What Factors Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Proper diet and exercise benefit your overall health as well as your rate for life insurance. Beyond diet and exercise, other healthy habits can have a positive effect on your life insurance rate. Avoiding smoking, heavy drinking, and/or drug abuse helps keep insurance premium low, while high-risk habits like extreme or adventure sports or occupation can negatively impact life insurance. This post will dive deeper into healthy habits benefit your life insurance rates.      

Exercise & Diet     

The weight that you register at helps companies determine risk status and therefore rates. Most companies will use a body mass index, BMI, score to determine your rates. So in other words, maintain a healthy weight through diet, exercise, or both help you pay less for life insurance.      

However, not all exercise positively affects your insurance. Extreme sports, such as sky diving, negatively impact life insurance premiums, due to being so high risk. This does not mean you can’t ever enjoy the thrill of an extreme or adventure sport, but the frequency in which you engage in them will affect your life insurance rates.      

Alcohol & Drugs     

Life insurance companies will determine your rates by asking you about your alcohol and drug use, as well as administering a drug test. Companies may deny you if you fail to pass a drug test unless you have documentation to prove otherwise.      

Simply put, heavy use of alcohol and drugs will affect life insurance premiums. Drugs and alcohol negatively affect your health, making you a higher risk to insure. So, the more you drink, smoke, or use illicit drugs, the higher your premium.      


High-risk jobs usually have high rewards in terms of pay and benefits. Although it makes sense to have an occupation with good pay and benefits, the risk level may tip the scales. So police officers, firefighters, pilots, and similar high-risk occupations come with a greater life insurance cost.     

Low-risk occupations, such as those in the administrative field, may not call for high insurance rates. However, if you work in a high-risk location, then your premium will likely be higher. As your life goes on considering stepping away from high-risk work. It benefits your life and life insurance rates.      

The factors already listed may seem obvious, but other factors such as marital status, Foreign travel, and your driving record affect life insurance as well     

Marital Status     

Although being married does not directly affect life insurance rates, purchasing policies separate or together can help you save money. If you and your partner are healthy, you should purchase a policy together. However, if one of you does not have a clean bill of health, a separate policy may be better.      


Frequent Travel to foreign countries companies consider high risk negatively impacts insurance rates. Places that have a high risk for terror attacks, disaster, or high crime rates will be a determining factor for life insurance.      

The transportation used for travel affects life insurance rates as well. Companies consider flying to be high risk, so if you are considered the high risk if you travel a lot via flight. This is not to deter or keep you from traveling the world, but to warn you that certain destinations have consequences.      

Driving Record     

It may be surprising that your driving record would affect life insurance, but it does make sense. Insurers consider people with poor driving history as reckless.  So frequent violations and accidents call for higher life insurance rates.    

Just like auto insurance, life insurance is heavily impacted by your driving record and habits. Life insurance companies deny coverage to reckless drivers, or at the very least, will charge large sums or money.        

Take Home Message     

Your own life choices determine the effects of life insurance factors. If you find that you are a person at high risk, do not try to lie on an application for life insurance. Life insurance companies do their background checks for a reason; not being truthful runs the risk of having a claim denied. If you are taking out a life insurance policy, it is likely because you have people that depend on you. It would be devastating if something happened, and those who depend on you could not collect.