A life insurance company first needs to know the risk it is taking on before it will agree to insure you for death or disability. This is known as underwriting. If you present a high risk to the company, you will pay a higher premium than if you present a low risk, because the probability of claiming is higher. Insurers look at several factors when assessing your risk, through a list of questions in the application form, which you need to answer fully and truthfully. The most common factors are the following.

1. Age

The older you are, the higher the chance of you falling ill or dying. Someone taking out a life policy in their twenties will pay a far lower premium than someone doing so in their sixties.

2. Gender

Women tend to live longer than men – by seven years, on average. Therefore a woman will pay a lower premium than a man for the same amount of cover, all other things being equal.

3. Health

Your medical history as well as your family history of any inheritable diseases are essential for your underwriting. If you omit something serious, such as having diabetes, a claim is likely to be rejected.

4. Occupation