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Washington State is home to large companies from A to Z. Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Expedia, Microsoft, Nordstrom, REI, Starbucks, T-Mobile, and Zillow are all headquartered in Washington. Washington is also the home of many famous and influential musical acts, such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Jimi Hendrix, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Sir Mix-a-Lot, just to name a few. And, with over 43,000 acres of vineyards, Washington produces the most wine of any state other than California.
Washington also has a low rate of death from guns and diabetes, and lower than average rates of smoking and heart disease. Any of these factors can influence life insurance rates in Washington.
Washington is ranked ninth in the country for deaths caused by kidney disease. With health issues like this being a main factor in determining life insurance rates, Washingtonians can expect to have a hard time finding affordable coverage.
Shopping around can easily fix this problem. Contact a number of companies and then compare life insurance prices in Washington State. That’s the best way to find a policy and rate that fits your 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 Washington is 79.9 years, a full year above 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 Washington at age 52? You'd be more likely than not to pass away before 82 years of age, the end of the term.
On the other hand, what if you were 32 years old and purchased a 30-year term life policy? You'd be well under Washington’s life expectancy of 79.9 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 Washington, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 8.7 per 100,000 deaths, the #12 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. They pay less for life insurance than a similar man would. In Washington, the percentage of the population that’s female is 50.0%, and the percentage that’s male is 50.0%. 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 rates.
There are conditions like heart disease or cancer which can make your premiums much 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. Washington is known for being a great place for hiking, climbing, and other outdoor activities. So this cost factor is particularly important here.
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 Washington in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 41.7 per 1,000 people. The rate of divorce was 20.6 per 1,000 people. And the rate of widowhood was 9.7 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 Washington, proportionally, is an aircraft assembler.
Tobacco Use - Tobacco users don’t live as long as non-tobacco users. So smokers pay much 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 16.1% of Washington adults smoked cigarettes – about 877,000 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 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 like 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 Washington was 27.2%. This makes Washington the #32 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. And, a quick and easy way to do this is by using QuoteWizard.
|Rank||Cause of Death||Total Deaths||Death Rate||State Rank||US Death Rate*|
|3||Lower Respiratory Disease||3,181||37.3||40th||42.1|
|*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000|
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|1||Prudential Financial Inc.||$714,195||8.9%|
|2||New York Life Insurance Group||$525,838||6.5%|
|4||Lincoln National Corp.||$482,822||6.0%|
|6||American International Group||$336,392||4.2%|
|7||Manulife Financial Corp.||$330,198||4.1%|
|8||Jackson National Life Group||$311,166||3.9%|
|10||Principal Financial Group Inc.||$271,725||3.4%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 8/30/2015)
The state uses these laws and rules to regulate claims and provide certain protections to Washington consumers, for example:
Processing Life Insurance Claims: Life insurance carriers in Washington are required to process claims swiftly. The beneficiary of a policy is generally required to have their benefits paid within 60 days, unless there are issues with the policy. In the state of Washington, life insurance policy benefits earn interest from the date of death, until the final settlement of the claim.
Free Look Period: Free look is a period of time in which the consumer can test out their policy after buying it. In Washington, the free look period lasts 10 days, during which consumers gain better understanding of their policy and have time to review it. If the policyholder is unsatisfied for any reason, they have the option to return it for a full refund, with no added fees.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, Washington 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 WLDIGA. Their contact info is below:
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