If you’re packing on a few extra pounds or even more than just a few, you’re in good company.
In this blog post, I’ll cover how being overweight or obese can affect your life insurance rates.
In another article, I wrote about understanding life insurance health ratings, and I’ll give a quick recap here. When you apply for life insurance, you are typically eligible for one of four possible health ratings – Preferred Plus, Preferred, Standard Plus, and Standard.
Life Insurance Premiums and Being Overweight
As you can imagine, someone who gets approved at Preferred Plus gets better pricing than someone applying for the same coverage who gets approved at Standard.
There are several factors that determine which health rating you will get.
Factors include any pre-existing health conditions, your blood pressure, cholesterol, height & weight, as well as family medical history are just a few.
Assuming that someone is otherwise very healthy, let’s take an example of a male and a female and see where you would fit in based on your height & weight in terms of health rating.
Life Insurance for Overweight Ratings
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 42% of Americans over age 20 are obese, while 73% are considered overweight or obese.
The average male is about 5’9.
As a 5’9 male, you could be:
- 190lbs or less, and get a Preferred Plus rate
- 210lbs or less, and get a Preferred rate
- 220lbs or less, and get a Standard Plus rate
- 230lbs or less, and get a Standard rate
The average female is about 5’4.
As a 5’4 female, she could be:
- 145lbs or less, and get a Preferred Plus rate
- 180lbs or less, and get a Preferred rate
- 188lbs or less, and get a Standard Plus rate
- 195lbs or less, and get a Standard rate
What happens if you are obese and don’t fit into one of these categories?
You can still get approved for life insurance, however, you will be paying higher rates – also called “Sub-Standard rates”.
These are either numbered from 1 to 8, or from letter A to H and are reserved for those that don’t qualify for regular Standard rates but can still get approved for coverage.
If your weight doesn’t qualify at Standard pricing or better, you may be able to get approved, but at a higher substandard rate.
Let’s go back to our example of the 5’9 male.
Once he weighs over 230lbs he can not qualify for Standard (also called regular) pricing anymore.
Let’s say he is 259lbs – in this case, he would qualify for a Sub-standard Table 2 rating, paying about 25% higher rates than at Standard Pricing.
Our 5’9 male, could probably still get approved up to about 330lbs or so – assuming he is generally in good health – although, at 330lbs, he would be facing much higher rates for coverage.
High-Risk Life Insurance for Obese
What if our 5’9 male was over 330lbs?
In this case, it is unlikely that he could get approved for a regular life insurance policy.
We would have to look at high-risk life insurance options or buy a policy that would cover him for accidental death only.
With a high-risk policy – or a Graded benefit policy – there would be an initial waiting period before the coverage was in effect.
Even if you’re considered overweight and high-risk, there are plenty of life insurance companies that are going to offer you affordable life insurance coverage.
Each company is going to look at your weight differently,
With a graded benefit policy, there is a two-year period that starts once you purchase the life insurance plan.
If you were to pass away within the first two years after buying the plan, the insurance company isn’t going to give you the payout from the plan.
Obtaining Affordable Life Insurance for Overweight Applicants
You can increase your chances of getting life insurance or getting affordable rates for your protection.
The best way that you can do this by improving your health.
The first things that you should do are start a healthy diet and get regular exercise.
This will give you more energy, and improve your mood, and it can keep some cash in your pocket. Better health means better rates.
If you’re a smoker, it’s time to quick. It doesn’t matter what the rest of your health looks like. There is no way around it. Smoking is expensive.
But if you haven’t kicked the habit yet, we can provide you with the cheapest life insurance for smokers that is available to you.