health, life insurance, protection, risk management

Diet, health, and the financial impact on life insurance

The purpose of life insurance is to manage risk. Individuals and families need protection in the event a primary bread winner passes away.

Several factors drive what life insurance costs for an individual. Women tend to live longer, so their cost for life insurance is lower than it is for men. The healthier a person is, the less expensive it is for them to obtain life insurance. People who smoke pay significantly more for life insurance.

Each person’s health situation is unique. Part of the process of obtaining life insurance is to collect medical samples for testing. The underwriter reviews records from your doctors over the past 5 years. They also examine driving records.

Once all of the information is collected the underwriter evaluates the data at hand and assigns the insured person a health rating. The better the rating, the lower the premium you pay. 

So how much of an impact do health issues have on a person’s ability to afford life insurance? 

Assuming the insured lives in Pennsylvania and is applying for a 20yr level term policy with a death benefit of $500,000. Let’s examine a few hypothetical examples.

First, lets compare 2 women who are 5’6” and have the same health profile, but the only difference being woman A weighs 164 lbs., and woman B weighs 190 lbs. Woman A is rated “preferred plus” and her policy costs $315/yr. Woman B is rated “preferred” and her policy costs $390/yr. The result is a 24% increase in the cost of protection. 

In the next example lets use the same 2 women as described above but let’s assume woman B has a major health condition, such as early stage diabetes. As a result, instead of woman B’s rating being “preferred” it is now reduced to “non-smoker”. Her cost of insurance for the same policy described above goes up to $535/yr. This is 70% higher cost compared to woman A who was rated “preferred plus”.

Why is woman B rated “non-smoker” more expensive? Because statistically due to her health issues she is more likely to pass away and have the policy pay out its death benefit sooner, compared to someone rated “preferred plus”. 

In a last example, let’s assume woman B smokes cigarettes. As a result, she is rated “smoker standard” and her premium for the policy described above is $1150/yr. Her premium is 265% higher than woman A due to smoking. Why? Because there are significant health issues caused by long term cigarette use.

Over time a person’s health can have a major impact on their financial security. Having poor health and not having life insurance can put a person’s family at risk when the person passes away. Having poor health, but obtaining life insurance can protect the family from the loss of a primary breadwinner, but there is a cost associated with that protection. Having good health and having life insurance is both cost effective and sensible from a protection standpoint.

We all can utilize a variety of practices to improve our health. Diet, yoga, and exercise… prevention and proactive strategies can add years to our life expectancy and reduce our expenses to protect our families. Financial security is more likely to result from good health.

So what is a good first step?

A recent study published in the JAMA found, “that the nutritional value of foods is more important to weight loss than whether you exclude fats or carbohydrates.” (1&2)

“What did matter across both groups was the type of carbohydrates or fats participants consumed: Those who ate the fewest processed foods, sugary drinks and unhealthy fats while eating the most vegetables lost the most weight.

“If you reduce starch and sugar and you increase minimally processed healthful foods like vegetables, weight will go down naturally,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and nutrition expert at Tufts University who is not connected to the study.” About 10 pounds a year, which is pretty substantial.”

What is most important is “eating mindfully [and] getting rid of packaged, processed food,” said lead author Christopher Gardner.

Take charge today of your well-being, both physical and financial. To learn more and discuss your situation reach out to me at

Retirement Income. Tax Efficient Planning.

Life Insurance. Disability Insurance

Socially Responsible Investing

To learn more contact:
James Cox
Cell: 267 323 6936
PAS 150 South Warner Rd.  Suite 120 King of Prussia, PA 19406

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The opinions expressed are not necessarily of Guardian or any of it’s subsidiaries.

Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). OSJ: 150 S. Warner Road, Suite 120, King of Prussia, PA 19406 (610)293-8300.  Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC.  PAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian.

Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.  All scenarios and names mentioned herein are purely fictional and have been created solely for training purposes. Any resemblance to existing situations, persons or fictional characters is coincidental. The information presented should not be used as the basis for any specific investment advice.  Please note life insurance requires underwriting and all situations and circumstances will vary.  This information is for illustrative and educational purposes only.  Individual quotes will vary.

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