I frequently work with Chad Boonswang, Esq., a busy life insurance beneficiary attorney in Philadelphia, and I can tell you from experience that lowering your blood sugars and controlling your diabetes will earn you lower life insurance premiums. Read on to find out why and how.
How Life Insurance Companies Calculate Premiums
What is a “premium”? Simply put, it is the cost of purchasing your life insurance policy. The amount you pay in premiums is largely determined by the amount and type of coverage you are looking for and several risk factors that bear on your mortality.
Obviously, if you want life insurance with fewer exclusions from coverage, or $500,000 versus $50,000 in life insurance coverage, your premiums will be higher. What is less obvious are the various risk factors that an insurance company takes into consideration. These may include the following, among others:
- Where you live
- Your credit rating
- Your occupation
- Whether you’ve had any car accidents
- Your personal injury claims history
- Your alcohol and tobacco use
And what is most certainly taken into consideration is your medical history and your current health.
Your Life Insurance Medical Questionnaire and Exam
You’ve determined you want to purchase life insurance and are wondering what happens next.
Here you go:
1. Completing Your Life Insurance Application
You will be required to fill out an application disclosing all of your personal information and asking questions regarding some of the afore-mentioned risk factors. You absolutely must fill this out completely and truthfully, because any mistake, discrepancy, or omission can be cause for the life insurance company to deny your beneficiaries’ claims on the basis of misrepresentation.
2. Completing Your Medical Questionnaire
As part of your initial application you will be required to fill out a medical questionnaire. This is where you disclose both your medical history and your current state of health. You will disclose basic information like age, weight, and height, as well as any former and current diseases and conditions. If you have had surgery or have been in any accidents causing injury, this must be disclosed as well.
3. Your Medical Exam
Depending upon the type of policy, your age, and the amount of coverage sought, among other things, your life insurance company may require an in-person medical exam. Typically this is performed by a nurse or nurse practitioner near to where you live.
This is where your current state of health is determined by a series of measurements and tests. Your height and weight will be taken, along with your blood pressure, and the examiner will perform an non-invasive overall physical exam. He or she will also likely take blood for testing.
Life Insurance Companies Give Discounts to Attract Preferred Customers
Life insurance companies only make money when they don’t pay death benefits. For this reason, they seek to attract customers with the fewest risk factors to their pool of insureds, and they do this by providing discounts for the absence of risk factors. The result: people with fewer risk factors will pay less in premiums than those who have more.
How You Can Become a Preferred Customer and Save Money
So you have diabetes. This must be disclosed and will be discovered anyhow when your blood is taken and tested. What can you do about it?
Life insurance companies are not only interested in your medical history, they want to know what your current state of health is. Why? This is a strong indicator of how you are taking care of yourself now, and if you are taking good care of yourself this minimizes a potential risk factor. For example, if you are a former smoker and quit several years ago, the former smoking is a risk factor that is ameliorated by the fact that you quit.
You can treat your diabetes the same way, by taking steps to control your blood sugar to the extent you can. Your doctor has probably advised this: you should take steps to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
The most effective thing you can do to lower your blood sugar is to lose a bit of weight. Easier said than done. Right? But it is a fact that losing weight helps control blood sugar levels. People who are overweight are more likely to have diabetes.
A recent study shows that even losing just 7% of body weight reduces the risk of diabetes by 58%! Other benefits of losing just 10-20 pounds are lowering cholesterol, and looking and feeling better. If you look and feel better, you are more likely to continue to take good care of yourself.
How to lose those 10-20 pounds and control your blood sugar levels? Here are some suggestions:
1. Limit carbohydrate intake and choose the “right” carbohydrates.
It is well-established that eating a low carb diet reduces blood sugar levels. The body breaks down carbs first to use as energy, what the body does not use it stores as fat. While you need some carbs in your diet, eating too many carbs or the wrong carbs will cause your blood sugar level to spike.
What are the right carbs? Basically, complex carbs are what you want. Simple and complex carbs will affect your blood sugar levels differently.
Simple carbs are food such as white bread, pasta, and candy. Your body breaks these carbs down into sugar quickly, causing your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. This is exactly what you don’t want.
In contrast, complex carbs are foods such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and legumes, which take longer for the body to break them down, having less affect on your blood sugar levels.
2. Increase your dietary fiber intake.
What is dietary fiber? There is both soluble and insoluble fiber, and soluble fiber is best at helping to control blood sugar levels. It slows the rate that carbs break down and therefore the rate at which the body makes the resulting blood sugar.
The following foods are recommended for their soluble fiber: non-starchy vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
3. Control your portion sizes.
If you overeat, you cause a spike in blood sugar. Your doctor or nutritionist will help you determine your appropriate portion sizes are depending upon your age, weight, fitness, and activity level.
4. Exercise regularly.
Exercise helps with the following:
- Weight loss
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Lower blood sugar levels when the body’s muscles use sugar for energy
5. Drink water.
Hydrating sufficiently helps your kidneys remove extra sugar from the body by excreting it in your urine.
Water is what you want. Avoid fruit juice, soda, and alcohol as these raise blood sugar levels.
Even if you currently have diabetes, just by making these small changes to your lifestyle, you can lower your blood sugar levels and therefore lower your life insurance premiums!
About the Author
Veronica Baxter is a blogger and legal assistant living and working in the great city of Philadelphia.