Men are naturally bigger and more muscular than women. While men are typically classified as a "stronger sex", longevity and mortality statistics contradict this common belief. If you are shopping for life insurance, you might be wondering why any of this matters. While it might not sound fair that life insurance companies can use national life expectancy averages and statistics to calculate your rates, this is how insurers stay in business.
All insurance companies use statistics to calculate rates and predict the possibility for claims. In the world of life insurance, an insurer needs to know just how likely it is for an applicant to pass away during a specific period of time before they can give accurate quotes. While the insurer will consider medical history, the applicant's lifestyle, and the applicant's profession, their gender is one constant that will never change. In the battle of Mars vs. Venus, the Mars population pays more for insurance simply because women are known to live longer.
Insurance underwriters and actuaries use two very important statistics to justify why they will charge a man more for insurance than a woman, even if all of the rating factors are the same. The longevity gap is all about life expectancy in the nation and there is an obvious gender gap. About 100 years ago, women were expected to live to age 48, whereas men were expected to live until age 46. The 2-year gender gap, even with advances in the medical field, has become even wider in the 21st century. In fact, with a life expectancy of 80 for women and 75 for men, the 5-year gap gives insurers the justification they need to charge men higher rates.
The second statistic used by life insurance companies to calculate rates has to do with health. Not only do men die at a younger age than women, they are also more likely to fall ill to a serious disease in their lifetime. According to studies conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, men are 1.4 more times likely to die from 1 of the 10 leading killers in America than women. These killers include: heart disease, cancer, accidents, diabetes, influenza, kidney disease, and lung disease. Some say that the huge gaps in mortality are due to lifestyle, others say the gaps start with biological factors. Whatever the cause, insurance companies must charge men more for life insurance because they are the riskier sex to insure.
How Much More Will a Man Pay Than His Wife?
Comparing insurance rates is virtually impossible from person to person. With dozens and dozens of different rating factors used to calculate rates, you cannot assume that your premiums are $200 more per year simply because you are a man. Here are just some of the rating factors that will vary from person to person:
- Hazardous Hobbies
- Driving record
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Family history
- Smoking/Tobacco Use
- Marital status
With all of these variables, it can be difficult to pinpoint just how much more you are paying for insurance because you have a Y chromosome. For the sake of comparing, understanding the difference between the premiums paid by women and men is easier when you assume that the only difference between the two applicants is gender. Here is a breakdown that will help you understand the difference in rates:
* 30-year old female * 30-year old male
- $500,000 30-Year Term: $315 per year - $500,000 30-Year Term: $385 per year
* 40-year old female * 40-year old male
- $500,000 30-Year Term: $495 per year - $500,000 30-Year Term: $620 per year
The difference in premium just to continue to get larger as the applicant ages.
If there is a Battle of the Sexes, women win hands down when it comes to life insurance. It is important to know the risk factors and how you can lower your rates as a male by living a safe and healthy life. Changing your lifestyle habits can help you keep your premiums low and extend your life expectancy.