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West Virginia is home to many firsts. The first billboard ever was a tobacco ad put up in 1908 in West Virginia. In the same year, the state celebrated the first Mother’s Day ever, on May 10. And, in 1921, West Virginia imposed the first-ever state sales tax. Nowadays, West Virginia has the oldest median age of any state, with 40 years old. And, West Virginia has the highest rates of obesity, accidental death, and death from diabetes in the country. This, coupled with low life expectancy affects life insurance rates in West Virginia.
Finding affordable life insurance shouldn’t take up all of your time. That’s often the case, though, if you do the work by yourself.
For some assistance, turn to QuoteWizard. We'd love to put you in touch with West Virginia's top insurance companies so you can find the best rates in your state.
Below are the major factors that affect life insurance rates in WV.
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 the policy will pay out. So the lower your rates.
Life expectancy at birth in West Virginia is 75.4 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 insurance policy in West Virginia 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 West Virginia’s life expectancy of 75.4 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 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 West Virginia, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 14.3 per 100,000 deaths, the #13 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 West Virginia, the percentage of the population that’s female is 50.6%. The percentage that’s male is 49.4%. 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, this can impact your rates.
There are conditions, like heart disease or cancer which can make your insurance much higher. In some cases, a pre-existing condition can make you ineligible. That's 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. This is especially relevant in West Virginia, 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 West Virginia in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 43 per 1,000 people. The rate of divorce was 22.7 per 1,000 people. And the rate of widowhood was 14.1 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 West Virginia, proportionally, is a subway operator.
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 27.3% of West Virginia adults smoked cigarettes – about 401,000 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 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. Obese or seriously overweight people have a lower life expectancy. This 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 West Virginia was 31.5%. This makes West Virginia the most obese state, tied with Mississippi. 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||1,590||64.5||2nd||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.||$124,447||6.3%|
|3||Jackson National Life Group||$109,284||5.5%|
|4||TIAA - CREF||$104,149||5.3%|
|5||American International Group||$94,451||4.8%|
|6||Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.||$90,492||4.6%|
|7||Hartford Financial Services||$81,160||4.1%|
|8||New York Life Insurance Group||$71,273||3.6%|
|9||Manulife Financial Corp.||$67,303||3.4%|
|10||Lincoln National Corp.||$66,826||3.4%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 9/8/2015)
Insurance in West Virginia is governed by the laws contained in Chapter 33 of the West Virginia Code as outlined by the West Virginia State Legislature
This legislation is used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to West Virginia 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. In West Virginia, 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.
Grace Period: Any life insurance policyholder in West Virginia is entitled to a four-week “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.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, West Virginia 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 WVLHIGA. Their contact info is below:
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