Preferred Plus Life Insurance – Ultimate Guide
Table of contents
- What Does Preferred Plus Life Insurance Mean Exactly?
- Preferred Plus Health Class – Similar Names (AKA)
- Am I Eligible For The Preferred Plus Rate Class?
- Preferred Plus Life Insurance Requirements
- Sample Preferred Plus Life Insurance Rates
- Common Health Conditions Not Eligible for Preferred Plus
- Does Age Affect Eligibility for Getting a Preferred Plus Life Insurance Rate?
- Will I Need a Medical Exam To Qualify for Preferred Plus?
- Wrap Up
What Does Preferred Plus Life Insurance Mean Exactly?
Preferred Plus is the top health rating classification offered by life insurance companies. Applicants that receive a Preferred Plus Life insurance rate class are those that are in excellent health, have a great height and weight (build) ratio, have controlled blood pressure and cholesterol readings, have an immediate family history without death from heart disease or cancer prior to age 60, have an excellent driving record in the last five years and meet other health and non-health other underwriting criteria to quality for the number one life insurance health rating class.
Applicants that receive a Preferred Plus health class have the lowest mortality risk statistically for the life insurance company. A Preferred Plus health class allows the applicant to receive the absolute lowest rates available from the life insurance company.
Since the Preferred Plus health class is reserved for those in excellent health, some agents even refer to Preferred Plus as the “Olympic athlete” or “perfect health” life insurance rating category.
Why is the Preferred Plus life insurance health class important? The Preferred Plus health class has the lowest premiums.
Preferred Plus Health Class – Similar Names (AKA)
Preferred Plus is the most common name for a life insurance company’s best health class, however not all life insurance companies use the terminology “Preferred Plus” to name their number one health class. Below are a few of the top life insurance companies in the country and the name for their best life insurance rate (health) class:
- Preferred Plus – (AIG, Ameritas, Banner Life, Cincinnati Life, Ethos, Foresters, Ladder Life, Lincoln Financial, Midland National, Mutual of Omaha, Nationwide, Penn Mutual, Primerica, SBLI, Transamerica)
- Preferred Best – (Pacific Life, Prudential, Thrivent Financial)
- Super Preferred – (AAA Life, Ohio National Principal National, Symetra Life)
- Select Preferred – (Protective Life, New York Life)
- Elite – (Guardian Life, Bestow)
- Elite Preferred – (State Farm)
- Primer – (Northwestern Mutual)
- Ultra Preferred – (MassMutual)
Am I Eligible For The Preferred Plus Rate Class?
Each life insurance company has their own underwriting guidelines to determine if you are eligible for their top health class. While one company may offer you a Preferred Plus health class based on your height & weight another company may offer you a Preferred or even Standard Plus rate. This is why it’s imperative to compare rate quotes from several top life insurance to ensure you are receiving the best rates based on your specific underwriting profile.
Several of the most common factors that affect Preferred Plus rates include:
- Blood pressure readings
- Blood sugar reading (A1c)
- Build (height and weight, BMI)
- Cholesterol readings (total and HDL)
- Dangerous avocations
- Driving history (last 5-7 years)
- Family history
- Sleep apnea
- Tobacco usage
Each life insurance company has their own Preferred Plus underwriting guidelines and criteria. The tables below show some of the most favorable Preferred Plus underwriting guidelines from several of the nation’s largest life insurance companies.
Preferred Plus Life Insurance Requirements
Below are a few of the most common life insurance underwriting requirements to qualify for a Preferred Plus health class. These tables show the most favorable guidelines from some of the nation’s top companies.
Build – Preferred Plus Eligibility
The table below shows the maximum height and weight limits by age to qualify for the Preferred Plus health class. To see a more in-depth look at height and weight limit guidelines for life insurance take a look at our BMI guide life insurance article.
*The table above is from the build chart of one of the largest life insurance companies in the country. Prudential and Pacific Life also offer additional lenient underwriting guidelines for those over the age of 60 and 65, respectively.
Blood Pressure Readings – Preferred Plus Eligibility
The table below the shows one of the most favorable blood pressure underwriting guidelines in the country to still be eligible for a Preferred Plus health class from a top insurer.
|Age||Blood Pressure Readings|
*Each life insurance company has their own blood pressure underwriting guidelines, including the number of medications and some average the highest readings in the past two years. The numbers above are from a top life insurance company that has one of the most favorable life insurance blood pressure underwriting guidelines and medication is allowed.
Cholesterol Readings – Preferred Plus Eligibility
The table below shows one of the favorable cholesterol underwriting guidelines in the country from a top insurer to still be eligible for a Preferred Plus rate class.
|Total Cholesterol||HDL Ratio|
*The cholesterol underwriting guidelines above are from a top national life insurer. Notice the total cholesterol to HDL ratio is 5.0. There are also several other top companies that offer Pref Plus health class with that allow a total cholesterol up to 300 with an HDL ratio of 4.5 or less with or without medication.
Family History – Preferred Plus Eligibility
There are several life insurance companies in the country that offer a Preferred Plus health class for the family history underwriting guidelines if there was not a death of a parent or sibling prior to the age of 60 or 65, depending on the insurer.
|No death of a parent or sibling prior to age 60 of heart disease or cancer|
*Many life insurance companies will offer a Preferred health class or lower if there is an occurrence of heart disease or cancer in either parent or sibling prior to age 60 or 65, depending on the insurer.
Nicotine (Tobacco) – Preferred Plus Eligibility
There are several top life insurance companies in the U.S. that offer a Preferred Plus life insurance health class after only 3 years of quitting smoking.
|No tobacco or nicotine-based products in the last 36 months. (Celebratory cigar of once a month is allowed with negative urine sample and disclosure on the application)|
*The majority of life insurance companies have a five year (60) month time frame guideline to qualify for Preferred Plus after quitting smoking.
Hypothyroidism – Preferred Plus Eligibility
The table below shows that a diagnosis of hypothroidism and taking a medication for treatment will typically not prevent qualification for the Preferred Plus health class, if would otherwise are eligible.
|Most carriers will still offer Preferred Plus rates even if taking a medication for hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) with a medication such as Synthroid (levothyroxine).|
*Taking Synthroid (levothyroxine) typically does not affect qualifying for the best health class with most life insurance companies.
Sample Preferred Plus Life Insurance Rates
Let’s take a look at the sample monthly Preferred Plus life insurance rates by age for a $500,000 20-year term life insurance policy.
*Date of birth used 5/1. The rates are from several of the nation’s top life insurance companies. Rates as of 5/25/2023.
Common Health Conditions Not Eligible for Preferred Plus
Since Preferred Plus is reserved for those in excellent health, certain medical and non-medical histories will disqualify applicants from the top health class. Some of the most common include:
- Cancer history (excluding basal or squamous carcinoma)
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
- Diabetes (Type I & II)
- DUI in the last 5 years
- Heart disease
These are only a few of the health and lifestyle conditions that can affect life insurance underwriting to qualify for the best health class. There are many other health and non-health underwriting factors that also can disqualify an applicant the the Preferred Plus (best) health classification for a particular insurance company.
Does Age Affect Eligibility for Getting a Preferred Plus Life Insurance Rate?
There is a common misconception that it’s more difficult to receive a Preferred Plus life insurance health rating if you are older. This is not the case, age does not affect eligibility in order to receive Preferred Plus life insurance rates. If you meet the Preferred Plus underwriting criteria, you will receive the Preferred Plus rates, regardless of age. However, often as people age, health issues can arise which can affect eligibility for the Preferred Plus health class.
Will I Need a Medical Exam To Qualify for Preferred Plus?
There are several premier life insurance companies in the United States that will not require the 30-minute no-cost life insurance paramedical exam to qualify for Preferred Plus rates, if you meet certain requirements. Additionally, some of these insures will offer the the same rates for a no medical exam application as a fully underwritten application with the medical exam and coverage up to $3 million.
Tips on how to get Preferred Plus Life Insurance rates
- Shop around
Since every life insurance company has their own Preferred Plus underwriting guidelines, the best way to see if you qualify for the Preferred Plus rates is to shop around or use a broker. Each life insurance company has their own risk tolerance based on their underwriting guidelines for certain health and non-health factors which can affect eligibility for receiving the top health class.
If a medical exam is required, a good reminder is to fast since this is when your readings are typically the lowest and you are also when you are at your lowest weight. A good rule of thumb for the life insurance paramed exam is try to do it first thing in the morning before you have your first meal or have your coffee. This tip can help you in having the most favorable build, readings and vitals.
- Take your shoes off
No, really. Height and weight is the number one reason rates change in life insurance. If your application requires the paramed exam and if you are close to the weight limit guidelines, by taking your shoes off and emptying your pockets you will be at your lightest weight possible to help meet the Preferred Plus build chart guidelines for that insurer.
A Preferred Plus life insurance rating class is the name used by life insurance companies to describe their best health class. Several insurers will use a different name for their number one life insurance health class such as Preferred Best, Select Preferred, Super Preferred, Ultra Preferred, etc.
Preferred Plus life insurance rates are reserved for applicants that are in excellent health and have the lowest risk statically to the insurance company based on many underwriting factors. Some of these include: build (height & weight), last tobacco or nicotine usage, blood pressure, cholesterol, family history, to name a few.
Receiving a Preferred Plus life insurance rate classification is possible for many applicants if they choose the right company based on their underwriting profile. Just a few extra pounds on the build chart or a few extra points on your blood pressure or cholesterol readings can affect which company will offer you the lowest rate. This is why it’s imperative to shop around when purchasing life insurance or use a broker that can do the shopping for you to ensure you are applying with the best company to stretch your life insurance dollar.