Category Archives: Personal Finance

Can You Get Life Insurance if You’re Pregnant?

When you become pregnant, you begin thinking about the world in a different way. Your whole world will soon change forever, and you want to ensure that your child is able to live in a safe environment.  This includes your financial environment.

Often times, we have people ask us the question of: “Can I get life insurance if I am pregnant?” I wanted to take the time to answer this question in depth in order to give pregnant women and their significant others insight into the life insurance coverage options for pregnant women and to protect your young family.

This article helps to answer some frequently asked questions about life insurance for pregnant women.

Common Questions About Life Insurance for Pregnant Women

Can You Get Life Insurance if You Are Pregnant?

Yes. Life insurance companies will not turn you away because you are pregnant. Pregnant women looking for life insurance is not as uncommon as you may think, and thanks to modern technology, pregnancy is not as dangerous as it once was.

Does Being Pregnant Affect Life My Life Insurance Rates?

In most cases, being pregnant typically doesn’t even change the rates you are offered.

The main reason is that your costs are based on your health—specifically things that are going to decrease the longevity of your lifespan. These include heart diseases, smoking, diabetes, etc… Pregnancy does not fall under this category.

However, most insurance companies won’t offer coverage once you pregnancy enters the third trimester.  Also, your pregnancy weight gain might affect your rates so, for that reason, it might make sense to wait.

Should Pregnant Women Get Life Insurance?

It is easy to understand how life insurance becomes a thought once you are pregnant.  You are turning a new leaf and will now need to be more responsible than you have ever been in your life.

As parents having children, it is important to have life insurance for a couple of reasons:

6 Reasons Pregnant Women Should Get Life Insurance 

1. Protect Your Income

If you are pregnant, very shortly you will have your first dependent on your income. Overall, your child depends on your income in order to survive, even for a few years until they are able to fend for themselves.

You want to be able to ensure that your child will have income replacement in the event that you are unable to work, or gone. While it is not something pleasant to think about, it is an important thing to plan for. Life insurance helps you to do this.

2. Life Insurance for Your Child

As a parent also have the option insure your child. While it is tragic to think about, if your child needs medical care, or tragically pass away, this can cause financial turmoil on top of the emotional pain.

You can protect your child while they are young with a policy that is paid for in full and turned over to them when they are an adult. This is sometimes offered as a rider on term and permanent life insurance policies, and can also be purchased separately as its own policy.

3. Cover Debts 

Life insurance also serves as a way to protect your loved ones from inheriting your debt in the event of your death.

Mortgage payments, car loans, outstanding credit card debt, etc… all accounts for this debt. As you plan a family and your family grows, you will likely go through a stage where you accumulate more debt, before your income eventually allows you to chip away at it as you approach retirement.

4. Plan for College

Life insurance can be used as a tool to help plan for college for your child. Life insurance policies for children can be taken out which eventually build cash value and can be handed off to children once they become adults, which in the life insurance world can be between the ages of 18 and 25 (per policy).

With the cost of college increasing every year, life insurance is perfect for pregnant women who plan on sending their children to college.

5. Lock in Low Rates Young

Your age is one of the main factors affecting life insurance rates. When you get pregnant is a great time to get life insurance because you now have more of a need for it than ever before, and you are as young as you will ever be.

If you are in your 20’s, 30’s, or even 40’s and are in good health, and are a non-smoker, you will likely be able to secure very low life insurance rates to protect your young family.

6. Peace of Mind

Despite the fact that this is hard to quantify, peace of mind is one of the greatest things that life insurance provides, especially when you are pregnant, or have a young child.

Life insurance helps give pregnant women and new parents the peace of mind of knowing that their child is protected financially in the event of their death.

Can You Get Life Insurance Coverage for Your Baby if You’re Pregnant?

If you take out a life insurance policy while pregnant, you can certainly find one that gives you a rider, or special feature, to add your children to the insurance policy you already have.

In these cases though, you must wait until the child is born in order to add them. They can typically get coverage until they turn 18. Now, your coverage is probably going to be enough for them, but this is still something to consider.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

In order to figure out how much coverage you need with your life insurance, start by gathering any important personal financial information that you have so that you can figure out your current income and your debts versus your assets.

After that estimate what your burial cost will be and how much money your family or your business will need in your absence. As someone who is pregnant, you need to consider the number of years your unborn child will need coverage, and what the average costs of that coverage for your area.

When figuring out how much life insurance coverage you need as a pregnant woman, you want to think about these 3 factors.

3 Tips to Determine How Much Life Insurance Coverage You Need 

1. Calculate Your Annual Income and Multiply 15-20

As a pregnant mother, you will now be accepting financial support of your child for the first 18 years of their life. On top of that, you may want to plan for college for your child. This should also be factored into the type of life insurance policy you take out as a new parent.

2. Plan For College 

Planning for college is not easy, it’s also not cheap. This is something you want to begin planning for as soon as possible to give your child the best financial resources to follow their aspirations in college if they choose to go. Life insurance is a great way to do this.

3. Factor in Existing Debt 

Like it or not, you probably have debt. As Americans, we each account for an average of nearly $70,000 in debt per person. Wherever your debt stands in relation to this, chances are, you do have debt, no matter the amount.

When considering how much life insurance is right for you while pregnant, you will want to account for your debt in order to financially protect your family.

What Types of Life Insurance Policies Can I Get if I’m Pregnant?

There are generally two categories of life insurance from which to choose: permanent or term.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance includes universal and whole life insurance as well as other types of policies.  This type of life insurance coverage lasts your whole life (usually through age 101, 112, or 121).

These policies may accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis which you can use while you are still alive. This means that the money you put into your policy builds cash value, which is cash that you can borrow without having to pay taxes or interest on it.

This policy is designed to have a level premium with a guaranteed death benefit. It accumulates cash value that you can use to help meet any living needs like buying a house, funding your emergency situations, cover college expenses, or adding to your retirement.

Permanent life insurance can take  variety of forms, such as:

  • Universal Life
  • Whole Life
  • Variable Life
  • Indexed Universal Life
  • Etc…

All these types of permanent life insurance policies vary in terms of premiums and cash value accumulation. Speak with an agent to learn more today.

The premiums for permanent life insurance are very high compared to term life insurance. For most people, term is best because it offers protection that can be layered in order to provide income protection and debt relief dynamically as life develops.

You should consider a permanent life insurance policy if:
  • You have long-term financial needs
  • You like flexibility with your premium payments and your death benefits
  • You want a policy that accumulates tax-deferred cash value

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance will protect you for a specific amount of time, ranging between one and thirty years. It will only pay out the death benefit if you pass away during that time. It is considered a temporary form of life insurance.

Short term, it gives you the greatest level of protection for the lowest premium possible. Therefore, if you are on a tight budget this can be a great, cost-effective solution. If you know that your financial responsibilities will decrease with time, it might also be a wonderful way to free up your funds.

One of the drawbacks to selecting a term policy is that you never get any of that money back unless you pick a Return of Premium policy or policy rider, and your coverage expires when the term does. Whereas permanent life insurance accumulates cash value over time on top of your life long protection.

You should consider term coverage if:
  • You have a temporary financial need
  • You need large coverage on a tight budget
  • You want to use it for specific business needs like executive benefits

How Does Life Insurance Pregnant Women Cost?

The cost of your life insurance policy, regardless of how far along you are in your pregnancy or if you are trying to become pregnant, is going to be based primarily on your age, gender, and health. It will also be based on a how much coverage you want and how long the policy is—either term wise or permanent.

As a healthy, pregnant female, your sample rates for the preferred health category are as follows:

How Do I Find the Best Life Insurance Rates for Pregnant Women?

Different companies charge different rates. So, you need to do some homework on the rates available – get quotes from many companies. Talk to a broker or third party to compare the rates based on your situation.

Give us a call today to speak to an independent life insurance agent who can help you compare life insurance policies from dozens of the best life insurance companies for pregnant women.

They will work with you to determine how much coverage you need, what your budget is, and whether term or permanent is the solution. They can even work with you to discuss riders that can help get life insurance coverage for your children.

compare the best life insurance rates

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Term Life Insurance | The Ultimate Guide

Term life insurance policies are easy to understand and do not cost as much as a permanent whole life insurance policy. 

Term Life insurance typically comes in 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 year terms. This means when you reach the end of your policy’s term, you will need to either look for another life insurance option or renew the term for a much higher premium.

What is Term Life Insurance?


Term life insurance is often called “pure life insurance” or “temporary life insurance” because it’s intended only to protect your dependents in case you pass away during the term period.

A term life insurance policy is strictly meant to pay your beneficiaries if you die during the policy’s term.

You may be thinking “Isn’t that what a life insurance policy is supposed to do”?

Yes and no.

Other types of life insurance policies offer additional values that most term life insurance policies do not such as building cash value.

What Types of Term Life Insurance are There?


There are two basic types of term life insurance policies: level term and decreasing term.

Level term means the death benefit (aka “face amount”) will stay the same throughout the length of the policy.

Decreasing term means that the death benefit amount will drop, usually in one-year increments, over the course of the policy’s term.

For term life insurance policies, the premium will usually stay the same throughout the entire term.

Common types of level term are:

    • Annually renewable term
    • 5-year renewable term
    • 10-year term
    • 15-year term
    • 20-year term (Most popular term)
    • 25-year term
    • 30-year term

    • Term to a specified age (usually 65)

It’s important to note that most life insurance companies will not sell term insurance to an applicant for a term that will end past his/her 80th birthday.

Is Term Life Insurance Right for Me?

So how do you know what term length you should purchase? Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when looking to buy a term life insurance policy:

    • Choose a term that coincides with the years you’ll be paying large bills such as your mortgage, car note, business loans, student loans, and children’s education. Remember, just because you are deceased does not mean the bills go away. 

    • Buy an amount that would replace your income. Will your family need one year of your income to continue meeting regular expenses? Or will they need two years? Five years? Factor this amount of time into your decision.

As far as term life insurance premiums go, you lock in the premium for your age and health at the time of the application.

What Should I Do if My Term Life Insurance Policy Expires?


So you purchased your term life insurance policy for 10 years. The decade has flown by and now your term is up.

What happens next?

Well, that outcome is specific to the term life insurer and the way your particular policy is written.

There are a few different options.

If you have a renewable term life insurance plan, the coverage can be renewed annually (up to a specific age) with an increase in premium every year.

If you have a term policy that is convertible then you, as the policy owner, have the right to convert the policy into a permanent life insurance plan without additional evidence of insurability.

How Do Premiums Work on a Term Life Insurance Policy?

You may also be wondering what happened to all that premium you paid for the last 10 years. Your premiums on a term life insurance policy bought you protection during your term period.

Your premiums will not be refunded when your term ends. In the same way that auto or homeowner’s insurance works, the life insurer figures they provided protection to you that you needed for all those years but you just didn’t use it.

If you had a death claim then they would have willingly paid to your beneficiary the death benefit. Some insureds do not appreciate this term life insurance concept.

For that reason, a few life insurers have created term life insurance policies with a Return of Premium (ROP) rider because of insured complaints. The premiums for ROP term life insurance policies are usually much higher than policies without this feature. You also must keep the policy in effect and current until its term ends to avoid forfeiting the premium benefit.

Always review the fine print on your term life insurance policy so you understand how your specific term life insurance coverage works.

Can I Renew My Term Life Insurance Policy?

Let’s say your term is coming to an end and you can’t decide what to do next. Many people will convert the term life policy into a permanent life insurance policy.

If you aren’t able to do so (or don’t want to do so), then there may be a few other ways to renew your existing term life insurance policy without paying a huge premium increase.

 Have you lost a lot of weight? Stopped smoking? Or have you gotten your Type 2 diabetes under control and no longer need the metformin pills? 

If you have improved your health since you originally purchased the term life insurance policy then you should check with your insurance agent or life insurer to find out if you can do a “health re-classification”.

Many carriers allow an insured one opportunity to submit an application in which the insured will be re-classified based on his/her current health. This can lead to a really nice reduction in premium.

Many term life insurance companies will allow an insured to reduce their death benefit one time.

You can do this when the term is coming to an end and avoid the high renewal premiums. Although it’s only a good idea to do this if you can actually forgo the original death benefit amount.

If your family is still going to need that $100,000 policy then it doesn’t make much sense to reduce it now just to save a bit on premiums.

However, if finances have changed in your life since the original policy was purchased, perhaps it makes sense to reduce the death benefit and save some cash up-front.

If you are still healthy enough to qualify for a low-cost replacement term life insurance policy then go that route.

You can work with your insurance agent to find different or better term life insurance coverage than what you previously purchased.

Buying a new policy and receiving the new policy rate always saves in comparison to renewal premiums.

Once again, it’s worth mentioning that many individuals decide to convert their term life insurance policy into a permanent life insurance plan.


How is Permanent Life Insurance Different than Term Life Insurance?

Unlike a term life insurance policy that only lasts for a maximum of 30 years, a permanent life insurance policy provides protection for your entire life.

Your family will receive a death benefit no matter your age at the time of death. Many term life insureds smartly convert their term life insurance policies into permanent life coverage because of all the unique benefits.

For instance, permanent life insurance offers a tax-deferred savings element. Plus, permanent life insurance premiums stay the same throughout the years while a term may go up significantly every time it is renewed.

If your term life insurance policy is coming to an end, or you are looking for better coverage that will last your entire life, and also act as a savings vehicle, then permanent life insurance is right for you.

Permanent Life Insurance – Whole vs. Universal



There are four different types of permanent life insurance coverage: whole (ordinary) life, universal (adjustable) life, variable life, and variable universal life. The majority of consumers purchase either whole or universal life insurance coverage.

Whole or ordinary life insurance offers a death benefit and potential cash value. If you select a whole life insurance plan then you will have a set face amount (or death benefit) and set premiums. Over time, as you pay on your whole life insurance policy, the cash value will grow from dividends paid by the life insurer.

Universal or adjustable life provides more flexibility than whole life insurance. Universal life insurance allows insureds to increase the death benefit, secure savings at fixed interest rates and modify your future premium payments. To increase the face amount you will need to pass a medical examination.

Obviously, the life insurer wants to be sure that you were not recently diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and that is the reason for increasing the death benefit. The premium payments can be changed by you after you have accumulated enough cash value.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to have enough cash value to cover the costs. This is important to know because if you stop or reduce your premiums and the cash value becomes deplete, your life insurance policy could lapse.


    • Use the cash value to pay premiums as long as there is enough cash accumulated.
    • If unexpected expenses occur, you can stop or reduce your premiums.

    • As we mentioned earlier, you can borrow money from the insurance company using the cash value of your permanent life policy as collateral. 

Who is Term Life Insurance Best For?


For people who are looking for life insurance coverage for a specified period of time in their life, like while their children are still living at home, or for the remainder of their career, term life insurance is the right fit.

Term life insurance offers very affordable rates for healthy people who often times can’t be rivaled by that of other policies if bought at a young age.

While it does not build cash value, term life insurance serves its purpose well in protecting your family from financial loss in the event of your death.  Policies can start as low as $10/month and provide coverage upwards of $500,000.

How Much Does Term Life Insurance Cost?

While we can’t promise that these numbers will always be accurate for any given health classes, we have gathered some average rates you can expect for term life insurance.

Below is a chart displaying the cost of a $500,000 term life insurance policy for  10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year terms. Males and females in this example are healthy, non-smokers, who are both 32 years old.

Below is a chart displaying the cost of a $500,000 term life insurance policy for 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year terms. Males and females in this example are healthy, non-smokers, who are both 42 years old.

As you can see, the older you are, the more life insurance rates go up.  For term policies especially, it is best to lock in low premiums early.

This gives you time to convert your policy into a whole life policy later in life if you so choose, or renew a policy if you are still young enough to obtain affordable life insurance coverage after it has expired.

The 6 Best Term Life Insurance Companies 

Here is a brief overview of our 6 Best Term Life Insurance Companies (Ratings as of :

1. Banner Life

banner life logo


Banner Life is known widely for their affordable coverage for people who are not in the best health conditions.

They also offer very competitive term life insurance rates that are almost always below most of the competition.

With terms ranging from 10-30 years, and renewable and convertible rider options, Banner Life is definitely one of the best term life insurance companies.

Banner Life Insurance Company Ratings



2. Protective Life

Protective Life Logo

Protective Life has been around for over 100 years in the United States.  Over this time, they have built quite the reputation as a life insurance and investment giant.

They offer some of the best term life insurance rates in the industry and also offer a wide array of whole life insurance offerings.

Protective Life Insurance Company Ratings

3. Pacific Life

Pacific Life logo

Pacific Life has been around for over 150 years. In 2018, they mostly specialize in universal and whole life insurance, having the #1 spot in total sales for indexed universal.

They are also #1 in the industry in overall life insurance sales.  There is a reason for this. Pacific Life has a wide array of options and has been successful since their inception at helping customers find the best whole and term life insurance rates.

Pacific Life Insurance Company Ratings

4. AIG

AIG logo

AIG has also been around for almost a century.  With a high financial rating, and a continuously successfully performing portfolio, AIG is another life insurance giant that offers a wide array of life insurance products.

Their term life policies in specific are very affordable and offer the ability to convert to whole life or renew the policy.

AIG Insurance Company Rating

5. Prudential

Prudential is probably best known as a life insurance company for its ability to consistently get people the lowest rates possible by classifying them in the best health class possible.

For this reason, they have very affordable rates compared to the competition, even with applicants who have substandard health.  They offer 6 different term life policies, each with their own benefits, riders, conversion terms, and coverage.

This wide array of coverage allows for Prudential to be one of the best term life insurance companies year after year.

Prudential Life Insurance Rating

6. Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha logo

Mutual of Omaha has also been around for over 100 years. During this time, they have built a solid financial rating to combine with their impressive portfolio.

Mutual of Omaha offers some of the best no-exam term life insurance policies in the industry, making it fall just short of Banner Life and Prudential on our list.

Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Company Ratings

How to Find the Best Term Life Insurance

The best piece of advice anyone can offer you during the process of searching for the best term life insurance is to speak with an independent insurance agent.

The reason being, there are hundreds of options available on the market.  And while the internet can make searching for rates a bit easier, there are still a lot of details that need to be known about the insured’s needs, finances, and health in order to find them the best life insurance policy.

Speaking with an agent is entirely free, and can help you narrow down your choices from hundreds to a handful in a few minutes.

Please feel free to call the insurance professionals at at (866) 691-0100 during normal business hours or contact us through our website.

When it comes to planning for your family’s financial future, you want to understand everything you can about the choices available to you in order to make the right decision.

Speak with an agent today to get started!

Compare the Best Term Life Insurance Rates

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Use the form on the right (bottom on mobile) to get started.



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6 Tips When Buying Life Insurance Coverage for Your College Child

The cost of college has been increasing rapidly over the last decade and shows no sign of slowing down. There is currently $1.4 trillion in outstanding student debt, demonstrating just how much the costs of higher education have increased, and how many college students have to resort to borrowing in order to pursue it.

At 93% the vast majority of private student loans have a co-signer, most often the student’s parents, meaning it’s not just the students who are liable for student loan repayments. While it’s an uncomfortable topic, this responsibility makes it advisable for the parents of a child with a student loan to take out life insurance against their child.

Private student loans are notoriously unstable, quite often a contract will contain a clause stating that the loan enters ‘automatic default’ after the death of one of the co-signers. This means that the entire sum of the loan becomes due after the death of either you or your child, a situation that would almost certainly cause financial hardship during an already incredibly difficult time. If your child has a student loan it is worth checking if life insurance is advisable and educating yourself on the best actions going forward. This article outlines some of the most important things to be aware of when taking out life insurance for your child and how to be sure you are getting the best policy for your situation.

Make sure life insurance is necessary

There are two main types of student loan, private and federal. Federal student loans, which are unlikely to require a co-signer, will not require life insurance as these are written off in the case of the borrower passing away. Even if your child has a private loan it is worth checking to see if there is a similar clause written into their loan agreement, as you may not be required to repay it in the case of their death.

“There is one exception to this- the federal parent PLUS loan, which will be void in the instance of either you or your child passing away but is however treated as taxable income. This could make you liable for a large tax payment so it may well be worth taking out insurance in the case too”, – explains Julie Moore, a College adviser at Stateofwriting and Ukwritings.

Ensure the insurance covers in case of ‘Automatic default’

As mentioned above, many private loans include an automatic default clause meaning in the event of the death of a co-signer the entire loan will need to be repaid immediately. If your child’s loan includes such a clause it is important to make sure any insurance you take out accounts for the possibility of an automatic default.

Go for term life insurance

There are two types of life insurance, whole and term. Term insurance only covers the individual for a set term before expiring whereas whole insurance does not expire but is significantly more expensive. “Luckily, term life insurance is the most appropriate here as it is only required to cover your child’s student loan for a set period. When taking out your policy do not allow yourself to be pressured or convinced to take out whole life insurance as this will be approximately four times the price and completely unnecessary”, – says Stewart Phillips, a Financial adviser at Boomessays.

Determine the amount of coverage needed

This can be done by looking at the loan’s rate and term, your policy should cover the entire repayment period and not just the time in which your child is in study. It should also cover any interest which the loan will incur and not solely the amount of money borrowed. It is worth calculating both the term of repayment and the amount of expected interest when deciding how much your policy should cover. Typically, private student loans range in term from 5-15 years and annual interest rates range from anything between 3% and 15%.

Insurable interest

When buying a life insurance policy for someone else you will need to demonstrate ‘insurable interest’, that is to say that you would suffer financially if the individual passed away. In the case of you being the co-signer of a private student loan you would qualify in this regard.

Preston Briseno, a Financial writer at Essayroo and AcademAdvisor comments:, “It’s important to note that in order to take out life insurance for your child they will have to be involved in the process and consent, which leads to the next point”.

Use the experience to educate your child

While uncomfortable, the process of buying life insurance is the necessary and responsible action to take and can be turned into a key teaching moment for your child as they take on more adult responsibilities. Use the experience to demonstrate the importance of financial contingency plans and discuss important financial skills such as budgeting and maintaining a good credit score.

This may not be a particularly enjoyable moment for you and your child but, by teaching them these vital skills at an early age you are setting them up for a more successful financial life.

Freddie Tubbs is a communication strategist at Academized. He helps companies create successful communications campaigns, and contributes articles to Paper Fellows and Bigassignments blogs.



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The Complete Guide to Final Expense Insurance

Actually, Final Expense Insurance is not a type of insurance product but a “purpose” for life insurance. What we mean by this is that when you buy final expense insurance, your policy is unlikely to have the term “Final Expense  Life Insurance” anywhere on the contract.

You see, insurance is a method of mitigating financial risks in your everyday life and the type of insurance used is always going to be some form of the following

Although you can purchase a final expense policy using Term Life Insurance, in the majority of cases, Whole Life insurance will always be the type of policy used for Final Expense Insurance. The primary reason for using whole life is that the policy can last a lifetime while term insurance usually provides temporary coverage.

Also, when you buy final expense insurance on a whole life policy, you will get the same guarantees and benefits of a traditional whole life insurance policy. These guarantees are important in order for your policy to provide lifetime coverage and build cash value.

 This is what makes Whole Life Insurance the better policy for final expense insurance:  


The policy will last a lifetime as long as the premiums are paid. Your insurance company cannot cancel your policy for any reason other than non-payment of premium.

Your periodic premium (usually monthly) will never go up, even if you become terminally ill and have to live in a nursing home or hospice facility.

Your whole life insurance policy can potentially build cash value over time and you will have access to that money through policy loans or withdrawals. Your cash value can be used for any reason you choose.  It’s your money.


What is Final Expense Insurance?


Final Expense Insurance is a whole life insurance policy that is designed to pay for your final expenses when you die. Unless these expenses are taken care of with other life insurance or money from your estate, these costs are typically passed on to surviving loved ones.

Certainly, the last things you want to leave when you pass away are the costs of a funeral and other services to your grieving family members, when you can easily pre-fund all of these expenses by purchasing affordable final expense insurance.

For most seniors, the most significant final expenses that must be dealt with when they die are their funeral and burial service. Even if the policyholder prefers to be cremated, there are still significant expenses if you choose to have a memorial service along with the cremation.


How much will a Funeral and Burial Cost?


Although funeral costs vary depending on the type of funeral and the state you live in, we can estimate very closely what you should expect to insure for. When we determine the average cost of a funeral and burial it makes sense to go to the source, The National Funeral Directors Association. Here is what they reported for 2018:


National Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Burial 2017


It’s important that we remind you that this chart is for the national median cost (average) of a funeral and burial. Funerals can become significantly more expensive when you start adding the bells and whistles that most funeral directors will always bring up. You can, however, pay much less than what’s listed here if you shop a funeral in advance, shop the casket, and get your church to offer their facilities.


What if I decide to be Cremated?


Cremation is certainly an alternative that can reduce the cost of a traditional funeral, but even cremation can be expensive when you add a memorial service or decide to bury the ashes.


National Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Cremation 2017



Will I have to Qualify for Final Expense Insurance?


It depends. If you are looking for the lowest rate for a traditional final expense policy that offers a level death benefit and first-day coverage, you won’t have to have a medical exam but you will have to answer a lot of questions about your health on the application.

Most companies will offer coverage even when you have some health issues but there are some questions that are considered “knockout” questions and if you answer yes you will likely be declined.

The health questions that will likely lead to a decline if you answer “Yes” are:

Chest pains (Angina) in the last 12 months

Currently in the hospital, a nursing home, or hospice care or facility

Tested positive for HIV or AIDS

Currently on Dialysis

Diagnosed with any kind of Terminal Illness

Stroke in the last 12 months (excluding mini-stroke)

Alzheimer’s or dementia

Currently under treatment for Cancer

Wheelchair-bound as a result of a chronic illness

Had or on a waiting list for organ transplant (corneal excluded)


Other Underwriting Information the Company Reviews


Even though final expense insurers do not order medical exams or blood and urine tests, they can still find some medical information about you in other places besides the insurance application.  Some of the sources are:


Medical Information Bureau (MIB) – The Medical Information Bureau is an organization owned by the member insurance companies that compile data about your health. The bulk of the information that is compiled is the information you supply on your insurance application. This is not a mammoth database that has every person’s medical history, it is a repository for insurance companies to verify the information you’ve already supplied elsewhere and you give the company permission to view this data when you sign your life insurance application.


RX Check – There are several companies that store information on all the prescription drugs you take and the information comes from pharmacies across America. While this data doesn’t include why you were prescribed a medication, the insurance underwriters can surmise why you may be taking it.


If Your Application is Declined


As we mentioned earlier, there is an alternative insurance product that is available that does not take your health into consideration when they underwrite your insurance policy. These policies have become very popular with the senior crowd who are dealing with multiple health issues that prevent them from getting approval for traditional final expense insurance.

  1. Graded Benefit Insurance Plan

A graded benefit plan typically contains a two or three-year waiting period before the insurance company will pay the full death benefit if a policyholder dies because of natural causes.

Typically, these policies will pay a percentage of the full death benefit if you die of natural causes in the first year of about 25 to 40% of the death benefit. If you die because of natural causes during the second year of the waiting period, the company will then pay about 70 to 80% of the death benefit. Then, starting in year three, the company would pay the full death benefit.

It’s important to note that most insurers will pay the full death benefit from the first day if the death is the result of an accident.


  1. Guaranteed Issue Plan

The Guaranteed Issue final expense plan is similar to the graded benefit plan accept for how the death benefit is paid out. Typically, if a policyholder dies within the two or three year waiting period from natural causes, the insurer would pay your beneficiary 110% of the premiums you’ve paid to the company.

For example, let’s imagine that you have a Guaranteed Issue final expense policy with a $15,000 death benefit and you’re paying $80 per month. If you were to die 18 months after your policy was issued, your beneficiary would receive $1,584 ($80 x 18 plus 10%) instead of the full death benefit of $15,000.

Once your waiting period is exhausted, your beneficiary would receive the full death benefit no matter the cause of your death. Also, death resulting from an accident would not be subject to the waiting period. In other words, the full death benefit begins from the first day of coverage for accidental death.


How Much are the Rates for a Level Benefit Policy?


Like any other type of life insurance, the insurance rates are based on your age and your health. If you were to apply for and be approved for a $20,000 Final Expense plan, here’s what you can expect to pay:



As you will notice, the life insurance rates for men are more than the rates for women. This is because women typically live longer than men and therefore the insurance company will have a long period to collect premiums. Please note that these rates are for non-smokers, smoker rates are significantly higher.


What if I’m Declined and have to Purchase Guaranteed Issue Final Expense Insurance



As we mentioned earlier, a guaranteed issue policy does not take your health history into consideration when the policy is underwritten. There are a few knockout questions on the application but most applicants are able to get the coverage they need.

Here are the actual rates for a $20,000 Guaranteed Issue Final Expense Policy:



As you will plainly see, the rates for Guaranteed Issue Final Expense Insurance are much higher than the rates for Level Benefit Final Expense Insurance. This is because the insurer is accepting an unknown health risk.


Where can I find the Lowest Rates?


It’s important that you shop your final expense insurance with an independent broker who represents the top-rated carriers that offer Level Benefit Final Expense insurance and Guaranteed Issue Final Expense Insurance.

This means you should stay away from buying directly through a company or doing business with a “captured agent” who only represents one company.

When you use an independent broker like, you have the ability to shop your policy with all the top rated carriers and get advice from an insurance professional who is experienced and reputable.  At, we will shop your application with all our carriers and then deliver the best solution that will meet your needs and your budget.


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Life Insurance Health Classification and your Health

How can you improve your life insurance health classification?  If you have been following this blog, you have probably noticed that not all of our posts are about the subject of life insurance. We have recently included posts related to improving one’s health and lifestyles (that’s why we changed the name to Insure Your Life). I must admit that we have both selfish and unselfish motives for including these categories.

Falling into both the unselfish and selfish categories, we (the employees of, befitting of the Southern California stereotype, are truly interested in anything having to do with health, exercise and nutrition. We actually like these subjects and enjoy reading and writing about them. We also like sharing (and admittedly, sometimes preaching) this information with health-minded people, as well as those who know they need to make some changes in their live.

As life insurance brokers, we speak to a lot of folks on a daily basis. As would be expected when dealing with a large cross-section of the population, we run into people that fit into every imaginable health profile, from the super-healthy to those who have been far less fortunate in regard to their health. As life insurance rates are a reflection of one’s health, less-than-perfect health usually means a lower life insurance health classification, resulting in higher premiums. If any of our articles inspires you to improve your health and, in so doing, lowers rates for life insurance policy, the results are compounded, which we enjoy too (both unselfishly and selfishly if it helped to make a sale).

Note:  As of  7/7/2018, we have incorporated content from some of our health-related posts into this one article so you don’t have to search the website to find them (Medical Disclaimer: This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical or health-related condition).

Heart Health

Half of people with high blood pressure don’t know it

Do you have high blood pressure? According to a new study, the answer may be yes, and you may not even be aware of it. In a study involving over 140,000 adults from 17 different countries, an international team of researchers found that more than one-half of those with hypertension were unaware they had the disease. The findings, which were published in Journal of the American Medical Association, were similar for people from both richer and poorer countries.

The research team, led by Dr. Salim Yusuf of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario, analyzed the data of participants in a long-running health study of urban and rural settings. Each individual had their blood pressure measured and medication use recorded and were asked whether they knew if they had hypertension. The study found that fewer than half of those with high blood pressure were aware of the diagnosis.

In a press release, Yusuf referred to his team’s findings as “disturbing” and called for better screening measures for high blood pressure.

“The widespread lack of hypertension awareness and poor control in all countries studied, despite the identification and control of blood pressure being prioritized by many national and global organizations and despite the availability of inexpensive and effective medications, is concerning,” he said.

The American Heart Association recommends that those at risk for high blood pressure consider lifestyle changes like engaging in regular exercise and reducing sodium intake.

Having a healthy lifestyle may not only reduce your risk for high blood pressure, it might also qualify you for lower life insurance rates. Get a term life insurance quote, using the quote request to the right of this article.

Avoiding Death from Heart Attack and Stroke

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States (approximately 800,000 a year) and many of them are avoidable.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 200,000 avoidable deaths from heart disease, stroke and hypertensive disease occurred in the United States in 2010.   Avoidable deaths are defined as those deaths that were either preventable by addressing risk factors or; treatable, as in treating conditions once they occurred.

Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors (e.g., tobacco use, , excess weight, poor diet, inactivity and excessive alcohol use), coupled with uncontrolled hypertension, elevated cholesterol and obesity account for 80 percent of deaths due to heart disease and approximately 50 percent of deaths due to stroke in the united States.

Immediate care at the onset of a heart attack or stroke would help to avoid even more deaths.  In these situations, it’s always recommended that those present with the afflicted person call 911 immediately so life-saving treatment can begin immediately.  Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment as soon as they arrive – they might need to revive someone whose heart had stopped.  If treatment weren’t to begin until the patient arrived at a hospital, treatment might not happen for an hour.   Eliminating that extra hour can literally save the person’s life.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

In order to get early treatment for a heart attack, it’s important to know the signs.  These come from the American Heart Association website:

  • Chest Discomfort – Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest, lasting more than a few minutes, or that goes away and then comes back.
  • Discomfort in Other Areas of the Upper Body – Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of Breath – with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other Signs  – may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.

Cardiac Arrest Warning Signs

  • Sudden Loss of Responsiveness – No response to tapping on shoulders.
  • No Normal Breathing – The person does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

Stroke Warning Signs (Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.)

  • Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?  Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness – Is one  arm weak or numb?  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty – Is the speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?  Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.”  Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to Call 911 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 immediately and get the person to the hospital immediately.

Improving your lifestyle can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, but if it should happen to you, it would certainly be helpful if those around you had this information.  The American Heart Association website also has some valuable information on preventing heart disease and stroke by improving your heart health with better nutrition, physical activity and weight management.  If you follow their guidelines, it would also go a long way toward getting a better life insurance health classification and lower life insurance rates.

Yet another study connects fish oil with heart health

Often associated with the long-term betterment of personal health, fish oil – which contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids – appears to have been justified even further by a new study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Endocrine Society, a U.S.-based organization that funds medical research, reported in a press release that investigators at Harvard pored over data from a number of clinical trials that focused on the effects of fish oil. Hundreds of participants consumed fish oil tablets on a daily basis, and the researchers found evidence that those who did exhibited fewer signs of diabetes and heart disease.

The key behind the benefit appears to be a hormone known as adiponectin. This compound helps to boost the metabolism in the body while also reducing inflammation levels, the latter of which is a risk factor for conditions such as cancer. The team noted higher amounts of the hormone in participants who were regularly taking the fish oil supplements.

“While prior animal studies found fish oil increased circulating adiponectin, whether similar effects apply in humans is not established,” Jason Wu, the lead author of the study, said in a statement. “By reviewing evidence from existing randomized clinical trials, we found that fish oil supplementation caused modest increases in adiponectin in the blood of humans.”

These developments are a sign that a holistic approach to wellness can be largely beneficial to older individuals. However, while pursuing a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to plan for unexpected events in the future. Part of this process involves buying a life insurance policy, which provides financial assistance to your loved ones when they need it most.

Could abnormal sound levels impair heart health?

Medical research, in recent years, has established a relationship between excessive noise levels and a gradual impairment of hearing. Other studies have shown that even moderately loud sounds can have a degrading impact on this sense. However, a new study has shown that even the slightest noises – a car horn or a jack hammer at a construction site – can create temporary but potentially harmful fluctuations in a person’s heartbeat.

According to a report published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a scientific research journal, an investigation involving 110 people fitted with heart rate monitors showed that changes in a person’s anticipated sound level, or the level of noise they are accustomed to, can briefly increase a person’s pulse.

Additionally, researchers noted that participants’ so-called “heart variability” – which relates to beat changes during inhalation and exhalation – may be negatively impacted. Medical experts have suggested that a lower variability can raise an individual’s risk of suffering from a cardiovascular event like a heart attack.

The findings suggest that folks who have a higher chance of developing heart disease may want to show caution around sources of loud noises.

“Our main focus was to find a possible mechanism that could be responsible for the observed health effects in other studies,” Alexandra Schneider, a researcher who was involved with the project, told HealthDay, an online healthcare publication.

The developments could point to a correlation between heart attack risk and sound-induced stress, which may increase over time. As such, folks with medical histories that point to cardiovascular illness should consider ways to protect themselves from excess sound levels.

Your Diet

Why calcium and protein are vital to your health

Our bodies thrive and develop from the foods we eat. If a person eats fast food and other types of junk on a regular basis, they will most likely feel terrible a lot of the time. On the other hand, if they choose wisely and eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, they will notice a substantial difference in their energy levels and overall demeanor.

Today, we’ll discuss the importance of calcium and protein-rich foods and how they can make you healthy.

Medical experts largely agree that the human body needs:

Calcium – You remember the food pyramid from high school health class, right? If you look for the modern update, you’ll notice it more closely resembles a dinner plate now. Yet beside it, in the shape of a drinking glass, is the reminder that you need plenty of dairy during the day in order to get an adequate helping of calcium. Calcium is important for maintaining bone and tooth integrity. However, don’t think that ice cream will do the trick. Doctors recommend that adults try to avoid “fatty dairy” products as they can significantly contribute to weight gain.

Protein – Adult men and women require between five and seven ounces of protein-rich food every day in order to maintain muscle strength and overall fitness levels. However, there are some caveats to keep in mind. When preparing meat, you should eschew a lot of breading or oils because this can negate the health benefits of the meat. Additionally, some protein-based foods have preservatives or other additives that could lead to long-term health problems. You should read packaging labels carefully before you purchase any kind of food to make sure those choices will help.

Summertime snack ideas

Summer brings many changes to people’s lives, whether it relates to their work schedules, travel opportunities and everything in between. As such, you might find yourself looking for ways to prepare food that is both easy to make and better for your health than what you can pick up at the store.

There are a wide variety of recipes to choose from, and in today’s article, we’ll look at a few snacking suggestions made by wellness experts:

Cheese and crackers – Organic cheeses are a good source of proteins and calcium, and make a great snack if you’re looking for something easy to put together. Paired with unsalted crackers, you’ll be full enough until your next meal without packing on too many calories.

Fruit salad – This perennial party favorite is a great opportunity to put together your favorite fruits. It makes an ideal snack for mid-day, as it can give you a natural – and delicious – energy boost. We recommend choosing oranges, apples, grapes and pineapple, which are chock-full of antioxidants and unprocessed sugars.

Trail mix – A grab-bag of tasty items is the perfect selection for an on-the-go snack. The ideal combination may include different types of nuts, berries and dried fruits. Adding a small amount of chocolate can help tie these flavors together in a healthy and practical way.

Maintaining a balanced diet with smart choices is essential to staying healthy and strong. Not only will you feel better and have more energy, but you’ll also be able to benefit from other advantages like improving your life insurance health classification, with will lower rates on a life insurance policy, which is a helpful form of financial protection for your loved ones.


Tips for exercising in the office

Those who spend long hours working at a desk know all too well the effect this lifestyle can have on the body. In order to combat the problems associated with a sedentary job, you need to make sure that you are exercising accordingly. For those who don’t have time to get to the gym before or after their day job, there is another solution available: working out at your desk.

Today, we’ll look at methods you can use to keep active even if you are sitting for extended periods of time.

To maintain your fitness at the office, you can:

Go for a walk every hour – The simplest way of staying active is to get up on a consistent basis. When you sit for a long period of time, blood flow can be restricted to your lower extremities, causing soreness and tiredness in some cases. Medical experts suggest getting up for a five to 10 minute walk every hour to help promote better circulation.

Stretch, stretch, stretch – On a day when you have to write five reports and put together a presentation, you hardly have enough time for lunch, let alone exercise. During these instances, simply stretching in your seat – or standing, if you can – is a productive way to get your muscles moving without losing too much time. Neck, back and arm stretches are perfect if you have to spend most of your day typing.

Use weights under your desk – If you can do it stealthily, this is a great way to keep your hands and arms in good shape when you’re stuck in the office all day. While you might need to adjust your seat a bit, you can do some light weight exercises at your desk. In the event that you go out for a lunch break, bring them with you for a bit of power walking as well.

Walking: How a few steps can bring big health payoffs

It’s one of the easiest ways to exercise, it has plenty of rewarding qualities and it’s absolutely free. It’s not a special one-time gym offer that brings you these benefits, but rather, it’s something you can do with your own two feet: walking.

Today, we’ll discuss the ways in which a few loops around your neighborhood per week can boost your overall health and fitness levels.

Every time you go for a walk, you are:

Decreasing your chances of getting diabetes early – As you may know, a person stricken with diabetes does not produce enough insulin for their bodies to operate normally. However, recent medical research has linked fast-paced walking with an increase in the level of insulin resistance in the body. This makes you more sensitive to the onset of the disorder and helps doctors identify it faster.

Lowering the bad cholesterol, boosting the good – Doctors regularly recommend walking to older patients as a way to decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, also known as “bad” cholesterol. On the same hand, this heightened activity can improve high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which are important for maintaining good circulation.

Saving money – While there’s no doubting that a gym membership can help you improve your fitness, walking is a free activity and can be done at different levels of intensity. According to some exercise experts, a quick pace – approximately 6,000 steps per hour – can award the same level of heart and muscle-building benefits of 30 minutes of weight training.

This quick and easy method for exercising is a must for anyone trying to stay healthy. However, it always helps to be ready in case something goes wrong. Obtaining a low-cost life insurance policy  helps to ensure that the financial stability of your family remains strong when they need it most.

Save as you get in shape: Cheap ways to exercise

Exercising, in some cases, can be a rather expensive affair. The average basic cost of a gym membership in 2018 is between $40 and $50 per month, though that price can rise if you include other expenses. These occasionally-prohibitive costs may keep some people from pursuing their obvious benefits. Thankfully, there are ways to achieve the same level of fitness without emptying your wallet at the gym’s front desk.

Today, we’ll look at methods for exercising on the cheap that will leave you just as worked-out as if you were shelling out $200 for that cross-fit course your friend told you about.

To get in shape while saving cash, you should:

Jog every morning – Medical experts say that running a few laps each day is one of the easiest ways to trim the waistline without spending too much money. Sure, you might need to pick up a new pair of running shoes every six to nine months – depending on how quickly they wear out – but this is much better than shelling out hundreds of dollars for a new treadmill.

Make time at home to work out – Instead of going to a gym several days a week, you can turn your home office or living room into a full-on exercise space. You can pick up a few weights at your nearby sporting goods store and install a pull-up bar in one of your doorways.

Walk instead of driving or taking the bus – This is especially helpful if you live in or near a town that you frequent often. While it may add some time to your travel routine, depending on the area, this might not be as much of an inconvenience as you would think.

There’s nothing better than the double advantage of saving money while also getting in shape. It also helps, however, to buy a life insurance policy to protect you and your loved ones from potentially huge costs in the future if something bad unexpectedly occurs. Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight might also help you get approved for a better life insurance health classification, saving money on your life insurance policy.

Moderate exercise may encourage a healthier lifestyle

In the quest to slim down, some folks do too much too quickly. Trying to train for a marathon when you can barely run a mile, or spending hours in the gym with no visible results can leave you sad, unmotivated and may drive you back into old, bad habits.

A new study suggests that hard exercise may not be the right way to approach weight loss, especially for people who are severely overweight or obese. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have found that overweight people who exercise for short periods of time feel happier and more motivated to continue their work than those who exercise for an hour or more.

“The subjects in the test group that exercised the least talk about increased energy levels and a higher motivation for exercising and pursuing a healthy everyday life,” said Astrid Jepersen, one of the study’s authors, in a press release. “They take the stairs, take the dog for an extra walk or cycle to work. In contrast, the men who exercised for one hour a day, after training, felt exhausted, unmotivated and less open to making a healthy change.”

Jepersen added that public health officials should take a more holistic rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to combating obesity. Psychology, culture and social structures should all play an important role in determining how a person can develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle, she said.

Maintaining a healthy weight may reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In addition, staying fit may qualify you for lower life insurance rates. For convenient life insurance quotes, use our online quote generator to find out which policies fit your needs.

A few laps for a longer life: How jogging makes you healthier

Getting in shape doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym several times a week and exhausting yourself by doing squats or lifting weights. Good exercise comes from a consistent, semi-strenuous activity that is performed throughout the week. Doctors and fitness experts agree that you should diversify the methods of staying healthy, and almost always settle on one reliable choice: a daily jog.

The health benefits of going for a moderately paced run around the neighborhood include:

Better circulation – As we age, our bodies naturally atrophy over time. One of the most common effects of this process is the slow wearing-down of veins and arteries, which can lead to higher blood pressure. When you run, your breathing and heart rate patterns change and, over time, the muscles in your body become stronger.

Lower weight – The simplest benefit is that, as you work out, you will lose weight. Not only will this improve your sense of personal well-being, but you will naturally feel better and more energetic.

Mental health stability – While jogging, you’ll most likely be taking deeper breaths in order to stay at a certain pace. When you do this, your blood vessels deliver this fresh oxygen throughout your brain. You may not realize it at first, but this alteration in your breathing pattern will actually help calm you down. By reducing stress, you take the pressure off your mind and are able to think more clearly.

After a few weeks of daily jogging – and getting over the sore muscles – you will notice a substantial change in how you feel. Regardless of health and fitness levels, however, it’s important to always be prepared for the unexpected. If you purchase a life insurance policy from, your financial future will be secure. And remember, the healthier you are, the better your life insurance health classification and the lower your premiums.

Fitness Gadgets That Can Keep You Healthy, and Save You Money

We’re living in a culture that runs on constant information. All aspects of our lives are becoming automated, but we’re especially seeing great strides in technology meant to keep us healthy. Every day, it seems like there’s a new gadget that enables us to keep a close eye on our well-being or makes exercise more enjoyable. Here’s a list of top gadgets that can keep you healthy.

FitBit: For the past few years, Fitbit has earned its place among health junkies as the go-to device to monitor movement. By tracking steps, wearers have a better mindset to achieve 10,000 steps-a-day—the doctor-recommended amount for healthy living. With one of the Fitbit fitness-trackers, users can track their exercise and sleep patterns The data is then sent to your computer, which can be shared with friends to promote healthy competition.

Apple Watch:  A major feature of the Apple Watch is its health and fitness tracking capability.  The watch monitors your movement throughout the day, including workouts, and even reminds you to get moving.  Plus, you can use the watch to track your heart rate and view your workout stats, all from your wrist.

Samsung Watch:  With a Samsung Gear Watch  you can record and track your daily activities and life as you get closer to your health goal.  You can enjoy Samsung Health to the fullest and make it more useful with a variety of apps and partner accessories. 

PUSH Fitness Tracker: The PUSH is kind of like a mini personal strength trainer that straps to your arm. Instead of a coach monitoring you, this device gives you feedback on how many reps you’ve done, how quickly, and how powerfully you’ve completed each set. It can also provide you with information to you know when to call it a day, thereby avoiding injury. For the bodybuilding gym rats who may need a little direction, the PUSH is a very useful gadget.

Sensora Smart Clothing: Sports scientists are always trying to discover ways in which they can improve athletic wear by making lighter, more breathable and more water resistant. But Sensora’s shirt and sports bra actually have sensors in the material that transmit information to a small heart rate monitor attached to the front. Additionally, the Sensora Anklet tracks steps and distance, as well as monitors the landing technique of your foot. This data is useful in preventing common running injuries.

With all these gadgets that help us monitor our health and make exercise more enjoyable, staying active has never been easier or as quantifiable as it is right now. And an active lifestyle is invaluable to preventing conditions that may lower your life insurance health classification and raise your premiums. Obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight—all of which can be prevented by an active lifestyle—are factors that will negatively affect your rates when applying for life insurance coverage. The simple fact is that healthier people pay lower insurance rates—so any money spent on fitness apps may be saving you money in the long run.

Want to see how your current health affects your life insurance rates? Click here to start your life insurance quote today.

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Real-Life Impact of Life Insurance

Life insurance agents typically share hypothetical stories about how life insurance can save families from financial ruin following the death of a loved one.  Fortunately, many families have felt the real-life impact of life insurance after the death of a spouse, parent or other family member.  The real-life stories below come by way of LIFE (the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education , a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Americans take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products, including disability and long-term care insurance):

Jim Clara Bix

Jim Bix was a young, recently married electronics technician when the unthinkable happened: He was diagnosed with incurable lung disease. As his health began to deteriorate from the illness, Jim needed to turn to disability insurance to pay for the daily living expenses of his wife Clara and two daughters.

Clara recounted this struggle in a feature story for the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), a nonprofit that aims to help consumers make smart insurance decisions.

But, while she says the initial news was bad, Jim’s health stabilized over the next 20 years. During this time, Clara says Jim kept his family in their home and his daughters enrolled in a great private school.

Jim’s good fortune, however, wasn’t destined to last. Just when his health took a turn for the worse, the family received more bad news. Clara would need surgery to remove a cancerous kidney tumor.

After her successful operation and a brief spell of happiness for the family, Jim succumbed to his illness. But, while the family may have fallen on hard times, smart decisions made by Jim helped keep the family afloat through these difficult circumstances. Jim had paid extra to double his coverage amount, and as a result, despite his untimely demise, the Bixes were able to enjoy the same lifestyle they had before his passing.

“Life insurance was the greatest gift my dad could give us,” says Brittany. “It has allowed us to live life the same way as when he was here with us.”

According to the source, Brittany was so thankful for what insurance was able to provide for her family that she is now planning to pursue a career as a licensed insurance agent, hoping to pass on the gift of financial security to more families dealing with difficult situations like those her family faced.

Bill Connie Hobson

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education’s (LIFE) series of personal life insurance videos are clear and positive reminders of the importance of these policies. Families shattered by the death of a loved one need all the support they can get, and a life insurance policy is an ideal method of ensuring economic safety.

One of the stories by LIFE focused on Bill and Connie Hobson, who were your average American couple. Bill had a job at ATT as a product specialist that paid well, but complications began to occur when he noticed the strength in his hand had begun to weaken. Eventually, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

This degenerative neurological disorder can take years to develop, and over time Bill became less and less able to work. Yet it was before and during this time that Bill began putting his affairs in order, which included purchasing a term life insurance policy to supplement other policies he had obtained from ATT. When Bill passed away in 2009, the Hobsons were devastated but able to recover financially thanks to his forward planning.

Combined, Bill’s death benefits enabled Connie and the couple’s daughters to set enough money aside to both prepare for the future and settle some of their existing debt. Connie’s financial planner set up a retirement account while utilizing Bill’s 401(k) and pension payouts to ensure economic stability while her kids were still in school.

If you would like to learn more about the advantages of life insurance policies and how they can change your life, contact us today.

David Sarah Lewis

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) has long supported the idea of educating everyday folks about the benefits of a life insurance policy. In one of their “Real LIFE Stories” segments, the organization told the story of Sarah Lewis, who was faced with an uncertain financial future following the death of her husband.

David Lewis was a pediatric cardiologist who spent a considerable amount of time working overseas, especially in Latin America. Despite the long-distance trips, he made a commitment to protect his family , and working with a life insurance specialist, David purchased a life insurance policy. He even reviewed it with a professional twice a year to make sure that he and his loved ones were safeguarded in case anything should happen to him. His efforts put in place a level of financial protection for his wife and their three children.

Tragedy struck in 2001, when David suffered a heart attack and died in Ecuador. When he passed away, Sarah was able to access these funds to settle a number of financial liabilities that the family was facing. Not only did she pay off her mortgage and credit card debt, she also put money away for her children’s college educations. The remainder of the benefits were used to help maintain the Lewis family’s quality of life as they adjusted to a future without David.

“The greatest gift you can give your family is to think ahead and be prepared,” Sarah said in the LIFE interview.

If you’re unsure about which benefits that a life insurance policy can offer, visit today. We offer online life insurance quotes as well as general information regarding the purchase and use of a life insurance policy. Call us today at 866-691-0100 to learn more about this useful form of financial protection.

Boomer Esiason

In an earlier post, we mentioned that former NFL player and current sports commentator Boomer Esiason served as the spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month (2013), which annually runs through September. Today, we’ll explain the reasons why the former MVP and Pro Bowler chose to include life insurance in his financial planning process.

In an interview with the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), Esiason said that he learned the importance of life insurance at an early age. His mother died of cancer when he was seven, leaving his father to raise three children alone. Although she was not the breadwinner in the home, his mother’s absence made life difficult for the family. Esiason told the foundation that if his mother had purchased a life insurance policy, his father could have used the money to hire someone to keep the household running.

Because of his experience as a child, Esiason didn’t think twice about purchasing a life insurance policy for himself.

“When I became an NFL football player and decided to have kids in the early 90s, I recognized that I didn’t want to have happen to my kids what happened to us, as [we were] struggling when I grew up,” Esiason told Forbes.

The importance of life insurance is further compounded by the fact that Esiason’s son, Gunnar, has cystic fibrosis.

“If I don’t protect [Gunnar’s] future […] then if we ever found ourselves in the situation that I found myself in when I was seven, it would be an unmitigated disaster,” Esiason told the Forbes.

As this story illustrates, losing a loved one is always difficult, but it can be easier financially if you take the right steps for your family. For online life insurance quotes that can help you begin planning for the future, use the quote box on the right.

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The Life Insurance Approval Process: How Long Does it Take?

The thought of applying and getting approved for life insurance initially seems like a daunting task. But today, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Magnificent technological strides in life insurance industry
have been made, allowing companies to create quick life insurance quotes specifically tailored to customers in minutes.

How long does it take for life insurance to be improved?

Depending on the type of life insurance policy you are purchasing, and a number of other factors, a life insurance policy can be completely filled out and approved within 24 hours, or could take a few weeks or even months.

What is the process for being approved for life insurance?

In order to be approved, many insurance policies must go through a process called underwriting, in which rates are determined based on the assessed risk of each individual.

What is underwriting?

Underwriting is the process by which insurance companies assess risk of an individual in order to determine premium rates. This is based on statistical analysis of multiple factors that are used to determine risk of the insured.

This being said,

what is the role of an underwriter in an insurance company?

How long is the life insurance underwriting process?

As I stated above, the underwriting process can be as quick as 24 hours or take up to a couple of months.

This really all depends on a lot of factors involving your profile and your needs in a policy. Follow along as I dive deeper into the underwriting process, the various types of underwriting, what to expect in the process, and how long the underwriting process can take.

What factors are considered in underwriting process?

Before an underwriting decision is made, underwriters need to account for all elements that determine your overall risk.  If we look back to our underwriter definition, it becomes easy to understand why underwriting is one of the longest parts of the life insurance approval process, because so much must be taken into account.

There are quite a few factors that are taken into consideration during the life insurance underwriting process:

  • Health history, family health history, age, gender, height, weight
  • The purpose of the insurance policy (estate planning, final expenses, business, or individual life insurance)
  • Marital status, children (if any)
  • If the applicant has life insurance already, and how much coverage
  • If the applicant plans on buying additional coverage from a third party
  • Occupation (more dangerous jobs are higher risk)
  • Income
  • Smoking habits, alcohol, hobbies, lifestyle
  • International travel

Each one of these questions regarding your health, history, and lifestyle helps insurance underwriters to determine the overall risk profile you have to the insurance company.  The higher risk you are in their eyes, the higher your premiums will likely be.

For instance, if you work on skyscrapers, cleaning the windows on the outside, 800 feet above the ground each day, you are probably a much higher risk than say someone who works at the DMV, behind a desk all day.

How long does it take for an underwriter to make an underwriting decision?

Depending on the type of life insurance coverage you are looking for, there are a number of different types of underwriting you can go through in the application process.  Each one of these types of underwriting takes longer or shorter based on the amount of information that the insurance company needs in order to properly assess your risk and premium.

The main types of underwriting in the life insurance application process are:

Guaranteed issue

Guaranteed Issue life insurance is insurance that is offered to any eligible applicant without regards to their health status.  More often than not, this is for people who are in terminal or very poor health. On average, guaranteed issue policies are usually small in face value, often below $50,000.

In this type of underwriting process, there is no medical exam, and no health questions, making the process very fast, but making the rates equally expensive as a result.

Usually, the application process can take as little as a few minutes, but can take up to a few weeks in some instances.

Simplified issue

Simplified issue is the next step up from Guaranteed issue.  In this type of life insurance underwriting, applicants are asked brief questions regarding their health, but are still not required to take a medical examination.

Because this means anyone qualifies for coverage, just like with guaranteed issue, it means that rates are also expected to be fairly high.  The reason for this is that without proper knowledge of your health history, insurance companies assume the risk that you could die before your policy is through, leading them to have to pay out your policy.  As a result, premiums for these types of policies are higher to reflect the higher risk taken on by the insurer.

For simplified issue, the process usually takes less than a week from application to approval, but can take longer depending on the company.

No Medical Exam Life Insurance

In no medical exam underwriting, as the name implies, no medical examination is required.  However, there is more information the insurer requires about your background and financial history.

It is common for the insurance agent or company to require you to be submitted for a background check in order to see any criminal history.  Also, they check your DMV records to see accident history. Lastly, they will usually check prescription databases in order to get an idea of your medication history.

The premiums on policies with no exam underwriting are lower than those of simplified and guarantee issue, but still higher than those with more scrutiny in the application process.

Depending on the company, the third parties involved, and the medium through which you seek approval (online, phone, in person), this process can be done in as little as 24-48 hours, or can take up to 1-2 weeks.  

Fully underwritten

Full underwriting in the insurance application process takes longer than the accelerated underwriting choices listed above.

This type of underwriting is comprehensive, and is included in whole life and term life insurance policies alike.  It takes into account a long list of medical history from a medical examination, and combines it with background checks, prescription database information, DMV records, credit history and more.

In a fully underwritten life insurance application, a medical examination is required.  This is usually administered by a Primary Care Physician, and is essentially the same as a physical.  On top of this, urine and blood samples are usually taken in order to uncover health conditions, and the drug use/habits of applicants.

In some cases, where face values of policies are very high (usually in excess of $1,000,000), and/or the applicant has reached a higher age group (usually above 60), an EKG can also be a necessary part of the medical examination to ensure brain health.

If you are healthy and do not need insurance immediately, it is definitely the ideal type of underwriting for your application process.  The reason I say this is because if you are healthy, and willing to take a medical examination and undergo a background, credit, driving, and prescription check, and you know that all of your information will come back positive, you will undoubtedly receive a lower rate than an applicant who is not in similar health, with a similar background.

As far as time frame goes, it can be difficult to give an estimate for policies that undergo full underwriting.  The reason for this is because depending on the health conditions you have, Primary Care Physicians and Underwriters may have to go back and forth a few times until the insurance has all the relevant information needed to make a decision on your premium based on your risk profile.                  

If the process goes smoothly, and you are able to secure a medical examination within 3-5 days, the whole life insurance application process could take as little as 2-3-4 weeks and as much as 6-8 weeks.  In some cases, even less with technological advances allowing doctors to send over information almost instantly.

Can you get away from underwriting and medical exams/questions?

The short answer is yes, you can.

There is such thing as no medical exam life insurance policy, as I described above. As implied in the name, this type of insurance does not require a medical examination in order to open a policy.

As a result, however, the premiums are much higher for these types of policies.

This is largely due to the fact that insurance is entirely based on risk, and if they cannot properly assess your risk based on the results of a medical examination, they must protect themselves from the risk you may pose.

No medical examination life insurance policies usually run anywhere from 15 to 20% higher premiums than those with medical exams.

Other factors that can slow the underwriting process

During the underwriting process for a fully underwritten life insurance policy, there are a few factors that can slow down the underwriting process that you should be aware of:

The company you choose

The insurance carrier you choose often has a big impact on the time it takes for the underwriting and application process to be completed.  Often times, the larger the firm, the shorter the time frame to be approved. This is due to the fact that larger firms have more resources available to them to conduct their research, and more technologically advanced methods of calculating risks.

However, the large size of af company can also work against you in some cases. For instance, if an insurance carrier is so popular that they have hundreds or thousands of backlogged applicants awaiting underwriting, your application timeline could be extended as a result.  However, this is usually a pretty rare occurrence in the world we now live in, where everything happens instantly.

Additional health problems/conditions

Suppose you take your medical examination, and it uncovers that you have diabetes, cardiovascular issues, cancer, or some other form of unexpected health complication.  As you can imagine, this would raise concerns to an insurance company. As a result, they will want to take more caution when evaluating your risk profile.

This can often times result in additional medical examinations, health questions, and waiting periods.  Due to the varying level of danger any number of health complications can bring to your well being and therefore an insurance company’s bottom line, there is no telling how long the process can take in these cases.  Often times, these cases can result in a 1-3 month extension in the life insurance application process.

Face amount

Depending on the size of your life insurance policy, and the coverage you need in the event of your death, your policy can take a bit longer to review and approve.

As you can imagine, the larger the policy, the more eyes are going to be taking a look at it in order to ensure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.  Usually, the magic number is $2,000,000. Any policy larger than this can be expected to have additional people besides just the underwriter and agent involved in the process.  This is just to make sure that from the insurance company’s standpoint, they are doing everything they can to mitigate their own risk and secure you the best premium for the level of coverage you need.

As a result of this, the underwriting process can take a few more weeks than usual.

Type of life insurance policy

Depending on the type of life insurance policy you are looking to open, there may be a longer waiting time and processing time associated with it.

A solid example of this are whole life insurance and indexed universal life.  Both of these policies can take longer in the underwriting process because they are policies that cover someone for life.  Inherently, this presents a whole new set of risks for an insurance company, and as a result, they do their due diligence in order to ensure they secure the best premiums for applicants while still protecting themselves based on your risk profile.

Your age

As I briefly touched on earlier, your age can be a big factor in the underwriting process. The older you are, the more health problems you can potentially have, and sadly, the reality is, the more likely you are to die.  As a result, people over the age of 50-60 can usually expect the underwriting process to be a bit longer than those who are younger.

Usually, as long as no additional health concerns are discovered through your medical examination, your age can result in just a few additional questions and tests from your PCP, and lead to a week or two being added to the approval process.

How do underwriters get your information, and what are they looking for?

Naturally, with all this talk of background checks, driving records, health examinations, and medical history, you must have a bit of concern regarding how insurance companies access this information, and what they do with it afterwards.  Don’t worry, you are not alone. These questions are asked very frequently.

It is important to understand that insurance agencies keep your information 100% confidential.  They do not share or report your personal information anywhere other than in their own internal records.

Also, they secure their data from very reliable, trustworthy, and high authority sources that are responsible for keeping this type of information up to date and secure.  Some of the commonly accessed reports by life insurance companies in the application process are:

5 reports used in the underwriting process

Motor Vehicle Report

As you could have probably guessed, this information comes from the DMV.  Mostly, it is used to determine your car accident history. The more accident prone you are while driving, the more of a risk you are in the eyes of an insurer.  Applicants with frequent accidents in their past can expect higher insurance premiums as a result.

Prescription Database

Usually, the prescription databases that insurance companies access during the underwriting process are state regulated at the state level through PDMPs, which stands for Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.  Each state has their own PDMP, with the lone exception of Missouri at the moment, which is currently in the process of approving one.

MIB Report

The Medical Information Bureau (MIB Group) is a non-profit entity in the United States and Canada that collects and validates medical information on people within their areas of operation.  

Most insurance agencies work directly with the MIB to ensure that the information applicants give in the application process is valid and corresponds with their data.  This helps underwriters to do their job more quickly, and protects insurance agencies from fraudulent applications.

Background Check

Background checks can be conducted by numerous third party sources.  For the most part, insurance companies are looking to see if you have any criminal history.  Depending on what history you have, you may be more of a risk in their eyes.

Credit Check

This is mainly done in order to ensure that you in fact have the resources and financial history to appropriately pay your premiums on time.  At the end of the day, an insurance company does not want to insure someone who is not going to pay their premium.

How Long Does it Take to Be Approved for Life Insurance – Takeaway

To sum things up, the time it takes to be approved for life insurance varies on a number of different factors.  Depending on your age, the policy you are looking for, the type of underwriting you want, the existing health conditions you have, the company you choose, and other uncontrollable factors, the time it takes to be approved for life insurance can vary from less than 24 hours to a few months or more.

For those in a rush and in poor shape who need coverage quick, no medical exam life insurance may be the best option, but it comes with a hefty price as a result of the higher risk taken on by the company insuring you.

However, for those who are in no rush to get coverage, your best bet is to wait out the process, and try to be as helpful as possible when giving your information to your agent.  While the process may seem lengthy at times, there have been major strides made in the last 20 years to improve the life insurance application and approval processes. It is also important to remember that the underwriters job is to ensure that you get the best premium possible for the coverage you need.  So while it may seem they can take long at time, they are working for you, not against you.

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Final Expense Insurance from Mutual of Omaha

Currently one of the most recognized life insurance companies, Mutual of Omaha has dramatically increased its footprint since its founding in 1909. The company has dynamic name recognition and meets its customers’ expectations by offering outstanding rates on a variety of products and outstanding customer service and claims service. They are especially recognized for their Final Expense Insurance.

The company operates across the United States using four subsidiary companies to administer and market its financial products:

As a dominant U.S. life insurer, Mutual of Omaha continues to post excellent ratings that have been awarded by the most well-known rating services:


Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Products


Mutual of Omaha logo

Mutual of Omaha offers a complete list of life insurance products for customers and agents. They will typically be able to offer insurance solutions for virtually any financial scenario and at the same time, their products are competitively priced in order to meet the budget of middle Americans.

Term Life Insurance


Considered a temporary life insurance solution, term insurance is typically used to replace lost income for young to middle-aged adults and families. The company offers significant death benefits which enable individuals, families,  or small businesses to insure against lost income, current and future debts, mortgage protection, and living expenses. The company offers term life insurance using two distinct products.

Term Life Direct

The Term Life Direct product is designed to provide life insurance coverage up to age 80. It is available for individuals between the ages of 30 and 74-years old. The company offers death benefits that range from $20,000 (minimum) to $100,000 (maximum) with no medical exam required. Mutual of Omaha offers several riders for applicants to broaden their coverage and in some cases, offer living benefits. Riders are an ideal solution for the insured to customize their coverage to meet their individual needs.

Term Life Answers

Mutual’s Term Life Answers is the solution for applicants needing a higher death benefit. This policy is fully underwritten and offers some of the most affordable insurance rates that can be found in the marketplace.

Both products are available in 10, 15, 20, and 30 year term periods and both products can be converted to permanent insurance coverage without proof of insurability.


Universal Life Insurance


Mutual of Omaha’s Universal Life products are considered permanent life insurance that includes a cash value component. The cash account within the policy is credited each month with a portion of the premium payment and then earns interest based on the performance of the company’s investments. Universal life insurance is the only flexible insurance product available and gives the policyholders options that other policy types do not offer.

Guaranteed Universal LifeThis insurance product is considered permanent insurance since it can be structured to provide coverage for the life of the insured. Available face amounts range from $100,000 to $1 million and above and the company offers several riders to enhance the coverage of the policy.

Income Advantage Universal LifeThis is an Indexed Universal Life policy that was developed to accrue cash value dependent on the performance of a market index rather than the performance of the carrier.

AccumUL PlusMutual’s AccumUL Plus is a great product to use for college funding and retirement planning strategies. The company offers additional riders that can help personalize the policy to meet the specific needs of the policyholder.


Whole Life and Final Expense Insurance


Mutual of Omaha’s whole life insurance selection is designed to meet the needs of the policyholder with substantial guarantees and provides the accumulation of cash value.

The primary benefits provided by whole life insurance are a lifetime death benefit, non-cancellable policy if premiums are paid, level periodic premiums that will never go up, and the accumulation of cash value over time that can be accessed through policy loans or withdrawals.

Whole Life Express®Mutual of Omaha’s Whole Life Express policy is a typical whole life policy with face amount options of $20,000 to $50,000. This coverage is available for applicants between the ages of 18 and 85-years old. The policy is considered “simplified underwriting” which means that no medical exam is required. Whole Life Express can be used as a Final Expense Insurance policy for individuals who qualify.


Living Promise Level Benefit PlanMutual of Omaha’s level benefit policy is a perfect solution for applicants who want to purchase Final Expense Insurance. Coverage is available for individuals who are 45 to 85-years old with face amounts from $2,000 to $40,000. The policy comes with the Accelerated Death Benefit rider built in at no additional charge.

Although a medical exam is not required for Mutual’s Level Benefit Plan, there are a number of health questions on the application that could disqualify an applicant if multiple questions are answered yes.


Living Promise Graded Benefit PlanMutual’s Graded Benefit Plan is intended for applicants who do not qualify for the Level Benefit Plan. Applicants aged 45 to 80-years old are eligible for coverage and the face amounts that are available are $2,000 to $20,000 except for WA where the face amounts are $5,000 to $40,000.

This plan has a graded death benefit which means there is a two year waiting period before the company will pay the full death benefit if the insured dies as a result of natural causes. During waiting period the company will pay 110% of all premiums paid by the policyholder to the beneficiary. If, however, the insured dies during the waiting period because of an accident, the full death benefit will be paid.

After the two year waiting period, the full death benefit will be paid for death resulting from all causes.


Agency Remarks


After many years representing Mutual of Omaha, the Life Insure agency has found this company to be one of our primary providers for Final Expense Insurance. Their product listing, competitive rates, and exceptional customer service make them our go-to insurance company for final expense insurance and other types of insurance solutions for our clients.


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Life Insurance for Smokers – What to Know

If you are one of the millions of smokers in the United States, affordable life insurance may seem like a difficulty commodity to come by.  While you certainly will experience a higher premium (often called a tobacco surcharge or have a tobacco rating) for your life insurance, this does not mean that all hope is lost for affordable life insurance for smokers.  With a bit of research, you can find affordable life insurance as a smoker.

Who is Classified as a Smoker

What classifies an individual as a smoker when it comes to life insurance? And how long do you have to be a non-smoker for life insurance applications?

Well, to be specific, this can be an ambiguous topic since insurance companies themselves are responsible for determining their own guidelines and classifications towards smokers. However, a vast majority of life insurance companies consider anyone who has smoked regularly within the last 12 months to be a smoker.

Some companies are even more stringent with their classification, considering smokers as anyone who has smoked regularly within the last 5 years.

When it comes to defining a regular user, things also get a little foggy.  Again, each company is allowed to create their own classifications and guidelines to how they rate life insurance premiums based on lifestyle, health conditions, demographics, and risk profile.  However, more often than not, this is someone who smokes on a daily, or weekly basis for an extended period of time.

What about if I smoke cigars once in a while?

If you are someone who will have the occasional celebratory cigar to relax or kickback, you more than likely have nothing to worry about.  However, even smoking once in a long while can have negative effects on your health, and therefore raise your level of risk to an insurer. For the occasional smoker, life insurance can usually come at a non-smoker rate, if you play your cards right.

So, that being said, can companies charge you more if you smoke?  Why do insurance companies charge higher premiums for smokers? And how much more expensive is life insurance for smokers when compared with non-smokers? 

Let’s take a look.

The Stats About Smoking

First of all, let’s point out the facts.  Smoking is dangerous. Very dangerous. To put in perspective just how dangerous smoking is to human health, in 2016, 20% of all U.S. deaths were related to nicotine or tobacco related health problems.

Now, I am not saying this to lecture you on your life decisions and what you should be doing.  Smoking is your choice and I am not your mother. However, it is important to understand how the long-term negative health effects of smoking on the human body play a role in higher life insurance rate premiums for smokers.

If we take a deeper look, one person every 6 seconds in the United States dies from a tobacco related death.  

Regular tobacco users also experience much higher chances of being diagnosed with a number of deadly diseases and health complications that include but are not limited to:

  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • More…

These health complications can be deadly, and have been known to kill many smokers long before their average lifespan is achieved.  And deadly in the eyes of an insurance company spells out liability in big red letters.

When you stop to consider the fact that insurance companies determine the prices of their premiums based on the risk an individual faces of dying during the term of their policy, it becomes more clear why smokers experience higher life insurance premiums — put simply, they are a higher risk than non smokers.

While other factors come into play in the determination of premiums, your health and lifestyle certainly weigh heavily on your premium.

So How Does Smoking Affect My Life Insurance Rates?

how much does smoking affect my life insurance rates?
With this knowledge, the question now is not “Do you pay more for life insurance as a smoker?” but, “How much more do you pay for life insurance as a smoker?”.

As I mentioned earlier, tobacco users or smokers of any kind are a higher insurable risk than those who do not use tobacco products.  As a result, they are faced with a tobacco surcharge or tobacco rating, which is a higher premium rate in order to account for their higher risk profile.

On average, across the United States, smokers pay a 15-20% higher premium than non-smokers.  It is important for smokers to know that this rate however cannot legally be any higher than 50% of what non-smokers pay.  This is a federally mandated law under the Affordable Care Act.

If you experience rates that are more than 50% higher than that of what a non-smoker has who has similar demographics, occupational hazard, and lifestyle (aside from smoking), then you should probably think about calling an agent immediately and getting to the bottom of things.  

Depending on the insurance company, life insurance rates for smokers can be drastically different between firms.  One important thing to do before deciding on a policy is to compare rates from a variety of providers in order to determine what the best bang for your buck is.  After all, protecting your loved ones and making sure they are cared for financially in the event of your untimely death is a very serious matter that deserves some thought.


Compare the best life insurance rates for smokers here

We compare dozens of options for you, to find the best price and coverage for you in minutes.


What About Vaping, E-Cigs, Smokeless Tobacco, etc..?

Most insurance companies consider any form of smoking or tobacco/nicotine usage under the umbrella of smoking.  This means that even if you do not smoke cigarettes, but readily partake in the usage of vapes, e-cigs, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco, nicotine patches and gum, or any other tobacco and nicotine product, you also fall under the umbrella of a regular user.

While the need for a tobacco surcharge for these alternatives to cigarettes may seem outrageous, equally harmful carcinogens can be identified in these products, which can lead to equally harmful medical complications.

Why do these smoking alternatives still add a tobacco rating onto your life insurance policy?

To start, vaping and e-cigs are fairly new on the market, and as a result, have little statistical evidence to prove that they are a “safe” alternative to cigarettes.  To an insurance company that literally bases their entire revenue structure and business model around statistics and probability, this is a less than favorable leg for you to stand on, despite what your opinions on e-cigs and vaping may be.  

Are you a non smoker if you vape?

Many people often ask,  “is vaping considered smoking for insurance purposes”, and the short answer is yes.

Vape liquids contain hazardous metals, carcinogens, formaldehyde, silicate particles and vapors that expand from their room temperature liquid form under high heat and pressure into a gaseous form, creating those billowing clouds of smoke. Once inside your lungs, the gas desperately looks for a way to escape and expand, and as a result, actually finds its way into your lung tissue faster than smoke from a cigarette.

Atop that, these forms of smoking have been known to cause respiratory and circulatory problems such as popcorn lung, arrhythmia, weakened immune system, and all other health problems associated with smoking.   

Are you a non smoker if you use smokeless tobacco?

Chewing tobacco may not affect your lungs, but it still damages your body through the nicotine it contains.  Long term usage can cause mouth, jaw, tongue, throat and stomach cancer, dental problems, receding gum line, rotten teeth, and more.  To an insurance company, that spells risk.

What about nicotine patches and gum?

As far as nicotine patches and nicotine gum go, they are also considered under the umbrella of smoking by most insurance companies due to their nicotine content.  While this may seem discouraging as someone who may be trying to quit smoking or tobacco use, there are some companies that offer a lowering of your premium once you have proven you have quit for good.  To do this, you must retake your medical exams.

What if I recently quit smoking and want to apply for a life insurance policy?

Again, most insurers are looking for you to be smoke free for a period of 12 months before considering you a non-smoker.  In order to avoid a tobacco surcharge on your insurance, the best thing you can do is wait the 12 month period out and then apply.

What if I was a smoker, but then quit after I signed my life insurance policy?

Obviously, in the world of life insurance, waiting this year may not be an option for people.  If this the case for you, the next best thing you can do is apply for a life insurance policy as a smoker.  After a certain period of time (usually a year or two), most insurance companies will allow you to retake your medical exam in order to prove you are in better health and are no longer smoking.  Be sure to ask your insurance agent about this option before making a decision on a policy, as it can save you big money in the long run on a term policy.

Questions You Will Be Asked By Insurance Agents

what kind of questions will my doctor ask in a medical examination for life insurance?

When looking for a new life insurance provider, you will always be asked about your medical history.  Additionally, you will be asked to provide medical records from the past, and take a medical examination in order to assess your health so the insurance company can properly give you a premium that mirrors your risk of death during the given time period of your policy term.

While there is such thing as no medical exam life insurance, the premiums are inherently high due to the large risk profile each policyholder poses to the insurer.  Even with a tobacco surcharge, your life insurance premium will be much lower with a medical exam than in a no medical exam policy.

During the process of assessing your risk profile, most insurance agents will likely ask a list of questions related to your smoking history.  Some questions you can expect to be asked are:

  • How long have/did you smoked for?
  • How many cigarettes do/did you smoke a day?
  • Are you a current user?
  • When did you quit?

Based on your answers to these questions, the company can then use this new knowledge about your past smoking habits to assess your risk profile.  The truth will come out in your medical examinations anyways, so there is really no sense in lying. While lying in the insurance application process is not considered fraud, it can cause you to be declined coverage, and become a questionable candidate for a multitude of other companies.  

Put simply, lying about smoking on health insurance applications is just not worth it.

Medical tests that confirm smoking

So I’m sure by now there are a few smokers who are still saying to themselves, “Yeah right, give me a break.  How do insurance companies find out if you smoke anyways?

Well sir or madam, it’s 2018, and you best believe insurance companies have the money and the resources to make sure you aren’t lying about your smoking habits on that application.

For long term smokers, the good news is, the most common forms of testing rarely detect any signals of smoking beyond 1-4 months.  While most insurers require you to be smoke free for 12 months or more in order to not be considered for a non-smoker policy, this does leave somewhat of an advantageous gap for recent quitters.

The main suspect that insurance companies are looking for when testing to see if people are smokers is nicotine.  Some of the most common methods used by insurance agencies to test for smoking history are:

Urine test

This is the most common method of testing.  Usually, it is difficult to detect nicotine within urine after about a week of no smoking.  Personally, I recommend at least waiting a month after smoking before taking a life insurance medical exam.  However, even the heaviest smokers can rarely test positive in a urine test if they have gone 7 days or more without smoking.

Saliva test

This is the second most common test for smoking on a medical exam.  This test extends a bit further back from urine tests, and usually can be used to detect smoking within the past month or so.  Usually, due to the fact that our bodies produce new saliva about every month, it is difficult to trace much further back than that with a saliva test.  

Additionally, there are a few foods that can cause a false positive for nicotine on a medical exam.  In the event of this happening, the insurance company usually will fall back on an additional urine test to prove or disprove their findings in the saliva test.

Blood test

This type of test is much less common than the two listed above.  It is generally more expensive than urine and saliva tests, and can equally test in a false positive due to some environmental factors and chemicals in some common foods.  Because of this inaccuracy and high cost, it is not often used for detecting nicotine in life insurance medical exams.

If it is used, the results of a blood test can usually tell someone’s smoking history for the last month or so, but not much further back than that.  In the event of a false positive, a urine test is the fallback to prove or disprove the findings of the blood test.

Hair test

This is the least common type of health insurance smoking test.  It also happens to be the most expensive, and the most accurate. Outside of a few circumstances, where occupational hazards may require you to get a very high insurance premium, it is unlikely that you will be administered a hair test for tobacco or nicotine.  

If this is to happen, the results are viewed with a much higher level of accuracy than the other tests, and the test can also trace much further back in your history – depending on the length of your hair.  If you have hair that is very long, chances are it took you years to grow. If you smoked regularly within that time period, your hair will tell the story.

How long does nicotine stay in your blood, saliva, hair, and urine for life insurance purposes?

It’s hard to tell.  

It is important to understand that each individual’s body is different, and therefore each person processes toxins differently.  For that reason, it can be difficult to give an exact estimate of how long it takes for your body to process nicotine, in order to be able to pass a medical examination as a former smoker.  All points above for the various testing methods are estimates based on aggregate data.

Life Insurance Options for Smokers

So, at this point, smokers may be asking, “what are my options for life insurance as a smoker?”.  Well, hope is not all lost. Despite the fact that you will almost certainly be charged more than your non-smoking peers for life insurance, you still have plenty of affordable options when it comes to life insurance policies.

As I mentioned earlier, to avoid the medical exam completely is one option with no medical exam life insurance.  However, these types of policies are often outrageously priced, and really only ideal for someone in terminal, or pretty rough physical health.

After doing some research, and comparing the rates of hundreds of companies for dozens of age groups and demographics, I have compiled a list of the Top 5 Affordable Life Insurance Providers for Smokers:

  • Banner Life
  • Pacific Life
  • AIG
  • Transamerica
  • SBLI

Just to outline how these insurers can help people from various different demographics, here is a list of some basic customer profiles, and what can be expected for rates in their case.

Let’s take Judy, a 40 year old mother of 2, who has been a smoker for 20 years.  She often smokes a pack a day, and her job as a teacher is considered a low risk occupation.  For our purposes, let’s also say that she has never smoked any other type of tobacco product, and does not have relatives who contracted heart or cardiovascular diseases before age 70.  Judy is also looking for $500,000 of coverage over a 20 year term. Our top 5 secured the following rates for her:



Okay, next let’s look at Jason.  Let’s say for the purposes of this example, Jason is a 48 year old man with 3 kids, and is an electrician.  He has smoked a pack a day for the last 15 years, and is looking for a 20 year term life insurance policy with $1,750,000 of coverage.  He currently makes $100,000 per year and has about 20 years left of working. His youngest child is 12 years old, he owes $140,000 on his mortgage and has another $40,000 in outstanding debt from loans.  Based on this, it is estimated that in the event of his death, his family would need $1,750,000 in order to pay off outstanding debts and make up for the loss of his income for the remainder of the 20 year time period he would still be working.  His quotes from our top 5 are as follows:



As I said, this list is based on my research of hundreds of competitors across multiple age, gender, and occupational ranges.  While I can’t promise they will always have the lowest life insurance premiums for smokers based on your specific situation, I am positive that these companies will be in the top 10 cheapest, and also some of the best service and coverage in the industry.

Wrapping it all up

Insurance companies base their premiums and policy protection almost entirely on statistics and risk analysis.  If you are a smoker, naturally, you are a higher risk to an insurance company due to the inherent health problems associated with long term smoking of cigarettes or usage of other tobacco products.  As a result, your life insurance premium will likely be higher than your non-smoker peers due to what is called a tobacco rating.

When it comes to what classifies an individual as a regular smoker, each company has their own definition.  When it comes to quitting however, most insurers hold fairly similar views that a 12 month period of no smoking is necessary before someone can be considered a non-smoker again.

If waiting out this period is a viable option for you and your family, it may be worth the wait because of the resulting lower premium.  However, it should be known that you still have a given level of health risks associated with you due to your past smoking history.

If this is not an option for you, or you simply do not wish to quit smoking, there are plenty of options for affordable life insurance for smokers out there.  While your rates will be higher, it is essential to know that the national average life insurance rate for smokers vs. non-smokers is about 15-20% higher, and cannot by federal law be any higher than 50% more.

It is essential for anyone, regardless of circumstances, to shop around before considering a life insurance policy to ensure they get the best rates and the best coverage.


Compare the best life insurance rates for smokers here

We compare dozens of options for you, to find the best price and coverage for you in minutes.


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Learn How to Choose the Right Amount of Life Insurance

Most people today realize that they need to have life insurance. It’s no longer in the “well maybe” column but for most people it’s in the “get it done” column. Certainly, we know that when we die there is an expense attached because you can’t bury your cousin Fred in the woods. There are laws about disposing human remains and unfortunately, there can be a substantial cost associated with a proper burial or cremation.

If you’ve ever been involved with arranging a funeral or helping to pay for one, you should be intimately aware of how much money is involved. Unless your deceased friend or loved one had a life insurance policy, those costs are going to pass to the surviving loved ones. It’s doubtful that there are many things worse than to have to borrow money or pull it from your savings account while you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or close friend.

What’s the Average Cost of Funeral Today?

Like any other product or service, there are moderately priced funerals and there are expensive funerals. And like any other product or service, the total cost will depend on the “bells and whistles” that are added to the basic service. For the purpose of this discussion, however, let’s look at the average cost for burying a friend or loved one.

FuneralWise.Com, which is an established resource for funeral planning lists the average cost of a typical funeral service or cremation as follows:

The average cost of cremation with a traditional funeral service(the casket is present and you have a visitation) is $10,000-$12,000.

The average cost of cremation with a memorial service(takes place sometime after the cremation, the casket is not present, and does not include a visitation) is $8,000-$10,000.

The average cost of cremation with no funeral or memorial serviceis $2,000.

The average cost of burial with a traditional funeral service(visitation and the casket is present) is $15,000.

The average cost of burial with a memorial service(no casket, no visitation) is $10,000. Read the Article

Knowing the cost of your funeral in advance certainly provides a starting point on how much life insurance coverage you should purchase. If your life insurance purchase is intended to pay for your funeral and burial, then according to the information above $10,000 to $15,000 should be sufficient.

What if I Want to Purchase More than just Burial Insurance?

There are many reasons to buy life insurance, especially if you are the primary earner in the family. If you consider just for a moment how the loss of your income will actually affect your family, a $10,000 burial policy will be way short of your family’s financial needs. Let’s take a look.

Understanding your actual life insurance needs can be easily calculated by using an insurance needs analysis calculator. There are many of these calculators on the web that will take all financial matters into consideration when calculating your family’s financial needs if your income is no longer available to them.

The insurance needs analysis calculator will take into consideration your survivors’ income needs, expenses and debts, and savings and assets. This type of analysis takes into consideration all of your surviving loved one’s needs for a time period that you choose.

We recommend that you access an online insurance calculator or better yet, have an experienced and reputable agent calculate this for you during a brief interview. If you choose to go it alone, John Hancock Insurance has a life insurance calculator that will help you determine how much insurance you realistically need.

What if I Can’t Afford the Amount of Insurance I Need?

unclaimed life insurance benefits

Believe it or not, you probably can. You just have to look at the different types of life insurance that will best fit within your budget. Here’s an example:

Let’s use John Jones as an example. John has done an insurance needs analysis and discovered that he really needs $685,000 in life insurance to take care of his spouse and two children in the event of his death. John is a 30-year old male non-smoker in very good health. Here are John’s options:

20-Year Term Life Insurance: $25.68 per month

Universal Life Insurance: $336 per month

Whole Life Insurance: $610 per month

Certainly, John can likely afford the $25.68 premium for the Term Policy. He can also convert some or all of the coverage to permanent life insurance before the end of the term without having to worry about any health conditions that may have come up.

If John feels like Term insurance is a waste of money, then he should consider the Universal Life policy that builds cash value or he could cover part of the needed death benefit with Universal Life and the balance with Term Insurance. Doing so will reduce his combined monthly insurance premium to a more affordable amount.

If John is more concerned about policy guarantees and the monthly premium is not an issue, he may want to select Whole Life Insurance which cannot be canceled as long as he pays the premium and it will build cash value over the life of the policy. Or, John may want to combine the Term insurance with the Whole Life coverage to reduce the monthly premium or a mixture of all three.

It’s important for consumers to know that permanent insurance policies like Universal Life or Whole Life build significant cash value over time and they will have access to that cash whenever it’s needed, no questions asked.

If You Know You Need Life Insurance, why Don’t You Have Any?

Over time, you would think more and more Americans would be buying life insurance, especially since the insurance companies advertise now more than ever. Unfortunately, such is not the case. In fact, there are fewer people with life insurance now then there were in 1984. Statistics today indicate that only about 60% of Americans carry life insurance and a large portion of those Americans get their life insurance through work which is typically woefully inadequate.

It’s great to have insurance through your employer, but in most cases, it’s never enough and when you leave, your insurance doesn’t follow you.



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