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.
|Height||Weight Range||BMI||Weight Class|
|175cm (′5 9″)||56kg or less||Below 18.5||Underweight|
|56kg to 72kg||18.5 to 25||Healthy weight|
|72kg to 91kg||25.0 to 30||Overweight|
|92kg or more||30 or higher||Obese|
|108kg or more||35 or higher||Severely Obese|
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.
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Frequently asked questions
Can you have a high BMI but still be considered healthy?
Can I lower my life insurance premiums if I lose weight?
Can insurers refuse to cover me if I'm obese?
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