Unhealthy habits not only affect the quality of your life but they also push up the cost of insurance.
The four main reasons for death claims are heart disease, cancer, suicide and respiratory disorders, yet many of these can be avoided by lifestyle changes.
Smoking has the biggest impact on your insurance premiums as it has a direct effect on all aspects of your health. When you apply for insurance and state that you are a non-smoker this will be verified through a blood test that measures your cotinine levels. This is known as a COTS test.
Many people may not realise that consumption of tobacco in any form is considered smoking, including a hubbly bubbly or the occasional cigar. If you are not a regular user of these products or consider yourself a "social" smoker the COTS test will be able to ascertain whether or not it has a material impact on your health. If not, you will still qualify for non-smoker rates.
If you quit smoking, not only would you save money on cigarettes but you would qualify for a lower non-smoker premium within six months.
A 40 year old smoker would pay anywhere from R289 per month for R1-million life cover. If he gave up smoking, within six months, his life cover premium could potentially fall to R171 per month. That is an annual saving of R1416.
Cholesterol levels also have a significant impact on premiums and in some cases you may not even qualify for insurance cover.
High cholesterol levels lead to heart conditions and yet it is easily managed through correct eating, exercise and medication.
It is important to check your cholesterol levels on an annual basis and not to rely only on your insurance test.
Many medical schemes will pay for a cholesterol test out of the risk cover portion of the scheme so that it does not affect your day-to-day savings.
Being overweight has an impact on your overall health and can affect your insurance premiums or even result in cover being declined. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good measure of what your ideal weight should be.
Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight (kg) by the square of your height (m) - in other words weight/height2. A BMI of 25 is considered to be average and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. The higher your BMI, the more likely you are to suffer a stroke or develop additional illnesses such as heart disease.
Liberty's records over time shows that someone with a BMI of 50 is almost three times as likely to die in any particular year, as someone with a BMI of 25.
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