How to Get a Better Life Insurance Rate After You've Purchased a Policy

By Jim Sloan on April 22nd, 2010
Life Insurance

Did you know that you may be able to get the premium reduced on a life insurance policy you already own? If you can prove to your life insurance company that you are healthier now than when you purchased your life insurance policy, you may be able to get your rate re-evaluated.

"Just like when you first applied for whole life insurance, you may be required to undergo a medical exam, or possibly a series of medical exams, for your insurance provider to determine that your health has improved and you are entitled to a rate change," said Marvin H. Feldman, President and CEO of the Life and Health Foundation for Education (L.I.F.E.), a nonprofit helping consumers choose life, disability, long-term care and health insurance. "But if you do qualify, the difference in savings can be quite significant."

Request a Review

According to Feldman, customers can request a review of their whole life insurance rate a year or more after their policy was issued. If you have left a dangerous job, quit smoking, lost excessive weight, or defeated a chronic disease, you may qualify for a premium reduction.

"If the change you have made to your life does not affect your health and longevity, it may not matter to your life insurance company," Feldman said. "They care about lifestyle choices and health conditions that could potentially shorten your life. If you work in a dangerous occupation or are involved in dangerous activities, your life insurer will care about these aspects of your life as well."

Scoring Savings

Life insurance underwriters analyze your medical records, occupation, and family health history, and categorize you according to your mortality risk. If you are in good health, have a safe job, and lead a healthy lifestyle, you might qualify for "super preferred" status -- meaning your premiums will be lower than those in the preferred, standard, or lower categories. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, you are not able to qualify for super preferred status.

"Down the road, the cash savings on your life insurance policy may also motivate you to stop smoking, lose weight, start working out and improve other medical conditions," Feldman said.

Remember that your new rate will also be based on your current age. So while life insurance grows more expensive as you get older, that increase can be offset by the rate reduction for your improved health.

The first step to getting a rate reduction is to contact your agent or your life insurance company to request a re-evaluation. You may have to undergo medical tests similar to those required when you initially applied for your life insurance policy. Whether you are requesting a re-evaluation or undergoing the underwriting process for the first time, it's never wise to lie about your habits -- nicotine shows up in a urine test -- and you must be smoke-free for at least a year to qualify for a no-nicotine rate.

And you've got nothing to lose: Your life insurance premium can't be increased as a result of a rate re-evaluation.

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