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Does Gender Affect Life and Disability Insurance Rates?

Does Gender Affect Life and Disability Insurance Rates?

July 04, 2019
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Although insurers can no longer cite gender as a factor impacting health insurance rates, does it play a role when purchasing life or disability insurance policies?

Gender and Life Insurance

Along with your age and general health, gender does play a role in your life insurance rates. The truth is, men may pay higher premiums than women—especially for term life insurance—for a couple of reasons:

  1. On average, women live about five years longer than their male counterparts. When considering term life insurance, it is cheaper for the insurer if you outlive your policy and therefore do not receive a death benefit; women have a greater chance of this occurring.
  2. On average, men tend to have riskier lifestyles. Men are more likely to not only have high-risk jobs, but they are also more likely to perform riskier tasks around the house (say, involving ladders or heavy tools). Further, they are more likely to binge drink, which can negatively affect their overall health.
  3. Men are more likely to have higher levels of stress. Women tend to have more emotional outlets through larger social groups than men do. Consistently high stress can induce negative physical effects on the body as well, and contribute to health conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.

Keeping all of this in mind, gender is still just one factor that will help determine your rates. For instance, it would still be more expensive to insure a 50-year-old woman than a 30-year-old man, because of age and other health factors.

And although we’ve been discussing term life insurance, permanent life insurance quotes are less likely to vary based on gender. Since these policies do not expire, a death benefit will be paid regardless. Therefore, insurance providers are less concerned with gender and focus more on age, health, and the amount of coverage desired by the customer.

Gender and Disability Insurance

If we turn to look at disability insurance, however, premiums are actually more expensive for women than men for several reasons:

  1. On average, women file more claims for disability than men do, and more of them file at younger ages. Pregnancy and childbirth rates among women are a contributing factor to this phenomenon, as they sometimes lead to further medical complications.
  2. Women are more likely to utilize healthcare services and proceed to file a claim than men are, especially at younger ages.
  3. Women are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases, anxiety, and depression, which could render them disabled for a period of time.

However, some companies offer unisex policies, which negate gender-specific rates and instead offer equal premiums for men and women. These policies can give women a discount by as much as 35-40%.

For more information on how gender may affect your life and/or disability insurance rates, you can contact us here.

This blog post was originally posted on our dedicated insurance site, 1752 Insurance