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What Is the Death Clock? Is It Right?

Money Savings Advice What is the death clock?

While some would argue that the so-called “death clock” and “death date” are based on statistical information, algorithms and forecasts, in reality, they are at best-informed calculations.

However, they can give an interesting insight into how issues such as obesity can impact life expectancy.

Many people see the death clock/death date calculations as an interesting wake-up call for those with a less than healthy lifestyle.

Even if these “informed calculations” result in an individual, perhaps taking more notice of their lifestyle, their weight and their diet, then many people would see this as a positive result.

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What Is the Death Clock?

The death clock is a tongue in cheek Internet service which uses information such as date of birth, gender, BMI, smoking habits, lifestyle and general outlook on life as a means of calculating your potential date of death.

Even though the death clock has been dismissed by experts, it does offer an interesting insight into how different lifestyles can impact life expectancy. For example, entering a particular set of variables and changing between smoker and non-smoker will reduce the life expectancy of the smoker – as we all guessed.

Is It Possible to Predict My Date of Death?

The simple answer is, no. This is an Internet phenomenon which has caught the attention of many people because it basically uses gender, age and lifestyle variables to calculate your date of death.

There are numerous copies of the original death clock/death date applications which are used as a means of harvesting information which could be used to hack social media accounts and undertake identity theft. So, when adding your private information to death clocks/death date applications, be very cautious!


There are 14.4m people in the UK with a life insurance policy.

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Do Insurance Companies Use a Death Clock Formula?

Interestingly, while insurance companies do not use a death clock type application as such, they do undertake regular statistical analysis of the UK population. They can predict with alarming accuracy the percentage of individuals who will die of a particular illness.

This data also allows the risk profile of particular age groups to be calculated again and again with a relatively impressive degree of accuracy. However, these are generalisations because individuals vary their lifestyle, vary their diets and put themselves at risk in numerous different ways.

How Does the Insurance Industry Work?

The insurance industry is built upon a highly statistical business model which takes into account historic and current data on the UK population that includes age, gender, lifestyle and ultimately life expectancy.

This information allows insurers to calculate, with a certain degree of accuracy, how many people will die of a certain illness and the likelihood of dying in a certain age group in the UK. This allows individual insurance companies, and the huge insurance markets such as Lloyds, to calculate potential liabilities per insurance company and price premiums accordingly.

The profit and loss per insurance company may differ from expectations when taking one year in isolation but in general they are very good at predicting average trends and including a degree of profitability in their premium/payout calculations.

Do Smokers Still Pay Higher Life Insurance Premiums?

The simple answer is yes. You will notice that one of the questions when taking out life insurance is whether or not you smoke. As we touched on above, the tongue in cheek death clock will calculate an earlier date of death between smokers and non-smokers with all other factors being equal.

Whether the estimated difference in life expectancy between smokers and non-smokers is correct is a different question. Even if you have been a previous smoker, this may still impact the level of life insurance premiums.

Why Do Electronic Cigarette Users Attract Higher Life Insurance Premiums?

At this moment in time, the jury is out with regards to the impact of electronic cigarettes on the health of users. As a consequence, many insurance companies see e-cigs in a very similar light to tobacco cigarettes.

This is likely to continue until they receive irrefutable evidence of a difference in health consequences at which point they will no doubt make the necessary adjustments. However, while there is this degree of uncertainty, life insurance companies tend to err on the side of caution.



Why Is BMI So Important When Looking at Life Insurance?

We all know that obesity is a huge problem in the UK which is why insurance companies will request your height and weight in order to calculate your BMI. Those who are overweight are susceptible to an array of specific ailments and may indeed see a reduced life expectancy compared to the average person.

While many people argue that life insurance companies should not discriminate against those who are obese, this is purely a factual situation based on very detailed algorithms.

If you put yourself in the shoes of an insurance company, how would you approach life insurance premium pricing for two individuals with different BMIs, all other factors being equal? If statistically, the individual with a higher BMI is more at risk of life-threatening conditions, then it is fair to say that this situation would demand higher premiums.

Which Factors Impact Life Insurance Premiums?

There are many factors which will impact life insurance premiums for individuals which include age, gender, health history, family health history, occupation, lifestyle and whether or not you smoke. Therefore, if you could improve your current health and your overall lifestyle then conceivably, this should have a positive impact on your future life insurance premiums.

Why Is Lifestyle Relevant to Life Insurance Premiums?

Insurance companies are always keen to gather information which will allow them to build up a picture of your general lifestyle. As your lifestyle has a significant impact on your health and your well-being going forward, it is only fair that life insurance companies should take this into account when calculating your premiums.

The insurance industry is benefiting from “big data” which allows unnervingly accurate calculations about general life expectancy, etc.

Summary

While the so-called death clock/death date has attracted much attention on the Internet, it is unlikely those behind the application have anywhere near the same level of data available to UK insurance companies.

This does, however, shine a light on how insurance companies calculate average death payments, life expectancy and other issues which will impact premiums for individual life insurance policies. The industry today is very much focused on in-depth statistical analysis which has revealed a huge array of trends in all areas of society.

Quick Life Insurance FAQs


Joint life insurance is a popular form of life insurance whereby two individuals are named on the policy, but only one payment will be made. Irrespective of which party dies, life insurance will be paid out on the death of the first person then the policy will end. This ensures a degree of financial assistance for the surviving party.

If we assume that you have a capital repayment mortgage with 20 years to go, the mortgage liability will reduce as interest and capital is repaid month by month. Therefore, in this instance, it makes sense to look at decreasing term insurance where payment on death would follow the downward path of your mortgage liability.

As the life insurance payout would reduce the length, you live this gives scope for reduced premiums compared to traditional term insurance.

Term insurance is a type of life insurance policy which can be shaped around, for example, your mortgage term. Let us assume that you had 20 years to go on your interest-only mortgage; you could take out a 20-year life insurance policy which would cover the repayment of capital in the event of your death.

Limiting the length of the life insurance policy in this manner (as opposed to a whole of life policy) will reduce your premiums.

Whole of life cover is what you would expect; it guarantees payment to the named beneficiary no matter when you die. There are other types of life insurance policy which only pay out on death during a certain period. As a whole of life insurance has no fixed term, the premiums will be more expensive.

Under normal circumstances, life insurance payments will be released relatively quickly in the event of the death of the individual named on the policy. The immediate aftermath of the death of a loved one is traumatic in itself without additional financial pressures.

There are certain formalities to go through, such as confirmation of death, death certificate, but once the paperwork has been completed, the process should be relatively quick.

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How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Life Insurance?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Life Insurance brokers. They have already helped thousands of people get the best Life Insurance cover and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these brokers who can provide you with a ‘whole market quote’ then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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