When insurance companies assess how much to charge you for the monthly premiums and whether they will offer you the life insurance cover you're looking for, they will check how much of a risk there is in doing so.
This risk is measured on your health, age, and a number of other factors.
Some insurers will request you take a medical before they offer you a life insurance policy, but this is usually only if you are requesting a very large sum insured. Most people applying for life insurance do not need a medical - but will be asked for permission to get a report from their GP.
Most people will not need a medical in order to take out a life insurance policy. The insurer is likely to request a medical report from your GP and this, along with your own statements on your application, will be sufficient.
If you have no history of illness, no conditions you are currently being treated for and are generally in good health, the insurance company is likely to offer you life insurance without you taking a medical. It's easiest if you don't smoke, you aren't overweight and you don't often drink.
On your life insurance application there are some questions you will be asked that to help the insurer get a better idea of how much risk is involved in insuring you. Your answers allows them to calculate how much your life insurance policy's monthly premiums will cost.
They will then ask your GP a set of questions and from the combined results set a premium. Make sure you ask to see the GP's report because if it is inaccurate - and even GPs make mistakes - it could present you in a bad light and increase your premiums.
On most life insurance applications you will be asked to provide your sex, age, height and weight. These details can help determine if you are overweight.
You will also likely be asked about your family's medical history, as this could impact your likelihood of having an hereditary illness.
Finally, the insurer will usually want to know your occupation, whether you smoke and how much alcohol you drink each week. They will ask about any medical conditions you have had in the past, or any illnesses for which you are currently being treated.
All these answers contribute to your risk levels and decide how much your monthly premiums will be. If you are a smoker, drink regularly or have had an illness in the past then you and your GP may be asked to provide additional information. It would still be rare to be asked have a medical before you can be provided with life insurance.
Any details that you give in the application that later prove to be false could invalidate any claim made when you die, so be sure to be as truthful as possible.
A higher premium is better than having the policy invalidated when your family need the payout.
If you are worried about expensive costs and you are looking for cheap life insurance premiums, then there are some steps you can take to put yourself in the best position possible when applying for life insurance.
As early as possible before even considering applying for life insurance you should consider quitting smoking and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink each week. These are the few factors you can control that are still likely to significantly contribute to the cost of your monthly life insurance premiums.
If you are overweight then consider going on a diet, and either way, try getting some more exercise in your weekly routine. Make sure your GP knows of any changes to your health as it's better that the insurers see an improving lifestyle.
The factors you can't control include your previous medical history, your family's medical history and your age. The older you are the more likely your premiums will be higher.
If you have had medical conditions in the past that can return, your premiums could be higher.
Essentially, if you want cheaper premiums on your life insurance then it's important to stay healthy and follow an active lifestyle while avoiding drinking excessively or smoking.
Shopping around the life insurance market using our comparison tables can also help you find a better deal. But if it's cheap life insurance you are looking for, remember that your financial requirements are a long term investment. What might be cheaper now may not always be the best thing for your family in the long run, so be sure to weigh up the cost against yours and your family's needs should you no longer be around to help out.
Although there's no tax designed specifically to take from your life insurance payout, the payout your family receive after you die could be taxed as part of the UK's inheritance tax rules.
Where taking out a new life insurance policy, you may wish to ask to have it written 'in trust'. This essentially puts your life insurance payout as separate to any of your assets. Assets include things like property and anything else you own which could be transferred to friends and relatives as a gift.
Your assets are subject to inheritance tax, so if the value of your assets combined reach the tax threshold, tax will need to be paid on the amount over the threshold.
By keeping your life insurance payout separate from your assets, your family's life insurance payout will not be subject to inheritance tax, meaning your beneficiaries will receive all of the payout.
Read our guide to life insurance and tax to learn more.