You're young, you're healthy, you're tobacco-free — you should expect cheap life insurance rates, right? Not always. When it comes to determining your premiums, insurers look at a variety of factors, including ones you may not expect. If you're confused about the quotes you're receiving or are just trying to get an idea of what you'll be asked, here's a list of rate-influencing conditions you might not have considered:
Your Family History
You probably aren't surprised that your health habits are a factor, but did you know your family's medical history can also play a part?
Insurers look to close family members to see if you run the risk of hereditary diseases like cancer, diabetes and stroke. If Aunt Martha died of cancer at age 71, insurers might disregard the fact.
But if your father passed away due to complications with diabetes at age 49, it would definitely raise a red flag.
How do you spend your free time? Insurers want to know if it's spent doing something they consider risky, like rock climbing or riding your motorcycle. According to Mass.gov, you'll likely be charged higher premiums if you regularly participate in high-risk activities. How crazy are your hobbies? Be aware, these may also be on the danger list: mountain climbing, scuba diving, flying an airplane and horseback riding.
Your Driving Record
Remember those speeding tickets you've been slowly collecting over the last few years? They could end up costing you even more than a one-time fee. Each year, more than 33,000 Americans die on the highway, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Insurers want to know if insuring you while you're behind the wheel is risky business. A violation or two several years ago might not raise any flags, but multiple recent citations or a DUI likely will.
On the topic of driving, did you know whether or not you take a driver's education course can impact your auto insurance premiums? It depends on your state, but if you have a son or daughter about to turn 16, consider signing him or her up for an online permit practice test. In Arizona, your credit report, age and car's make and model are each considered when determining your insurance rates.
Even if you regularly hit the gym or enjoy general good health, habits like drinking and smoking can raise your life insurance rates. If you're thinking about quitting, now's the time. Insurers want to know not only what you do, but how often and how much you partake when you do it.
Your Credit History
If and when insurers do a credit check, will they find a clean timeline or will they see that you're behind on your bills? Some companies run a report to help them determine which candidates are likely to pay their premiums and which are not.
Race car driver? Police officer? Construction worker? These jobs and others could increase your rates or even result in denied coverage because of the risks associated. Wondering if your job makes the list? Check out the nation's 10 most dangerous jobs at CBS.com.
If your employer offers a group life insurance policy, look around the office before signing up. Are your colleagues mostly young and healthy or old and sickly? Group premiums are usually based on the average age and health of participants. Depending on your situation, this could work in your favor or give you reason to search for an individual plan instead.