How Family History Impacts Your Life Insurance Rates

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If you are in perfect health with no significant past health history, it may be frustrating for you to learn that life insurance companies may penalize you for your family’s health history. The reason is that many of the health problems that affect mortality such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes can be linked genetically. In other words, from the insurance company’s perspective, if your parents or brothers and sisters have had a major health issue, there is a stronger likelihood that you will also. Therefore, family history is a major factor in the life insurance qualification and underwriting process.

Medical History Age Consideration for Family History

When underwriting life insurance, most insurance companies will factor in any major health problems of your immediate family members. Some of these conditions include but are not limited to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and strokes among others. Most insurance companies are specifically concerned with family members who have developed any of these conditions prior to age 60 with some companies considering these factors up to age 65.

For example, if your father, mother, brother or sister died from a heart attack prior to age 60, most companies will see this as an increased risk and thereby preclude you from getting the absolute best health rate regardless of your present condition. In fact, most companies will only offer you a standard rate.

If your family member’s medical condition developed after age 60, their illness will not affect your policy rate. Additionally, if you are over the age of 60, your family’s medical history will likely not be a factor.

The important thing to note is that each insurance company has its own set of underwriting criteria that they use to determine your risk and ultimately your rate. Family history is one of the biggest criteria that life insurance companies consider on this list. The key to getting the best rate is to identify the company that will treat you the most fairly given your circumstances.

There are several companies that offer niche underwriting advantages. For example, they may overlook cancer deaths prior to age 60.

By working with a life insurance expert that knows the guidelines and has access to many companies, you give yourself the best shot at buying the most competitive policy. If you choose the wrong company, you can easily pay thousands of dollars more for no reason.

Importance of Your Family’s Medical History with Your Own

Shopping for life insurance can be a frustrating endeavor for individuals who are healthy but find they are kept from the best rates because of their family’s health history. Because some families have reoccurrences of serious illnesses from generation to generation, insurance companies look to your family’s medical history to assess your potential risk in contracting major illnesses and diseases. They enquire about your parents and siblings to see if they have had any serious diseases, such as heart problems, cancer or diabetes and use this to determine your risk from a genetic perspective. Fortunately, some insurance companies will also take into account any of your family members who were smokers and died from lung cancer, even if you do not smoke. However, exceptions for a true family history of serious illness or disease prior to age 60 are very rare.

If you are working with an insurance professional, he or she may know some insurance companies that will allow tests to confirm the absence of any traces of the disease. For example, if you are 50 and in excellent health and you had a father who died of heart disease at 45, some companies may allow you to complete a cardiac stress test at your own expense to rule out potential heart issues. If you can pass the stress test, some insurance companies may overlook the family history.

Working with an experienced agent is important to make sure the application process is properly and thoroughly completed and that you have taken advantage of all opportunities with respect to the marketplace.


While your personal health is the most significant factor in determining the rate you pay for life insurance, your family’s medical history is also very important. If your family has a history of major illnesses and death prior to age 60, many insurance companies will consider your chance of getting the same disease very high and therefore see you as a greater risk. In order to avoid potential family history issues, you should work with an agent and find a company that will consider your personal and family health background fairly. Call MEG Financial today at (877) 583-3955 and we can take a minute to discuss your case. Our agents will provide you your top options and tell you why we recommend a certain approach. We guarantee that we will leave “no stone unturned” in finding you the exception you need to save money!

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About Term Land

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

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