Life insurance rates are determined by a number of factors related to physical health, including your body weight. For the average person, this isn't a major issue in finding the best life insurance policy. For people who are considered overweight or obese, however, it can become difficult to find a reasonable policy. The more overweight a person is, the more likely they are to encounter issues when attempting to buy life insurance. This is both because of the weight itself, but also because of the increased health risks and other health conditions that may be caused by being obese or overweight.
Why Do Height and Weight Matter for Life Insurance?
Life insurance companies sell policies based on risk. Put frankly, people who are less likely to die are a lower risk to insurance companies. After all, a life insurance claim is only filed once a person passes away. If there is a lower chance of death, there is a lower chance the insurance provider will have to pay, and therefore they will offer better premiums to people who are in better health.
Height and weight play a large role in determining your physical health and well-being. They can also be indicative of other conditions or potential future risks to your health. Height does not play as much of a role as weight, of course, because the latter has far more of an effect on your overall health. It is still a factor, though, usually as a ratio to determine the appropriate body weight for a person based on their height.
Weight plays a much larger role in your health, and therefore in your life insurance policy options. Some people who are overweight but otherwise healthy might qualify for better insurance rates than they expected. Weight isn't automatically a disqualifier, nor will it guarantee that you pay the highest premiums. Although every policy is different, annual premiums will increase by about $50 for every 10 pounds of weight that is considered over the average or recommended body weight.
Weight-Related Health Concerns
The bigger factor in life insurance for overweight people, beyond the weight itself, is the conditions that can be caused or made worse by being overweight. Such is the case with conditions like Type 2 Diabetes, which is typically a result of excessive weight gain and poor eating habits. Getting life insurance with pre existing conditions is possible, but more difficult. Obesity can also lead to other serious medical conditions including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease and heart attack
- Arthritis and joint conditions
- Gallstones and gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Asthma and breathing abnormalities
- Some cancers
When a life insurance provider is determining eligibility, these factors are far more likely to influence their decision rather than the obesity itself. Being overweight puts a strain on your body that makes it more susceptible to illness and injury. In most cases, the weight can be lost to help improve the health of the individual, so insurance companies see it as a liability and will charge higher premiums. In serious cases, insurance may be denied altogether, although this is much less common than people think.
How Do They Know?
Since you are the person filling out the application for life insurance, it might seem like there is no way that the insurer would need to know your true weight. Lying, however, is not recommended. Not only is this considered fraud, but insurers will find out. Most policies require a medical exam, at which time your weight will be recorded for submission to the underwriters of the insurance company. Even if you choose a no exam life insurance policy, though, providers are still able to access your medical records to see your weight, as well as previous weights and your history with obesity or being overweight.
Honesty is critical when shopping for this insurance. A lie or omission, even of the tiniest variety, can cost you the policy and even land you in court facing insurance fraud charges. Based on weight alone, you will typically need to be 100 to 150 pounds overweight before companies start refusing coverage. Therefore, you shouldn't automatically assume that you can't get covered if you are obese or overweight. Some insurance providers place different values on things like weight, as well, so consider that when you are shopping for life insurance coverage.
The Bottom Line
Any history of being overweight can be seen negatively by life insurance companies. However, obese people are not automatically discluded from coverage. There are still plenty of choices to get life insurance for overweight people, so just be honest when you are applying and shop around to find the best rates for your needs. To get the right policy for your situation as soon as possible, get a quote today and talk to a professional life insurance agent who can help you along the way.