A life insurance quote, in short, is an estimation of premiums you can expect to pay for your life insurance policy – the premiums can be paid annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly.  Please note, a quote is only as good as the information it’s based on. There are 4 main factors that determine the premium for the coverage – your age, the amount of coverage you’re trying to secure, how long you want it guaranteed for, and your risk classification.

 The risk classification is the MOST important factor in determining how much you can expect to/will pay for your coverage. If the medical history is not factored into the quote (and you’re only running numbers based on your date of birth and/or height/weight), any quotes provided are pretty much meaningless because they do not provide an accurate representation of what you can expect to be approved at.


 To provide a little background on risk classes:

Every life insurance company has different underwriting guidelines that determine what risk class an individual qualifies for.  The company will look at your personal medical history, smoker status, height/weight profile, results of the medical exam (if applying for a policy requiring it – no exam policies typically cost more), your family medical history (e.g. cancer or heart disease before age 60 in the immediate family), motor vehicle record, and any hazardous activities you may participate in (such as aviation, scuba diving, drag racing, etc).  Since every company has different guidelines for qualification, one might offer a better risk class than another based on the aforementioned information, resulting in a lower premium for the same coverage.

The different risk classes someone can be assigned by a carrier are:

Preferred Plus (sometimes seen as Preferred Elite) – this means the proposed insured is typically in superior health, normal height/weight profile, no chronic illnesses, lab results within normal range, no immediate family members died from heart disease or cancer before age 60.

 Preferred – this means the proposed insured is in excellent health.  Height/weight may be a little over the most preferred range, treatment for high blood pressure or high cholesterol usually acceptable, lab results normal or slightly abnormal.

 Standard Plus – this means the proposed insured’s health is better than the average. Height/weight may be higher than normal.

Standard – this means the proposed insured is in average health and has a normal life expectancy.  Height/weight may be on the high side, possible treatment for several minor conditions, one or more parents died from heart disease/cancer before age 60, slightly elevated lab results (such as higher than normal blood pressure or cholesterol).

 Substandard – this means the proposed insured has a below average life expectancy (commonly seen as high risk life insurance). Height/weight may be considered obese, treatment for chronic illnesses or major health conditions (such as prior heart attack, cancer, diabetes), abnormal lab results.  Substandard ratings are expressed as a “table rating”, usually designated as Tables A-J or 1-10.  Each additional table increase is usually a 25% increase over the standard risk class rates.

 Tobacco user risk classes are preferred smoker, standard smoker, and substandard smoker. There is no preferred plus or standard plus risk classification for tobacco users.

If you have any questions about life insurance quotes and risk classifications, please give us a call at 1-888-972-0024 or CLICK HERE to e-mail us 24 hours a day!