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Can I still get life insurance if I’m overweight?

Being overweight can increase the cost of life insurance, but you can still get cover.

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You can get life insurance if you're overweight, though you may have to pay a little more for cover. However, if you can prove that you're healthy, you might not have to pay extra. A lot of it depends on your BMI and health records.

Can I get life insurance if I'm overweight or obese?

Yes. If you're considered overweight or obese, you can still get life insurance. However, it might cost you a little more. This is because the more overweight you are, the more likely it is that you'll encounter health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers that can lead to premature death. Life insurers simply ask that you pay more so that they can cover themselves for the added risk of insuring you.

How will my insurer assess my weight?

Insurers will ordinarily ask for your body mass index (BMI). This is an international classification used to work out the health implications of a person's weight compared to their height. You can figure yours out by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metres squared). BMI classifications are as follows:

  • Underweight: < 18.5
  • Healthy weight range: 18.5 – 25
  • Overweight: 25 – 30
  • Obese: >30

How does BMI impact life insurance?

Most insurers have BMI calculation loadings based upon their "build charts", which can vary from insurer to insurer. When calculating your premiums, the underwriter will take into account numerous factors, including your BMI and their "build charts", to calculate your loading charge. Keep in mind that this is not their only consideration. Other important factors include your general health, job, age and the life insurance amount you've applied for.

Generally speaking, the cheaper premiums go to healthy people who are within the healthy BMI weight range. If you're officially classed as overweight but are in fine health, there's a good chance that you've got nothing to worry about. In most cases, there's only a noticeable increase in your premiums if you're classed as obese.

How will my insurer know how much I weigh?

You'll need to fill out your weight and height when you apply for life insurance. If your insurer also requires you to take a medical exam, then they'll be able to find out then as well. Insurers can also request access to your medical records during the underwriting process.

If you lie or don't tell them about your weight, it's the same as not telling them about a pre-existing medical condition, and any claim your family makes once you pass away could be denied.

Can life insurers deny coverage based on weight?

Yes, but it's very rare. Every insurer is a little different, but generally, you would need to be severely obese (this is when your BMI is over 35) and have other health issues before you're likely to be denied. So for instance, a 175cm male would have to weigh 108kg before they were considered severely obese.

If you are denied because of your weight, you're not out of options since there are other ways you may be able to get life insurance:

  • Life insurance through super. When you start a new job and sign up to super, you automatically get life insurance. While it won't provide as comprehensive coverage, it doesn't require any medical exams.
  • Group life insurance. This is when your employer offers life insurance as part of your employment package. It doesn't require a medical exam. Cover isn't usually as large as a policy tailored to you, but it's better than nothing.

Life insurance weight limits

Life insurance weight limits can be broken down into the following.

HeightWeight RangeBMIWeight Class
175cm (′5 9″)56kg or lessBelow 18.5Underweight
56kg to 72kg18.5 to 25Healthy weight
72kg to 91kg25.0 to 30Overweight
92kg or more30 or higherObese
108kg or more35 or higherSeverely Obese

Bottom line

Being overweight may make your life insurance a little more expensive, but it could still be worth having. What's more, if you can lose weight and lower your BMI for a prolonged period of time, you may be able to get your premiums lowered.

Compare Life Insurance in Australia

Name Product Maximum Cover Maximum Entry Age Minimum Cover Terminal Illness Benefit
Real Family Life Cover
$1,000,000
64
$100,000
$1,000,000
Get a refund of 10% of the premiums you've paid (in the first 12 months) with The Real Reward™ .
NobleOak Life Insurance
$15,000,000
69
$50,000
$3,000,000
First month free for NobleOak Life Insurance. T&Cs apply.
AAMI Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$100,000
$1,500,000
Existing AAMI car & home insurance customers or family policies can get a 5% discount.
ahm Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$100,000
$1,500,000
ahm Health members can save 10% off premiums.
Guardian Life Insurance
$1,500,000
64
$100,000
$1,500,000
Zurich Ezicover Life Insurance
$1,500,000
69
$50,000
$1,500,000
Get your first month free. T&Cs apply.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions

Can you have a high BMI but still be considered healthy?

Yes. Most sports players have high BMIs but that's due to muscle mass. BMI, however, can't distinguish between muscle and fat. If you're a powerlifter, take part in sports or simply very athletic, your insurer should take that into account during the underwriting process. If they don't, you can ask them to reassess your premium rates, and to support your claim, you can undergo a medical evaluation. In most cases, it shouldn't come to this. BMI is simply a part of their assessment; they have all your medical records at their disposal. If you're fit and healthy, that should be clear from your records.

Can I lower my life insurance premiums if I lose weight?

Yes. If you can lower your BMI so that you're within a healthy category, and get your doctor to agree that your weight is no longer a health concern, you may be able to get your insurer to lower your premiums.

Can insurers refuse to cover me if I'm obese?

Yes because it's considered a serious health risk. However, you generally need to be severely obese and already have health issues for an application to be denied. If this does happen to you, you can still get covered. Other options include life insurance through super, group life insurance or a provider that specialises in high-risk applicants.

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