Coming to grips with your mortality is frightening enough without worrying how much life insurance will cost.
If you're concerned about how your health, your family history or your preexisting conditions will affect your chances of being insured, don't be so nervous.
The folks at InsuranceQuotes.com note that an iffy family medical history might have less impact than what you think on what you pay for life insurance. Even a family history of cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks and other medical conditions doesn't mean you'll get shut out of decent coverage if you're relatively healthy."What it can do is keep you from getting perhaps the best or highest health rating," says Scott Cody, a financial planner with Latitude Financial Group in Denver, Colo., told InsuranceQuotes.
A lower health rating means that you might pay up to 20% more for your coverage. When you apply for a fully underwritten life insurance policy — one that requires you to take a physical, give a blood sample and provide a urine sample — you'll also be asked a series of questions from your insurance provider that will include questions about your family's health history. Usually, it will ask if your immediate relatives have had cancer or suffered heart attacks before they reached the age of 60 or 65 -- and by "immediate," they mean your mother, father and siblings.
The things that concern them most are health problems and death. If one of your parents had a heart attack after they retired, that isn't great. If they had one in their 40s -- or if both had heart attacks -- that's a huge issue. Family history of cancer gets the same scrutiny, but companies tend to parse out cancer related to genetics and that created to lifestyle choices. Your dad's lung cancer from smoking two packs a day won't affect you if you're a nonsmoker.The same type of reasoning holds true for a family history of cancer. Insurers will look at how much a family history of cancer can be attributed to genetics and how much to lifestyle choices. For instance, if your mother developed lung cancer because she smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, your insurer might not ding you if you are a non-smoker.
If your family's health history is a mess of genetic abnormalities, high blood pressure and the like, there are life insurance policies that don't require exams. Granted, they cost a lot more, but that cost might be worth it if you're worried about being uninsured altogether. You could also work with an independent insurance broker -- one who doesn't work with one insurance company -- to search for the best rates for your particular situation.
Nonprofit organization Life Happens -- supported by 140 insurance companies and financial service organizations -- found that 80% of consumers have no idea what life insurance costs. Members of Generation X think it's 119% higher than what it is, while Millennials misjudged the average cost by 213%.