Life Insurance: When is the best time to apply?


Will my life insurance cost less if I apply now, or improve my health and apply in the future?


Applying for life insurance can seem like a daunting task. When is the right time to apply? Do I wait until I quit smoking or reduce my cholesterol?

This is a common question when discussing life insurance. The timing just never seems right; next month or next year always sound like a better time to apply. It is natural for people to want to present themselves in their best state, especially when they know they will be judged on physical attributes and the results could mean that they could have to pay more.

One of the biggest rating factors to consider when thinking about when to apply for life insurance is age.


This is the most common rating factor that people think of when discussing life insurance. Since age is fixed and not variable, it is a significant factor to consider, but there are a number of other things that can affect this factor. As you get older, your life insurance premiums go up. However, you can counterbalance this increase by improving your health.

Let’s show you an example to explain how the amount you pay for a premium for your age bracket can be affected by your health rating.

Using an online quote generator, a 40 year old male in “Average” health showed nearly the same monthly premium cost as a 43 year old male in “Good” health. That means that in the three years that it took the 40 year old male to bring his health up to “Good”, his new age would have cost him the same amount that he saved for becoming more healthy. While this is a modest example, if you were to apply it to someone that is say, 50 or 60 years old, it would have a much bigger impact on their monthly premium, as rates dramatically increase with age.

Other Factors:

Besides age, some other things to consider include:

  • New health conditions
  • New risky hobbies- such as scuba diving or rock climbing
  • Traffic violations- such as a DUI, or other moving violations
  • Traveling outside of the U.S. to an “unsafe” territory
  • Smoking- even if you have quit smoking recently, most carriers have a minimum length of time that you must be nicotine-free to be considered “non-tobacco”
  • Losing a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time- it could indicate a serious health problem


I always recommend clients to apply as soon as you have the protection need and take whatever rating they can get now. Later on you can always reapply if you feel you are healthier. I have seen too many people gamble with trying to improve their qualifications only to end up frustrated and unsatisfied. If you are insistent on waiting, at the very least, you should review an application with a life insurance agent to see what the carriers are looking for.