Most people leave behind many of their bad habits after adolescence. However, if you’re well into adulthood and still smoking, driving recklessly, overweight or out of shape or paying your bills late you’ll probably be paying a lot more for Life and Health insurance.
Here are some costly behaviors to avoid:
- Smoking. Many people start to smoke as teenagers. Kicking the habit is a good idea at any age – but when it comes to insurance rates, the sooner the better because of the health risks involved. “Smoking absolutely raises your Life Insurance Premiums,” says Maureen Leydon, vice president and chief underwriter for MetLife in Boston. “Depending on your overall risk profile, your rates could more than double.”
- Reckless driving. If you have driving tickets and are accident-prone, your premiums could increase because the insurance company will factor in anything that can impact your longevity to determine your rate. “The amount of the increase depends on the number of violations or accidents, the severity and how recent they are,” says Leydon. “A DUI will usually increase your premium for Term Life insurance by $2.50 or $3.50 per $1,000 of coverage.”
- Being out of shape. “We look at your height and weight as well as other factors.” notes Leydon “However, our definition of overweight might be different from a medical diagnosis. We also look at the potential for other risk factors that come with being overweight such as cardiovascular issues and Type II diabetes.” For example, an overweight 45-year old woman with a $500,000 20-year term Life policy might have to pay more than twice as much in premium than a woman whose weight was normal.
- A poor credit record. If insurance companies believe that you won’t be able to make the premium payments, they won’t charge you more – but they might reject you for coverage.
The bottom line: Avoid bad habits to lower your premiums, and enjoy a longer and healthier life!