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Why Cheap Term Life Insurance Isn't Always So Cheap

Aug 17, 2007
You've heard a lot of talk about cheap term life insurance and you've decided that it's something you need to start investigating. That's definitely a step in the right direction. Like so many other tasks in life, you've turned to the Internet to get the ball rolling.

You've filled out numerous online applications for cheap term life insurance but as the quotes start to come back you're realizing that term life insurance isn't really all that cheap. What's going on?

Your health matters

A couple of factors might be causing higher than anticipated term life insurance costs. First and foremost is the general state of your health. Getting an online quotation is one thing, but pricing an actual policy after the life insurance company has reviewed your medical history is really what determines your true costs for life insurance.

Very rarely will an individual get life insurance without first having a medical examination. Getting a policy through your place of employment is the only time this may happen, but generally in this situation, your coverage will be minimal.

If you're looking for cheap term life insurance that'll actually be of financial value after you're gone, you'll likely have to supplement the policy you get through your job.

Let's take a look at the logic for a moment. If given the choice, life insurance companies would select as customers only those whose health is excellent. Excellent health means you should live longer. When you live long there is less chance that the insurance company will have to pay out your policy's death benefits.

In other words, if you outlive your cheap term life insurance policy, the insurance company comes out ahead. The company has collected your premiums, but it did not have to give any money back to your beneficiaries.

The categorization system

When determining the true cost of a policy, life insurance companies use a classification system. Individuals with a clean bill of health generally get classified as "super preferred" and get the lowest-priced premiums. They're the ones who get cheap term life insurance. Several more categories exist and, unfortunately, each category comes with a progressively higher premium.

Some of the health conditions that raise a red flag in the eyes of an insurance company include use of tobacco products, being overweight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a history of cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease or other type of chronic disease in your family, even if you do not have any symptoms of these conditions.

If you do have symptoms of the above conditions, you should expect that cheap term life insurance isn't something for which you'll qualify.

The types of medical conditions listed above are more likely to cause premature death in an individual. If the insured individual dies during the life insurance policy term, the insurance company will have to pay out death benefits. And that's what life insurance companies look at when deciding whether or not an individual qualifies for cheap term life insurance.
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