Life Insurance – a Small Price to Pay for Peace of Mind
We all reach the stage in life when we wonder whether we need life insurance or not. This isn’t a great decision for any of us – nobody likes to be reminded of their own mortality, after all! But, it’s a decision that comes to us all at some time or other – especially if we have a family to consider.
To be honest it’s worth while looking at taking out life insurance at virtually any stage of your life – especially as we reach adulthood and start to amass mortgages and other financial commitments. The fact is that it doesn’t really matter if we have a family to care for or not – if we have any kind of current financial commitments then we need to think about what would happen to them if we were to die out of the blue. And, you have to remember that it doesn’t matter how healthy you think you are – you could die in a car accident or get run over by a bus tomorrow!
The thing you have to consider here is what would happen to your financial commitments if you were to die unexpectedly. A lot of people don’t realise that the money they owe on stuff like loans and mortgages doesn’t necessarily pay for itself after their death – somebody will have to take responsibility for its repayment. And, in the simplest of terms you have to think about who would pay for your funeral at the end of the day.
Life insurance may be worth thinking about at this stage – it is essential, however, if you have a family to add to the equation. If you have a partner and/or kids then think about how they would cope financially if you did die and your salary died with you. This isn’t just about managing stuff like the mortgage – it’s also all about working out how they would pay for life’s necessities never mind life’s luxuries. If you protect them with a life insurance policy then they could at least cope financially during what would be a very difficult time for them.
The key thing to remember with life insurance is that it doesn’t have to cost the earth.Life insurance policies nowadays can be taken out at minimal cost – you really could be paying just a couple of pounds a week to get the right levels of protection. To make things easier most industry experts recommend that you shop around for the best quote as the sector is extremely competitive at the moment. This is easily done – there are loads of web sites out there that can help you sift through competitive quotes so you can find the cheapest policies in just a matter of minutes, for example. This is a great way of getting the life insurance cover you need without spending too much time or money in the process.
Overweight people are in the firing line again. Life insurance companies are increasing premiums up to four fold for fat people. They've always charged more for those of us who over-eat, but during the last year the penalties have got worse.
In moves to tighten the belts further, the life insurers are lowering the weight limits they use to categorise people. This tougher move means that those who are merely overweight and would have previously qualified for a standard premium, are now penalised with higher premiums – and the premium rapidly rises the more overweight they believe you are.
Height and weight are just two of the questions you have to answer when you apply for life insurance. From them, the life company calculates your Body Mass Index and if that exceeds the limits they define as acceptable, they might ask for a doctor's report. In bigger cases they might ask you to have a medical examination. If this confirms that your weight is of concern, then you can expect your premium to be loaded by at least 50% and as much as 400% if you're really obese. Recent research shows that around 25% of applicants will experience problems getting life cover due to their weight. In extreme cases the insurer will even refuse the application.
In an acknowledgement of normal middle age spread, the insurance companies do take your age into account when deciding your premium. They accept that people naturally tend to put weight on as they age. If you're young and overweight, however, they'll certainly hit you hard. So overweight and 38 will be hit much harder than overweight and 58.
For example, a non smoking healthy man aged 35 asking for £150,000 level cover over 25 years will currently be quoted £18.77 by Scottish Provident but this could easily jump to £35 if he is overweight and up to £47 if he's obese.
And obesity is certainly a growing problem. Over the last 20 years obesity in adults has rocketed with more than 60% of men and 50% of women being judged as overweight or obese. And signs are that the problem won't improve. In children aged between 2 and 15, 28% of girls and 22% of boys are overweight.
How do you rate on the Body Mass Index?
Calculate your own BMI.
Note your weight in pounds and multiply it by 703.
Divide the result by your height measured in inches
Again divide the resulting number by your height in inches
The result is your BMI
The typical insurance company considers a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 to as normal. Above 25 classifies you as overweight. Over 30 and you're obese.
To give you more of a fix on what this means for you, here are the BMI's for twelve famous people:
Paula Radcliffe – Marathon Runner - 18.0
Victoria Beckham – Footballers Wife - 17.0
Jennifer Aniston – Actress - 17.5
Alan Shearer – Newcastle Footballer - 24.4
Davina McCall – TV Presenter - 20.8
Cilla Black – Presenter - 20.7
Russell Crowe – Hollywood Actor - 25.6
Ann Widdecombe – MP - 25.1
Charlie Dimmock – Gardening Presenter - 26.0
Norman Schwarzkopf – US General - 30.5
Michelle McManus – Presenter - 34.4
Dawn French – Comedienne - 43.8