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North Carolina is probably best known for its college basketball; the UNC-Duke rivalry goes back almost 100 years. Beyond this, North Carolina has brought great inventions to the world, including Pepsi-Cola, Krispy Kreme donuts, Vick’s Vapor Rub, and overalls. Whether you wear Carolina blue or Duke blue, North Carolina has high rates of death from stroke, but low rates of death from accident or suicide. All of which may affect life insurance rates.
Finding the perfect life insurance policy can be a lot of work. Why not kick up your feet and let someone else do the heavy lifting for you?
Last year alone, QuoteWizard helped 5,935 North Carolina residents find good, affordable life insurance.
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.
Life expectancy at birth in North Carolina is 77.8 years, lower than the life expectancy at birth for the US overall, which is 78.9 years. Say you purchased a 30-year term life policy in North Carolina at age 50. You'd be more likely than not to pass away before 80 years of age, the end of the term.
What if you were 30 years old and purchased a 30-year term life policy? You'd be well under North Carolina’s life expectancy of 77.8 years old when the policy term ended. And 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 - 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 insurance premiums. A significant part of these untimely deaths comes from firearm injuries, which account for about 33,000 deaths in the US every year. In North Carolina, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 12.1 per 100,000 deaths, the #21 highest rate in the country. Nationwide, the average firearm death rate is 10.4 per 100,000.
Gender - Women live longer than men on average. So they pay less for insurance than a similar man would. In North Carolina, the percentage of the population that’s female is 51.3%. The percentage that’s male is 48.7%. In the US as a whole, women are 50.8% of the population, and men are 49.2% of the population.
Health History - Most of us have one or two minor health issues. But if you have a serious illness or a family history of such illnesses it can impact your insurance rates.
There are conditions like heart disease or cancer, which can make your premiums a lot higher. In some cases, a pre-existing condition can make you ineligible altogether. That's 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. This is especially relevant in North Carolina, where skiing and hunting are common recreational activities.
Marital Status - 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. In North Carolina in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 39.4 per 1,000 people. The rate of divorce was 19.9 per 1,000 people. The rate of widowhood was 11.4 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. The most common job in North Carolina, proportionally, is a textile worker.
Tobacco Use - Smokers don’t live as long as non-smokers. So they pay a lot more for life insurance. Tobacco use is associated with a number of health complications like 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 20.3% of North Carolina adults smoked cigarettes – about 1,551,000 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.
Value of Policy - One of the largest contributing factors to a life insurance policy’s rates is the value of the policy. As with anything, you get what you pay for. The more protection that you purchase, the higher the premiums.
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. Obesity increases the likelihood of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. So, overweight and obese individuals can expect to pay higher rates.
As of 2013, the adult obesity rate in North Carolina was 29.4%. This makes North Carolina the #25 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||4,987||46.3||22nd||42.1|
|*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000|
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|2||Prudential Financial Inc.||$1,191,196||7.9%|
|3||Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.||$949,726||6.3%|
|4||Lincoln National Corp.||$910,681||6.0%|
|5||TIAA - CREF||$808,956||5.4%|
|6||Jackson National Life Group||$717,615||4.8%|
|7||American International Group||$691,274||4.6%|
|9||New York Life Insurance Group||$456,959||3.0%|
|10||Manulife Financial Corp.||$422,871||2.8%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 9/2/2015)
This legislation is used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to North Carolina consumers, for example:
If an insurance company can't make payments on death claims or becomes insolvent, the North Carolina Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association covers up to $300,000 of death benefits. It will also cover up to $100,000 in cash reimbursement. This is so that consumers have confidence that their beneficiaries will receive at least some of their death benefit. But the amount is the same regardless of how much the policy is worth.
To protect consumers from confusing and potentially misleading insurance jargon, North Carolina requires a certain degree of “readability” on all insurance policies. According to state law, the policy should be written in a way such that all words used are widely understood, stated plainly, and not confusing.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, North Carolina 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 insurance carrier, you should contact the NCLHIGA. Their contact info is below:
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