In the last few years, insurers have helped careful drivers to save money through the use of ‘telematics’ technology. By fitting an electronic device to your car, an insurer can monitor your driving habits and style and can reward you if you are careful on the roads.
Now, could life insurers be about to follow suit? With a leading insurer accepting data from personal fitness monitors, there are suggestions that the cost of life insurance could be set to fall for those people that can demonstrate they are careful and lead an active life. Keep reading to find out more.
Wearable fitness devices are ‘the future of insurance’
For years, insurers have used fitness information declared on proposal forms to determine the cost of life insurance. Now, data from wearable fitness devices could be taken into account when calculating the cost of cover.
The Irish Times reports that insurer VitalityHealth now accepts data from the top fitness monitors including the Polar and Garmin ranges, and also offers policyholders discounts on the purchase price of some units. The newspaper also reports that one expert has called fitness devices ‘the future of insurance.’
Writing in the Irish Times, insurance expert Michael Kennedy says: “Some leading insurers will help you put together your own plan for getting fitter and healthier, on the basis that if you are not a couch potato, then you will probably extend your life – and pay your insurance premiums for longer.”
Of course, while a fitness device may help you to demonstrate that you lead an active life, unhealthy or dangerous lifestyles can result in increased premiums for life insurance. For example, dangerous jobs such as a window cleaner or long-distance lorry driver can increase the cost of cover.
Conversely, if you engage in dangerous pastimes such as skiing, skydiving, bungee jumping or windsurfing, you may also pay more for your life insurance.
3 other factors that can affect the cost of your life insurance
While your job or leisure pursuits can affect the cost of your life insurance, there are other factors that come into play. These include:
- An unhealthy lifestyle – if you smoke or you drink more than the recommended limit, you are a higher risk and will pay more
- Age – generally speaking, cover will be more expensive the older you are. However, the reverse is also true as life insurance for younger people is often very cheap
- Your medical history – if you have experienced health problems in the past this could affect the cost of your cover. Similarly, hereditary conditions may also be taken into account – for example a history of heart disease or cancer in your family
Experts have also warned that not disclosing anything that could affect your premiums could result in a later claim being declined. For example, if you don’t mention a pre-existing medical condition when completing an application, the insurer may find out about it when they ask to see your medical records before paying a later claim.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned that some comparison sites may not ask for details of your personal special circumstances in order to give you an accurate quote for the cost of cover.
Gwilym Pugh from leading insurance experts im-insured.co.uk says: “Speaking to an expert can often be the way to find the perfect policy for you. That’s why we encourage anyone looking for the right cover to call our freephone helpline on 0800 334 5980 and speak to an expert.”