When you apply for life insurance, the company’s underwriters will take a close look at your health, your habits, and your family’s health history. The higher the risk, the higher your insurance premiums will be.
Applicants in certain categories, such as tobacco users, fare better with certain insurance companies when it comes to rate classifications. Here are a few of the most common.
Best For Healthy Customers: Health I.Q.
Do you start your day with a run? Do you try to eat natural, healthy food?
If so, you should find an insurance company who rewards you for those good habits. Health I.Q. thinks health-conscious people are overpaying for their life insurance coverage, and to counteract this, has teamed with some insurance carriers to offer rewarding underwriting designed for active people.
Health I.Q. targets muscular people who have a low BMI, and people with low resting heart rates, even if they have a poor family history.
According to the statistics on their website, the standard insurance carrier puts 35 percent of applicants in the preferred plus category, but Health I.Q. puts double that amount.
Best For Smokers and Tobacco Users: Banner
Banner Life tops our list for smokers, with Prudential following close behind. Banner Life offers both preferred tobacco and standard tobacco classifications. You’ll still pay more as a smoker than a non-smoker, but the rate hike may not be as high as it would be with other companies.
Banner Life is an excellent company for term life coverage in general. They are usually among the most affordable, and writing policies for smokers seems to be their niche.
Banner is also the parent company of its often better-known subsidiary, William Penn Life Insurance of New York, which has over $5.7 billion in assets and over $587 billion of life insurance in force.
Best For Cancer Survivors: Prudential
Prudential not only tends to be more liberal in underwriting policies for cancer survivors but also for people with diabetes and DUI histories. As you would expect, premiums will be higher for cancer survivors even with a policy issued by Prudential.
The type of cancer, as well as how long it is been in remission, are factors. But if you are a cancer survivor looking for the best life insurance premiums, Prudential is the place to start.
Best For Diabetics: American General (AIG)
In general, American General is one of the very best insurance companies for high-risk applicants, but the company is especially strong in underwriting policies for those who have type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, American General offers an accelerated death benefit rider that enables you to receive at least some of your insurance proceeds while you are still alive if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. This can help provide important living benefits that will help you to pay at least some of your medical bills and other expenses.
Like many companies that offer more liberal underwriting guidelines to high-risk applicants, American General is tougher if your profile involves other risks, like occupations or hobbies.
Best For Overweight / Obese: Genworth
With 69 percent of the U.S. adult population classified as overweight, including 35 percent as obese, this is one of the most important specializations.
Genworth tends to take a more liberal stance in regard to weight. This can impact premiums in big ways since body mass index (BMI) is often one of the most important underwriting criteria.
Genworth has a history of assigning a “preferred plus” rating to people who are overweight, and “standard risk” to many people who are obese. This is not a typical outcome throughout the industry.
For example, a 55-year-old male who is 6 feet tall can get a preferred rate while weighing as much as 242 pounds. Once the man hits age 65, he can weigh as much as 258 pounds with the same rating.
Best Five Year Term Policies: Minnesota Life
We consider Minnesota Life to be the top life insurance company when it comes to five-year term policies.
Most companies issue policies in terms ranging from 10 to 30 years, so finding a good five-year policy can be tough.
If you’re starting a new business and would like to protect your family while you’re in debt, or if you’ve quit smoking but don’t qualify for non-smoking rates, a five-year policy with Minnesota Life may provide the temporary coverage you need.
Best For No Medical Exam: American National (ANICO)
No medical exam policies are an excellent choice if you would prefer to avoid the exam for any reason. But they do cost more in premiums on a per thousand basis than fully underwritten policies do.
ANICO gets our vote as one of the best carriers for no medical exam policies.
If you are looking for a policy with no medical exam and no health questions at all, ANICO offers its Legacy Whole Life Insurance Plan.
This is a guaranteed issue whole life policy that provides coverage for a face amount of up to $25,000. It is available for those between the ages of 50 and 80, and offers a fixed death benefit, with fixed premiums.
One downside to this policy – though it is common for the policy type – is that it has a two year graded death benefit. This means that if you die within the first two years after the policy is issued, you will be entitled to a return of the premiums paid (up to 110%) but not the death benefit itself.
No exam policies are more expensive, but ANICO is your best bet.