Your health status has a big impact on your life insurance policy. In fact, you could reduce your premiums by switching to (and maintaining) a healthier lifestyle. To help you do just that, we’ve listed a number of the things that tend to affect life insurance premiums.

Health factors that can impact your application

Age and gender

It’s a fact of life: the older you get, the more susceptible to illness and injury you are. Given that older Aussies are more likely to claim on their life insurance, they will therefore have to pay more for cover.

Similarly, gender tends to influence premiums, partly because women tend to live longer than men (84 years, as opposed to 80).

Current health status

Whether it’s a long-standing condition you’ve lived with your entire life, or something new – your health status has an enormous impact on your life insurance. These conditions in particular have a measurable impact on your cover.

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions and high blood pressure
  • Mental health conditions
  • Sleep apnoea

However, if you can prove to your insurer that you take steps to keep your condition under control, you may be able to reduce that premium.

Drinking

Regular, heavy drinking wreaks great havoc on the human body, causing significant liver damage over time. Your insurer will ask how much you drink when you take out a life insurance policy, asking things like,

  • How many standard drinks do you consume per day?
  • Have you changed your drinking habits recently?
  • Have you (in the past) sought medical treatment for a condition related to the consumption of alcohol?

It’s in your interests to reduce any heavy drinking you partake in – to save money long term.

Hobbies

Enjoy paragliding? Or rock climbing? Some activities are deemed ‘high risk’, even if you go to great lengths to keep yourself safe from harm. One example is motorcycle riding, which many insurers deem a risky activity.

If you partake in such activities, this may affect your premium.

Medical history

Your family’s medical history will be taken into account when you sign up for life insurance. Unlike most of the items listed in this article, this is one aspect of your life insurance application you can’t do much about. All you can do is reduce your risk factors for developing certain conditions as a stop-gap (e.g. maintaining a healthy diet and weight).

Occupation

There’s a vast difference between how risky it is to insure an office worker versus an abalone diver. While an office worker is at risk of certain conditions long term, an abalone diver faces risk every day (namely, getting attacked by sharks) – making them much riskier to cover. This is why your occupation affects your premium: because some jobs result in more claims than others.

Organ transplant

Anyone who’s gone through an organ transplant can already appreciate the seriousness of the procedure. Your life insurer will take it just as seriously, but if you recover from your procedure with no serious complications, you should still be able to get insured.

Smoking status

Smoking is the third highest contributor to ‘burden of disease’. This is unlikely to surprise anyone, as we all have known for many years that smoking is incredibly harmful to our health. This is why smokers pay more for life insurance – because they’re willingly engaging in risky behaviour.

Anyone who’s quit recently will also pay extra as well. But, after a few smoke-free years, your premium should go back to normal.

Weight

2 in 3 Australians are overweight or obese; according to the AIHW. It is clear that Australia has an obesity problem, one that is costing us many lives per year due to chronic health conditions. Indeed, obesity is the second highest contributor of disease.

It’s little wonder then that your life insurance is affected by your weight. The good news is that any this condition can be managed with relatively simple changes to diet and fitness regimes. Speak to your GP if you’re struggling to lose weight.

What if I already have a serious health condition?

You will find it very difficult to get life insurance if you’ve already been diagnosed with certain diseases or conditions, such as:

  • Aggressive cancers (e.g. stage four),
  • Huntington’s disease (or if you’re a Huntington’s gene carrier),
  • Motor neuron disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), or
  • Multiple sclerosis.

An insurer can only deny you cover if they have statistical data that explains why you’re too risky to insure.

If you’re convinced you’re life insurance application hasn’t been given a ‘fair shake’, compare providers against one another. This is also the best way to ensure you find the best policy with the most complete cover for your situation.

First things first: learn the most important information about life insurance. Then, compare policies using our life insurance comparison service.

The information provided here is general only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before you decide to purchase a product, it is important to read the relevant PDS.