There may be a new benefit of going vegetarian, at least if you live in certain countries: Cheaper life insurance. In Australia, Make a Difference Insurance is offering up to 20 percent lower rates for people who vegans and vegetarians, citing evidence that people on meat-free diets live longer and have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
It's not a terrible idea. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this year, vegetarians were 12 percent less likely to die from all causes than non-vegetarians, as well as significantly less likely to die from heart disease and a number of other specific conditions. And a 2012 study from Loma Linda University found that people on a vegetarian diet live up to nine years longer than carnivorous counterparts. There's also been ample research showing vegetarians have lower risk of all sorts of chronic diseases and cancers.
"Life insurance premiums are calculated based on several factors, including family medical history, lifestyle choices such as alcohol and nicotine intake," Brian Jones, managing director of Make A Difference (and a vegetarian himself) told the Bayside Leader. "So surely a vegetarian or vegan diet should be considered, too."
England's AFI insurance agency also offers vegetarian discounts on life insurance. But so far, it doesn't seem any American life or health insurance companies have followed suit. Offering premium discounts for non-smokers (or penalties for smokers) is becoming more common, though, as are insurance incentives for people who exercise or lose weight. Maybe savings for non-meat eaters are next?