Life insurance, the traditional wisdom holds, is easy to obtain when you’re young and healthy, but can be difficult to obtain (or prohibitively expensive) as you age or experience health problems.
Is it worth considering, then, if you’re not in good health?
The traditional wisdom is, to a great extent, true. The cheapest rates for life insurance, which are considered select or preferred rates, are available only to those individuals who are healthy themselves and who have a family history of good health. These rates exclude individuals who take certain medications (such as heart medications), who are grossly overweight, who smoke, or who engage in risky activities such as skydiving.
If you fall into one or more of those categories, you could pay 50 percent more than preferred rates for your life insurance.
You can still get life insurance
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get life insurance; it may just cost more – a lot more! For that reason, it’s generally a good idea to get advice before you buy. One insurance company may charge much less than another insurance company simply because its underwriters estimate the risk of your condition differently.
One word to the wise: Don’t lie about negative information that may raise your rates, even if you think you can get away with it. (Who will know that you smoke, you might think.) Insurance companies will investigate suspicious claims, and if your insurer discovers that you lied on your application, it will deny the claim. Your heirs could even be tied up in court for years.
Your best option: A knowledgeable advisor or agent can be helpful in this regard, and they will know which companies are best to work with given your conditions, and those which can navigate you through the application process for a nonstandard policy.