"Fun is like life insurance; the older you get, the more it costs." —Kin Hubbard

One of the biggest questions when it comes to life insurance is this: How do they set my rate?

We wish there was an easy answer, but rates are calculated individually, based on your medical history, your age, and other factors that separate you from the crowd. Because of this, there's really no such thing as average life insurance rates.

Trusted Quote has helped more than half a million families get insured over the past 40 years. We're a family-owned and operated company located in Roseville, California. We believe in family, and that's why we want to see yours protected against financial hardship should something happen to you. Read on to see how life insurance rates are calculated, or click the orange button below to get a free quote.

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What factors affect my life insurance rate?

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Your health, medical history, exercise habits, and tobacco use all affect your life insurance rate.
  • Your personal medical history
    • Insurers want to know how healthy you are—it's how they estimate risk. Insuring a healthy person is less of a risk for them than insuring a person with cancer, for example. That doesn't mean a person with cancer can't get insured, but it means they will pay more for their coverage. Insurers want to know whether you've had any major surgeries or illnesses that might affect your life expectancy. The things they're looking for include cancer, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Family history
    • Many health problems are genetic, so an insurer is going to want to know whether your immediate family members have a history of any chronic disease, cancer, or diabetes. Looking at family history can also work on the positive side for you. If your parents lived long, healthy lives (or are still living), that's a big plus for you. Even if one or both of your parents had one of these conditions, you can still show an insurer that you're taking steps to protect your health. Provide a medical history that shows regular check-ups, attention to your doctor's orders, and a current clean bill of health.
  • Exercise frequency
    • It's no secret that exercise (and a healthy diet) plays a role in your overall health, in addition to the genes you inherited from your parents. An insurer will ask how often you work out, and what you do when you work out. Remember, working out doesn't have to mean pumping iron. You can jog, bike, hike, do yoga or Pilates, dance, play tennis, play soccer, or even do gardening or vigorous housework. If scrubbing floors and showers by hand isn't a workout, I don't know what is. Think of all the things you do that get your body moving and your blood pumping. Taking the dog for a brisk walk around the block counts, too.
  • Height/weight ratio
    • Insurers want to see someone who is height/weight proportionate. While they know it's difficult (if not impossible) to pinpoint a "healthy" weight for each individual, they use your height and weight as a general indicator of how healthy you're likely to be. To get an idea of where you stand, you might want to get familiar with your BMI (body mass index), a ratio that estimates your body fat based on your height and weight.
  • Tobacco use
    • Insurers want to know if you smoke, and if not, whether you ever smoked in the past. It's no secret that non-smokers get lower rates. But how and when you smoke can have an effect on your rates, too. Some insurers differentiate between frequent and occasional smokers. Others make distinctions between cigarette smokers and the person who has an occasional cigar. It's possible to use tobacco infrequently and still qualify for "preferred smoker" rates. All you can do here is be honest when answering the question about your tobacco use. Remember, there's a medical exam as part of the application process. Insurers will probably find out if you lie on your application.
  • Credit history
    • It may seem weird that an insurer wants to know about your spending habits, but they see it as an overall reflection of how risky it would be to insure you. If you've had credit trouble, you can always include an explanation of that trouble with your application. Sometimes credit history is just a reflection of a bad economy and unfortunate circumstances. Insurers know this, and you always have the option to dispute anything that's incorrect on your credit report.
  • Driving record
    • This is another one that may seem weird at first. It works like your credit history—insurers want to know how big a risk you are to insure. They use a driving record as a sort of general indicator for this. A good record will help them see you deserve a lower rate. A bad record isn't the end of the world.

Once an insurer has looked at all of the issues described above, they will offer you a rate that reflects the amount of risk they think they're taking when they insure you. Remember, you're under no obligation to accept that offer. Most of the time, that number is going to match up with the quote you received. If it doesn't, however, we'll work with you to see if another insurer could offer a lower rate.

Can I do anything to change my rate?

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We'll help you find low rates by searching more than 40 carriers.

As a matter of fact, you can! There are several things you can try, depending on whether you're still shopping for a policy or have already purchased your policy.

If you're shopping around:

  • Get quotes from different insurers. It may seem strange, but three insurance companies can look at the same person with the same medical history and offer three different rates. Just because one company offers you a rate doesn't mean that's what you'll get from another. When you shop with Trusted Quote, we do this part for you! Our quoter takes your information and searches through policies offered by more than 40 of the nation's top carriers. You'll always see the best rates on top of your results.
  • Work with an agent who knows the ropes. If you have a health problem or a family history of health problems, don't worry. We've helped people with less than perfect health qualify for low rates and high-quality coverage. We've been around long enough to know which insurers have done their homework with regard to smoking, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions that cause problems for life insurance applicants. Some agents just want an easy commission. If you have health or age challenges, they're not willing to put in the time to help you get covered. Trusted Quote is different. We don't think anyone should be excluded because their case takes a little extra work.
  • Follow the advice in our article, 7 Secrets to Save Big Money on Your Life Insurance Policy.

If you've already purchased your policy:

  • Take a look at your lifestyle. Is there something you could change that would affect your overall health? Good examples include quitting tobacco and losing weight. Our video explains more about how changes in your health and lifestyle can affect your life insurance rate:

If you're ready to compare life insurance rates, click the orange button! We'll give you instant quotes for the policy you need from the country's top-rated insurers. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call. We're available at 800-823-4852, M-F 8-5 (Pacific time).

Click Here for Life Insurance Quotes!