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Tennessee’s many cities have brought Americans some of their favorite food and beverages - beyond just biscuits, bourbon, and GooGoo bars. For example, Capital city Nashville is also the birthplace of cotton candy and Snickers bars. In Knoxville, in 1940, Mountain Dew was created, originally as a mixer for Tennessee whiskey. Further east, in Chestnut Hill, delicious Bush’s Beans were first cooked up over 100 years ago. Nowadays, Tennesseans continue their love of rich foods. But, with a high rate of smoking, high rates of death from heart disease, and the #4 obesity rate in the country, finding competitive life insurance rates can be difficult.
Securing life insurance in Tennessee can be demanding. But it really doesn’t have to be.
For example, last year 4,271 people from Tennessee used QuoteWizard to compare quotes and get the best life insurance to fit their specific needs.
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 Tennessee is 76.3 years, over two years lower than the life expectancy at birth for the US overall, which is 78.9 years. What if you purchased a 30-year term life policy in Tennessee at age 48? You'd be more likely than not to pass away before 78 years of age, the end of the term.
On the other hand, what if you were 28 years old and purchased a 30-year term life policy? You'd be well under Tennessee’s life expectancy of 76.3 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 insurance 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 Tennessee, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 15.4 per 100,000 deaths, the #10 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 Tennessee, the percentage of the population that’s female is 51.2%. The percentage that’s male is 48.8%. 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 premiums.
There are conditions like heart disease or cancer that can make your insurance 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 Tennessee, 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 Tennessee in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 36.5 per 1,000 people. The rate of divorce was 23 per 1,000 people. And the rate of widowhood was 12.7 per 1,000 people.
Occupation - People with hazardous jobs like logging and fishing will pay more for than someone with a less dangerous, mundane office job. The most common job in Tennessee, proportionally, is a conveyer operator.
Tobacco Use - Tobacco users don’t live as long as non-tobacco users. So smokers pay much more for life insurance than an identical non-tobacco user. 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 24.3% of Tennessee adults smoked cigarettes – about 1,226,000 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 - One of the largest contributing factors 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 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 Tennessee was 33.7%. This makes Tennessee the fourth 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||3,904||53.2||10th||42.1|
|*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000|
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|1||Jackson National Life Group||$581,193||6.7%|
|3||Prudential Financial Inc.||$473,960||5.5%|
|4||Lincoln National Corp.||$452,858||5.2%|
|5||American International Group||$425,803||4.9%|
|6||Manulife Financial Corp.||$376,720||4.4%|
|8||Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.||$301,473||3.5%|
|9||Principal Financial Group Inc.||$258,629||3.0%|
|10||Voya Financial Inc.||$246,553||2.9%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 9/3/2015)
This legislation is used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to Tennessee consumers, for example:
Free Look Period: Free look is a period of time in which the consumer can test out their policy after buying it, like a test drive. In most states, the length of time of a free look period is 30 days, but in Tennessee, it’s only 10 days. During this period of time, consumers gain better understanding of their policy and have the option to return it for a full refund, with no added fees.
Guarantee on Death Claims: If an insurance company is unable to make payments on death claims or becomes insolvent, the Tennessee Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association will cover up to $300,000 of death benefits, and 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.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, Tennessee 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 TLHIGA. Their contact info is below:
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