As you get older, there are several responsibilities you need to take care of before it’s too late, including ensuring that your children, spouse, and assets are cared for when you’re no longer around. For many, this means finding a life insurance policy. As you compare whole life insurance quotes, it’s important to understand what factors into those rates. This helps you determine if a certain policy is right for you and your budget.
At HealthMarkets, we know that any debt you may leave behind can take an emotional and financial toll on your family. Don’t leave this burden behind when you’re no longer there. Contact HealthMarkets to help you find the policy you need.
We have life insurance agents available day and night to help you find the right policy. You can meet with a local agent in person to discuss your options.
How Whole Life Insurance Works
Whole life, or often called permanent life, is a type of life insurance policy that provides you with coverage for the remainder of your life. Upon your death, your policy’s payout goes to the beneficiaries you name when you enroll in the plan.
Life insurance itself is fundamentally a contract between you and your insurance company. To maintain a policy like whole life, you must agree to pay monthly premiums throughout the span of the policy (which in the case of whole lifespans from the month you sign the policy to the month you pass away).
It’s these monthly rates that whole life insurance calculators estimate when you shop for life insurance online. But have you ever stopped and wondered how these quotes are calculated?
Factors Affecting Life Insurance Quotes
Investopedia breaks down what can affect the cost of your life insurance quote into a few factors:
- Your Age: “If you’re young, the chances are that you’ll be paying the insurer for years before they ever have to worry about writing your family a check. Consequently, you’re better off taking out a policy before it’s too late. But that doesn’t mean you need insurance right after college if you don’t have any financial dependents.” Age is one of the most important contributors to higher premium rates. So much so that even an unhealthy 40-year-old man can have lower life insurance premiums than a healthy 50-year-old man for the exact same plan. Determining your whole life insurance rates by age can be more important than any other factor to some insurance providers.
- Your Gender: “Insurance carriers use statistical models to approximate how long someone with a specific profile will be around. The fact is that women, on average, live nearly five years longer than men. And because they’re usually paying premiums for a longer period of time than males, they enjoy slightly lower rates.”
- Smoker or Non-Smoker: “It’s not uncommon for smokers to pay more than twice as much as non-smokers for comparable coverage. The effect on your pocketbook is another great reason to try and kick the habit.”
- Your Health: “The underwriting process for most carriers includes a medical exam in which the company records height and weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and other key metrics. They may also require an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to check your heart in some cases. It’s important to get any serious conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes managed before searching for coverage to ensure a competitive rate. Some companies do offer ‘no exam’ policies, but you can expect to pay more.”
- Your Family Medical History: “A family history of stroke, cancer, or other serious medical conditions may predispose you to these ailments and lead to higher rates. Carriers are usually interested in any conditions your parents or siblings have experienced, particularly if they contributed to a premature death. Some carriers put more emphasis on your family’s health than others, but it’s likely to have some impact on your premium.”
Without a thorough evaluation, it can difficult to get a proper estimate of what your whole life insurance quote will be. When you consult with a HealthMarkets life insurance agent, we can be sure to give you an accurate estimate and compare your unique health and lifestyle to affordable life insurance plans on the market.
Types of Permanent Life Insurance Policies
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are four general types of permanent life insurance policies that can meet the needs for most Americans looking for life insurance. They include:
Whole or Ordinary Life: the most common type of permanent life insurance people buy. In addition to a death benefit, it also provides a savings account. You pay a premium, typically on a monthly or annual basis, in order to receive the death benefit. At the same time, your insurance company pays dividends to the savings account, which grows with interest.
Universal or Adjustable Life: “offers you more flexibility than whole life insurance. You may be able to increase the death benefit, if you pass a medical examination. The savings vehicle (called a cash value account) generally earns a money market rate of interest.
After money has accumulated in your account, you will also have the option of altering your premium payments – providing there is enough money in your account to cover the costs. This can be a useful feature if your economic situation has suddenly changed. However, you would need to keep in mind that if you stop or reduce your premiums and the saving accumulation gets used up, the policy might lapse and your life insurance coverage will end.”4
Variable Life: combines a death protection with a savings account that you are able to use to invest in stocks, bonds, and money market mutual funds. In doing this, the value of your policy may grow quickly, but may also be risky. Should your investments not perform well, your death benefit and cash value may decrease. However, some policies can guarantee not to fall below a minimum level.
Variable-Universal Life: combines features from both universal and variable life insurance. You can invest your cash value and benefits in stocks, bonds, and money market mutual funds while having the ability to adjust your premiums and death benefit.
If you’re unsure of which type of permanent life insurance is right for you, consult with a life insurance agent at HealthMarkets.
Difference Between Whole & Term Life Insurance
It’s one thing to know you are ready to sign up for life insurance, but it’s another thing entirely to know if whole life insurance is right for you. Term life insurance is another life insurance that is commonly considered.
Here are a few quick facts about term life insurance plans:
- “A term life insurance policy is effective for a certain amount of time (up to 30 years). You choose the length of the term.
- Term life insurance is generally low cost.
- A medical exam is not required for simplified issue plans.
- If you do complete a medical exam, your premiums may be lower (this is called a fully underwritten policy).
- You choose a beneficiary who will receive the benefit if you should pass away.
- You decide how much the death benefit should be based on your expenses.”
Comparing the differences between whole and term life insurance can help you decide which of the two may be more beneficial to you and your family. While it’s unfair to claim that one policy is better or more valuable than the other, let’s compare the benefits of both plans, according to U.S. News, to see which one meets your life insurance needs.
It can be a good fit for younger individuals and families who need protection against sudden loss of income for a period of time—at an affordable cost.
It can protect you for your whole life, guaranteeing you and your loved ones financial protection no matter when you may pass.
In most cases, a medical examination is required.
A medical examination isn’t necessary for every policy, but you may have to pay a higher premium if you don’t take one.
It doesn’t build cash value, so at the end of the policy, it will have no value.
It accumulates cash value, and can borrow from the included savings account (tax-free) to use for goals, such as retirement or education.
Premiums are typically lower for these plans.
Premiums are typically higher for these plans.
Which Life Insurance Policy is Right for Me?
HealthMarkets is well-versed in life insurance policies and can easily provide information to you about the plans available, as well as calculate an estimated rate for you. But don’t just take our word for it; check out one of our many testimonials.
Melina from Westlake Village, CA, said, “My agent helped me and my children to plan better for our future by purchasing life and supplemental insurance. My agent was knowledgeable and helpful. He took the time to explain various options and addressed all my concerns and questions. He has also made himself available to address any questions I’ve had since my purchase.”
We understand the complexities of both term and whole life insurance, and we can help you find the type of plan that’s right for you.
Death is inevitable; will your loved ones be protected when you’re gone? Contact a HealthMarkets life insurance agent today.
About the Author: Liz Jullot
Liz is a marketing fanatic (3+ years). Lover of Reggaeton and samba beats. Infuriatingly humble Scrabble player. Tea aficionado. Organizing maven. Always curious and forever learning.
“What Is Whole Life Insurance Explained - Definition & Benefits — Money Crashers.”
“7 Factors That Affect Your Life Insurance Quote — Investopedia.” 2014.
“Ultimate guide to retirement: How much will life insurance cost me? — CNN Money.”
“What are the different types of permanent life insurance policies? — Insurance Information Institute.”