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Can improving your health reduce your premiums?


Before taking out life cover, you will be subjected to a medical exam. This will require you to urinate in a cup, have your blood drawn, and be measured and weighed.

Based on your results, your insurer will offer you a monthly premium informed by your unique risk profile. If you’re a healthy weight, a non-smoker, and drug-free, you will be considered less of a risk. Whereas, if certain substances are picked up in your blood, you are malnourished, and have diabetes, you will be considered a higher risk. 

The higher your risk factor, the higher your premiums will be, and vice versa. Therefore, many people believe they will receive lower monthly premiums if they start going to the gym or kick their smoking habit a week before their medical exam. 

However, this may have the opposite effect. 

The human body is a complex system and adding a new activity or removing an old substance can have unexpected immediate results. For example, doing exercise on the day of your medical exam could elevate your blood pressure.  

But what if you start exercising two weeks before your medical exam? 

Well, that’s not great either. This may impact your blood and urine samples, showing that your liver and kidneys are being overworked. This is normal for a couch potato who’s just started exercising, but it’s also normal for alcoholics and drug-users. If this happens, your application will be postponed, and you’ll be scheduled for a second medical exam. 

You will not be covered until your medical exam has been successfully completed and your insurer has had a chance to assess all your personal details. 

So, what if you start exercising a month before your medical exam? 

That should be okay, on condition that you do not overexert yourself. Don’t try to do an hour of exercise every single day. Start small and challenge yourself to 20 or 30 minutes a day twice a week. Then slowly increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. 

How strict are they about weight?

It’s important to note that, although insurers will take all health aspects into account, they will not increase or decrease your premium based on your weight alone. They are known to be lenient when it comes to this, and are more concerned with a person’s overall health than their size. 

Insurers want to see that your blood pressure is normal, that your sugar levels are in check, that you’re not addicted to substances, and that you’re generally in good health. They’re not looking for South Africa’s next top model. 

Taking your health into your own hands is incredibly important. But, if you’re not as fit as you’d like to be yet, don’t let it get in the way of taking out life cover. Anything can happen, and you can make sure your loved ones are covered while you prepare for your first marathon. 

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