How Family History Affects Your Life Insurance Rates

Written by Ryan Cravitz

Most people realize that the amount that they will have to pay for life insurance will depend on their medical history, driving record, and other lifestyle habits.

However, often times people don’t realize that perhaps their families medical history could affect their rates.

So…if you are over 50 years old does your family history matter when qualifying for life insurance?

The short here is that it depends.  It will depend upon:

  • Your age
  • The specifics of your family’s medical history
  • The insurance company you apply with

Know that just because your mom or dad had a heart attack when they were 45 years old does not mean that you would not be able to get life insurance.  Far from it.

However, let’s assume that you could qualify for preferred plus rates without considering family history.

Then, when you factor in your family history, you may only be able to qualify for a preferred or a standard rating instead.

If you are trying to find the cheapest life insurance over 50 you need to understand how all this works.

So…let’s dive in!

Your Current Age

First of all, your current age is a factor.  With most insurance companies once you’ve reached a certain age your family’s medical history is no longer taken into consideration.

Some companies aren’t concerned about your family’s medical history once you’ve reached age 60.  For others it’s age 65 and for some it’s age 70.

Specifics Of Your Family’s Medical History

If your mom or dad passed away from a car accident it would certainly be tragic.  However, it would not affect the rates you’d have to pay for life insurance.

Also, though it’s probably obvious, an insurance company isn’t going to be concerned about your step parents since you didn’t inherit any of their genes.

The insurance companies specifically look at heart disease and cancer.

Having said that some companies don’t take both into consideration.  For example, one company is only concerned about heart disease, not cancer.

For some companies they only consider the medical history of your parents, not your siblings.  Others want to know about your siblings as well.

The Insurance Company You Apply With

Every insurance company has different underwriting guidelines.  This is true for medical history as well as a number of other factors including family history.

Let’s look at a couple of different examples that show how your family’s medical history can make a difference in the rates you would have to pay.

Example #1

Let’s consider a a 65 year old man applying for $250,000 of 20 year term.

Let’s assume he is super healthy, and based on all factors other than family history he could qualify for preferred plus rates.

Below are rates for 3 of the top life insurance companies with the lowest rates.

65 Year Old Man - $250,000 - 20 year term - Monthly Rates

CompanyRatesRate Class
A$237Preferred Plus
B$247Preferred Plus
C$251Preferred Plus

You’ll notice that the rates are pretty close.  The difference between Company A and Company B is only $10 a month.

Perhaps you choose to go with Company B because it’s a company you have heard of or perhaps you pick them for some other reason.

If you don’t take your family history into account when deciding what insurance company to apply with it can make a huge difference in the ultimate cost you’ll have to pay.

Let’s pretend our 65 year old’s dad passed away due to heart disease in his fifties.  The best rate class he could qualify for with Company B would be standard, not preferred plus, since this happened before his dad turned 60.

With Company C, the best rate class that he would be able to qualify for would be standard also since it happened before age 65.

Notice here that he could qualify for preferred plus rates with Company B if his dad had passed away from a heart attack at age 60, but not with Company C.

Company C considers family history before age 65.

It’s so important to understand these guidelines and how it all works.

Company B and Company C don’t ignore family history until you have reached the age of 70.

Company A on the other hand will completely ignore family history once you’ve reached age 65.

So for our 65 year old man here’s the rates he would be required to pay based upon his family history.

65 Year Old Man - $250,000 - 20 year term - Monthly Rates (Factoring in Family History)

CompanyRates Rate Class
A$237Preferred Plus
B$424Standard
C$443Standard

Now you’ll see a big difference.  The cost for the policy with Company A is around $200 less per month.

Example #2

Let’s look at different example that shows how your family’s medical history can impact your life insurance rates.

Let’s assume we have a 55 year old woman looking for $500,000 of 15 year term.  Presumably, she is super healthy and could qualify for the best rates an insurance company offers.

If we don’t consider family history the rates she could qualify for would be the following.  Company A has the lowest rates and Company B’s rates are also fairly competitive.

55 Year Old Woman - $500,000 - 15 year term - Monthly Rates

CompanyRateRate Class
A$59Preferred Plus
B$68Preferred Plus

Just by looking at the chart, all things being equal one would assume they might as well apply with Company A.

However, here’s where it gets interesting.  Let’s say her mom passed away due to cancer before she reached the age of 60.

If this were the case the best rates she would be able to qualify for with Company A would be standard….not preferred plus!

This is because company A will only offer a standard rate class if either of your parents, or any of your siblings, passed away from cancer or heart disease before the age of 60.

On the other hand, Company B is not concerned about family history when it comes to cancer.

They are concerned about heart disease though.  For instance, if her mom had passed away from a heart attack she would not be able to qualify for preferred plus rates.

However, since her mom passed away due to cancer she could potentially qualify for preferred plus.

The following chart will show the difference in rates she could potentially qualify for when taking family history into consideration.

55 Year Old Woman - $500,000 - 15 year term (Factoring in Family History)

CompanyRatesRate Class
A$126Standard
B$68Preferred Plus

All of a sudden Company A doesn’t look so good!

This is just one example of why we say it’s important to make sure that you apply with the company that is going to look at your application most favorably.

It’s Not Just Family History

As you have read, your family history makes a difference when it comes to the life insurance rates you can qualify for.

Keep this in mind when seeking over 50 life insurance quotes.

Every company has different underwriting guidelines.  In addition to family history an insurance company will consider several other factors.

They will want to know your medical history and will want to know what medications you take.

They will run a prescription drug check as well to see what medications you’ve taken over the last several years.

Also, depending on the type of policy you apply for, they may want to review your medical records.

And unless you apply for no exam life insurance they are going to look at the results of your medical exam.

The insurance company will also want to review your driving history and may run a motor vehicle report.

They want to know if you have had an excessive amount of tickets, accidents, and any history of any DUI’s.

They will want to know about your other life style habits such as whether you use tobacco or not.  And if you do use tobacco what type do you use?

These are just some of the things that the insurance company will want to consider when reviewing your application for life insurance.

What’s The Next Step

If you are 50+ and looking for life insurance quotes, and trying to figure out the best coverage for you then get in touch with us.  We specialize in helping people over the age of 50 secure affordable life insurance coverage.

You have questions, we have answers. We’re here to help make the whole process of buying life insurance a lot less intimidating.

We are independent and work with dozens of companies and can help you determine the best company to apply for coverage with.

Also, many people we speak to aren’t really sure how much coverage they need or how long they need their life insurance policy to last.

We can help you figure all of this out….we’re here to help!

Over50LifeInsure
Over50LifeInsure

We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates.

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