3 Habits That Grow Your Lifespan and Shrink the Cost of Life Insurance

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  • Some life insurers offer safety discounts to reward healthy habits.
  • Avoid smoking, drink moderately, and exercise regularly to lower monthly premiums.
  • Shop around for the best term or whole life insurance policies.

The best thing to do is start small and start now.

Live longer, save money. That's how life insurance works. The longer your life span, the longer you pay monthly premiums to life insurers. Premature deaths bruise the bottom line of insurance companies, which is why they offer discounts to healthy customers.

Here are three habits that grow your lifespan and shrink the cost of life insurance.

1. Avoid smoking

Avoid smoking for a discount on life insurance premiums and a longer life. According to research obtained during the Million Woman Study, U.K. women who smoke die at least 10 years earlier on average compared to non-smokers. Yikes. 

The safest thing to do is quit, but that's easier said than done. Consider switching to safer alternatives, if possible. GoodRX floats consuming edibles as an alternative to smoking or vaping recreational marijuana, which damages the lungs.

Use of medical marijuana may or may not result in higher rates. When in doubt, contact your insurer. Rates can be complicated. Ensure you and your insurer are on the same page so you can snag the best possible rates.

2. Drink moderately

Drinking in moderation (or not at all) lowers life insurance premiums. Heavy drinking leads to long-term health issues that raise the cost of monthly payments.

Binge drinking is a poisonous American tradition. (The USDA defines binge drinking as five drinks for men and four for women.) Keep binges to a minimum by limiting yourself to one or two drinks daily, if you must imbibe. Get into the habit of drinking like a European -- sip, not guzzle. 

Healthy drinking habits may translate into immediate and long-term life insurance discounts. 

3. Exercise regularly

It's common knowledge that moderate exercise is healthy. According to one study, participants who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week (or 15 minutes per day) lived three years longer than those who did not exercise.

Some life insurers offer free or discounted exercise programs. Participants earn lower premiums and get all the anti-aging benefits of living a healthy life. Make exercise a habit, even if it's just puttering around the neighborhood for a few minutes daily.

Start forming habits right now

Age matters, but the best time to start forming healthy habits is always right now. Today. Here are a couple of tips pulled from the NY Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, a go-to source on how to form good habits that actually stick around:

  • Stick to the two-minute rule. If a new habit takes two minutes or less to complete, you're more likely to stick with it. (e.g., Start a jogging habit. Permit yourself to head home at the two-minute mark. Add 10 seconds to the next run. Repeat.)
  • Make failure difficult. The more effort it takes to indulge in a bad habit, the easier it is to break. (e.g., Put extra beers somewhere hard to reach. Leave just enough in the fridge for you and your friends to have a couple each. Make binge drinking difficult.)

Insurance premiums are lowest when you're young and healthy. Start now to squeeze the most benefits from life insurance policies while maximizing long-term health benefits. It's never too late to start saving, and the best life insurance policies for seniors offer decent rates.

Term vs. whole life

Two common types are term life and whole life insurance. Both may offer health and safety discounts.

Term life insurance lasts for a set period, after which it expires. It's typically more affordable than whole life insurance, but coverage options are limited. Typically, this is the best life insurance policy for affordable and effective short-term coverage.

Whole life insurance lasts a lifetime. It's often more comprehensive than term life insurance, and the policy builds tax-deferred cash value at a guaranteed rate. Policyholders can access the cash. It's sort of like a low-return investment bundled into the insurance policy.

Shop around

Shop around to find the insurance that best fits your needs. Life insurance has grown with the times, and modern technology makes no-exam life insurance possible. Combine a good insurer with healthy habits to extend your lifespan and reduce life insurance costs.

Our picks for best life insurance companies

Life insurance is essential if you have people depending on you. We’ve combed through the options and developed a best-in-class list for life insurance coverage. This guide will help you find the best life insurance companies and the right type of policy for your needs. Read our free review today.

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