The ABC’s Of Life Insurance Table Ratings

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The Jordan Insurance Group, MD, Life InsuranceIn Life insurance, a “table rating” refers to the premiums charged policyholders who can’t qualify for standard rates. Companies identify their tables in various ways, such as Table A, B, C, or Table 1, 2, 3.

These ratings can be triggered by anything that increases the likelihood of premature death: high blood pressure, cancer, Type II diabetes, obesity, a history of mental illness or such dangerous occupations as piloting private aircraft.

In calculating premiums, companies usually set debits and credits based on the policyholder’s medical history and other factors. For instance, a history of heart disease or cancer would be a debit, while lower ‘bad” cholesterol would mean a credit.

Table premiums increase incrementally, usually 10%, 25%, or 50% above standard rates, depending on the company and the policy.

Because Life insurers use their mortality tables for underwriting purposes, policyholder can’t negotiate their rates. However, most companies will let you apply for lowering a table rate, usually two years after policy issuance. For instance, you might reapply if you were overweight and have maintained a lower weight for a year. What’s more, some policies offer automatic premium reduction once you reach a particular policy anniversary or a specific age.

Each company sets its own standards for table rating (for example, some are less likely than others to hike premiums for policyholders who are mildly obese or contracted Type II diabetes at a later age), which means that it makes sense to shop for lower rates. Because we’re independent agents who represent a number of quality Life insurance companies, we’d be happy to help you find the policy that’s best for you – and your pocketbook.