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Q

Does a vegan diet lower the cost of life insurance?

A

Following a vegan diet won’t have any ramifications on your premiums, but the health implications may.

How much you pay for life insurance is determined during the underwriting process. This is when your life insurance company evaluates your health history and personal details to calculate your policy premium

Healthy diets like veganism can earn you lower life insurance quotes by decreasing your risk for illness or treating an existing medical condition. Being vegan doesn’t outweigh other health risks in your profile, but eating more nutritious meals can lead to health benefits that may impact your life insurance application.

Key Takeaways

  • A properly implemented vegan diet can improve overall health and lower the cost of life insurance premiums

  • A vegan diet doesn't guarantee you’ll get the most affordable life insurance

  • An unhealthy vegan diet can increase the risk of illness and raise life insurance costs

Will a vegan diet affect the cost of life insurance?

There aren’t any life insurance companies that automatically offer lower rates to applicants following a vegan diet. What every provider will offer are better rates for applicants in good health. 

If you maintain a plant-based and nutrient-dense diet, studies show that you may decrease your risk for:

  • Alzheimer’s

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

Lowering your risk for these conditions also lowers your risk of dying, which translates to a better life insurance classification. Other factors that affect your health classification include your Body Mass Index (BMI), hobbies, family medical history, health history, and driving record.

Sample life insurance rates by health classification

Here’s an example of how different health classifications might impact the rates of a 35-year-old buying a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. 

HEALTH CLASSIFICATIONSEX   MONTHLY PREMIUM 
Preferred Plus       Male  $23.64          
                     Female$19.68          
Preferred            Male  $28.97          
                     Female$24.39          
Standard Plus        Male  $40.20          
                     Female$33.58          
Standard             Male  $45.76          
                     Female$37.26          

Methodology: Sample premiums are for 35-year-old male and female non-smokers based in Ohio; Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 3/04/2021.

→ Learn more about life insurance classifications and how they affect your rates

Alzheimer’s

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis comes with a high mortality rate, and medical care for someone with Alzheimer’s can be costly. Though you can dip into your life insurance policy to help cover those costs with an accelerated death benefit rider, doing so leaves your beneficiaries with a smaller payout after you die.

A plant-based diet that incorporates leafy green vegetables and fruits like berries is associated with a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Even if you aren’t susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s, poor eating habits can cause high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, which increase the possibility of developing dementia. 

Blood pressure

High blood pressure readings also lead to higher life insurance premiums, since elevated blood pressure may cause heart attack and stroke.

Nutrient-rich, meatless diets help control blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, switching to a vegan diet could demonstrate to your insurance provider that you’re taking steps to improve your diagnosis and may lower your rates.

→ Learn more about buying life insurance with high blood pressure

Cardiovascular health

A history of cardiovascular conditions will impact your life insurance quotes. When you apply for a policy, you’ll need to disclose any previous heart attacks and recovery, as well as what you are doing to manage your heart health. 

A healthy vegan diet minimizes the chances of a heart attack by controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels. Moderating your intake of animal products can also help control other conditions that can cause cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes

A diabetes diagnosis often leads to higher life insurance premiums, and those with untreated or severe cases may face coverage denials. But replacing your daily consumption of meat products, such as cold cuts, with healthy plant-based foods can reduce your risk of diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, you’re not totally disqualified from receiving competitive rates. Demonstrating that you are implementing a vegan diet to treat and control your diabetes can help you secure a better health classification.

→ Learn more about life insurance for diabetics

Weight

During underwriting, the insurance company will collect your height and weight and evaluate your height-to-weight ratio . If your ratio falls into an “average” range (vs. underweight or overweight) as determined by your provider, you’re more likely to receive a favorable health classification. 

A vegan diet may help you decrease your weight. In a study conducted by the CUNY School of Public Health in New York, researchers found that even people who were sedentary but ate a plant-based diet consisting of raw foods replicated “endurance exercisers” in health.

→ Learn more about how weight and weight loss affect life insurance

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When could a vegan diet raise your life insurance premiums?

Following a vegan diet isn’t guaranteed to lower life insurance rates. If you:

  • Eat vegan foods full of saturated fats and added sugars

  • Have a complicated family or personal medical history

  • Miss key vitamins and nutrients with your vegan diet

  • Practice habits or hobbies linked to health risks, like smoking

You could still be at risk for certain medical conditions and receive a more expensive life insurance quote as a result.

As Patrick Hanzel, Policygenius’ Advanced Planning Specialist and Certified Financial Planner explains, "As far as simply being vegan directly impacting your life insurance rates, that will not have a direct correlation. No matter what you eat, the carriers will still look at your medical history along with the results from your exam. Someone who is vegan can still have a high BMI, an unfavorable personal/family medical history, or have levels out of normal range from the medical exam."

Being a vegan doesn’t completely eliminate the probability of falling ill or erase other risk factors in your health history. But, integrating healthy foods into your diet can help you control or prevent medical conditions that lead to higher premiums.

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No matter what you eat, the carriers will still look at medical history along with the results from your exam.

- Patrick Hanzel, Advanced Planning Specialist and Certified Financial Planner

What counts as a healthy vegan diet for life insurance?

Benefiting from a vegan diet involves planning ahead and understanding the nutritional implications of the food you are consuming. Prioritize eating a diverse range of nutrient-dense, plant-based foods such as:

  • Beans

  • Fruits

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Vegetables

  • Whole grains 

Pair this with a reduced intake of animal products, non-essential fats, and processed foods to develop a healthy diet.

Vitamin deficiencies

A poorly constructed vegan diet may cause some vitamin deficiencies that could hurt your health and do the exact opposite of what you intended.

If you’re transitioning into a vegan diet, make sure your meals include enough:

A vitamin deficiency itself won’t negatively impact your life insurance offer, but the effects on your health from a severe deficiency could lead to health concerns that would raise your premiums. If you’re following a vegan diet, make sure to incorporate fortified foods or supplements into your regimen so that you don’t experience any adverse effects.

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Any diet that is high in non-essential fats, salt, sugar, and sodium is ineffective for managing your health. Whether or not you introduce a completely vegan diet into your life, simply reducing your consumption of red meat and incorporating healthier ingredients can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart attack, and other diseases, and therefore how much you could pay for life insurance.

Life insurance for vegans FAQ:

Do vegans pay less for life insurance?

Vegans don’t automatically pay less for life insurance. If you’re healthy overall and don’t have hobbies, habits, or a family history of serious illness, you may qualify for competitive premiums.

How does a vegan diet impact life insurance rates?

A nutritious vegan diet may lower your risk for certain diseases and improve some of your existing health conditions, which would translate to better general health and lower rates.

Can I get affordable life insurance without going vegan?

Everybody has different dietary needs. If your diet prioritizes a variety of healthy foods and you minimize your intake of processed foods and unhealthy fats, you can still get affordable life insurance.