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Why get life insurance

How much does life insurance cost?

Life insurance provides financial protection to your loved ones in the event of your passing.

Though not the easiest topic to think about, life insurance is essential in making sure those who are financially dependent on you are taken care of.

Some factors that determine life insurance premium

You may have heard that the cost of a life insurance policy is steep, but it can actually be much more affordable than you think. Below, we break down some of the various factors that influence its price tag.

Most people overestimate how much life insurance costs. According to LIMRA's 2022 Insurance Barometer Study, individuals estimated that a $250,000 level-term life insurance policy would cost around $500 for a 30-year-old individual in good health, which was three times the actual cost.

There are a number of factors that influence how life insurance premiums are determined, including the type of insurance, the amount and length of coverage, as well as your risk rating. Your age and family health history will also be taken into account, as well as certain habits, such as whether or not you use tobacco or drink alcohol excessively.

Policy type

When you are thinking about what kind of coverage to get, you will encounter term and permanent life insurance policies. Both allow you to select an amount of coverage in exchange for your premium payments over the life of the policy, and provide payment to your beneficiaries if you pass away while the policy is in force.

The difference is that coverage with a term policy lasts only for a specific time period (such as 10 or 20 years) with no cash value accumulation. These policies are often cheaper than permanent policies, which can earn cash value and remain in existence as long as you pay your required premiums on time.

Your age

Age is another factor that affects your premium. The older you are, the more likely your life insurance premium will be higher. This is due, in part, to a greater chance of a decline in health or likelihood of passing away.

Your health

How healthy you are is one of the most important factors in calculating the premiums for your life insurance. The good news? You can play a role in your health by eating well and exercising regularly. The healthier you are, the cheaper your insurance will be. However, pre-existing health issues can drive up the price of life insurance significantly.

Your gender

In most cases, men pay higher life insurance premiums, partly because studies indicate that women live longer than men.

Your job

What you do for a living can also affect what you'll pay for life insurance. Jobs that involve high-risk situations, such as coal mining, tend to involve higher premiums over someone working in a physically safer, less risky position such as a bank.

Your hobbies and habits

When determining how much life insurance costs, certain habits and activities will be taken into account. That includes participation in risky sports or other kinds of adventures. Using tobacco products, excessive alcohol use or a DUI violation are all factors that will drive up life insurance premiums.

Ways to make life insurance more affordable

While some factors may be out of your control, such as your medical history, the good news is that there are a few proactive steps you can take to make life insurance more affordable.

Stop smoking

Smokers pay much higher life insurance rates. If you can stop smoking, you will not just improve your health, but you can avoid paying higher smoker rates, as well.

Improve your health

By focusing on eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and seeing a general practitioner, you can improve your overall health and potentially reduce your life insurance premiums.

Significant life changes

Our life circumstances change as we age. When your children are grown and out of the house, for example, you might not need as much life insurance as you once did, so decreasing your coverage on an existing policy might make a lot of sense. It's always a good idea to check in on your policy every so often, especially if you've had a major life event, such as the birth of a child or the loss of a spouse.

Remember - while premiums for life insurance can vary, you won't know what yours will be until you shop around for options or work with a life insurance agent who can offer you a quote based on your needs.

Learn more about life insurance and the policies available to you, or begin by asking yourself these five important questions if you're curious how much life insurance coverage you might need.


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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective or its subsidiaries.

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