Your Medical History and Life Insurance

Once you start shopping for life insurance, it’s important to understand how the pricing may vary. Most companies are in the business to make money and a life insurance company is no different. The insurance company will determine how much risk you pose to them. Certain conditions ill raise your premium and other conditions will ensure that you get the best premium. Knowing how your overall health will affect your life insurance options can help you make better buying decisions.

Now, insurance companies typically won’t just turn you away and say they don’t want to insure you. It’s much more profitable to evaluate the risk and charge you a premium that is appropriate to the risk. Certain medical conditions will raise your premium more than other conditions and some activities within your control can reduce the price.

Heart Disease

The number one condition that may affect what kind of policy you are offered and at what premium you pay is heart disease. Some factors that contribute to the risk of heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The life insurance company knows this and adjusts the premium you pay accordingly.


Cancer is another health condition that will affect your options. The life insurance company will examine your medical records to know when the cancer was diagnosed. They will look to see if the cancer spread to other parts of your body, and whether lymph nodes were involved. They will ask what stage and grade the cancer was. They will find out what type of treatment you had and how successful the treatment was. As if having cancer isn’t tough enough, the answers to these questions will drastically affect what options become available and the price you will pay.


Another condition that affects life insurance is obesity. Sadly, the condition is an epidemic in our country, and it affects more than just our looks. Most people know that eating cupcakes and hamburgers can pack on pounds fast, but another troubling effect is what they do to your life insurance premiums.

A study done by the American Medical Association showed that 280,000 people die each year because of excess weight. Life insurance companies use rating tables that outline the ideal weight for men and women based on height. If you don’t fit nicely into the limits of the table, your premium will be higher.

Now you may be healthy with the ideal weight and have had no serious problems, but someone in your immediate family may have or had these medical conditions. Guess what? It will affect what options are available to you and how much your premium will be on that new life policy. This may not sound fair, but it is no surprise that when the life insurance company sees these things in your family history, they assume it will affect you as well.

Be Truthful

Knowing that these various conditions can raise your premium, you may be tempted to fudge the truth a little on the application. Don’t do it! The insurance company will scour your medical history and will find it out anyway. If you pass away unexpectedly before that happens, your claim can be denied because you didn’t supply the proper rating information.


Heart disease, cancer or obesity in your medical record or your family’s record can negatively affect your life insurance options, but you can take action to minimize trouble. One of the easiest is to exercise. Studies consistently show that exercising for 30 minutes every day makes people healthier and extends their lives. As an added bonus, it can help combat some of those medical conditions already mentioned and make you feel more energetic.

Eat Healthfully

Another thing that you can do to improve your overall health and ensure you get the best premium is to eat well. By practicing portion control and eating healthy foods, you can make a big difference in your weight and health. You can still eat those things you have been eating, just instead of a eating a whole bag of chips in one sitting, pour some into a small bowl and eat only one portion. When it comes to eating and weight control it’s really all about the amount of calories you eat. If you couple eating right with daily exercise, you will see the results in your overall health even faster.

By being a little proactive now, you can positively affect your life insurance options in the future. Honestly, your family doesn’t really want your life insurance money. They want you around as long as they can keep you. The same activities that help control your life insurance premiums will help you stick around longer for your family.

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