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Life Insurance when Overweight or Obese

Finding life insurance with pre-existing conditions can be greatly helped if you know which company to choose. Different companies have different underwriting criteria. The same holds true for overweight or obese life insurance. The key is to find the most overweight life insurance friendly company.

Overweight or Obese Life insurance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average height for an American male is now at 5’9” with weight a little under 200 pounds. If we were to use the body mass index charts from the CDC, this would make the average man overweight. Not only this, it falls just six pounds short of the ‘obese’ category.

Before we head into the various tips for getting life insurance if overweight or obese, is there a cutoff point where providers stop insuring at a certain weight? In short, yes. However, this figure will be unique to the life insurance company.

While some err on the side of caution, others will keep going until over 300 pounds. After a little research, we did find that 330 pounds was a sticky point. Once you reach this weight and above, it will be very hard to find insurers to offer a policy, although carriers will take other factors into consideration, including bone density.

For women, the average height is 5’4” with a weight of just under 170 pounds. Again, this is considered to be overweight according to the CDC but you will still find life insurance options and a number of good policies. In order for a female to be rejected due to weight, one would have to be around 120 pounds above the average and a little under 300 pounds. At this weight, an automatic rejection should be expected which does cause many problems each and every year.

Height and Weight

Just as each life insurance company will vary on their opinions of health problems or felonies, they will all have their own height/weight ratios. As you move up an inch at a time (height), there will be different boundaries for what is seen as acceptable in terms of weight.

When you work with an agent, they will look through each of these charts to work out which companies will accept and, within this, which companies will offer the most competitive prices.

Health Complications

Before we launch into how to acquire life insurance if overweight, we should point out that health complications that have arisen as a result of your weight will change things slightly. After being overweight for a significant period of time, there is a real danger of health issues arising including high blood pressure, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more. If you have any one of these issues, you should expect to pay even higher premiums.

Ultimately, life insurance companies have their application process in place because they need to assess the security of their investment (you) and work out an estimated life expectancy. If they weren’t worried about when you are likely to pass away, they would hand out life insurance to everyone who contacted them.

If you were likely to die within a couple of years, they will need to protect their investment by either rejecting you or offering a guaranteed issue graded benefit life insurance policy. If you were in optimum condition, they would be happy to give you cheap premiums with a death benefit available immediately.

When you have health problems that have come as a result of being overweight, it suggests that you have been overweight for a while. In addition to this, they will need to see that you are trying to lose weight otherwise you aren’t giving it your all to stay in the right condition.

Even with the health problems in place, they would much rather insure someone who has adopted a new, positive lifestyle than another who has succumbed to the illness and doesn’t leave the house even for a walk. If you’re overweight, life expectancy comes down, you become a higher risk to the insurance company, and you will pay higher premiums.

Overweight Life Insurance Rates

Back to the topic at hand and assuming that there aren’t any health complications, people generally receive good insurance rates even when considered overweight. In fact, many overweight people manage to find a company that will offer them preferred rates on ordinary life insurance so there isn’t a need to panic just yet. As we have discovered, you will not be rejected unless you are well above the average and extremely obese.

Group Coverage

If you are currently working for a large company, you should be looking into whether they have group life insurance because this would be a good move. As long as you are an employee, you can get added to this group policy with your weight playing no factor in the process. If you have no insurance in place right now, this would be a very good starting place. However, the coverage is likely to be around two times the size of your salary so you will still need to continue researching the individual offerings.

Individual Coverage

Using a simple comparison tool, we recently did some searching to find the lowest rates possible. To start, we have a 20-year term life policy with coverage of $500,000. If you were to use a 5’11” male as an example, the average weight would be somewhere around 196 pounds. If we added 50 pounds to this, the man would pay over $330 more in a single year. Over the 20 years, this adds up to $6,600 more in coverage for the same death benefit for someone who would be considered obese as opposed to preferred.

For a female, let’s use the average height and average weight of around 167 pounds. Adding 50 pounds once again, you would be paying nearly $340 extra per year and $6,700 over the course of 20 years. Just think about where this money could go if you had it in your pocket each year!

How Do They Know?

When reading this, you might be wondering how the insurance company knows your weight and all other personal details. However, you will have to provide the information during your initial application and then it will be confirmed during the medical exam. With this in mind, some people will stop eating for a week and lose 15 pounds before the exam but this doesn’t help. During the medical exam, they will pull out your records which will show previous weights and whether you have had any medical conditions.

In truth, this chart detailing all of your previous weights is often seen as more valuable than a single weight at a certain point in time. If you can crash diet and lose a handful of pounds, the insurers will know this so they prefer to get an average weight over a period of years. Rather than seeing what you weigh on one particular day, they look for what you weight on average over a sustained period of time.

Once the insurance policy has been awarded, there is nothing an insurance company can do and they won’t know whether you have lost or gained weight since signing the contract. Therefore, a promise to lose weight won’t be worth much to a life insurance company because how are they supposed to keep an eye on hundreds of thousands of their policyholders?

Dieting

As mentioned, the underwriters will look for stability of weight which means that losing weight in the lead up to your exam won’t have much of an impact. This being said, there are some providers who will allow you to take a second medical exam a couple of years down the line. If you’re currently in the process of losing weight, the second medical exam will assess your progress and potentially decrease your premiums. If you don’t manage to lose any weight, your premiums won’t go up either so there is nothing to lose with these policies.

Life insurance denial due to weight

If you have applied only to get declined for life insurance, there is no reason to give up because there are many different life insurance companies on the market. As we have already seen, each company will have their own parameters for what is acceptable so you may just need to find the right company and this process starts with a good agent. As long as the agent has access to many different companies, they should know exactly which companies are the best for your situation and how to apply in a successful way.

If even an agent can’t help, there are other options in the life insurance market. Although it might not be what you wanted to start, why not look into simplified issue insurance policies or perhaps even graded benefit plans?

With no medical examination, the premiums will be higher but at least you will be covered. Since we know that life insurance is so important for not only yourself but your family members, a more expensive type of coverage will always be better than no coverage at all.

Final Tips

  • First, always work with an agent that represents multiple companies whenever possible because they spend their lives dealing within the insurance market and will know little tricks and certain policies that will suit your needs. Rather than choosing the wrong companies or paying too much money, have an agent help you out.
  • Second, always tell your agent that you are currently in the process of losing weight and making key lifestyle changes. This way, they will ensure that the policy allows you to take a second medical examination to potentially lower your premiums in the future.
  • Third, losing weight immediately before a medical examination will not impact your life insurance rates but it can be the start of a new you!
  • Fourth, never lose motivation because all the life insurance companies will have their own set of parameters for height and weight. Just because you get rejected from one company, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still find an affordable policy elsewhere.

Conclusion

As long as you pay attention to the information above, there is a good chance you will find a policy despite being overweight.

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