Life insurance applications frequently ask a lot of personal and sometimes
embarrassing questions, such as “How much do you weigh?” or
“Do you smoke or drink?” These questions are designed to help
a life insurance company estimate its risk in giving you a policy, and
you may have some personal questions about life insurance policies of
your own. However, applications often confuse a number of people, even
to the point where they give up on trying to buy one. So to help make
the process easier, we’ll answer some of these personal questions
you may be too afraid to ask on this blog.
Am I Too Big to Buy Life Insurance?
The obesity epidemic is no small issue for Americans, and many people who
struggle with their weight are often led to believe that insurance companies
won’t cover them because of their elevated risk for heart attack,
stroke, and other serious health problems. The truth is, this isn’t
usually true. If your body mass index indicates that you’re overweight
based on your height, you may still be able to qualify for good rates
with some companies.
The trick is to do your research and compare. Some companies have very
strict height and weight requirements in order to cover you at a certain
rate, if at all. Other companies are much more lenient. Some don’t
even have height and weight restrictions at all. Whatever you do, you
should apply for coverage when you need it, not once you manage to lose
some weight. You may be overweight but otherwise healthy now, but your
rates will skyrocket if you develop a different health issue between now
and when you actually apply for a policy.
Am I Too Old to Buy Life Insurance?
For most insurance companies, the average cutoff age for purchasing term
life insurance is between 70 and 75 years old. However, you can still
buy whole life insurance policies which cover funeral and burial expenses
at almost any age, even well into your 80s and 90s.
That being said, you may still be able to purchase life insurance, but
that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t get more expensive
as you get older. At the age of 25, the average cost for a 20-year, $500,000
term life policy is about $277 per year for a man and $216 per year for
a woman. At the age of 65, those rates jump to $5,230 for a man and $3,332
for a woman.
Can I Get Coverage if I Smoke Marijuana?
Medical marijuana consumption has become a hot-button issue, and many states
have legalized this practice for those who suffer from things like severe
epilepsy, seizures, migraines, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease,
and other painful or debilitating afflictions. Normally, this medication
is consumed by smoking, which can arguably have negative health effects
and some companies may treat it as such. Some don’t. Studies are
still emerging every day that help us better understand this treatment
option, but what about now? Can you get coverage if you do use marijuana?
Yes. You absolutely can. However, this is one instance where you want to
be upfront and honest about your usage. If you smoke marijuana, tell your
life insurance company why you do and how often you do so while applying.
Some companies differentiate marijuana from tobacco completely, allowing
you to still qualify for non-smoker status, even if you use it frequently.
However, your insurer may look at your underlying condition with more scrutiny.
Some people are concerned their usage may become public knowledge if they
share it with a life insurance agent, however you should rest easy if
you have this fear. Life insurance applications are protected by the HIPPA,
and agents who disclose your information, including your marijuana consumption,
could get in serious trouble.
Can I Apply as a Non-Smoker If I Only Smoke on Rare Occasion?
We fully understand and appreciate the nature of a celebratory cigar, or
the occasional cigarette just to take the edge off. Not everybody who
smokes is addicted, and in fact some people may only choose to smoke once
every few months, if not even less frequently. Why should you have to
pay a smoker’s rate for life insurance if you’re one of these people?
Certain companies will consider you a smoker if you partake in tobacco
at all, but others are slightly more lenient. This is something you’ll
want to ask and take into consideration when comparing companies, policies,
and prices. Whatever you do, be truthful. Insurance companies don’t
take kindly to being lied to, and they may be unhappy if they find evidence
of a smoking habit in your medical records or through an examination.
Can I Choose a Different Beneficiary?
Absolutely! You may choose whoever you wish to be your beneficiary, including
your children, parents, siblings, a close friend, and more! Whoever owns
the policy (whoever is paying for it) has the exclusive right to indicate
the beneficiary, and it may be whomever they like. You can even name a
trust as your beneficiary to care for minor children.
However, if you live in a “community property” state, your
spouse may be entitled to a share of the money if the policy was purchased
using income obtained during the marriage. Georgia is not one of these
states, but California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, New Mexico, Texas,
Louisiana, and several others are. You may want to talk to an estate planning
attorney to learn more about life insurance benefits in more detail.
If you’re looking to purchase a life insurance policy,
call Insurance Specialists, Inc. today at 888-451-0883 to learn more about the great options that are available to you!