What is a Life Insurance Rate Class?
The rate you’ll pay for your life insurance rate is determined, in large part, by the rate class you qualify for. If you qualify for the best rate class (often referred to by most carriers as “preferred plus”), your rate will be the lowest available. There are many different rate classifications; the life insurance company’s underwriters decide which one you qualify for based on your individual health, lifestyle, and family history profile. Since qualification criteria varies among the numerous insurance companies, it is not uncommon for an individual to qualify for different rate classes at different insurance companies. Since AccuQuote has access to many different insurance companies, along with their published and unpublished guidelines, we can help you select which one will likely offer you the best rates.
The names of the rate classes can vary by company, but generally, here are the most common rate classes:
- Preferred Plus – In order to qualify for preferred plus rates you cannot use any tobacco (most companies require between 3 and 5 years tobacco-free) and you must be in excellent overall health with no history of drug or alcohol abuse. In addition, you must have a good driving record and must not engage in hazardous activities. You must also have no history of heart disease (sometimes cancer) among your parents or siblings prior to their age 60.
- Preferred – Generally, to qualify for preferred rates you must also be in excellent overall health, not use tobacco (at least 1 year tobacco-free, sometimes more), have a good driving record, and you must not participate in any hazardous activities. The main difference between Preferred and Preferred plus is that the blood pressure, cholesterol, and family history guidelines are slightly more lenient.
- Standard – Standard risks refer to people who have had some minor health impairments. Examples include people who have somewhat elevated cholesterol levels or who are overweight. Some carriers also offer a hybrid between standard and preferred, which is called Standard Plus. The guidelines for this class are somewhere in between the two classes.
- Substandard – This rate class (actually a series of several rate classes) encompasses people that have more than minor health problems. An additional charge will be added to these people’s premiums depending on the risk factors involved.
Insurance companies determine how much you’ll pay for a policy by placing you into one of the rate classes above.
Remember that underwriting guidelines vary among life insurance companies. We save you money by helping you pick the insurer that will look most favorably at your specific situation. Our familiarity with each company’s underwriting practices gives you a powerful advantage as you shop for the best life insurance rates.
Questions? Call 800-442-9899 to speak with one of our experienced advisors. You can also get a free quote by clicking the Get Started button on the right side of this page. Our quoting software does the work for you, and it only takes about 60 seconds.