Can Runners Save Money on Life Insurance?

People who know me know that I love running. I am an avid runner, and have been ever since I was a child. I ran cross country and track while in high school, and I continued to run through my 20’s and even now while at the ripe age of 30.

I saw a few ads on Facebook recently claiming that runners can save money on life insurance. The ads asked “how fast you can run a mile?” and stated “runners who can complete an 8-minute mile have a 35% lower risk of all-cause mortality.” Naturally, I wanted to look more deeply into this. So, I contacted this company (Health IQ), as well as a few other life insurance brokers and got some rates.

A few details on me…

  • I am 30 years old (at the time of this post)
  • I am not a smoker and have never smoked a cigarette in my life
  • I do not smoke marijuana or use any other recreational drugs
  • I have no terminal illnesses that I know about
  • My last physical was less than a year ago
  • I run 15 to 30 miles per week
  • I can run a mile in less than 6 minutes
  • I (if I was actually looking to buy life insurance) would want $1,000,000 in coverage
  • I (if I was actually looking to buy life insurance) would want a 30 year term policy
  • I have a group term life policy with my employer as a benefit that is worth one year’s salary
  • These details (and more) were communicated to Health IQ and a few other brokers. I qualified for the best rates available through all companies and am seem as a very good risk.

Based on the information that I provided, Health IQ (the company claiming that runners can save money on life insurance) came back saying that a life insurance policy of that size and term would cost about $57 per month.

Based on the information that I provided, the other brokers all came back right around the $59 to $60 per month range.

In the end, my runner status can save me roughly $2 per month. That is not a whole lot of money, especially when you consider that it only adds up to $720 over a 30 year term. Do not get me wrong – $2 per month savings is alright certainly worth taking. However, we are not talking about a dramatic savings.

Keep in mind that Health IQ and the other brokers that I reached out to work with a lot of the same insurers. Yet, my savings would only amount to a few percent. What about the claim of a 35% lower mortality rate?

Be wary of things that sound too good to be true.

I am NOT accusing anyone of false advertising. However, now that I look at Health IQ’s ads, I see a lot of potential problems that they may want to address.

First of all, they are claiming that runners have a 35% lower risk of all-cause mortality. Whenever an advertiser uses extremes, you should be cautious. As a runner, I am probably at a HIGHER risk of dying by being hit by a car than someone who is a couch potato. As a runner, I am probably at a HIGHER risk of some freak cardiac episode that is bourn of stress to the heart. Sure, my healthy life style may reduce the risk of other complications, but to say that I am lower risk of all causes of mortality would be a stretch.

Secondly, the use of the 35% statistic implies a 35% lower cost of life insurance. However, my research has shown that the savings is nowhere near 35%.

Perhaps there is not yet enough statistical information available to support large decreases in premium for those with healthy habits (such as running). Maybe sometime in the future there will be enough information to support larger savings for runners, but at this time the savings is not really dramatic.

If you are a runner, then you may be interested in seeing a return-on-investment for your labors. While there may be some savings on health insurance, the market is not yet discounting runners.

Next time you see those advertisements, just remember that the savings are not yet dramatic but (hopefully) they will be in the future.

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