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“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” Missouri native Mark Twain may not have been talking about life insurance, but his lessons hold true today. With top ten rates of death from heart disease, cancer, and kidney disease, Missourians may be at risk of higher life insurance rates. The best way to combat this is to pay extra attention, and compare rates. As Mark Twain famously said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
If you want to get the best life insurance policy for the best price, you need to shop around and compare quotes from multiple companies.
QuoteWizard can help with this. We’ll connect you with a number of insurers so you can quickly and easily figure out which offers the best rates.
Below are the major factors that affect life insurance rates.
Age - Age is one of the largest factors affecting life insurance rates. The younger you are when you purchase a policy, the less likely it is that it will pay out, so the lower your rates will be, other things being equal.
Life expectancy at birth in Missouri is 77.5 years, lower than the life expectancy at birth for the US overall, which is 78.9 years. So, if you purchased a 30-year term life policy in Missouri at age 52, you would be more likely than not to pass away before 82 years of age, the end of the term.
On the other hand, if you were 32 years old and purchased a 30-year term life policy, you would be well under Missouri’s life expectancy of 77.5 years old when the policy term ended. You’d be a much lower risk to insure and would therefore pay much lower rates than the person in the former example.
Driving Record - This might seem like a confusing inclusion, as this page is about life insurance, not auto insurance, but car accidents are incredibly common; they kill more than 30,000 people per year. If someone has a driving record littered with moving violations, they are at an increased risk of a premature demise. The result is higher rates.
Firearm Deaths - Places that have higher rates of accidental or premature death generally have higher rates. A significant part of these untimely deaths comes from firearm injuries, which account for about 33,000 deaths in the US every year. In Missouri, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 14.4 per 100,000 deaths, the #12 highest rate in the country. Nationwide, the average firearm death rate is 10.4 per 100,000.
Gender - Since women live longer than men on average, they pay less for insurance than a similar man would, other things being equal. In Missouri, the percentage of the population that’s female is 51.0%, and the percentage that’s male is 49.0%. In the US as a whole, women are 50.8% of the population, and men are 49.2% of the population.
Health History - While most of us have one or two minor health issues, if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness, or if you have a family history of such illnesses, this can have a significant impact your rates.
There are certain conditions, such as heart disease or certain kinds of cancers, which can make your premiums much higher if you have them or a family history of them. In some cases, a pre-existing condition can make you ineligible altogether, which is why it’s important to get life insurance before something serious happens.
Lifestyle & Hobbies - People who engage in adventure sports or who have potentially dangerous hobbies will pay more for insurance, other things being equal, than those who don’t. This is especially relevant in Missouri, where skiing and hunting are common recreational activities.
Marital Status - Research shows that on average, married people live longer and are healthier than similar single people. So, if you’re married, you can get a modest discount on life insurance. According to the most recent data available from the US Census, in Missouri in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 37.3 per 1,000 people, the rate of divorce was 19.9 per 1,000 people, and the rate of widowhood was 11.7 per 1,000 people.
Occupation - People with hazardous jobs like logging and fishing will pay more for insurance than someone with a less dangerous, mundane office job, other things being equal. The most common job in Missouri, proportionally, is a psychiatric technician.
Tobacco Use - Because tobacco users don’t live as long as non-tobacco users (other things being equal) tobacco users pay substantially more for life insurance than an identical non-tobacco user would pay for the same policy. Tobacco use is associated with a number of health complications, such as heart disease, stroke, and COPD, any of which may cause higher rates and an earlier death.
As of 2013, the national average rate of smoking was 19%. To compare to the most recent data available, in 2014, approximately 22.1% of Missouri adults smoked cigarettes – about 1,031,000 adults.
Travel - If you regularly travel to developing countries, particularly countries on the US State Department’s Warning List, you will pay more for insurance than a traveler who sticks to developed countries.
Value of Policy - It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that one of the largest, if not the largest contributing factor, to a life insurance policy’s premiums is the value of the policy. As with anything, you get what you pay for; the more protection that you purchase, the more you pay.
Weight - Obesity has surpassed smoking to become America’s largest public health cost and problem. Like tobacco use, obese or seriously overweight people have a lower life expectancy, which means an increased probability of their policy being paid out. Because obesity increases the likelihood of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers, overweight and obese individuals can expect to pay higher rates than similar individuals who are not obese.
As of 2013, the adult obesity rate in Missouri was 30.4%. This makes Missouri the #16 most obese state. Overall, the average obesity rate in the US is 34.9%.
While each of these factors plays a big role in the cost of your policy, some aspects of life insurance are entirely individual. Insurance companies calculate your rates based on your own health, habits, and lifestyle. That’s why shopping around and comparing quotes is so important–to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.
|Rank||Cause of Death||Total Deaths||Death Rate||State Rank||US Death Rate*|
|3||Lower Respiratory Disease||3,789||52.9||11th||42.1|
|9||Kidney Disease||1,305||18.0||9th (tie)||13.2|
|*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000|
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|2||American International Group||$964,662||8.3%|
|4||Protective Life Corp.||$555,866||4.4%|
|6||Prudential Financial Inc.||$482,685||4.0%|
|8||Lincoln National Corp.||$442,262||3.8%|
|9||Jackson National Life Group||$402,599||3.5%|
|10||Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.||$356,583||3.1%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 8/28/2015)
Insurance in Missouri is governed by the laws defined by Title 20, Divisions 100 - 800 of the Missouri Code of State Regulations, as outlined by the Missouri Secretary of State.
This legislation is used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to Missouri consumers, for example:
Timely Payment of Claims: In Missouri, it is required that insurance companies pay out claims in a timely manner. When a life insurance claim is filed, there is no specific amount of time mandated before payment must occur. However, unlike most other states, if a company fails to pay a claim in a timely manner, they incur no penalties or fines. Also unlike other states, interest does not accrue during this time.
No Free Look Period: A “free look period” is a time period between 7 and 30 days, in which consumers can test out their insurance policy after purchasing it. During this time, an individual can cancel the policy for any reason for a full refund. Missouri is one of only a few states that does not require this by state law. That said, many insurance companies still provide a free look period of one to two weeks on most insurance policies.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, Missouri insurers may challenge any information in your insurance application for up to two years from the policy’s effective date. If they find any evidence of fraud, they can terminate your policy immediately.
This organization assists the customers of any insurance company that is found to be insolvent. If you have concerns about the financial well-being of your carrier, you should contact the MLHIGA. Their contact info is below:
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