Diet and exercise are the best ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but not many people realize that healthy living and balancing your budget can go hand-in-hand. The Massachusetts Division of Insurance provides these tips on how a healthy lifestyle may lower your insurance premiums while it lowers your risk of health concerns.

How Can Your Health or Lifestyle Affect Your Insurance Rates?

When you apply for individual life insurance, you provide answers to detailed medical and lifestyle questions. These answers provide insurance companies with an idea of your overall health. Based on your responses, insurance companies may ask for additional medical information or tests prior to considering your application for coverage.

The cost of a life insurance policy takes into account your age, height, weight, medical history, occupation, driving record, your family health history and other personal habits like smoking. Maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good health habits and seeking regular medical care can be important in lowering your insurance costs. Health and lifestyle information gathered by the insurance company is used to determine whether you get coverage, as well as the premium you are charged.

What Habits Might Increase Premiums?

Smoking High-Risk Activities

Smokers pay higher premiums than non-smokers. Even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day, an insurance company could charge you the same premium as a heavy smoker.

If you are a smoker, or if you use smokeless tobacco, it may be possible for you to lower your life insurance premium by quitting. After you have remained "smoke-free" for a time period specified by your insurance company, you may qualify for the lower, non-smoker premium.

You will be asked about your hobbies and activities on your application. Insurance companies typically charge higher premiums if you participate in high-risk activities. Some hobbies considered to be high-risk activities include: mountain climbing; horseback or motorcycle riding; flying an airplane or other aviation-related activities (e.g. ultra light flying, hang gliding, or sky diving). You might be able to lower your life insurance premiums by cutting back on your participation in such high-risk activities.

Learn More

Some insurance companies provide information regarding lifestyle and good health habits on their Web sites. These tools often include online nurses; health assessment and coaching; symptom checkers; weight-loss and smoking cessation advice; and information about how to improve your overall health and well-being. Ask your insurance company or broker if you have access to these types of programs.

Contact the Division of Insurance

If you have questions about any insurance product, contact the Division of Insurance by calling our consumer hotline--- 617-521-7794 -- or visit our website at

Stop. Call. Confirm.

If you are unsure about the insurance company you are dealing with, STOP before signing any paperwork or writing a check; CALL your state insurance department - easily reached by phone; and CONFIRM the company or agent offering insurance is legitimate and licensed in the state.