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As a runner, you might expect your passion to have an impact on your life insurance premium. Running has a positive impact on your overall health and wellness, which are two things the best life insurance companies may look for if you are purchasing a policy with a required medical exam. But is there really a correlation here? Here’s what you need to know if you’re shopping for the best life insurance for runners.
Can being a runner impact life insurance rates?
Technically, there is no direct correlation between running and lower life insurance rates. That said, running may help to bring the cost of your policy down the same way quitting smoking might. When life insurance companies calculate a quote for you, they look at a bunch of factors that pertain to your health, from your age to your physical activity level.
Life insurance companies have your health in mind. In general, the healthier you are and therefore, the longer your life expectancy, the lower premiums you are likely to pay. And that means they might consider the health benefits that are typically common as a result of your running routine:
- Improved heart health: Several studies have linked regular running and heart health. Specifically, regularly running can reduce your risk of death from heart attack and stroke by 45%.
- Reduced cancer risk: One study stated, “Scientific evidence is accumulating on physical activity as a means for the primary prevention of cancer.” Staying active through running can help you minimize your risk for a broad range of cancer types.
- Longer life expectancy: A study published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that runners had a 30-45% reduction in mortality from any cause. The study also stated that runners enjoy a life expectancy boost of three years.
Running also offers other benefits like stress management and improved self-confidence. However, these may not as directly impact your physical health for life insurance premiums.
Ultimately, because running could positively impact your health, some life insurance companies offer lower life insurance rates for runners. The same likely goes for other health-boosting activities like cycling or swimming.
Best life insurance for runners
Since life insurance policies for runners may be cheaper, you may consider finding a life insurance company that will factor in your weekly miles.
To help yourself score low rates, aiming to be in the top tier of life insurance classifications is often a good place to start. When you get into that upper tier, life insurance companies see you as an ideal insured and generally offer you the lowest rate possible for the policy you want.
|Life insurance classifications||Meaning|
|Preferred Plus/Super Preferred||You get a gold star in insurance companies’ eyes for leading a healthy, active lifestyle. If you have a healthy past with minimal blips, a relatively healthy family and steer clear of dangerous hobbies or occupations, you might get this classification.|
|Preferred/Standard Plus||While this is not the top classification, it may still help you land more affordable life insurance. You might end up in this classification for being relatively healthy but having a family history of chronic conditions or currently being on medication.|
|Standard||Most people land in this category, which allows room for some health concerns. For example, having a higher BMI, a condition or the risk for one are all possible reasons to be classified as a “standard” insured.|
|Substandard||If you are overweight or have serious health conditions, you will probably land in this classification. Because of lower overall health, you could be considered riskier to insure and may even pay higher premiums.|
If you are a runner who eats healthily and does not have a personal or family history of health issues, you could probably make it into the “preferred plus” or “super preferred” category. But life insurance underwriters look at you as a whole. That means things like the heart attack you had several years ago or your family history of high cholesterol could knock you down a classification or two.
Ultimately, the best way to find out which classification you fall into — and, similarly, what you will likely pay — is to get quotes from a few insurance companies.
But before you can do that, consider taking time to determine what type of life insurance policy you want and how much death benefit you want to buy. To help, you can use this life insurance calculator and quickly review your policy type options:
Term life insurance is typically the most affordable type of life insurance because it expires after the term is up. It is also the most basic policy type, typically offering just the death benefit without any other perks. However, if you are looking for the best life insurance for runners and you are on a budget, a term policy could be a great place to start.
If you are shopping for life insurance policies for runners but you want a policy that will last your lifetime, you may consider whole life coverage. You have options here because whole life policies — also called permanent life insurance — come with a cash value component that can function differently depending on the policy type you choose.
Life insurance for healthy individuals
When you get quotes for policies, you might not get the amazing price point you assumed you would see when looking for life insurance companies for runners. For this reason, companies like HealthIQ have a special interest in connecting healthy individuals with special discounts for activities like running, which could lead to lower overall life insurance costs.
If you qualify for special insurance savings and want to change to a new policy provider to capitalize on them, Bankrate has a guide to switching to help.
Other considerations for life insurance
Insurance companies want to know a lot more than your average mileage and pace when underwriting life insurance policies for runners. Some other considerations that might be heavily weighed include:
- Your personal health history: Running could make you healthier, but it does not necessarily mean you will be the picture of health. Insurers will look at your history of health conditions or current ones that are affecting you. And they want to know what medications you are taking, too.
- Your family health history: Even if you are ultra-healthy, your family’s health history could impact your possibility of scoring the best rate possible. Insurance companies look at your family’s record for things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer.
- Your lifestyle: Lifestyle choices like drinking heavily or smoking will make you higher-risk in an insurer’s eyes, meaning you will likely pay more. Insurers are also interested in your hobbies. Particularly hazardous activities like scuba diving or mountain climbing could also mean more expensive life insurance, despite keeping you active, because of their high-risk nature.
Ultimately, when companies underwrite life insurance for runners, they look at the person as a whole. The only way to truly know how much you would pay for a policy is to start getting quotes. Running may still go a long way in positively impacting your health and your premiums so as you are looking, consider continuing to log those miles so you may take advantage of any potential savings for your healthy habit.
Frequently asked questions
Choosing a term or whole life insurance policy ultimately depends on your reason for needing life insurance. Both serve different purposes and have unique benefits for the policyholder and beneficiary. Depending on your budget and needs, you could have more than one type of life insurance policy.
A life insurance medical exam can be a medical questionnaire and a physical exam. The company uses these metrics to determine your health and factors that could impact your life expectancy, like smoking, recreational drug use, high triglycerides and liver enzymes, high blood pressure and more. Common injuries from running, like runner’s knee and sprained ankles, may not factor into your health exam, but you can always ask your life insurance company to make sure.
A guaranteed life insurance policy is one that doesn’t require health screenings as part of the application process. There are numerous options for guaranteed life insurance policies at different coverage amounts, which can be advantageous to those who don’t want the hassle of a medical exam or health screening, but whether or not it’s a cheaper option will depend on your individual rating factors and how much coverage you want. Exploring different carriers and shopping around will give you the best idea of which option will work for your budget.