How maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce your life insurance premiums

Lifestyle choices that can affect your health and life insurance rates

Key Facts

Simple rules to keep your health in top shape and your life insurance premiums low:

  • Quit smoking. Smokers will pay as much as double in premium.
  • Keep a healthy diet and maintain your weight.
  • Minimise your alcohol intake. Excessive drinking can lead to health problems in the future.

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There are a number of important lifestyle choices that can have a direct effect on your health and life insurance rates. Some of the lifestyle choices that can have a negative impact by driving up the cost of your health and life insurance premiums include:

1. Smoking

Smoking habits expose you to increased risk of a number of health-related problems, such as lung cancer and heart disease. This makes you a higher risk to insurance firms and will mean higher premiums life insurance plans. Smokers can pay as much as double in premiums.

Who is recognised as a smoker?

A smoker is defined as someone who has not tasted or used nicotine for at least 12 months. You are also considered as a smoker if you are chewing tobacco, smoking with a pipe, or using a nicotine patch. In order to determine this, insurance providers will require a blood test or medical examination; thus, it is best to answer as truthfully as possible during the interview. Failure to answer truthfully can lead to a disqualification for application or eligibility for making a claim.

If you quit smoking now, your premium will begin to decrease, reduced to basic rates after being a non-smoker for one year.

2. Weight

If you are overweight or obese, you will be considered to pose a higher risk to your insurance provider if they choose to provide a life insurance coverage to you. Life insurance companies use the Body Mass Index (BMI) along with measurements to determine how overweight the insured is and whether they fit into the obese category, building a profile based on health risks associated with being overweight.

Obesity can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and specific types of cancer, diabetes, and many more health problems. Therefore, an insurer will add an additional premium to your policy to offset the possibility of a future claim due to the stated health risks.

3. Alcohol consumption

Regular alcohol consumptions that exceeds moderate levels will put yourself at risk of alcohol related health issues. Your life insurance provider will view the level of risk you carry to be higher compared to those who drink alcohol within limits, thus increasing the cost of your life insurance premiums.

Positive lifestyle changes can improve your health and reduce the life insurance premiums you pay

There are a number of lifestyle changes that you can make in order to try and improve your health as well as reduce the premium costs of your life insurance policy. Making these changes may take time, particularly if you have formed certain habits with regards to your lifestyle.

Some of the changes that you can make include:

  • Improving your diet and exercise regime: Eating more healthily and making sure you do some regular exercise can help to boost your health and well-being whilst enabling you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. This in turn can help to reduce the cost of coverage such as life insurance. Some steps include:
    • Staying away from fast foods
    • Eating more vegetables and fruits than processed foods
    • Keeping clear of saturated fats
    • Lower consumption of food with high cholesterol level
    • Eating whole foods (unprocessed)
    • Refraining from white bread
    • Avoiding beverages that contain high level of sugar
    • Drinking at least 2 litres of water everyday.
  • Quitting smoking: Quitting smoking is a very good start towards improving your health and finances. You will not only save on the cost of cigarettes but also on the cost of life insurance coverage. Generally, you will have to have quit for a specified minimum period of time before the lower premiums kick in. On top of all this you also get to enjoy the health benefits of being a non-smoker.
  • Moderating drinking: While some people realise that they may be drinking more heavily compared to others that have a glass or two here, it important to take the time to assess your drinking habits and if necessary reduce them to a healthier level. This effort can offer health benefits, help to reduce weight, and lower your premiums.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is something that we should all aim to do, not only because of the benefits to our health and wellbeing, but also the added benefit of an easier and cheaper life insurance premiums to benefit from an important type of protective insurance cover such as life insurance.

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Maurice Thach

An insurance researcher and writer for who loves finding an answer to the question "Am I covered for ________?" Maurice has also completed a Tier 1 Life Insurance and a Tier 2 General Insurance Certification under ASIC's Regulatory Guide 146. This means he can confidently provide general advice for life insurance and non-life insurance products.

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