Ask Kim


Cut Your Risk, Cut Your Insurance Rates

Kimberly Lankford

If you lose weight, stop smoking, or lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, ask for a premium reduction.



My wife told her life insurer she lost weight, and it slashed her rate by nearly $200 a year. Can I do the same if my health has improved, and does this work with other types of insurance? --J.K., Baltimore

SEE ALSO: 6 Healthy Habits That Will Save You Money

Life, disability and long-term-care com­panies often reduce their rates if you become less risky to them -- but only if you ask and usually only if you show proof of a long-term change.

Your best bet is with term life insurance. Insurers will often reduce your rate if your health improves rather than risk losing you to another insurer. If you lose weight, stop smoking, or lower your cholesterol or blood pressure level, or if you’ve been cancer-free for several years since buying the policy, ask for a reduction.

You usually need to provide proof that the change isn’t a blip. Most insurers will reduce your premium if you keep the weight off for one full year, says Byron Udell, CEO of AccuQuote. Some insurers give you a break if you stop smoking for one year, but others wait until two or three years have passed. Get a weigh-in at the doctor or a urine test to show you’re nicotine-free right away to start the clock ticking, says John Ryan, of Ryan Insurance Strategy Consultants, in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Advertisement

Long-term-care insurers may also lower your rate if your health improves. Disability companies do the same and may trim premiums if you switch to a less-risky job. You can appeal a muscular/skeletal exclusion (which won’t cover any disability related to a bad neck or spine) after you’ve been symptom-free for three years, says Ryan.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



Editor's Picks From Kiplinger


You can get valuable updates like Ask Kim from Kiplinger sent directly to your e-mail. Simply enter your e-mail address and click "sign up."

More Sponsored Links


DISCUSS

Permission to post your comment is assumed when you submit it. The name you provide will be used to identify your post, and NOT your e-mail address. We reserve the right to excerpt or edit any posted comments for clarity, appropriateness, civility, and relevance to the topic.
View our full privacy policy


Advertisement

Market Update

Advertisement

Featured Videos From Kiplinger