddenly becomes dependent upon you again, you’ll need to reconsider how much money is necessary to leave behind.
- Will your expenses go up in the future? Your financial stability can always change. If your savings accounts can’t support your spouse or cover other expenses after you’re gone, you might need to increase coverage once again.
Being vigilant about your health and thoughtful about your actual needs can help keep monthly life insurance premiums down. But remember that your best advocate is you, so take the time to shop around and compare quotes before committing to a policy.
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