Life Insurance for High-Risk Individuals (Discounts & Rates)

High-risk life insurance is a broad term insurance companies apply to policyholders who are considered more of a risk to insure. Health issues, pre-existing conditions, and dangerous hobbies or careers can classify you as high-risk. Life insurance for high-risk individuals isn't hard to find, but you can expect to pay twice as much or more for coverage. Shop around online for high-risk life insurance quotes to secure the best rates.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Mar 31, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Smoking, pre-existing medical conditions, and dangerous careers or hobbies can classify you as high-risk
  • Life insurance for high-risk individuals costs twice as much or more than standard life insurance rates
  • Most life insurance companies use mortality statistics to determine high-risk life insurance rates

High-risk life insurance is a broad term insurance companies apply to any policyholder who is considered more of a risk to insure. Health issues and dangerous hobbies or careers are different types of risk in insurance that can affect your life insurance rates.

You can still find life insurance with a pre-existing condition, but you may have to shop for policies from high-risk insurance companies.

Use this guide to learn what high-risk life insurance companies look for, how high-risk life insurance rates are determined, and where to find affordable high-risk life insurance policies.

If you’re shopping for life insurance for high-risk individuals, use our free tool and start comparing insurance quotes from local companies to get the cheapest rates near you.

What is high-risk life insurance?

High-risk life insurance is coverage that’s available to individuals who are riskier to insure based on their career, hobbies, or health. Risk categories are applied to whole life, term life, and universal life insurance policies. 

Life insurance risk categories include:

  • Substandard
  • Standard: Smoker/Non-Smoker
  • Preferred: Smoker/Non-Smoker
  • Preferred Plus Non-Smoker

Substandard applicants are considered high-risk due to a history of smoking, a family history of illness, pre-existing conditions, and more. Insurance companies look at these and other lifestyle choices to determine your high-risk insurance premiums.

How do insurance companies define risk categories?

Risk and insurance are determined by occupations, hobbies, habits, and pre-existing health conditions. However, each life insurance company will have its own requirements, rates, and restrictions when it comes to writing high-risk policies. 

Typically, insurance providers will look at mortality rates and pull statistics from the CDC or the U.S. Department of Labor when determining life insurance costs for high-risk individuals.

For example, the fact that loggers are 23 times more likely to die on the job means they are likely to pay more for life insurance. 

If you are in a high-risk profession, take advantage of an employer group insurance plan if it’s available. Group insurance plans can help you save on life insurance coverage.

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How do insurance companies determine high-risk life insurance rates?

When you apply for life insurance, your provider will determine your level of risk. You may be considered high-risk based on your career or lifestyle choices, and your provider will charge you accordingly.

For example, being a smoker makes you a higher risk to insure since smoking increases the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Statistics show that smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers and end up paying twice as much for high-risk life insurance. Learn more in the tables below.

Average Annual Term Life Insurance Rates for Smokers by Age
($100,000/10-Year Policy)

Smoker's AgeAverage Annual Rates for a MaleAverage Annual Rates for a Female
25$321.76$248.75
35$360.23$286.18
45$637.51$493.20
55$1,364.09$991.63
65$3,245.05$2,235.31
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High-risk term life insurance rates for smokers can average around $26 per month for a 25-year-old male, as compared to the $11 per month some non-smokers pay in the table below.

Average $100,000 Term Life Insurance Policy Rates for a Non-Smoker by Age, Gender, and Term

Age (Non-Smoker)Monthly Rates for a $100,000, 10-Year Policy for MenMonthly Rates for a $100,000, 10-Year Policy for WomenMonthly Rates for a $100,000, 20-Year Policy for MenMonthly Rates for a $100,000, 20-Year Policy for WomenMonthly Rates for a $100,000, 30-Year Policy for MenMonthly Rates for a $100,000, 30-Year Policy for Women
25$11.14$10.78$12.26$10.79$15.20$12.90
30$11.02$10.89$12.04$10.96$15.87$13.41
35$11.31$11.34$13.02$11.69$16.67$14.32
40$12.74$12.43$14.99$13.42$21.69$18.10
45$15.67$15.26$19.61$17.09$29.03$23.15
50$20.23$19.01$26.72$22.08$40.18$32.24
55$27.51$24.16$41.17$31.31$79.06$55.42
60$39.57$32.50$66.33$50.76Not AvailableNot Available
65$65.54$48.87$113.44$80.73Not AvailableNot Available
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These life insurance rates are just averages, and your rates can vary based on your age and gender. High-risk life insurance rates are impacted by your career and lifestyle choices as well, so it’s important to shop around online for insurance quotes before you buy in order to secure the best rates.

How do I buy life insurance for high-risk individuals?

Since you’re likely to pay more for life insurance as a high-risk individual, shopping around online for high-risk life insurance quotes is the easiest way to find affordable coverage.

Once you find a provider with quotes that fit your budget, you can contact them to discuss your coverage options and ask about any life insurance discounts you may qualify for. 

Companies offering high-risk life insurance include:

  • Prudentia
  • AIG
  • Transamerica
  • MetLife
  • Banner Life
  • Principal Life
  • Lincoln National

If you need to find companies near you offering life insurance for high-risk individuals, enter your ZIP code below to find affordable high-risk life insurance quotes from local companies.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

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