A report by MainStreet.com, the small business and personal finance portal of TheStreet.com Network, discusses the “Little Reasons for Big Insurance Hikes.”

While you probably know that smoking can double the cost of your life insurance policy, or that teenage boys are harder to insure than teenage girls, you may not understand all the factors that insurers use to rate policyholders and determine annual premium prices. To help you in your search, MainStreet.com talked to industry experts to compile this little list of small choices that can, in fact, lead to big increases in the cost of your insurance policy.

For example, Amy Danise, the Senior Managing Editor for Insure.com cautions against taking up a dangerous hobby, such as scuba-diving, rock climbing or sky diving, before applying for insurance. Danise adds “the same goes for ‘risky’ occupations and travel to dangerous parts of the world.” In fact, your daredevil status may cost you a policy entirely so you may want to also trade in that motorcycle.

“The rules on insurance underwriting exist as patchwork of state by state regulations with little national uniformity,” Alex Maybaum, Director of Consumer Advocacy for AnnualMedicalReport.com (a web site that helps consumers estimate their insurance costs based on their medical history), tells MainStreet.

According to Vicki Sicilain, a Connecticut insurance agent, many providers are allowed to cherry pick who they insure and, subsequently, what they will charge them. “There needs to be better legislation against it,” she says. “I have been in the industry for 23 years. I am still discovering small mistakes that will drive up your insurance premiums.”

MainStreet.com reports that owning a gun is another lifestyle choice that can raise premiums. From the insurance company’s point-of-view, that firearm isn’t protecting your property, but increasing your risk. Indeed, depending on the strength and size of your arsenal, purchasing and registering guns will increase your insurance bill.

Also on the MainStreet.com list of “small choices” is the use of prescription medication. Sicilain, the Connecticut insurance agent, ran into a problem recently when a 21-year-old client in perfect health was denied medical coverage. The reason? The client had taken Welbutrin to treat a brief bout of depression. Another client, who had taken Nexium to cure her Acid Reflux, was denied insurance from one provider. The next insurer approached agreed to write a policy … with an exclusion, meaning that, should the Acid Reflux return, the client would have to pay for it herself.

Read the full article, “Little Reasons for Big Insurance Hikes” on MainStreet.com, the small business and personal finance portal of TheStreet.com Network.

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