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Why is my life insurance price different than my spouse’s?

While the decision to get term life insurance is evidence of your financial savvy, it’s easy to feel a bit confused as to how term life insurance rates are determined. In this post, we will explain how life insurance companies calculate your premiums and how you can be sure you have the best rates.

Even for spouses of the same age, the term life insurance rates provided by different insurers may vary. This is because each life insurance company evaluates an application based on its own set of criteria, in addition to industry-wide considerations like age and health.

Don’t, however, let this prospect discourage you from deciding to get term life insurance if you are still on the fence. For the majority of families, term life insurance is highly affordable.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

Insurance companies base their premium rates on their calculations of your risk of mortality, among other factors. Your mortality risk is basically an estimate, drawn from current health information, of your likelihood of dying within a certain time period.

As morbid as this sounds, it makes a lot of sense—your rates reflect how much of a financial risk the insurance company may take on when they insure you.

Here are some of the top reasons that your spouse may have different term life insurance rates than you.

Term Life Insurance Rates and Your Job

You’re a pilot in excellent health. Your spouse is of average health and works in a museum. Although you may be healthier, a pilot’s career is seen as riskier and, therefore, the insurance company will have a higher likelihood of having to pay the death benefit early and your policy’s cost will reflect this.

If you are in a high-risk profession—such as working in construction—Quotacy is a great place to get term life insurance. We’re experienced in working with applicants with occupations that are considered risky and we’ve found them great rates.

Term Life insurance Rates and Your Lifestyle

Fun pursuits like adventure travel may put your term life insurance application into a higher risk category than your spouse if their hobby is something relatively safe, like an occasional rock climb at a local park (unless the rock is actually a mountain and they’re climbing without a rope).

Your term life insurance company will look at certain hobbies such as deep sea diving as more dangerous than others, even if you are highly experienced. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply if you would rather swim with the sharks than watch them on Nature, it just means that it is wise to work with an insurance broker like Quotacy that is experienced in finding the best term life insurance rates for hobbyists.

Term Life Insurance Rates and Your Health

Whether or not an applicant is healthy is a primary consideration when the insurance company you apply to sets your term life insurance rates—but it isn’t an all-or-nothing equation. Certainly, if you are in perfect health, you will receive excellent term life insurance rates, but life insurance companies are well aware that many people need life insurance. Not just healthy people.

There are many companies that are open to applicants who have a history of medical challenges. Here is a partial list of some medical issues which (depending on the type of condition and its stage) may not necessarily prevent you from becoming insured (follow the link to learn more):

Blood cancer
Breast cancer
Coronary artery disease
Heart attack
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Term Life Insurance Rates and Your Gender

Women tend to live longer than men, and so insurers take this into account when determining term life insurance rates. The reasons that women tend to live longer than men are complicated, to say the least. According to researchers, women’s long lives may be due to a combination of biological (estrogen may help protect the heart from bad cholesterol and testosterone may increase bad cholesterol levels) and lifestyle factors.

Men are involved in more car accidents, die more frequently by suicide, and tend to have higher rates of certain major illnesses. Women tend to have better overall health over time.

Put together, this means that for life insurance companies, women present a lower risk of mortality. Lower risk of mortality equals lower life insurance premiums.

Average Term Life Insurance Monthly Premiums for a Healthy Individual
Age at Purchase Face Amount 20-Year Term (Males) 20-Year Term (Females) 30-Year Term (Males) 30-Year Term (Females)
30 $250,000 $14 $12 $20 $17
$500,000 $21 $18 $34 $28
$1,000,000 $35 $21 $60 $49
40 $250,000 $18 $16 $32 $26
$500,000 $29 $26 $54 $44
$1,000,000 $53 $45 $102 $80
50 $250,000 $42 $32 $71 $54
$500,000 $75 $56 $135 $100
$1,000,000 $145 $105 $255 $186

Term Life Insurance Rates: The Other Factors

In addition to your age, health, occupation, and hobbies, life insurance companies will also look at your smoking status, driving record, and substance abuse history when determining your term life insurance rates. All of these factors may influence your longevity.

Again, even if you have experienced health issues or other life challenges in the past, or if you have a profession that may be categorized as risky, do not hesitate to apply for term life insurance. There are companies that may approve your application, but you’ll have to take that first step and compare term life insurance rates to find your match.

Do We Both Need Term Life Insurance?

If you are a part of a couple, it may seem logical to think that whoever makes the most money is the person that needs the life insurance policy. However, you both rely on each other financially and you can’t predict what may happen to either of you in the future. You both need life insurance.

Income Replacement and Debt Payment

If you are the insured and your spouse dies (or vice versa), then any debt that you hold jointly and any ongoing household expenses will be your (or your spouse’s) sole responsibility. This means that unless your spouse decides to get term life insurance and name you as a beneficiary, you may not have the funds to replace their lost income if they were working (or to pay for services, such as childcare, that they may have provided when home). You or your spouse will also have to pay for any funeral and burial costs, which are frequently as much as $10,000 out of pocket.

Having a one policy, rather than two policies, also means that if you have children, the value of the contribution that you or your spouse may have wished to put towards your children’s education or their purchase of a first home will be diminished, as you will no longer have your spouse’s income (or vice versa).

Providing for Your Heirs

In addition, if you have children, you will also want to think about their future financial security. Under current laws, there is no limit to the amount that your spouse can transfer to you if you are named the beneficiary of their policy.

If you transfer your estate to your children later on, then there may be a tax levied at the state and/or federal levels. If you and your spouse decide to get term life insurance policies, then you both will be able to leave each other with enough funds to provide for your family and contribute to your children’s financial security without incurring a tax burden.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

Contributing to Your Golden Years

Should you or your spouse pass away well before retirement age, you (or your spouse) may lose a lifetime of savings contributions. This may require you to work longer, preventing you from fully enjoying your planned retirement years with your loved ones.

If you are both protected by a term life insurance policy, then the surviving spouse can use their death benefit to contribute to a retirement fund and/or to set aside monies to take care of any future medical expenses that may not be covered by health insurance (these bills would become the responsibility of your loved ones if you are unable to pay for them out-of-pocket or with insurance).

Term life insurance is one of the most loving gifts that you can give to those who depend on you.

Find the Best Term Life Insurance Rates in Minutes

Thankfully, it’s easy to get an objective view of the best term life insurance rates for you and your spouse.

First, head over to our free quotes tool. It’s anonymous so you won’t have to enter any personal information to see term life insurance rates.

Type in a few details (your birthdate, gender, zip code, and smoking status) and click Show My Price. Instantly, you’ll see a slider which shows you a range of term life insurance rates along with amounts of coverage that correspond to the premiums. As you move the slider, you can see how much you’ll pay for the amount of coverage you want.

Image of Quotacy's basics information page.

Continue on for a more customized quote, enter a few more details (still anonymously) about your height, weight, and health, and in seconds you’ll see a range of term life insurance rates from leading insurers side-by-side. Once you see a quote that you like, you can apply online and be done in five minutes!

At Quotacy, our mission is to help our clients find the best term life insurance for their families for every stage of their lives together. We’ve helped thousands of families protect their loved ones with excellent coverage at highly affordable rates. Learn more about how to get the best term life insurance rates for you and your spouse.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

Watch the Different Life Insurance Pricing for Spouses Video

Video Transcript

Welcome to Quotacy’s Q&A Friday where we answer your life insurance questions.

Quotacy is an online life insurance broker where you can get life insurance on your terms.

I’m Jeanna and I’m Natasha

Today’s question is: why is my spouse paying a different life insurance premium than I am?

Dear Quotacy, my wife and I applied at the same time to the same company and we’re the same age. Why are my premiums nearly twice as much as hers? Sincerely, Confused and Annoyed. Ok, so this isn’t exactly what this reader wrote verbatim, but the question is the same.

Couples and spouses apply for life insurance together all the time. There’s often a life event that triggers the need for life insurance, such as getting married or having a baby, and both partners need to have their own policy.

You can apply at the same time, for the same product, and be the exact same age, yet still pay different amounts.

No two individuals are the same. And this goes for their risk factors as well.

Life insurance underwriters evaluate many things to determine an individual’s cost for life insurance. A person’s age, gender, height and weight, medical history, family’s medical history, tobacco use, job and hobbies, all of these factors may impact your price.

So, you and your spouse may be the same age applying for the same product, but if you’re a cigarette smoker and your partner isn’t, your premiums will be much higher. If you’re a rock climbing enthusiast and your partner prefers to play chess, your premiums will be much higher. If your father died from heart disease at age 45 and both your partner’s parents are alive and well, you may be paying more.

Your life insurance premiums are 100% based on actuarial science. And honestly, actuarial science is far more complicated than my brain can comprehend, but, in laymen’s terms, it uses probability and statistics to predict a how long a person may live.

A life insurance policy pays out hundreds of thousands of dollars if you die. So, if actuarial science says you’re probably going to die sooner than your partner, you’re going to pay more than your partner.

The good news is, Quotacy can help both you and your spouse find a policy best suited to your individual circumstances.

Our reader mentioned both he and his wife applied to the same insurance company. This may have been mistake number one.

Not all life insurance companies underwrite risk factors in the same way. So, this reader may have been able to get cheaper life insurance premiums had he applied through a broker instead.

A broker has access to multiple life insurance companies. Here at Quotacy we work with over 25 insurers. We’re experts at matching you with the company that will view your risk factors in the most favorable light possible.

For example, perhaps you have diabetes and your spouse has a Green Card but is not yet a U.S. citizen. It’s likely that the best life insurance company for you, won’t be the best one for your spouse.

When you both apply through Quotacy, we’ll make sure your applications go to the appropriate insurer, even if that means going to two different ones.

Of course, where you apply is completely up to you. We’re just here to advise and guide you, but ultimately, you’re in charge.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius, CLU

Senior Editor and Life Insurance Expert

Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.