Health Class is a term that is specific to life insurance and it may cause you the most pause (outside of how much term life and for how long). You’ll see that the drop down in our quoting engine starts with Best Class and then right below it (Before Standard Plus and Standard) is Preferred. What exactly warrants a Preferred health class and how does it affect the term life rates that are offered? Let’s take a look at requirements for the Preferred health class.
It’s important to understand that each carrier may have subtle tweaks and twists to how they name their health classes. The Standard risk is pretty ubiquitous on the market. Our term life quoting engine uses “Best Class” to designate exactly that…a carrier’s best class regardless of what they call it. Preferred can be thought of as the step down from Best Class. Again, each carrier may have subtle differences in what constitutes Preferred or what they actually call it but the important issue for a person comparing term life rates across multiple companies and plans is that you can compare apples and apples. Our Best, Preferred, Standard Plus, and Standard does this. It’s the great equalizer.
So more information about Preferred.
First, there should be no health impairments. This is similar to the Best health class. What is a health impairment? This is trickier. It’s essentially a disease, disorder, or injury that would impact mortality rates. This would mean no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Let’s look at contributing factors to cardiovascular health that are under view of the life insurance companies. The first is Blood Pressure, for which they want it well managed with current and average readings in the past two years not greater than: 150/90. This is slightly less stringent then the Best class which wants 145/85 for two years. As for Cholesterol, levels cannot exceed 250. For the Best class, it’s 240. The total cholesterol to HDL ratio should be no greater than 6.5. Tobacco use is also not allowed within prior 12 months. This health class will usually require that neither parent passed away before age 60 of cardiovascular diseases.
The next big category (according to CDC mortality tables) is cancer. The Preferred health class can only be offered on certain types of cancers. Cancer is tougher to predict because there is a such a wide sea of cancers and resulting severities. Some simple skin cancers are fairly innocuous while pancreatic cancer is very serious. The carriers are pretty similar in life insurance underwriting but we’ll try to help provide guidance on which way to look.
For personal driving history, the Preferred class is pretty similar to the Best Class in that it requires that no more than 3 or more moving violations in the last 3 years except with flat extra or any DUI in last 60 months. For Alcohol or substance abuse, it requires no abuse in last 10 years.
These are the big sections that usually determine changes in health class. Again, each life insurance company will have slightly different requirements for each category. Some life insurance carriers might view driving history issues as more serious than others. Our recommendation is that you move down the Health Class to be conservative when running your online quote. Unless you have pretty much perfect health, history, and habits, Preferred is probably the right health class for you and the smart way to approach possible term life rates.