Buying life insurance is a common sense purchase that needn’t be the reason for too much soul searching, but there’s no reason why the process can’t be an opportunity to take stock of a few things. In fact, in terms of your health and wellbeing, it can make excellent financial as well as personal sense to think about a few of these things and follow some tips for good health.
Many – but not all – life insurance companies will take certain health factors into account when calculating your premiums. Some – such as your age and gender –are beyond your control, but others include your weight, smoking and any history of ill health, could be something you can improve on.
Tips for Good Health:
Know Your BMI: If your insurer is interested in your health outlook, checking your weight is likely to be one of their first ports of call. Often they’ll ask for your height and weight in order to calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you fall into the overweight or obese categories, you’re likely to pay a higher premium than somebody in the recommended weight range. So if you’re just above, maybe now is a good time to shift that pesky weight and use the opportunity to save some money as an incentive.
If you’re not sure of your body mass index (BMI), you can calculate it by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres, and then dividing the answer by your height again. So, say you’re 1.77 metres (5ft 10) and weigh 76kgs (around 12 stone).
76 / 1.77 = 42.9 (rounded up). 42.9 / 1.77 = 24.2
So your BMI in this case would be 24.2. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered healthy; any higher or lower is considered over or underweight, which could affect your premiums. It’s worth consulting your GP to confirm your BMI though, as it isn’t a fool proof system. For example if you carry a lot of muscle mass, this could give you a misleadingly high BMI, although most insurers would take this into account.
Cutting Down the Weight: Being overweight can also lead to health problems such as diabetes, which in addition to being dangerous, could further push up your premiums, as it is associated with earlier mortality. If you have been warned that your weight places you at a diabetes risk, it is highly recommended that you address this issue with the advice of your GP.
Not Smoking: Giving up smoking is arguably the easiest way to make a swift improvement in your general health. The medical examination many insurers will ask you to submit to can determine whether you’re still a smoker, so simply ticking the non-smoker box is unlikely to cut it! Besides, ridding yourself of this habit will save you money and could significantly improve the quality of your life. Most GPs run free support groups for people trying to quit smoking, so it isn’t something you need to undertake alone.
For some people of course, health problems are just a fact of life. If you do fall into a category that is likely to lead to higher premiums and there isn’t much you can do about it, consider looking for insurers who don’t ask you to submit to a medical or answer any questions on your health. There are many reputable life insurance companies to choose from, and no matter what your circumstances, the right one is out there to offer you the protection and peace of mind that you need.
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