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New York state’s history is famous. Legend has it that the island of Manhattan was purchased by Peter Minuit for the equivalent of $24 in 1624. This doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but with 400 years of compound interest, it’s close to $80 billion. The New York Post is the oldest operating newspaper in the US, and was started in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton (who you may recognize from the $10 bill). In modern times, New York boasts very low rates of death from firearms, Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke, and accidents, which may affect life insurance rates.
With research showing that women tend to live longer, the male half of New York’s population can expect to pay more for life insurance than their female counterparts.
Unless, of course, they shop around with QuoteWizard. That way, they can compare quotes among the state’s top insurance companies and get the most affordable 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.
Life expectancy at birth in New York is 80.5 years, the one of the highest of all states. The life expectancy at birth for the US overall is 78.9 years. So, if you purchased a 30-year term life policy in New York at age 53, you would be more likely than not to pass away before 83 years of age, the end of the term.
On the other hand, what if you were 33 years old and purchased a 30-year term life policy? You'd be well under New York’s life expectancy of 80.5 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 New York, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 4.2 per 100,000 deaths, the third-lowest 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 life insurance than a similar man would. In New York, the percentage of the population that’s female is 51.5%. The percentage that’s male is 48.5%. 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 that can make your rates a lot higher. In some cases, a pre-existing condition can make you ineligible. 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 New York, 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 New York in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 31.6 per 1,000 people. The rate of divorce was 13.9 per 1,000 people. And the rate of widowhood was 10.7 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. The most common job in New York, proportionally, is a fashion designer.
Tobacco Use - Tobacco users don’t live as long as non-tobacco users . So tobacco users pay substantially more for life insurance. 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 16.6% of New York adults smoked cigarettes – about 2,580,000 adults.
Travel - If you regularly travel to developing countries, particularly countries on the US State Department’s Warning List, you will pay more for your insurance than a traveler who sticks to developed countries.
Value of Policy - One of the largest contributing factors to a policy’s premiums is the value of the policy. As with anything, you get what you pay for. The more protection you purchase, the higher the premiums.
Weight - Obesity has surpassed smoking to become America’s largest public health cost and problem. Obese or seriously overweight people have a lower life expectancy. This 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 New York was 25.4%. This makes New York the #42 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||7,110||30.7||48th||42.1|
|*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000|
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|2||New York Life Insurance Group||$4,801,481||8.9%|
|3||Prudential Financial Inc.||$3,056,435||5.7%|
|4||TIAA - CREF||$2,408,144||4.5%|
|5||American International Group||$1,842,936||3.4%|
|6||AXA Life Insurance Co.||$1,763,015||3.3%|
|7||Manulife Financial Corp.||$1,736,687||3.2%|
|8||Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.||$1,701,189||3.2%|
|10||Jackson National Life Group||$1,446,734||2.7%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 9/2/2015)
Insurance in New York is governed by the laws defined by Article 32, Chapters 1 - 20 of the New York Regulations of the Dept. Financial Services, as outlined by the State of New York.
This legislation is used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to New York consumers, for example:
Timely Payment of Claims: In New York, it is required that insurance companies pay out claims in a timely manner, meaning within 30 days. If unreasonable delay occurs, the state will fine and/or penalize the insurance company and interest will accrue based on the length of the delay. The interest is then paid to the beneficiary as well.
Grace Period: Any life insurance policyholder in New York is entitled to a 31-day “grace period” to make up a missed payment without punishment or file a death claim after the missed payment. This is to prohibit the insurance company from withholding a claim or cancelling a policy because of a slightly late payment. If the insured individual passes away during the grace period, the insurance company is responsible for paying the claim.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, New York 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 NYLHIGA. Their contact info is below:
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