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Age

Millennials

For many millennials, life insurance is far down on the totem pole of their financial goals. Many are immersed in seemingly more pressing goals like beating down their student debt, advancing in their careers, and on top of that working to afford a house and start a family. However, life insurance is an essential piece of a millennial’s financial puzzle, providing protection to the other financial goals that they are working towards.

In general, many carriers are friendly towards millennials as most are rather young and live active and healthy lives. Overall; Banner, Lincoln, and Principal tend to offer the best rates for millennials, but this can vary greatly on your state of residence, face amount, term length, as well as personal risk factors.

Generation X-ers

While life insurance is traditionally bought earlier in life when one buys a house, gets married, or has kids, that doesn’t mean that’s the only time. Many people also need life insurance later in life, whether they’re shopping for the first time, replacing an expiring policy, or losing coverage due to a job change. Often as you get older you don’t get healthier, Gen X-ers may be facing new health challenges that they hadn’t 10 years ago. In addition to possible health impairments, life insurance rates also increase with your age.

With that being said, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get good rates if you are in your 40’s/50’s and have health issues. There are many carriers that are lenient to those in the generation x age range as well as more lenient toward those with larger builds and certain conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Baby Boomers

Many baby boomers may think it’s too late to pursue life insurance at their age, fearing that they may not be able to get coverage and if they do rates will be astronomically high. In reality, there are many carriers that still offer coverage to baby boomers who are relatively healthy. For those that are not in good health, there are products that are guaranteed. While more expensive, they are good options for those who otherwise do not have any other options. Additionally, many baby boomers may have supplemental coverage they purchased through work or group benefits that maybe increasing in costs as they get older. That’s a great time to compare to an independent policy.

Health

Diabetes

Diabetes and even borderline diabetes can play a large factor in what rate you receive and which carrier is more likely to give you a better offer based on your diabetes. In looking at the risks associated with diabetes, the carrier takes into account your age, type of diabetes, current A1C level, medication, and treatment.

Also whether its Type 1 VS. Type 2, when you were diagnosed, and how you are managing the diabetes plays a huge role in the approval outcome.

Diabetes is a complex risk factor that can carry a multitude of issues as well as complications. Depending on your scenario, your risk class can vary greatly so it is best to reach out to us for the most accurate info especially as certain insurance companies regularly change their guidelines.

High cholesterol

High cholesterol is one of the most common risk factors that we run into. Given that it’s a common risk, many insurance are lenient to towards high cholesterol. That said some are far more lenient than others. Life insurance carriers look at your total cholesterol – to – HDL ratio as well as your total blood cholesterol levels. The typical benchmark that they use to determine “high cholesterol” is a total amount of cholesterol of greater than 200 with a total cholesterol to HDL ratio greater than 5.

Typically carriers like Prudential among others are lenient towards high cholesterol. However, this is subject to change as carriers tend to change guidelines from time to time. Another reason to have a brief call or communicate with a member of our team before applying.

Sleep apnea and sleep disorders

Sleep apnea and sleep disorders are another common health factor that we see and work with on a weekly basis. Many times an applicant will have a sleep study done, be prescribed a CPAP machine, wear it for a week and find that it does more harm than good. Before they know it they stop wearing it completely. While this progression may be logical, it raises a red flag for the insurance carrier. Why? Because the insurance carrier sees this as not following the doctor’s recommendations which makes insurance carriers nervous.

Some diagnosis may be mild enough not to warrant a C-pap. Can’t remember if you were prescribed or advised to wear a C-pap? Be sure to check you medical records if possible as the life insurance carriers will base their decision on whatever is in the doctor’s notes. So if the doctor recommended a C-pap, they will expect you to be wearing a C-pap. You may be able to explain this through other means such as weight loss and diet changes but reviewing with our team before applying is always best. Mild sleep apnea can sometimes qualify for Preferred or better, while severe sleep apnea can be Standard or even a table rating. Depending on severity, choice of best carriers can vary so contact us today to see where you fall.

Again, guidance before applying and using an experienced team like ours that knows this risk factor well is the key to the most competitive offer.

Depression or Anxiety

With mental health becoming more of a primary focus in society, treatment for depression and anxiety has never been more progressive. With breakthrough treatments and studies being released in the past decade, many life insurance carriers are using this now vast amount of data available to devise more accurate ratings for those with depression and anxiety.

The primary factor that carriers look at is your treatment/medication. Are you actively seeking help and are in coordination with your doctor? Are you seeing a therapist? Are you taking your medications? This is what the insurance carriers want to see.

More so, in looking at specifics, carriers will want to know what medications you are on, the dosage, and how long you have been on this medication. Ideally, carriers will want to see 2-3 years of stability on your medication. If this is not your scenario, don’t worry you may still be eligible for good rates.

Cancer

Cancer can be a tricky risk factor to navigate, chances are if you are currently in treatment for cancer then you will not be able to purchase term life insurance. However, that doesn’t mean you are ineligible for any coverage, that just means you may have to explore guaranteed issue products. We work with these products as well and would be happy to help you explore options in that field as well.

Much like other risk factors, life insurance carriers want to see stability in your condition, for most types of cancers carriers will generally want to see 3-5 years since your date of remission.

With the variety of cancer diagnoses and factors, it’s hard to say which carries are best since there are many that are lenient to some forms of cancer more than others.

The best thing to do would be to reach out to our team so we can give you the most accurate answer with the latest info on carriers that would be best for you.

Lifestyle

Smokers

The use of nicotine products currently or typically within the last 2-5 years will surely raise your rates. Insurance companies will give you smoker rates for any use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigar, pipe, and even vaping devices.

Carriers can be more lenient with rates for occasional or celebratory cigar smokers, which generally amounts to one cigar a month.

A smoker rating can greatly affect your rates, and can cost up to 2 to 3 times the amount of a non-smoker rating.

Carriers will ask you about your nicotine usage on the formal application, as well as scan you blood and urine for nicotine during the medical exam. Carriers will check your blood and urine for trace of nicotine and cotinine which your body produces when it metabolizes nicotine. While nicotine can only last in your blood and urine for a few days, cotinine can last in your blood and urine for more than a week.

Former smokers

You will not be eligible for best rates until you have been completely nicotine free for generally 2-5 years. However, this does not mean that you should wait to get insurance until then. In many cases, we will put a policy in place for a former smoker, and then replace that policy in a year or so when they are eligible for best rates. This way should something happen, they have some coverage in place.

As with every risk factor, there are certain carriers that are more lenient with smoker/former smokers.

Scuba divers

Those who frequently scuba dive will need to fill out an extra questionnaire requesting info on the details on depths of dives, dive frequency, and certifications.

In most cases applicants who scuba dive can still get preferred rates but may need to complete additional requirements.

Ice/mountain climbing

If you participate in Mountain, rock, and ice climbing your rate can be higher depending on the types of climbs and climbing you do.

All insurance carriers will have you complete additional questions to determine the specifics of what type of climbing and frequency of climbing to determine what your rate is.

Depending on your climbing habits, you could be placed into a higher risk class and or assessed a “flat extra” which tacks on an additional amount of premium per every $1,000 in face amount. For instance, if you have $100,000 of coverage and a $3.00 flat extra, you will pay an additional $300 in premiums.

Pilots, former Pilots or Student Pilots

Flying is another hobby that can affect your rates, much like scuba diving or climbing, life insurance carriers will require additional detail about your flying habits.

A few things that life insurance carriers take into account are:

  • Level of experience, hours flying etc.
  • License held (student pilot vs licensed pilot)
  • Type of aircraft you fly
  • Commercial flight vs recreational flight

Depending on your flight habits, you could be placed into a higher risk class and or assessed a “flat extra” which tacks on and additional amount of premium per every $1,000 in face amount. For instance, if you have $100,000 of coverage and a $3.00 flat extra, you will pay an additional $300 in premiums.

Cannabis and/or CBD use

Are you afraid that your Cannabis or CBD use, or Medical Marijuana Card will be an obstacle to getting a life insurance policy with a good rate or even coverage at all? You are not alone!

The good news is, with the rapid growth and spread of acceptance , legalization and decriminalization of Cannabis use by many states, many life insurance companies are growing more lenient with looking at cannabis use as a risk factor.

In today’s climate, the use of cannabis is becoming more and more prevalent and many carriers have now expanded their parameters to include factoring in frequency of use, type of use (smoking vs. vaping vs. ingesting), and recreational vs medicinal use. This allows for much more accuracy and flexibility in rates received, with some carriers even offering Standard rates or better.

Many carriers have even stopped testing for THC. Don’t let the thought of not being able to get coverage bum you out! We have an expert experienced team to help! Contact us today to see best options and discuss your details with our team confidentially and get guidance before applying.

Recent weight loss

Recent weight loss can certainly make you eligible for better life insurance rates, however, the insurance companies put more emphasis on keeping the weight off than losing it.

Nearly all life insurance carriers will ask if the applicant has lost 10 or more pounds in the last 12 months. If the applicant has lost 10 or more pounds, then the insurance carrier will take your weight before your weight loss and average it out with the weight they record on the medical exam.

However, if you have lost more than 10 lbs and maintained that weight for more than 12 months, then that will be considered your new weight.

Recovering alcoholics or alcohol related issues

Alcoholism carries many added health risks such as

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Liver disease

Much of the underwriting decisions when dealing with alcoholism are based on the medical exam. The blood test portion of the medical exam will look for elevated levels of liver enzymes and other enzymes that are associated with alcoholism.

In some instances, we have had success obtaining coverage for those declined in the past that have made important healthy lifestyle changes.

DUI arrests can also affect your life insurance approval chances. The time frame and circumstances around the arrest can vary greatly and therefore affect what options we have. The good news, we can usually get a good approval especially if you have made changes to your habits and the arrests have not reoccurred.

Again, important to consult with us briefly before applying to assure the best outcome.

Other

Military personnel

Eligibility and rates for Term Life insurance for military personnel relies on four factors:

  • Position in the military
  • Active duty status
  • Pending scheduled employment
  • Stationed location

As long as the applicant can show no plans of deployment in the immediate future, low chances of ever being deployed, and is stationed in the United States, then they are most likely eligible for coverage.

Things can get tricky when the applicant is stationed in another country or has plans of deployment. Plans of future deployment can sometimes be negotiable in looking for any coverage, however, an applicant typically needs to sign the policy in the US.

Visa & Green Card holders

Most Life insurance carriers view green card holders as permanent US residents as they fully intend on becoming US citizens, making them eligible for best risk class.

Some issues may arise with applicants with certain Visa’s. Typically H1B Visa holders can get best rates with specific carriers, however, those who hold other visas may have a harder time showing their intent to stay in the US and therefore be seen as holding less risk.

Like other risk factors, this is one that changes from time-to-time from the carrier’s perspective so be sure to inquire with our team before applying.

High net worth individuals and families

First and foremost, we are not tax advisors or estate attorneys so we always recommend you consult with your tax advisor and estate attorney for detailed guidance on these issues.

Estate Preservation is a major concern to some. Many view life insurance simply as a way to replace income that their dependents rely on should they pass prematurely. While that may be the primary goal for many, life insurance can also serve as an effective tool for estate preservation as well.

The estate Tax which some refer to as the “Death Tax” requires a portion of a higher net worth individual or couple to pay to the State or Federal government within 90 days of the date of death. Currently The estate and gift tax exemption is $11.58 million per individual, up from $11.4 million in 2019. That means an individual can leave $11.58 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax, while a married couple will be able to shield $23.16 million. Those without proper planning can face federal estate taxes as high as 40% in some cases. Once the estate owner passes, their estate currently has 90 days to pay this tax. This can cause massive issues as this money can be tied up in properties, cars, and other illiquid items causing those who inherit the estate to have to fire sale a lot of these items. Not to mention if funds are held in retirement accounts, there is likely additional tax on those assets. Adding more stress to an already stressful time.

One way to strategize against this is to allocate this estate payment with a permanent life insurance policy. If done correctly, this can be the most sound economic strategy to create estate liquidity

Again, an experienced Tax advisor and Estate Attorney will be able to give detailed guidance on these issues.

Ⓒ 2021 Lifestyle Life. Formerly XML Insurance Group, all rights reserved.
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All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Lifestyle Life, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties' informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.