8 Factors Influencing Life Insurance Cost

As discussed in other blogs, term life insurance is usually the most affordable of the main 3 types of life insurance, followed by universal life insurance and then whole life insurance. In other words, you can usually get “more bang for your buck” with term life insurance because of the lower cost compared to permanent life insurance.

While not listed below, the amount of death benefit is also a major determining factor in the cost of life insurance, but we have excluded it from the list since the death benefit and type of plan is something you can adjust to fit your budget and needs.

The list below has factors (excluding losing weight, adjusting lifestyle, stopping nicotine, drug and alcohol use) that you can not change. These factors will definitely influence your costs and possibly what types of plans are available to you.

The Main Risk Factors

  • Life insurance is a financial investment you can make to help provide for your loved ones after your death.
  • Many factors (most are listed below) influence the cost of your premium and whether you qualify for discounts.
  • Your age is the most important factor in determining your plan cost. The older you are, the higher your payments.  
  • Women usually live longer than men, so their rates are often cheaper.
  • Life insurance companies consider your tobacco usage, driving record, health, lifestyle, family medical history, driving record and possibly other factors to determine your cost.


The key factor impacting the cost of life insurance is your age. The cost of life insurance usually goes up as you get older and typically increases 5-10% per year. The younger you are when you purchase life insurance, the lower your premium will be. If you wait too long, you may be too old for some life insurance policies.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women typically live 5 years longer than men. Insurance companies use statistical data to determine ratings based on factors such as age and the life expectancy of women typically causes them to have lower life insurance rates.


The underwriting process for most life insurance carriers includes a medical exam. Medical exams record your height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other vital data. Sometimes, carriers may also require an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to check your heart.

It is beneficial to get serious conditions like high cholesterol, blood pressure, sleep apnea and diabetes managed before searching for coverage to ensure a competitive rate. Some companies offer “no exam” or “guaranteed issue” policies, but expect to pay more for those types of plans.

Family Medical History

Life insurance carriers look at health issues your parents or siblings have experienced, especially if those health conditions had an impact on an early death. If you have a family history of cancer, stroke, heart attack, or other serious medical conditions, then these ailments may increase your life insurance rates.  Some insurance carriers weigh your family health history more than other carriers.


If you participate in risky hobbies like extreme sports, car racing, or you are an amateur pilot, scuba diver, mountain climber, etc… then you may have higher rates or even be denied by some carriers.

Substance Use

Tobacco use, illegal drug use and alcohol abuse put you at a higher risk for many health problems. Due to the higher risk, especially from tobacco use, life insurance carriers usually charge much higher for people using these types of substances. In fact, some carriers may charge you more than double if you are a tobacco user. Do NOT lie about substance use or abuse in your application because the carrier may find out and cancel your policy. This could mean that your loved ones will not receive the death benefit they are expecting.


Some companies charge more if you have a high risk occupation such as a miner, police officer, professional athlete, logger, commercial fisherman, etc. Some people in high risk occupations may also have a harder time obtaining life insurance due to the risk in their jobs.

Driving Record

Often life insurance carriers will access your driving history from the Department of Motor Vehicles to see if you have driving violations. Most carriers are more concerned about violations within the last three to five years. Improving your driving record may lower your life insurance premium.

Apply for Life Insurance in As Little As 5 Minutes

Are you looking for a way to help your loved ones after you pass away? The Insurance Solutions Experts have options from many carriers, so feel free to use our free quoting app to look at options. We also have a free life insurance calculator that will help you decide how much life insurance you need.

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Shane Saunders

Shane and Kari Saunders co-founded The Insurance Solutions Experts to help families and companies find affordable insurance options. Shane has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from UTSA and a Masters of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth. He is accredited and licensed and has received comprehensive certification in Healthcare Reform as well as all forms of state health care insurance plans. He offers individual health insurance coverage, life insurance, several other lines of affordable insurance options as well as group health insurance plans. Shane@theinsuranceexpert.com 210-954-6478 or 636-287-9369