There’s a good chance that when you first purchased a term insurance policy, you were focused on finding a low-cost insurance policy. You were just starting a family, buying a house, and stretching your money thin due to other financial demands. So, you purchased a low-cost 15-year term policy. Now, it’s 15 years later, you still need life insurance, and you still have financial demands, but now your policy’s renewal premium is significantly higher than when you first purchased.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an uncommon situation. There are a number of reasons why your policy’s premium amount increases. The biggest reason is age. On average, a premium amount increases between 8% and 10% for every year of age. Every life insurance carrier has underwriting requirements that usually include health tests, and the older you are the more tests that are required.
Beyond age, the policy carrier may also be concerned about its reserves or the availability of credit. One insurance company was facing insolvency, and to avoid declaring bankruptcy, they realized they needed to reduce future liabilities. This meant they needed to eliminate a number of their policies. The best way to do this was to increase policy premiums in order to encourage some policyholders to cancel. Although the court ultimately ruled against the insurance company, this still remains the thought process for some companies.
If your term insurance premium has significantly increased when it comes time to renew, you do have options. Start by getting pre-qualified for life insurance to see your other options and what other policies for which you are eligible. This typically involves a complete medical exam and, depending on your age, the type of policy, and the amount of coverage, a carrier could request additional tests, such as treadmill test or EKG. You may discover that based on your age, health, and other factors that your premium renewal rate is on par with other quotes, or you may find you can obtain a different policy for much less.
As you shop around for different policies, consider a permanent life policy to avoid having to go through this ordeal again. Many term insurance policies can be converted or exchanged for a permanent life policy, including Whole Life and Universal Life, with no additional underwriting required. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you obtain another policy before cancelling your current one.
As I stated earlier, the unfortunate truth about term insurance is that the premium can significantly increase when it comes time to renew. If you are currently considering term insurance, consider your needs beyond the policy limits, whether it’s 10 or 30 years. You may discover permanent life is a better option for your needs. If you already have a term policy that is approaching its renewal date, start looking into alternative policies now so you can be prepared and know your options.
If you have questions about term insurance or would like a second opinion on a life insurance quote you have received, please get in touch!