Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Basic Thing Life Insurance Or Race Life Insurance

In those days, life insurance companies routinely charged more per dollar of death benefit to African-Americans - a practice called "race-based underwriting."

That practice pretty much vanished by 1950, though many customers still paid premiums for many years into the future, and the life insurance industry paid thousands of death benefits for these policies. Currently, it is illegal for life insurance companies to discriminate based on race, and race-based underwriting - in the old sense - is a thing of the past. However, some major insurers have since paid settlements in class-action suits to compensate policyholders who may have paid too much due to race-based underwriting.

This does not mean that race don't matter when you are buying life insurance. It just means that the life insurance company has to tie its underwriting decisions to specific medical and behavioral factors that are independent of race.

For example: Sickle-cell anemia is a deadly disease that affects African-Americans almost exclusively. It would be extremely difficult or impossible to secure insurance for an individual with sickle-cell anemia. The situation is similar with Tay-Sachs disease - a disease specific to those of Eastern-European Jewish ancestry. Just because it is illegal to discriminate based on race does not mean a life insurance company must issue a policy to anyone with a known illness, even if that illness is specific to a certain race or ethnic group.

Some races, however, are more susceptible to certain common health conditions than others. African-Americans, for example, are more likely than other Americans to suffer from high-blood pressure. Indeed, according to the American Heart Association, some 40 percent of all non-Hispanic blacks have high blood pressure. This makes them more vulnerable to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes at earlier ages than other populations. Blacks are therefore more likely to have to pay higher premiums for life insurance for this reason. However, again, the life insurance company cannot charge you more because you are an African-American. They can, and do, however, charge you more because you have high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, if you are an African-American, or you have other reasons to believe you are more at risk for certain health conditions than the average person, you might want to take action now to preserve your options later in life.

1. Buy life insurance now. It's not going to get cheaper as you get older. If you are healthy now, now is the time.

2. Be proactive. Take charge of your health by eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle. This is especially true if your job requires you to be sedentary.

3. Quit smoking.

4. Get regular checkups. If you do have high blood pressure, or some other medical condition that can be controlled with intervention or medication, the impact on your life insurance premium may be much more manageable.

It is always a good idea to compare rates offered by various companies before buying life insurance. This helps in shortlisting companies fro doing research and getting the best possible rate for life insurance.

Whether you are African-American, Hispanic, Asian or any other race, everybody can get life insurance and only your medical condition is main factor determining rate and not your race. Life secure and life more.

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