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Your medical history plays a strong role in setting the premiums for your life insurance policy. What happened to your parents, grandparents, and siblings may offer telltale indications of what might happen to you, so insurance companies seize on that information that provides insight into your future.

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Here are a few tips to help you better understand how your medical history impacts the rates you may pay and what you can do about it.

Family History

Family Medical History Matters when Life Insurance Premium is Concerned

While you can always apply for life insurance that does not consider your family history, the truth is their cost is often not worth the policy. This is because many medical issues that are a part of your family history are mostly not considered serious by insurance companies unless they occurred when the parents, grandparents, or siblings were young.

For example, if your parent dies of a heart attack at 70, that has considerably less impact on your insurance than if they were 45. If lifestyle choices and not genetics played a significant role in their passing away at such a young age, those factors are considered. The same goes for family members dying of lung cancer, and they were smokers while you are a non-smoker.

Answer Truthfully

It may be tempting to keep information from the life insurance company to save on your rates. Still, they will usually find out about major medical issues that affect your family. However, it’s more important to understand that the overall effects may not be as severe as you think.

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For example, if one of your parents died from a heart attack, that does not mean you will. The insurance company knows this and while your rates may go up, they probably will not skyrocket. At worst, your medical history may jack up your rates by 20%, assuming that you qualified for the best rating, which most people do not.

Health Ratings

Consider that your family history may not have as big an impact on your premiums compared to your current state of health. In other words, while your parents may not have been all that healthy, if you are and lead a lifestyle that is devoid of smoking, your family history may have no effect.

Conversely, if you are not all that healthy, but your parents were, it may not have an effect.

This means that even if your close relatives all lived long, happy lives, you might not see that much of an impact on your premiums because there are different health ratings. The difference that your family history makes may not be enough to change your status.

There are certain circumstances when, if you are in pristine health, a poor family medical history might knock you down a rating, but such cases are rare.

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Remember that your health plays a larger role, especially if the causes of the premature deaths in your family were primarily from lifestyle choices and not genetic conditions.

So, consider the health of your parents, grandparents, and siblings, tell the truth to the insurance company, and work more on your health to lower the rates you pay.


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.