After nearly two decades of falling prices, term life-insurance premiums are heading up.
Many insurers started raising prices on term policies by 5% to 15% earlier this year, particularly for specific terms and policy amounts. They cite higher capital and reinsurance costs linked to tighter credit markets, which are making it costlier to maintain needed cash reserves, combined with lower investment returns.
Life expectancy isn’t a factor. But for the last several years, because of tougher reinsurance requirements, insurers also have taken a harder stance on medical underwriting guidelines, experts say. In the past, applicants might have been forgiven a little extra weight, for instance, and given a lower premium. But that’s no longer the case.
A few other things to note: In the past, taking prescription drugs for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, cholesterol or asthma often resulted in an applicant having to pay higher premiums. But these days people on these medications commonly qualify for standard rates because insurers have found that taking these drugs generally presents no higher mortality risk.
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