Weight Loss

Can I Get Life Insurance While Overweight?

There are many reasons to work on getting fitter through nutrition and exercise. It improves your health and quality of life. But did you know it can also have an impact on your finances?

Almost every adult should have life insurance. As long as someone is relying on your income (or your contribution to the family), your sudden death can leave them financially bereft. Life insurance gives you the peace of mind that your family will be taken care of.

However, certain factors can cause insurers to hike your premiums or even deny you coverage. Is your weight one of them?

Here’s what you need to know.

Can I get life insurance?

Your first concern will be whether you can get life insurance at all. If you’re looking for a policy, you’ll be considering the various types of life insurance available, including term and whole life insurance. Will you be denied coverage for any of them?

The good news is that weight alone is not a reason for you to be denied life insurance coverage. Whether you are slightly overweight or are diagnosed with obesity, insurance companies will still cover you for any kind of life insurance.

This is as long as no other conditions put you at significantly higher risk. Certain chronic illnesses, including diabetes and heart conditions, are riskier for people who are overweight or obese. Depending on your circumstances, insurance companies may deny you life insurance if you are considered exceptionally high risk based on these factors.

Will my weight affect my premiums?

Insurers are unlikely to deny you life insurance coverage based solely on your weight. However, that does not mean your weight won’t affect you during this process. On the contrary, if you are overweight or obese, your premiums are likely to be higher.

The extent of the price difference will depend on how many pounds overweight you are considered as well as your age. Any other health conditions will also play a part.

Who is considered overweight?

You may ask who decides whether or not you are overweight. This may seem like a somewhat arbitrary term that is subjective. The reality is this is partly true. There is no perfect way to define overweight or obese.

Currently, insurers use the CDC’s definition. The CDC calculates these terms based on Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is essentially the ratio of your height and your weight. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy by the CDC. Between 24.9 and 30 is considered overweight. Anything over 30 is considered obese.

BMI is far from perfect. It doesn’t consider body type, musculature, bone density, and a range of other factors. Nonetheless, it is the calculation that all insurers currently use. Hopefully, the CDC will soon reassess how they determine a healthy weight.

What if I lose weight?

If you have life insurance and lose weight, you can reapply for coverage. However, you may have to wait a significant amount of time, as your insurer will want to verify that you can sustain your lower weight.

If you lose weight via a gastric bypass procedure, you are unlikely to get cheaper coverage by reapplying. In fact, you are more likely to get higher rates due to the potential risks associated with this procedure.

The same is often true of unintentional weight loss. Unintentional weight loss may be caused by physical or mental illness. As such, insurers may consider you at higher risk than before you lost weight.

You can still get life insurance when you are considered overweight or obese. You will likely pay higher premiums but will not be denied coverage.

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