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Life Insurance for Overweight Individuals

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UPDATED: Jul 9, 2019

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Getting life insurance as an overweight individual isn’t as hard to qualify for as you think, provided that being overweight is your only health issue. However, being overweight in combination with other health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol can result in higher premiums or being declined altogether.

Excess weight is just another health risk the insurance company is looking at when determining your rate. In fact, it may be the second question after your date of birth that an insurance broker will ask you before calculating the rates.

Related: Life insurance with pre-existing conditions.

Why Are Life Insurance Companies Concerned About My Weight?

According to the CDC, obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. Although many folks who are overweight stay healthy into later years, insurance underwriters typically use statistical figures to decide the health risk and premium rates. This elevated health risk is usually caused by hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels, and/or diabetes.

The more overweight you are, the higher you can expect the rates to be. You should also expect an extended application evaluation process as the insurance company may want to order extra medical records from your physician. Be aware that unusual quick weight gain or loss can result in a period of postponement because this could be the result of a critical ailment.

Height/Weight Chart Example

life insurance height and weight chart

This is the first thing you want to know. The reason is that the final rates are ultimately calculated based on the height to weight ratio table chart, provided there are no other health issues. The charts are often different from one company to another because each company has its own underwriting risks they are willing to take when insuring an individual. If you are overweight, it is crucial to know which company will give you the best rate based on your height-to-weight ratio. You will be surprised to know how a 10-15 pound difference can be translated to a few hundred dollars per year in savings.

This doesn’t necessary means that you need to lose weight, it just means that one company can get you a preferred best table and the other preferred or standard plus. Banner, for example, will give you preferred plus if you are 6’0” and your weight is up to 207 lbs, while AIG will give you up to 217 lbs, and Prudential will go up to 228 lbs for the best rate. This is why applying with an insurance broker can save you money, since they are knowledgeable in which companies will look most favorably at your height and weight.

Check out my other post about sample term life insurance rates.

So You’re Telling Me to Lose Weight, Right?

Not so fast. The insurance company can sometimes use this against you. Let me explain – any rapid weight loss can be a sign of another ailment, such as bulimia or depression. Even if you lose it in a healthy way such as by changing your nutrition and exercise habits, a rapid weight loss within a year will result in adding at least 50% of the weight back in the application.

So if you are 6’2” and weigh 300 lbs and lost 100 lbs in the past year, they will add 50 lbs to your current weight so that they will evaluate you at 250 lbs, not 200.

What the Underwriter Will Ask

First let me clarify that you must be honest about your weight. Weight seems to be a very sensitive issue for most of us in today’s culture. However, don’t be tempted to tamper with facts. Any lies on the application will lead to the insurance company denying death claim.

Some companies will even use credit opportunities to knock off a few rating tables if the only thing that is going against you is the fact that you are overweight. For instance, if you have no elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure and there is no evidence of a metabolic syndrome, you could get a preferred offer, when in reality you should have gotten standard.

Here are some examples of what the underwriter will ask you:

  • How old are you?
  • Do you smoke?
  • What is your weight/height?
  • Do you have any other related problems?
  • Has anyone such as your parents or siblings died from a genetic disease? What age did they die?
  • Has your weight changed considerably for unexplained reasons?

Best Tips for Getting Life Insurance for Overweight Individuals

  • If your life insurance application requires an exam, make sure you do it first thing in the morning in a fasted state.
  • Don’t try the drastic weight loss approach. Not only will the insurance company add 50% of the pounds you lost back to the weight listed on your application, but you may also be miserable doing so.
  • If you are on a healthy path in your life, such as adopting an exercise regimen or a healthy eating plan, be sure to include these facts in your application.
  • Find an insurance broker who can help you find the most favorable insurance company. As discussed before, some companies are better than others when it comes to life insurance for overweight individuals.

Related: 5 surprising ways to save money on life insurance. 

Last Word

If you are a few pounds overweight you can still get the best preferred rates as long as you know which company to which you should apply. While most quotes online don’t take your height and weight into consideration when displaying the rates, it still a good tool to use to estimate the rates.

FREE Life Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top life insurance companies and save!

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