How Your Family’s Medical History Affects Your Life Insurance Rates

There is a major trend for Life Insurance Companies to consider “family medical history” when deciding what rate class an applicant should be offered. Currently they look at the family history of immediate family members. Immediate family members mean parents and siblings. While this may make sense from a statistical standpoint, environmental factors play a major role in many diseases. In many cases a healthy person who has a family member with diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke or cancer will be charged more than double for life insurance.

The diseases that an insurance company may look for in family history are diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and cancer. If you have a mother, father, sister or brother that has coronary artery disease, stroke and cancer you will need to carefully select the insurance company that you apply to for insurance. There are vast differences in underwriting rules from company to company. One company charges extra for family history of diabetes and coronary artery disease but not cancer or stroke. Another company charges extra for cancer and cardiovascular disease but not stroke or diabetes. To complicate things even further some companies will disregard family history that did not result in the death of the family member before age 60.

You will to need to find a company that will not charge extra for your family history before you apply. Insurance company underwriting rules are not advertised to the public but they are available to agents. A good agent will search for companies that would provide the best rates for a customer with no family history. Starting at the top of the list they eliminate companies that would charge the customer extra. That way they find the best available policy for that individual customer.

Bottom line is you are going to need the help of an agent who can shop the market. Avoid captive agents who have only one company to offer. Also, avoid the agencies that shop only a few companies in a “select group”. There are hundreds of safe insurance companies out there, some well known and some less. Choose an agent that can use them all to your advantage.