Perhaps you’ve seen the ad on Facebook or elsewhere, noting runners have a “35 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality” and may be eligible for life insurance discounts.
In light of research revealing the health benefits of running—lower blood pressure, cholesterol and ratio of weight to height—one insurer, John Hancock, now offers a plan to that gives discounts of up to 15 percent to customers who meet exercise goals.
“Since running improves HDL (or good cholesterol) and keeps weight and blood pressure down, those who run may be at an advantage when it comes to being eligible for the best life insurance premium rates available from insurers,” Dr. Steven Rigatti, vice president and chief medical officer at the mutual life insurance company MassMutual, told Runners World magazine.
An Iowa State University study of 50,000 adults found running as little as four to five miles a week, even at 11 or 12 minutes a mile, reduces the risk of dying from heart problems by 45 percent and extends life spans by as much as three years compared to those who don’t run.
However, insurers take a number of items into consideration when determining premiums and experts say personal or family medical history could overshadow exercise routines. While running reduces the chance of having high blood pressure by more than 4 percent, according to the American Heart Association, some runners still may have high blood pressure or medical histories with surgeries and other problems.
“Some runners may not check out as healthy as they appear,” Kyle Winkfield, managing partner of the Washington, D.C. financial planning firm O’Dell, Winkfield, Roseman & Shipp, told Runners World. “Just because you run doesn’t mean you’re going to get these awesome rates.”