High Risk Life Insurance

What is high risk life insurance?

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Our guide explains which health and lifestyle factors life insurers consider 'high risk'.

When insurers determine your life insurance premium, they will take into account what level of ‘risk’ you hold.  Your personal level of risk can be affected by factors such as your age, current health status, or even your job. Insurance companies will identify this by asking you a series of in-depth lifestyle questions.

Age and state of health

Statistically speaking, the older you are – the more likely you are to make a life insurance claim. This is why insurers typically quote higher prices the older you are.  

If you use e-cigarettes, you’ll test positive for nicotine – which means the insurer won’t know if you’re actually smoking tobacco or not. And to be on the safe side (from their point of view), they’ll assume you are. 

A 50-year-old can therefore expect to fall into a higher risk category, and pay a higher premium than a 20-year-old.

Your state of health can also put you into a high-risk insurance category. If you suffer from a serious medical condition and decide to take out life insurance, an insurance provider could decide to exclude said condition from your policy. This way they don’t then have to pay out should that same medical condition be a cause of death.

With a less serious condition, such as high blood pressure, the condition might not be excluded, but the premium would be higher to reflect the risks.

Lifestyle choices

Insurers want to know about your lifestyle, too. You are more likely to pay higher premiums if you are:

  • Overweight
  • A heavy drinker
  • A smoker
  • Or, if you partake in adrenaline sports/hobbies.

By quitting smoking or losing weight, you can then benefit from cheaper premiums.

If you use e-cigarettes, you’ll test positive for nicotine – which means the insurer won’t know if you’re actually smoking tobacco or not. And to be on the safe side (from their point of view), they’ll assume you are. 

They might not contain any tobacco, but the lack of objective medical evidence of the long-term health benefits of e-cigarettes makes it difficult for insurers to assess the risks. People who smoke e-cigarettes are therefore classed as smokers by the insurance industry.

Read: Life insurance for smokers

Risk factors

Where you live

It may seem surprising, but even your postcode can have an effect on your life insurance premium. Statistics suggest some postcodes are riskier than others because due to the unhealthy lifestyle choices of the people that live there.

Your job

Similarly, your job can also have an impact on your lifespan, and therefore insurance premiums. For example, oil workers or members of the armed forces are seen as particularly high-risk. 

What factors affect life insurance costs

Honest answers

You don’t always need to undergo a medical examination when you apply for life insurance, though your insurer might ask for permission to contact your GP.

It’s always important to give full and honest answers to any questions. If you try to conceal any relevant information, you could invalidate the policy. It would then not pay out in the event of a claim.

Compare premiums

Premiums vary from insurer to insurer so it’s a good idea to shop around for life cover. MoneysuperMarket’s independent site is one of the easiest ways to compare premiums, helping you to find the best policy at the best price. But don’t cancel an old policy until you are sure the new one is in place, or you could be left without cover if any difficulties arise.

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