Every applicant for life insurance is classified and rated according to a Health Class or Rate Class.

The very top health class carries the lowest premiums, and the premiums increase with each subsequent level. The Rate classification is the most significant, and also the most complicated part of the underwriting process.

It is very important to know that every single company uses different criteria for their rate classes. As brokers, we have access to the underwriting guides for each company, so it’s fairly easy for us to determine what will be the most favorable company for each of our clients.

An applicant whose Mother passed away from Cancer at age 55 may meet the definition for Preferred Plus with one company but not another. That is why it’s important for us to obtain your personal information so we can find the company who is the best match for you and will give you a shot at the best rate class.

A general overview of the different rate classes is as follows:

Preferred Plus Tobacco:
Exceptional health in all areas. Generally, no medications (some exceptions), strict build charts, and no family history. No tobacco in last 3-5 years.

Preferred No Tobacco
Very Good health, some medications OK. More leniency on Build and Family History. No Tobacco in last 12 Months.

Standard Plus Non-Tobacco:
A rate class many companies offer between Preferred and Standard that is generally reserved for the applicant who may just have one small issue that prevents them from qualifying for Preferred and the rate increase is not as large as jumping from Preferred to Standard.

Standard Non-Tobacco:
Good health, but more lenient in terms of overall history, medications, family history, and build.

Tobacco Ratings:
Preferred Tobacco is the best Tobacco class, and the same criteria apply for Tobacco Classes, though the premiums are higher

Table Ratings:
After Standard, the rate classes become Tables starting with Table 2 and proceeding all the way through Table 8 with most companies. Some companies refer to them with letters. Each subsequent table carries roughly a 25% increase in premium.

Other Underwriting Factors:
In addition to medical and health criteria there are many other factors that may cause a significant impact on Life Insurance underwriting. They include, but are not limited to: Driving Record, Drug/Alcohol history, Country of citizenship, Hazardous Avocations/Hobbies, Aviation, Criminal Record, Bankruptcies, Foreign Travel, and Occupation


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