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Updated on Feb 01, 2014

Blue Umbrella’s perfect world would see every independent career adult in Toronto purchase a sound life insurance policy immediately after signing on for that wonderful first “grown-up” job.
In the real world as we know it, even many Canadians who do sensibly purchase policies as soon as doing so becomes fiscally feasible and/or prudent make the process more expensive than it needs to be. That unfortunate fact isn’t always due solely to choosing the wrong policy.
Actually, of the five pivotal factors listed below, four of them are always almost entirely within the policyholder’s control. Maintaining the most fundamental habits that promote sound health can go further than most would realize toward assuring life insurance providers that a policy applicant doesn’t pose a risk of a sizable, imminent payout.


Stop smoking. Just break this single habit that possesses absolutely no long-term health benefits but does usher in bad breath, stained teeth, hampered breathing and increased risks of heart disease, lung disease and cancer, among other ailments.
Smokers lose nothing of great importance but gain a mountain in return. Compared with a non-smoker of the same age, smokers pay at least double the $40/month premiums paid by those who kick the habit or just never start.
It’s not even the end of the world if you already smoke. Quit and renegotiate your premiums one calendar year later. Many companies will reduce their rates for those who kick the habit for 12 months.
It’s a can’t-lose proposition: tobacco gets more expensive every year. You could save money and purchase valuable peace of mind for the people that you love.


On the other hand, here’s a guilty pleasure you don’t even have to drop entirely. It just might be a good idea to dial it back.
To a life insurance company, downing 3-4 drinks per day on average is the mark of excess drinking. Taking into consideration the various risk factors that increase massively over a lifetime – not the least of which being drunk-driving risks, gained weight, severe liver damage, heart disease and more – your life insurance premiums could increase upward of 50 per cent.
At the very least, cut your intake in half. If you can and want to, we’d even advise cutting out the bottle entirely. Show a year’s worth of improvement or more and your rates will fall dramatically.


Some Canadians combat dangerously high weight gains due to factors that are beyond their controls. Thyroidal conditions, debilitating personal injuries and simple hereditary factors can play havoc with body chemistry and capacity to maintain healthy activity.
Unfortunately, life insurance providers recognize that a disproportionately high body weight carries various mortal-risk factors with it, including advanced risks of diabetes, heart ailments, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and other troubles.
Adjusters quantify an applicant’s risks by calculating Body Mass Index (BMI), which is based on weight and height with a BMI of 30 being the threshold for obesity.
Suppose that a policyholder reduces a technically obese 35.9 BMI down to a healthier level between 26 and 27. That may still be above normal, depending on height, but that could very well still be enough to reduce blood pressure, rein in cholesterol and stem other risks like blood sugar along the way. Upon reassessment, that drastic change could be enough to merit a drastic premium reduction.


Here’s another that anybody can control easily: just drive carefully.
Your auto insurance company isn’t the only agency that eyes your driving record. A rap sheet that reflects dangerous habits such as drunk driving, carelessness behind the wheel and simple speeding can raise your premiums 25-50 per cent. Demonstrating changed ways takes time, too: there’s typically a three-year wait before even minor offences will be expunged from your record and you can request a rate review.
Few extenuating circumstances – if any – “make” someone drive dangerously. If you already sport a checkered record, this is the time to shape up your ways behind the wheel and wait for your past discretions to clear. If you already drive conscientiously, simply keep up the good work.


Unless you have a friend who drives around a DeLorean with some unusual accessories or has a strange attachment to a blue police box, there’s not much combatting this one. As the saying goes, “Father Time is undefeated.”
However, life insurance rates rise significantly past the age of 35. Your best solution may be to eat the fee in order to backdate premiums a year. It costs upfront, but locks in lower future premiums.
These aren’t the only ways to save money, either.
Along with regularly reviewing your policy, you can save considerably by paying annually premiums instead of breaking them down into monthly payments, if economically reasonable. Otherwise, lowering your life insurance costs comes down to demonstrating the likelihood that you’ll live a long life.

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