How to determine your life insurance health class

life insurance health rating

How to determine your life insurance health class rating? Are the ratings the same across the Top 10 life insurance companies? For the average person, figuring out how to determine their life insurance health class can get a bit overwhelming.

How much you pay on your policy begins with finding your health class. Most people have no idea what to select when starting out and filling out free online life insurance quoters. This article will help you understand health class ratings and how to choose the right class when using an online life insurance quoter.

Understanding How To Determine Your Life Insurance Health Class Rating

Online life insurance quoters typically have 4 health classes.  Every company will base rates on each of these 4 health classes. Understanding how to determine your life insurance health class will save you from frustration.It’s important to select the correct health class when getting quotes? Why? You will be looking at quotes that you can’t qualify for!

Here are you options when getting quotes

Let’s look at how you can choose health classes in our example below:
life insurance class ratings

Life insurance health classes

Online life insurance quoters contains 4 health classes to choose from:

  1. Preferred Best is the best health rating a company will offer you.  Some companies will use the title “Preferred Plus” instead.  There is no difference between Preferred Best and Preferred Plus.
  2. Preferred is the next best health class.  Preferred rates will be higher than Preferred Best rates.
  3. Standard Plus or Regular Plus is the next health class.  Regular Plus rates will be higher than Preferred rates.  Some companies use the title “Standard Plus” instead of “Regular Plus”. They mean the same thing.
  4. Standard or Regular is the next health class rating.  You will pay a higher rate than Regular Plus.  Some companies use the health class title “Standard” instead of “Regular”.  They are the same.

What is my life insurance health class?

Remember, all companies rate differently.  However, here is an example of of just one life insurance company’s underwriting guidelines. This will help you see the different criteria that life insurance companies use to determine your health class.  

It may also help you get an idea of what class you may fall in.

Health Rating Comparisons

1. Preferred Best

Preferred Best, also called Preferred Plus, is the least expensive health class rating. People approved at Preferred Best rates are in perfect health and have no lifestyle risks. Here are some general guidelines to get approved at Preferred Best:

  • Alcohol/Drug Hx: No abuse
  • Blood Pressure: Average readings in the past 2 years not greater than 136/86.
  • Cholesterol: 120-300. Ratio may not exceed 4.5.
  • Family Hx: No cardiovascular disease in either parent or sibling before age 60.
  • Medical Hx: No personal hx of disease or impairment that would affect mortality.
  • Driving Hx: No more than 2 moving violations in past 3 years. No DUI in last 5 years.
  • Cancer: Only available on certain types of skin cancer.

2. Preferred

The next “least expensive health class is called “Preferred”.

  • Alcohol/Drug Hx: No abuse in the past 10 years.
  • Blood Pressure: Average readings in the past 2 years not greater than 146/90.
  • Cholesterol: 120-300. Ratio may not exceed 5.5.
  • Family Hx: No cardiovascular disease in either parent or sibling before age 60.
  • Medical Hx: No personal hx of disease or impairment that would affect mortality.
  • Driving Hx: No more than 2 moving violations in past 3 years. No DUI in last 5 years.
  • Cancer: Only available on certain types of skin cancer.

3. Standard Plus

Standard Plus is the next health class. Here are some basic guidelines to get approved at Standard Plus:

  • Alcohol/Drug Hx: No abuse in the past 7 years.
  • Blood Pressure: Average readings in the past 2 years not greater than 136/86.
  • Cholesterol: 120-300. Ratio may not exceed 4.5.
  • Family Hx: No cardiovascular death of more than one parent before age 60.
  • Medical Hx: Can have personal history of certain diseases or impairments.
  • Driving Hx: No more than 3 moving violations in past 3 years. No DUI in last 3 years.
  • Cancer: Available depending on type and date of onset of cancer.

4. Standard

Standard rates are where most shoppers qualify. Also referred to as “Regular” rates.

  • Alcohol/Drug Hx: No abuse in the past 7 years.
  • Blood Pressure: Average readings in the past 2 years not greater than 156/94.
  • Cholesterol: 120-300. Ratio may not exceed 8.0.
  • Family Hx: No cardiovascular death of more than one parent before age 60.
  • Medical Hx: Can have personal history of certain diseases or impairments.
  • Driving Hx: No more than 4 moving violations in past 3 years. No DUI in last 2 years.
  • Cancer: Available depending on type and date of onset of cancer.

5. Table Rates

Table rates are when anyone gets approved below “Standard.” Table rates are also referred to as “Sub-Standard” rates. There are typically 10 table rates. Carriers can use either Table 1-10 or Table A-J (they mean the same thing). 

Table 1 or A will add an extra charge of 25% on top of the company’s Standard rate. Every level you go up, an extra 25%  will be added.

  • Table 1 / Table A = Standard +25%
  • Table 2 / Table B = Standard +50%
  • Table 3 / Table C = Standard +75%
  • Table 4 / Table D = Standard +100%
  • Table 5 / Table E = Standard +125%
  • Table 6/ Table F = Standard +150%
  • Table 7 / Table G = Standard +175%
  • Table 8 / Table H = Standard +200%
  • Table 9 / Table I = Standard +225%
  • Table 10 / Table J = Standard +250%

Life Insurance Health Classes aren’t standardized

Standardized? What’s that? It means that there isn’t a standard set of rules and guidelines that every company has to follow for each class.  Some companies may be more lenient than others – for example, with tobacco use, cholesterol level, height and weight, etc. This makes selecting your health class a bit more challenging for the average user.  

The good news is that all the companies use a general guideline to determine your class. It’s also why you should always work with an independent agent who can find the best company you can qualify for.

Health Class Rating Factors

There are several factors that go into the life insurance health class. What are the most common factors?

  • Your height / weight ratio
  • medical history
  • your present health
  • your driving record
  • and your age

These all play a factor in what you’ll pay. There are additional criteria that each company will look at during the underwriting process.  

If you have an impairment, the severity and treatment of it may cause a higher class rate. When completing our quoter, you must select a health class.   For the most part, life insurance companies use typical insurance rate guidelines when determining health classes.  However, some companies vary significantly.

Minor or Major differences in health ratings?

The above comparison chart was an example of typical health ratings from one company.  

As stated before, all companies rate differently.  

Companies do not follow a set standard across the board. With that said, a good number of companies rate similarly to the example above with some minor differences in criteria.   However, there are a number of companies that have major differences in how they rate certain criteria.

Finding the Life Companies for Your Health Class

buy term life insuranceIf you have any sort of risk factor – your health class will be adjusted accordingly.  In other words, higher health classes = higher rates!

This doesn’t mean that your risk factor will be adjusted the same from company to company.  Finding the right company for your particular risk factor is where your independent agent should shine.

You’re paying too much – Example

Let’s focus on a basic risk factor like Tobacco use. Seems pretty simple and direct, right? Not really.

When I speak to a client for the first time and they inform me that they are a tobacco user I begin to ask the following questions:

  • What type of tobacco have you used?  Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes, eCigarettes, Chewing Tobacco, Nicotine gum?
  • Frequency of tobacco use?
  • If you quit, how long ago?

These answers can greatly influence which company will be best for you.

Let’s say you are a cigar smoker.  

You may end up paying significantly more than you need to if your agent doesn’t have a large pool of companies to shop from. Why?

There are companies out there that will rate you the same as a heavy cigarette smoker even if you smoke a few cigars a month. This means your premiums will be higher.

However, there are also companies that allow you to smoke cigars occasionally and provide you with Non-Smoker rates.  If your agent doesn’t know this or doesn’t have these companies to offer you, you’ll be stuck with higher rates. This is just one example from one basic risk factor, but the process to find these companies are the same.

Your agent needs to have access to many companies in order to get the best rates.

Independent Agents make a huge difference

There are niche companies that look more favorably for all types of risk factors.  Diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.  You want to be sure your agent takes the time to find out your current and past medical history in order to find these companies that will rate you the most favorably.

Please feel free to fill out my life insurance quoter to find the lowest rates available. You can also email or call me at 888-411-1329 if you have any questions.  We look forward to helping you.

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Michael Quinn

Michael Quinn

Michael is owner & life insurance expert at Life Insurance Blog where we've helped thousands of shoppers learn and secure affordable life insurance online.
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Simple way to compare and buy life insurance

The Simple way to compare and buy life insurance

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