Why It is Important to Determine Your Life Insurance Health Class/Risk Classification

Determine your Insurance Health Class

Your life insurance class rating is a key factor in calculating how much you will pay for life insurance coverage. Understanding how these ratings work, and what they mean for your policy options, will help you determine the best coverage for your needs.

What is a Health Class for Life Insurance?

Life insurance health ratings are levels used by life insurance companies to determine what rate will be used to calculate your premium. The ratings generally fall into four classes: preferred plus, preferred, standard plus, and standard. These rating class names and the factors that determine your class can vary between insurers while many follow similar rules. You’ll be placed into a class based on a number of factors based around your health and lifestyle.

Life insurance classifications

Life insurance companies each have their own formula for deciding which level of life insurance rate class you fit into. There are a number of factors but in general, your life insurance health class is determined by your age, current health, and past medical history in addition to some lifestyle choices. All of these factors are evaluated as part of your application for life insurance. Many people are surprised to learn that in addition to their medical history, they will also be required to disclose information on activities that they partake in either regularly or occasionally. This lifestyle information is used along with your health data to determine the risk that you will pass away during the policy coverage term.

A Medical Exam is usually required as part of the life insurance application process. The results of your medical exam are critical in the underwriting decision as they relate directly to guidelines for insurance rates. The primary reason your risk class is important is the better the life insurance risk category, the lower the cost of your insurance premium. The various life insurance classes typically include:

  • Best Class/Preferred Plus: This is considered the best category one can obtain for a life insurance health rating. Most people in this category do not have a poor health history; they are not taking any medications, and they are within the guidelines for height and weight. You are healthy and have no family history of diseases. Only about 5% of people qualify for this class.
  • Preferred: This is considered the second best category to reach in life insurance health classes. You are deemed to be in excellent health with a few minor health issues that may be treated with medication, such as controlled cholesterol. You are within the guidelines for height and weight. You may have a family history of cancer or other diseases. You also participate in dangerous occupations such as risk sports or risky work occupations.
  • Standard Plus: You are considered to be in better than average health, but you may have minor health issues. You may be slightly over the height and weight guide, but you also have no family history of diseases.
  • Standard: Although this may be in the bottom of the four general life insurance health classes, it is considered to be the most common category. You are of average health and take multiple medications. Your height and weight guidelines do not meet the requirements, and you have a family history of cancer or other diseases.

Qualifying for the Best Life Insurance Rate

Many of the factors that determine your life insurance rate class are outside of your control. Some like personal and family medical history, you can not influence but your lifestyle choices can significantly impact the premium amount paid. Key areas that are factors in determining your rate:

  • Your weight: Your body mass index (BMI) should be within the recommended range. This means that your weight should be considered healthy for your height.
  • Smoking: Smoking significantly impacts your rate.
  • Your cholesterol: Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can keep your rate lower.
  • Your blood pressure: Your blood pressure needs to be in the recommended range to keep your premiums low.
  • Your driving history: Keep your driving record clean. Reckless drivers are considered a higher risk for life insurance. Avoiding driving offenses can help reduce your rate.
  • Your leisure activities: People who participate in high-risk activities such as snowboarding or skydiving will likely pay higher premiums.

Note that not all insurers will treat these factors equally. IntelliQuote® can help you find the right insurer for your needs and budget.

Using Health Impairment Tables to Predict Your Health Insurance Rate Class

You must meet certain health and risk requirements to qualify for the best rates. We’ve created two health impairment tables, one for nicotine users and one for non-nicotine users, to help you determine which class you will most likely fit into. The information in these tables is based on health classes used by some of the major life insurance companies. However, it’s important to remember that the qualifying factors may vary between different insurers.

The Life Insurance Health Impairment table below is a general guide to some of the most common health impairments and how each relates to life insurance classes. Choose the Life Insurance Health Impairment table below that best applies to you. Be aware that smoking can have a direct impact in determining your health rating and your resulting life insurance rates.

  • NON-Tobacco and NON-Nicotine Users
    Refer to this table if you have not used cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, nicotine patches or nicotine gum in the last 12 months.
  • Tobacco and Nicotine Users
    Refer to this table if you have used cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, nicotine patches or nicotine gum in the last 12 months.

Be aware that underwriting requirements vary by company. Final rates may also vary based on additional information gathered during the underwriting process. You can quickly calculate your health rating with the Health Class Estimator to determine your proper underwriting class.

For help finding affordable life insurance coverage use IntelliQuote’s online quoting service to compare premiums and plans from many of the best-rated insurers.