How to Get Life Insurance If You're Overweight or Obese
People often buy life insurance to protect their family financially in case they pass away early in life.
If you die when the policy is active, the life insurance company pays a death benefit to your beneficiaries.
The money can then be used to replace your income, pay for your funeral or any other purpose you wish.
Life insurance is full of mysteries and misconceptions for people that don’t know much about it.
You may be wondering if you can get life insurance as an obese or overweight person. If you can, will it result in higher premiums?
Here’s what you need to know about being overweight or obese when purchasing life insurance.
Overweight and Obese Individuals Generally Pay More
As you can imagine, overweight or obese individuals usually pay more for life insurance.
The price difference may not be as much as you’d think, though.
Life insurance pricing life classifications
In general, life insurance companies use a group of health classification categories to price their policies.
These typically include:
- Preferred plus
- Standard plus
- Table ratings or substandard
The healthier you are, the higher category you fall into.
The highest categories come with the lowest rates. As your category declines, your rates increase.
How being overweight or obese affects ratings
Being overweight or obese could result in your health rating dropping a category or two, but it isn’t standardized across the board.
One reason this isn’t standard is that each insurer may use a different classification for overweight or obese.
The differences between companies and their rate structures make it impossible to determine how much your specific rates could increase by being overweight or obese instead of a healthy weight.
You can expect to pay more as your weight and other health factors decrease the pricing classification level you fit into.
What is considered obese or overweight?
Some insurers may stick with the traditional definitions of overweight and obese.
These definitions use the body mass index (BMI) scale to determine which classification you fall into.
- If your BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.9, you’re considered healthy.
- A BMI of 25 to 29.99 results in an overweight classification.
- People with a high BMI of 30 or larger are considered obese.
Some insurers may use their own height-weight tables to determine whether you’re overweight or obese.
Check with the insurers you’re considering to see if you would be classified as overweight or obese.
Shopping around for the best rates
Because of these differences, it makes sense to shop around for life insurance.
While you may qualify as Standard Plus with one provider, you may fit in the Preferred rating category of another insurer.
This could result in lower rates.
Even so, just falling in a higher classification doesn’t mean an insurer will provide lower rates.
Company A’s Preferred rates may be higher than Company B’s Standard Plus rates.
Make sure you’re looking at the terms of the life insurance policy and the premiums you have to pay when comparing policies.
Don’t look at classifications unless they directly impact you monetarily or restrict your policy in some way.
The Process of Obtaining Life Insurance
Getting life insurance is a relatively simple process.
You start by getting quotes for a life insurance policy, such as a term life insurance policy.
To get a quote, you enter information including the following:
- Basic information about yourself
- Your medical history
- Any health conditions you may have
- Family history of medical issues
- Height and weight
- Several other important factors
Your initial quote information may be used to fill out your formal life insurance application, so make sure you get everything right.
Life insurance companies use this to determine several things.
To no surprise, they check if you’re normal weight, overweight, or obese.
You may get denied if you’re extremely obese to the point where it poses serious medical issues, though.
Weight can also be a factor in a denial if you have several other serious medical issues.
The vast majority of overweight and even obese individuals can still get life insurance, though.
Most term life insurance policies require you to get a medical exam.
During this exam, they may draw bloodwork, check your weight, and more.
Some policies offer insurance with no medical exam.
Regardless of which type you choose to apply for, there is no point in lying about your weight.
The life insurance company will verify your weight with your medical records and during the medical exam.
They do this during the insurance underwriting phase of the application process.
If these records don’t exist, the life insurance company may not find out immediately if you lied.
When they do find out you lied, they could cancel your policy.
If they find out after you die, they may deny the death benefit payout to your beneficiaries.
Once you complete your medical exam, you’ll be offered a policy and premium based on the results.
You can accept the policy and put it into effect or decline coverage.
What Happens If You Lose Weight Before Applying?
Overweight or obese people may decide to go on a diet before applying for life insurance.
The good news is these people may lose weight and become healthier.
Insurers may not give you full credit
The bad news is the insurer may not give you credit for your weight loss.
This is especially true if you lose weight in the 12 months before your application.
Insurers want to make sure they’re pricing their policies accurately based on your circumstances.
While losing weight is great, many people rebound to their prior weight after quitting a diet or exercise regimen.
Life insurance companies know this.
When you apply, they’ll ask if you lost weight in the last 12 months. The threshold may vary by insurer.
They’ll compare this to your medical records to see if you’re telling the truth, so there is no point in lying about it.
Weight loss could be a bad sign
If you’ve lost significant weight in the last 12 months but in a healthy way, the insurer may give you credit for some of the weight loss.
Dramatic weight loss could be associated with serious medical conditions, too.
Insurers will look into these possibilities when reviewing your application.
What Happens If You Lose Weight After You Get Life Insurance?
There is some good news, though. You may benefit from losing weight even after your life insurance policy goes into effect.
Ask for reconsideration
The first thing you can do is ask your life insurance company to reconsider your policy.
The insurer may let you take a new medical exam and adjust your rates, especially if you show a consistent weight or weight loss over long periods.
Not all insurers will be willing to reconsider your policy and its premium, though.
In these cases, you have to evaluate your options.
Get new policy Quotes
First, get quotes for a new life insurance policy.
You won’t likely be able to get another quote from your current insurer.
That said, you should be able to get quotes from other insurers.
Then, compare the rates on the new policy with your current policy.
If the rates on the new policy reflecting the weight loss are lower, you may want to cancel your current policy and take the new one.
Make sure the policies are similar.
To get an accurate quote, you’d want to make sure the policy has the same term, death benefit, and other features.
Your new rates may increase
What may surprise you is rates may not be lower even if you lost weight.
Several factors go into pricing a life insurance policy.
Some are based on the current economic environment. Others are related to you.
One factor that is constantly changing is your age.
Every time you get a new quote, you’ll be older than you were in the past.
The older you are, the more expensive life insurance is if everything else is equal.
Ready to switch?
Canceling a permanent life insurance policy can be expensive and tricky.
Read your policy to see how to cancel and what you may forfeit to do so.
Canceling a term life insurance policy is relatively straightforward.
Call your insurer or log in to your policy’s online portal to inquire about how to cancel.
Don’t cancel your current policy until your new policy is 100% in effect, though.
The last thing you want to do is cancel your old policy and find out the new policy won’t work out for some reason.
Consult an Expert
It’s entirely possible to get life insurance as an obese or overweight person.
Your odds of approval and the life insurance rates you’ll pay depend on a long list of factors and weight is just one of them.
If you want to buy life insurance, consider consulting an expert to learn more about how your weight can impact your premiums.
Life insurance salespeople should be able to give you a life insurance quote for the company they work for.
You’re likely better off speaking with a life insurance broker, though.
A broker can give you life insurance quotes from several companies. This allows you to shop for the best plan for you.