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How Life Insurance Ratings Affect the Price of Life Insurance

Medical conditions and life insurance ratings

Learn how medical conditions can affect your life insurance rating and the price you pay for insurance.

Most people are confused by how a life insurance company will rate a person.

It’s often a dilemma for those who are applying for a life insurance policy because they are not sure how much they will end up paying.

There are many people with medical conditions who are afraid to apply for fear of how their health condition will be viewed by the life insurance company.  That is where we can help.  We specialize in getting people approved for life insurance coverage, even with serious health conditions, at the lowest price possible.

Let’s take a look at the various life insurance ratings along with examples of various health conditions that might affect these ratings.

How Life Insurance Company Ratings Vary

One thing to keep in mind is that not all life insurers are the same. Some companies are more liberal when it comes to certain health conditions than other companies, while others are much more conservative in their approach.

Also, some insurers are slower than other insurers in responding and changing how they rate people when it comes to rapid medical advancements that continually improve our overall health.

The tables used by insurers also vary. This is why it is very important that you use the services of an independent agent. We can advise you on the health rating particular to your medical condition. We can also find you the most lenient insurer with the most affordable rates.

A person’s rating can also be impacted by lifestyle factors, family history, risky professional occupations and hobbies. Insurers will also examine your driving history and can take into account how many speeding tickets you have recently accumulated along with any recent DUI’s for example.

Basic life Insurance Ratings

There are several basic life insurance ratings which are used by the majority of life insurance companies and they include:

Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco
• Preferred Non-Tobacco
• Standard Plus Non-Tobacco
• Standard Non-Tobacco
• Substandard Non-Tobacco
• Preferred/Standard Tobacco

Let’s look at these ratings in greater detail so you will have a better idea of exactly what they mean and what type of health situations the insurers are looking at when an underwriter rates you.

Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco Rating

This is the top premier rating that any person applying for life insurance could hope to achieve. Typically, you are in excellent health and have a good height to weight ratio.  Preferred Plus Non-tobacco ratings will pay the lowest premium for their life insurance.

You may qualify for this rating with some insurers even if you have a “slight” elevation in cholesterol and blood pressure. Approval may be given for this rating by some insurers even if you are taking medication to control this “slight” elevation. Generally speaking you should not be anymore than 10 – 15 pounds overweight.

You may also be considered for this rating if have very mild asthma or anxiety which is well controlled. Some companies may also extend this coverage to those who smoke an “occasional” cigar.

Preferred Non-Tobacco Rating

This is the second best rating. This rating can be extended to individuals who are in excellent health but who may have a “very mild” health condition or individuals who are slightly overweight.

You can have mild health conditions such as slightly elevated cholesterol or blood pressure levels but they must be “well under control” with medication. You may also qualify for this rating if you have a family history of heart attack, sleep apnea, or you are an international traveler, and if you have “controlled” anxiety or depression.

Standard Plus Non-Tobacco Rating

This rating will be extended by underwriters to those individuals they believe will have a better than average life expectancy. It may be extended to people who are as much as 40 pounds overweight and occasionally use tobacco products other than cigarettes which include pipe smoking and infrequently smoke cigars.

Standard Non-Tobacco Rating

This rating is given to those individuals who are expected to have an average life expectancy. This rating encompasses a much broader range of health conditions providing those health conditions are well controlled.

This health rating also encompasses those who engage in recreational marijuana use, and those who have received as many as 4 speeding tickets. You may also receive this rating even if you are as much as 50 pounds overweight.

Substandard Non-Tobacco Rating

This rating is typically available for any individual who has a “moderate” health condition which is not life threatening, but which is well controlled by medication.

Many insurers also break down the substandard rating in as many as 10 additional substandard “classes” which encompasses more severe situations based on how the health condition is classified and includes”
Diabetes 1
• Multiple Sclerosis
Crohn’s Disease
• COPD (Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
• PTSD
History of Heart Disease
• Other health conditions

You may also be placed in one these classifications if you have incurred a recent DUI or DWI.

Preferred/Standard Tobacco Rating

Many, but not all insurers have 2 tobacco ratings for smokers which include either “preferred tobacco rating” or “standard tobacco rating”, but this does not apply to every company. A “preferred” tobacco rating may be given to someone who indulges in tobacco use occasionally. Otherwise you may be relegated to a standard or other rating depending on your nicotine consumption habits and overall health and age.

Can You Get a Better Life Insurance Rating?

The answer is yes. There are many ways that a person can take charge of their own lifestyle and improve their life insurance rating. This could include changing your diet to reduce your weight and cholesterol levels. You could quit smoking or using tobacco products altogether.

A person could begin an exercise regime which could reduce their blood pressure, reduce their cholesterol and vastly improve their overall health.

Generally, this process may not occur overnight and the insurer would like to see some consistency and intent that you continue in this healthy manner. Most insurers will likely want to wait as long as a year before they will acknowledge your improved health.

If you have improved your overall health, many insurers will allow you to be medically reevaluated which could give you a better rating and a lower premium.

Even if you have had cancer, insurers take different approaches in how you are rated and depending on the cancer with which were diagnosed, and how well it is being managed. Some cancers such as various types of skin cancer are very treatable. With other types of cancer, you may be required to be cancer free for a period of years before the insurer will consider approving you for a policy.

Can I Get Life Insurance for Life Threatening Health Issues?

Life insurance health ratings

Contact us to find the company that will give you the best rating for your life insurance.

Yes, there are policies which are available for those have life threatening health issues. They are known as “Guaranteed Issue” policies. They do not require you take a medical exam so you can get coverage regardless of your health issues.

The downside for these policies is that they are more expensive than traditional life insurance policies and have lower available death benefits coverage.

Many of these policies also have a waiting period where you must survive for up to 2 or 3 years before the policy would pay the full death benefit to your beneficiary.  However, companies often offer a return of premium plus a decent amount of interest if death occurs within the first couple of years.  The full death benefit will be paid from day one if death is from an accident.  These rules will vary by company.  To find out which guaranteed issue policies are available for your situation, please give us a call or use the Ask a Question tab to email us.

How Can I Find Out How I Will be Rated

Your best bet is to speak with an independent agent at Abrams Insurance Solutions. The reason is because we can research the companies and perform the comparison shopping for you saving you time, money and frustration on your life insurance purchase.

We use an underwriting advisor who is familiar with how every life insurance company will view and rate a particular set of health conditions.  He will help guide us to the company that will offer you the best rating and therefore lowest premium for your policy.

Many life insurance agents will shop only one or a handful of companies for your policy. We have access to over 70 life insurers and will shop them all to find you the lowest rate on your life insurance.

If you have questions or need some advice about how you will be rated for your life insurance, please call us at 888-905-0333 or use the Ask a Question tab to send an email. Remember that we work for you and not the life insurance companies and our goal is to find you the best and least expensive policy for your personal circumstances.

About Chris Abrams

Chris and his team work with clients across the country to help them navigate the insurance and financial world. His mission is to help people and businesses have the protection they need at the lowest possible price. He works on behalf of his clients and not the insurance companies. When not researching the latest financial and insurance topics, Chris can be found spending time with his family, traveling, cooking or running on the beach.

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