Improve My Life or Insure It?
October 5, 2010 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Should I buy life insurance now, or when I'm healthier?

My wife and I had our first child a year ago, and plan to have our second (and last) within the next three years. I have a flimsy life insurance benefit through work (one year's salary), but know I need to get more to protect my family in the case of my death.

That said, I know it's typically better to get an insurance policy where a physical is involved (though I'm not entirely sure why). I'm a very healthy (in that I have no chronic illnesses that I know of), but overweight (75-ish lbs?) guy. I'm 28. I feel that if I put in a year of diet & exercise, I could probably reduce my premiums, but not sure if this is worthwhile when weighing the reduction of premiums vs. probability that I die in the next year.

Any thoughts/recommendations here?

FWIW, I plan on going with term, and while I'm not sure if I'm going to do a 20 yr/30 yr split or all in a 30, a portion of it needs to go through 30 years.
posted by po822000 to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Get a policy now. A year from now, when you are "healthier", get another policy for less and drop the more expensive policy. The "term" in term insurance is the term that the insurer keeps the rate the same (or at some specified annual growth rate). Not a time you are obligated for.
posted by cosmac at 1:49 PM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

...not sure if this is worthwhile...

The year of diet and exercise?

You can buy a policy now and request to have your policy premiums re-evaluated after a year, just like smokers who quit their nicotine habit. Significantly improved health can lower your premiums, but weight loss must be sustained to count – you'll have to lose the weight and keep it off for at least a couple of years, as far as I know. Either way, a year from now you'll have reduced cholesterol levels and generally improved cardiovascular health that might qualify you for a price reduction regardless.
posted by halogen at 1:53 PM on October 5, 2010

buy now. you can always buy more when you lose weight, possibly cancelling your prior policy if the premiums are lower since you are thinking term. any reduction in premium you might gain could be offset by growing older or some unforeseen condition that pops up between now and then (high blood pressure, becoming a professional bull rider)

whether or not there is a physical involved has nothing to do with it being better to do it that way - it has to do with the amount of insurance involved as well as the potential risk for the insurance company. each company will have it's own rules on this involved age, policy amounts, habits etc. last time i bought an extra policy for 100K it involved no physical. I was older than you and overweight as well, though maybe not 75 pds. My husband of the bad nicotine habit was not asked for a physical either.

IF you are asking for 500k or something, just about any company is going to require a physical, regardless of your weight. Whether or not they rate you for that extra poundage is another story. They may or may not, depending on many factors that are unknown to anyone but them.
posted by domino at 1:59 PM on October 5, 2010

Last time we bought life insurance for my partner, he was as hefty as you, 38 or so, and being treated for high cholesterol--and the premiums were only $230/year for $300,000 worth of coverage. I'm very fat (very fat!) and we bought a $250,000 policy for me when I was in my early 40s and my premiums are about $400/year. Even expensive life insurance isn't really all that expensive. You're fretting needlessly. Get the insurance.
posted by not that girl at 2:01 PM on October 5, 2010

Wait a year. Then wait another one. Then wait another and keep on waiting more years until you are dead or you have a very good reason to buy term life. Otherwise, don't make the assumption that you "need" a term life insurance policy -- you are starting from a false premise here.

Term life insurance for a young man is often a terrible bet. Don't buy it at all -- or anyway do some substantial research before you do. They will try to convince you that you "need it for you wife and kids". Don't believe them. It's their job to sell you term life insurance, and they will work very hard at that job. The reason they will work so hard at that job -- the reason they want to sell you term life insurance -- is not because they love you and your wife and kids. The reason it's their job to sell you term life insurance is because insurance companies make a shit-pot full of money on it.

Whole life is a different issue, but its expensive.

Please, do some research or talk to a financial professional before you make this decision. Your insurance professional is sometimes your friend. This is not one of those times.
posted by The Bellman at 3:15 PM on October 5, 2010

Get it now, then call your agent up to get re examined. If you use a good agent, he will call the underwriters before your exam and get a soft commitment from them that if you drop such and such weight and have such and such blood pressure that they will give you a more favorable rating.
posted by yoyoceramic at 4:28 PM on October 5, 2010

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