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Life insurance companies will charge you lower premiums if you are considered a PREFERRED RISK…which essentially is a BETTER risk than the NORMAL population. The question is then asked as to what QUALIFIES you as a PREFERRED RISK or even BETTER…. a PREFERRED PLUS? While each life insurance company has its own criteria, below are some of the major areas that will factor into your “rating” class.

Height & Weight

Most carriers utilize the BMI (Body Mass Index) as a benchmark but a very important distinction is that extra ½ inch. Most people do not report themselves in ½ inch increments when asked about their height, nor does your driver’s license indicate that. To an Underwriter at a life insurance company, the “charts” are in round numbers like 5’ 9”. If your HEIGHT is actually 5’ 9 ½ inches, then you should report it as such in your telephone interview or make sure your insurance examiner actually MEASURES you instead of simply taking the measurement off your driver’s license. The underwriters will consider someone at 5’ 9 ½” as being 5’ 10” on their underwriting chart which may allow you an extra few pounds of WEIGHT in the BMI calculation and may even save you MONEY by moving you UP in an underwriting class….from Preferred to Preferred PLUS for example.

As we go further into this underwriting process, you will see how important your Height/Weight measurements are in this underwriting equation and then think about the last time you visited your physician’s office. Did you remove your shoes or even your coat before the your weight was noted on the medical chart?

Health History

Of course, your medical history will weigh heavily into your underwriting “class” so it is necessary to have accurate information about your history. We like to recommend that you verify some information with a phone call to your physician’s office prior to your telephone interview. Important items during the interview will include:

  • Date of the last visit and why were you seen?
  • Height/Weight and Blood Pressure reading recorded at your last visit
  • Medical History – any “impairments” as the underwriters call them such as high cholesterol
  • Medications prescribed – please have names of any medications and dosages available
  • Family History (Parents and Siblings) – this plays a vital role in longevity considerations
  • Tobacco History – Do you smoke now? Ever? How Much?
  • Other – Marijuana, Cigar Use, other tobacco products like chew, smokeless, or vaping**

**Use of these products requires special consideration by underwriting departments, but it is ALWAYS important that you tell the truth. Certain life insurance companies are more lenient in their underwriting risk assessments in this area so please contact us specifically for guidance on the “best” Life Company for consideration of your specific uses.

Our goal at Family Tree of Life is to get you the life insurance protection you need for your family at the lowest possible price. Certainly, not everyone is a PREFERRED RISK but everyone THINKS they are….just as everyone thinks they are “good drivers”.

The Underwriters have guidelines for assessing risk classes so please do your best to provide them with enough information to help assess your risk in the best possible light. If you exercise every day? Tell them. If your diet is healthy? Tell them. If you have never had a speeding ticket? Tell them. They rely on the answers you give them. If you need to have an insurance exam (FREE TO YOU!), you will have bloodwork and urine testing which includes nicotine and drug screening. We have Exam Prep guidelines for you.