The cost of your life insurance policy—also known as your life insurance premium—is determined by a variety of factors, but one of the most influential is your underwriting classification.
Also referred to as your health class, underwriting classifications are the categories life insurance companies use to determine your health and level of risk. For traditional life insurance coverage, carriers will review your medical exam and application to determine which class you fall into. The following definitions can help you better understand the difference between the classes and how they can impact your life insurance policy rate.
The Seven Life Insurance Health Classifications
Sometimes referred to as Super Preferred or Preferred Best, Preferred Plus is for those with excellent health and no family history of medical risks such as heart disease or cancer. Preferred Plus applicants tend to have the lowest life insurance premiums of any underwriting class.
Individuals who qualify for the Preferred class are also in pretty good health, with the exception of something like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Although this underwriting class doesn’t provide the absolute lowest rate, the cost of premiums are favorable compared to the following classifications.
Standard Plus/Regular Plus
Those who qualify for the Standard Plus classification are still considered to be in good health, but might have a few minor health concerns to keep an eye on, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure and being outside of the ideal height or weight range.
The Standard or Regular classification—also referred to as Standard Non-Smoker—means you likely have average health and a normal life expectancy. There could be a concern around obesity or maybe your family has a history of heart disease or cancer, but you’ll likely have a higher premium than those in Standard Plus or Regular Plus and a more favorable rate compared to the Preferred Smoker rates.
As the name suggested, the Preferred Smoker category is for those who would otherwise fall into the Preferred underwriting class if they didn’t smoke. If you recently quit smoking, you still may qualify for this class, but it would be worth reviewing your coverage on an annual basis, at least, if you were to continue staying away from smoking.
Much like Preferred Smokers, the Standard Smoker classification is for those who would otherwise fall into the Standard underwriting category if they didn’t smoke.
The Substandard class can tend to be complicated, as it isn’t as clear as the other six categories. The Substandard category is typically used if you have a complicated health history, or have had new problems arise recently, and your coverage and rates are determined by a table rating system that provides a grade. While some of the prices of Substandard coverage aren’t ideal, it’s still an option to ensure your loved ones are covered in the event of your death.
Factors that Determine a Life Insurance Classification
While your health, height, weight, tobacco use and family health history directly impact the cost of your life insurance premium, so do your lifestyle and criminal history.
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