The Cycle Turns Against You for Term Life Insuring your car and your home may be getting cheaper--but insuring your life may be more expensive
By Lisa Gibbs

(MONEY Magazine) – For the first time in a decade, insurers are hiking rates for term insurance and making it tougher for customers to qualify for the best prices. By December these policies may cost as much as 10% to 20% more than they did a year ago, says Byron Udell, CEO of online provider AccuQuote. Prudential Financial admits to "a modest increase on some policies," and Udell reports that Empire General has raised rates 10% across the board.

At some firms, stricter underwriting rules mean fewer people will get the lowest (Preferred Plus) prices. AIG's American General, for one, now restricts its best rates to customers with no more than one moving violation in three years. The old rule: no more than two. A 45-year-old nonsmoking male who qualifies for AIG's Preferred Plus can buy a 20-year, $250,000 policy for $385 a year. At the next level, he'd pay $445, according to agency CSE Diversified--$1,200 more over 20 years.

Other insurers now impose stricter standards for weight, blood pressure, cholesterol counts and family history. Check or an insurance agent. --LISA GIBBS