For runners of all levels, it’s probably only a matter of time before you’re an advertising target on Facebook for runner’s health insurance and discounted life insurance.
Why are runners being targeted? Because the Facebook website collects a vast amount of data on all its users. You cannot opt out because if you disable cookies on your web browser, you won’t be able to use the website (Go ahead and try using Facebook with in-private browsing).
Your age, fitness, interests, geo-location, and even the apps you use on your phone that are linked to Facebook give them a vast database of people’s personal information. That’s then used for their advertisers. This is where you can turn the tables and use technology to your advantage to get cheaper life insurance, better health plans, and even be rewarded for leading an active lifestyle.
Social media has led to a range of changes in different insurance fields. One example in the car insurance sector is switching from traditional car insurance to pay per mile insurance, which is based on your car’s milometer proving you keep your mileage under a set amount each week. That’s obviously geared toward low-mileage drivers. Metromile.com launched the advertising campaign across Facebook back in 2015, and now in the UK, the ByMiles.co.uk website is preparing to launch the same car insurance service for UK low-mileage drivers.
Social media advertising is becoming popular with insurance providers who are using it to get their ads in front of consumers who they feel are most suited to any new policy being rolled out or to raise awareness of existing policies.
Right now, there are a few insurers in the active lifestyle space using targeted advertising to reach potential customers. Like all things, every company and policy will be different.
For runners, this is where things differ from your usual health and life insurance policies. The only way to prove you lead an active lifestyle and are indeed running frequently is to use fitness trackers.
The downside to that is you’re sharing crucial information about your personal life, so the deals available come at the cost of some of your privacy. Like the number of miles you tend to run, the days you’re active, the type of running you prefer like cross country or on a treadmill as the fitness trackers can use geolocation tracking.
That’s not something everyone likes the idea of. Or so the insurers think as in reality, when you do a 10-mile cross-country run, it’s instant bragging rights to share online.
Instead of insurers just requiring this so you can get better rates, some insurers are recognising the trade-off and making it more appealing by offering up incentives.
One of the largest insurers in the UK for those leading an active lifestyle is Vitality. You can find out more about their plans, policies, rewards and the company in our Vitality Life review here.
Vitality is only one of a wave of healthy lifestyle focused insurance firms. The only reason Vitality is the most well-known are because they’re active among major sporting-related events.
In early 2018, Vitality announced they would be the official Title Sponsor (as in the primary sponsor) for a new half marathon (13.1-miles) taking place in London in March 2018 called The Big Half. Also, they are the official wellness partner for the Little Half (a 2.4-mile run), the Big Relay (for community group runs) and after the running’s finished, they’ll be throwing a celebration with the Vitality Big Festival.
Sponsoring these events put the company at the forefront of runner’s minds because they become known as insurance company associated with the UK fitness world.
Partnering for such large-scale events and becoming the Title Sponsors will come at a price. A cost some of the lesser-known health-focused insurance companies cannot cover.
Some other main contenders for health plans and life insurance cover for runners are BUPA, the Norwich Union Health Plan, Simply Health (previously known as HSA – Hospital Saving Association), Axa PPP, the Western Provident Association, Nuffield Health among many more.
The reason policies specific for runners offer better value is not just because of the tailored approach to underwriting, or the benefits you get from any provider.
It’s the health plans that some providers make available to their customers. Like, receiving a set amount of claimable expenses each year to put towards the cost of physio caused by running-related injuries, surgeries for breaks should you take a nasty fall etc.
The NHS is usually pretty good, but they can become like a postcode lottery regarding the level of care and service you receive. For sports injuries, especially for those who are regular runners, the health plans are important because of the speed you get access to healthcare, such as physio and chiro to support you back to fitness so you can get back on with your usual running routine.
A general health and life insurance policy may have too many exclusions that would see you requiring separate plans from other providers, whereas you can make savings by getting your policy from an insurer specialising in the healthy-living space.
What you should be aware of…
Not all life insurance policies for runners will be suitable as there needs to be a degree of flexibility. People who run may do it because it’s their preferred activity, but for others, they may be running as part of training for other sports, such as skiing. Should that be the case, you’d need to make sure your policy can cover you for every sport you usually take part in. It may be that you go on a sporting holiday just once per year, but year-round you run as part of training for your trip.
For athletes who take part in Triathlons and other more challenging sports events, runners insurance may not be appropriate, but instead an insurance policy for athletes. Those are likely to cost more, but if your primary activity is running, you’ll likely find a running-focused insurer or health plan provider will be more than capable of underwriting a tailored policy suitable to your lifestyle.
Running is a generalised activity which is not considered extreme. Therefore rate-setters across the UK insurance industry are not going to increase premiums. They should reduce them, provided your circumstances don’t overshadow your activities.
Insurance Hero has over 300 select partners on our panel, some of which exclusively focus on insurance products for runners and even athletes and extreme sports enthusiasts.
What affects your premiums:
Existing and historical medical records of your family can overshadow the benefits you’d get from a runner’s insurance policy. One example of that is if you’ve already experienced a heart attack, and then decided to take up running to keep your heart healthy. If you’ve already had medical problems, those will be reflected in your policy and the premium you’re quoted.
The best premiums with benefits go to those with a high fitness level and no historical medical problems.
Runners and the insurance sector have the benefit of the largest ever lifestyle study carried out to date. This was by the Iowa State University with 55,137 adult participants. The study analysed the lifestyles of different groups of people with an average age of 44 years-old. Among them were thousands of runners that revealed a lot of useful data for insurance rate-setters to understand the level of risk, or more the lack of risk, posed by regular runners.
The positive factors for runners include:
All because of running four to five miles per week and doing that in under twelve minutes. Life expectancy is expected to increase by three years, and as a runner, you’re 45% less likely to experience heart problems.
However, running isn’t the only influential factor. To contribute to healthy living, nutrition plays its part. For these active-living insurance policies, don’t be surprised if you’re asked about your eating habits. Remember, it’s your lifestyle and entire healthy living habits that are being assessed.
You don’t even need to be a runner to get better quotes from insurance policies for runners. It is possible to only do two to three hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to be approved for a cost-saving life insurance policy for runners.
Insurance Hero will compare all our partner providers based on your current level of fitness, only making recommendations for those that offer a comprehensive cover with favourable rates, benefits and rewards schemes in place to make sure they fit with your lifestyle.
Leading an active lifestyle benefits you in the long-term. You get the benefits of better health in the here and now. But, things don’t go to plan from time to time. You may take a stumble and twist your ankle, which depending on the work you do, could leave you off for a bit while you recover.
That’s going to be expensive, and it’s why some sports enthusiasts choose to invest in an income protection plan. Naturally, that’s an extra premium each month. If you do require a level of income protection, then a great way to cover the cost of that is to save on your life insurance premium and quite possibly merge your life insurance and health plan to the one insurance provider to save even more.
Whatever your insurance needs are, flexibility is paramount. Among the most flexible policies are those designed for runners. While the majority of insurance application forms will ask if you exercise regularly, general providers only see this as a plus but do nothing to incentivise your healthy living, or even reward you with a lower premium.
Life insurance for runners is best obtained with an insurance provider as invested in your health as you are. It’s only natural they should be since running is proven to increase your life expectancy, which means you’ll be paying the premiums for longer. That’s why insurance firms focused on active-living will contribute toward helping you keep fit, stay fit and reward you for doing so.
The Insurance Hero team have access to the UK’s largest database of insurance providers, including those not on comparison websites. We work with a very diverse panel of select insurers including those who specialise in life insurance for runners and athletes.
We’ll compare the whole-of-market for specific insurance policies that match your lifestyle and return to you only the very best policies with the most attractive pricing.
Fill out the form to find out how much your running lifestyle could save you on monthly or annual premiums.
I found Insurance Hero on twitter. Simon asked a lot of questions when I called some of them seemed to be a bit irrelevant, but he was very tolerant of me. I ended up getting a great price compared with what my financial advisor offered.