Do Runners Get Better Rates on Life Insurance?

March 18, 2020
Jonathan Fritz
B.A. Risk Management
Life Insurance Agent

The truth is, runners can get lower life insurance rates. Not only can running improve your cardiovascular health and overall fitness level — it can also indirectly help you save on life insurance premiums.

Note: There isn’t a question on the application about running. The reason runners get lower rates is because they are healthy individuals.

It isn’t quite that simple, though. Before you race out and select the first policy you’re offered, make sure you understand how your overall bill of health can impact your life insurance premium.

Why Many Runners Get Great Life Insurance Rates

If you’re a runner looking to lock in low life insurance premiums, when applying for life insurance, you’ll fill out a health questionnaire and can have an exam performed to determine your overall bill of health.

Since runners are generally considered to be healthier than most of the population, life insurance companies usually offer you the lowest rates, since they’ll view you as less of a risk. 

Rates are determined by grouping applicants into rate classes, though the naming conventions can vary across companies. Let's take a quick look at each tier and find where runners typically fall.

  • Standard - The lowest rung is the standard tier. If you are overweight, have a short or average life expectancy, and or family history leading to a likelihood of you developing a serious disease early in life, you might be classified here. Standard applicants have the highest insurance rates but are still able to remain insured.

  • Standard Plus - The next is the standard plus tier. This tier typically means you might be slightly overweight or have a high body fat percentage. Your family history might be clean or mild, but your physical could have shown a few potential red flags. You’ll pay lower rates than standard applicants, but more than preferred or preferred plus.

  • Preferred - The next tier, the preferred tier, is reserved for healthy applicants, typically with a good height to weight ratio, who may have a few minor discrepancies on their medical report, like slightly high blood pressure. You’ll pay low rates, which are typically only slightly higher than preferred plus applicants. Many runners can be classified in this tier.

  • Preferred Plus - The final tier, preferred plus, refers to applicants in excellent health. If you fall into this tier, you’ll be in a health height to weight ratio and receive a full bill of health from your doctor. You’ll also pay the lowest insurance rates. Many runners can be classified in this tier. If you want to see what preferred plus rates look like, try our somple life insurance rates tool.

Since runners tend to fall in the top two tiers for life insurance policies, typically they pay less than others in average shape.

Life Insurance Companies for Runners to Consider

If you’re a runner looking for affordable life insurance, here are a few companies to look into for the lowest rates. All four companies take into consideration your cholesterol, weight loss, risk of diabetes, blood pressure, and chances of suffering from a heart attack.

  • AIG
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Pacific Life
  • Banner

The 5 Factors That Influence Your Life Insurance Rate Tier

It’s been proven that running regularly can add years to your lifespan. It can also help reduce your risk of serious diseases, including cancer and diabetes, that pop up as red flags on your medical report.

Let’s take a look at the 5 major red flags that most major life insurance companies review when setting your rate:

1. Age

Your age is one of the main factors in determining the rate of your life insurance policy. On average, your premium may increase 8% to 10% for each year of age. For instance, you could expect a premium of 5% to 6% in your 40s, while it can increase to over 12% once you’re past the age of 50.

2. Body Mass Index

Your body mass index also plays a large role in determining your life insurance rate, since it is a quick way for insurance agents to gage health and lifestyle choices. A high BMI, for instance, is often associated with obesity, which can lead to diabetes and other serious health risks, life insurance companies will also base your rate tier on your weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight has been linked to better health outcomes and longer lifespans. Since runners tend to be in good shape, with a healthy BMI, if you’re a runner with a normal BMI, you can often expect a lower rate.

3. Underlying Health Conditions

Even if you’re a runner, you might have some pre-existing or underlying health conditions that will show up as red flags on your medical report. Even if your condition has been corrected, it can be cause for concern for a life insurance underwriter and can impact your rates.

4. Family History

Genetic diseases and those that run in your family are also taken into consideration when setting your life insurance rate. While making attempts to lead a healthy lifestyle can help lower your rate, your family history and risk of developing diseases, like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease, will be weighed by your insurance company — even if you’re a runner.

5. Driving Record

Another record life insurance companies will review when setting your rate is your driving record. While minor infractions might not impact your rate by much, infractions like hazardous driving, drunk driving, or accident records could affect your rates. Having a clean driving record can help lower your life insurance rates.

Being a Runner Doesn't Equal Good Health

While many runners are healthy, some might struggle with injuries or health problems. Even if you’re able to sprint, participate in marathons, or run long distances, it doesn’t always equate to a healthier lifestyle.

For instance, some runners might have poor dietary habits that cause elevated cholesterol, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular issues. As mentioned above, family history also plays a large role in determining which tier you’ll fall into for your life insurance policy. 

Even if you’re active, you might still have red flags on your health report that can prevent insurance companies from placing you in either of the preferred tiers. For instance, you may have suffered from a heart attack that led you to get healthy and back in shape. Even though you might now be in top health, having any serious diseases on your health report can decrease your chances of receiving lower rates.

Likewise, your current lifestyle, workplace habits, and medications you’re taking can also impact your life insurance rate.