Santa's life insurance rates are out of this world

If Santa went shopping for life insurance, the rates might make him cry and pout.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is a risky customer.

We did a little checking for St. Nick and found he needs nothing short of a holiday miracle to qualify for life insurance at all, much less get decent rates. Good thing our favorite jolly old man will live forever and doesn't need coverage.

Here’s what’s working against him:

Age

The older you get, the more expensive life insurance becomes. When Santa's age is disclosed for life insurance, all he gets is a lump of coal.

So we decided to be a little bit bad -- but with good intentions -- and fudge the numbers. (Don't try this at home when you're actually applying for insurance.)

With a beard as white as snow, we figured Santa probably wouldn't pass for under 60, but his lively and quick ability to shimmy down chimneys and the twinkle in his eye should put him on the right side of 70. Our estimate for this exercise: 65.

Weight

A lithe, barbell-toting, tofu-eating Santa in red spandex and running shoes isn't our idea of jolly. Still, all that candy-cane taste-testing at the toy factory, along with those countless plates of milk and cookies on Christmas Eve, aren't doing Santa any favors.

Beloved as his plump figure is, Santa's chubbiness is going to cost him. We ran online life insurance quotes for a 20-year, $250,000 level-premium term life policy for a 5-foot-5, 65-year-old man living in Alaska. (There was no option for the North Pole.) With a healthy weight of 140 pounds, the cheapest rate was $2,573 a year. But anonymous, well-placed elf sources tell us Santa tips the scales at 215; that factor alone boosts the lowest rate to $3,700 a year.

Pipe smoking

It pains us to say this, but when it comes to insurance, Santa's penchant for pipe smoking puts him on the naughty list. Yes, the way the smoke encircles his head like a wreath is charming. And he does indeed look dandy with that stump of pipe held tight in his teeth. But pipe smokers are at greater risk for lung cancer and all sorts of other very unmerry things, including watching the best life insurance rates drift away.

If we say the 215-pound Santa has never smoked, the lowest five life insurance quotes for a 20-year, $250,000 level-premium term life policy range from $3,700 to $4,838. Once we enter the information about his pipe puffing, the lowest five rates range from $3,700 to $9,210.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol

Santa's bowl-full-of-jelly belly has us worried. Doctors say people who carry extra weight around the middle are more at risk for serious health problems, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, than people who carry extra weight in the hips and thighs. Both types of unhealthy readings put people in high-risk categories for life insurance.

"Belly fat is nothing to joke about," the Mayo Clinic warns ominously on its website. Oh, poor Santa, chuckling away, so blissfully unaware.

Stress is another risk factor for high blood pressure. Sure, Santa seems to take it all in stride, always quick with a "Merry Christmas" and a “ho, ho, ho.” But the pressure of his deadline alone must surely take its toll.

Risky occupation

We can't say for sure how much Santa's job would drive up his life insurance premiums, but we imagine piloting a sleigh in the dark in all kinds of weather is bound to raise some red flags at the life insurance company offices.

If you fly airplanes, some insurers will want to know how many hours you fly each year and the type of aircraft you use before issuing a policy. Santa's annual all-nighter driving a toy-laden sleigh is probably not going to put risk-averse minds at ease. Nor are the eight tiny reindeer, which, according to eyewitness accounts, must be called by name and constantly cajoled to dash away, whether it's to the top of the porch or to the top of the wall.

Of course, there is the shiny red nose guidance system, a safety precaution in foggy weather. But consistent reports of pawing and prancing on snowy and icy rooftops remain troubling.

Thank goodness Santa will never have to fill out a life insurance application or undergo a life insurance medical exam. We wouldn't want to hear the results. 

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