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What Does "Attained Age" Mean?

Pensions kick in after someone has reached the "attained age" for retirement.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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In the insurance industry, the term “attained age” can refer to either the age of a policyholder or the age at which benefits become available under an age-restricted policy. The meaning of the term is usually clear from the context of its use. The legal language in insurance policies will discuss how the company calculates attained age and what it means for the policyholder.

Rather than computing age on the basis of the policyholder's birthday, insurance companies use a different metric to find attained age. They consider the age disclosed at the time a policy was purchased, and add the time that has elapsed to this number. If an 18 year old purchases car insurance, for example, and the company records show that the policy has been held for six years, the policyholder's attained age is calculated as 24.

Age of a policyholder can be important. Some insurance companies engage in rating, or changing insurance rates on the basis of age because it intersects with risk factors. Younger drivers, for instance, tend to be more prone to accidents. At an attained age of 25, the rate for insurance may drop to reflect the decreased risk. For this reason, it is important to make sure insurance companies have accurate records on the age of their policyholders and to correct any errors in a record as quickly as possible.

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The attained age can also refer to an age of benefits availability. Policies like pensions may kick in at a particular age, or it may be possible to draw upon life insurance policies after a certain age, under the terms of the policy. When the policyholder reaches the attained age these benefits become available and the insurance company may send information about them for the benefit of the policyholder. Sometimes benefits start automatically and in other cases it is necessary to specifically apply for them.

Information about age restrictions, benefits, and related topics is available through the legal language in the policy. Policyholders can also ask their agents for specific information. While shopping for insurance, it can help to get information about the company's age-related policies, as these may play a role in pricing and could help policyholders decide on the best policy for their needs. In some regions, rating is not legal and insurance companies may face legal penalties for making decisions about insurance pricing on the basis of age, although they can still provide age-restricted benefits.

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