It stands to reason that the healthier you are, the less risk you are to insurance companies. So when it comes to long-term products such as life cover, your insurer takes into account how well you take care of yourself when calculating your monthly premiums.
When you invest in life insurance, you’ll probably have to go for a mandatory medical check-up and fill in questionnaires about your lifestyle. Here are some of the aspects that will be considered.
At work and play
For example, your age, gender, the type of job you do or hobbies you enjoy are examined. If you’re a fireman, your risk is much higher than if you sit in front of a computer in an office all day. Or, for example, if you collect stamps in your leisure time, your risk is less than somebody who regularly enjoys skydiving.
Of course, you can’t choose your genetics, but among the questions you’ll be asked are whether there is a family history of coronary disease under the age of 55, cancer, or conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The steps you are taking to manage these conditions also come into play in determining your premiums.
Unlike your genetics, this category is behaviour based. Being overweight, for instance, increases your chances of developing one or more of the so-called lifestyle conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as do smoking and your alcohol consumption. And of course your insurer will charge you accordingly. Fortunately all these behaviours can be changed, and if you inform your insurance company that you’ve lost weight or have given up smoking and maintain these good habits, they may adjust your contributions downwards.
Anxiety and depression
These two conditions cannot necessarily be controlled, except through medication and professional care. Nonetheless, because they can be debilitating, insurance companies do view them as a risk because they can affect your day-to-day life, such as your ability to earn a living. When it comes to how much you pay, they will take into consideration how long you have had the conditions and how well you manage them, among other things.
Until a few years ago, anyone with HIV didn’t stand a chance of even qualifying for life insurance, as the risk was just impossibly high. But there’s been a shift in the status of HIV from a death sentence to a manageable lifestyle condition. Studies are showing that HIV-positive people who started receiving treatment before they became ill, have a life expectancy at least 80% as long as people who do not have the virus, so insurers are more likely to cover you.
If you’re thinking about taking out a long-term policy such as life insurance, make sure you’re in the best shape possible to improve your financial standing.
By Nicci Botha
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.