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Life Insurance For Overweight People

Last modified: Jul 25, 2023

Life insurance rates for overweight and obese people are typically higher since insurance providers consider your weight while setting premiums. The more you weigh, the more you’ll have to pay for your coverage. Many people find this system flawed, while others find it confusing.

To mitigate any confusion or misunderstandings, we have come up with detailed information on life insurance for overweight people.

We’ll discuss the following topics:

  • How does weight impact insurance rates?
  • Typical weight-related health issues
  • Why does BMI matter?
  • The effect of weight loss on life insurance rates
  • How do insurance companies verify your weight?
  • What are the consequences of lying about your weight?

After reading this article, you’ll better understand the link between obesity and life insurance and how you should approach life insurance if you are overweight.

How Your Weight Impacts Life Insurance Rates

Life insurance companies see your weight as an overall indicator of your health. Your weight helps them determine how much risk they are taking when they insure you. Moreover, it allows them to estimate your insurance rates.

The more you weigh or the more overweight you are, the higher your insurance rates will be. This rule applies to everyone; however, there are subtle differences between insurance rates for men and women. Typically, life insurance for overweight males has higher premiums than life insurance for overweight females.

While many states have adopted gender-neutral identification on most documentation, only a handful of them have laws enforcing gender-neutral insurance rates. 

Your weight is a major factor because it identifies your place on the body mass index (BMI) scale. This metric indicates your body fat based on your height and weight. However, weight is not the only thing taken into account, and many other factors like age, health risks, job, etc., are also considered.

Insurance providers charge your insurance rates according to weight because there is a strong correlation between obesity and health risks. These health risks increase the chances of mortality. Therefore, it affects the insurance company. Naturally, insurers want to avert this risk while your life insurance policy is active.

Typical Weight-Related Health Issues

Life insurance and BMI go hand-in-hand because of the risks involved. Many health organizations and institutes, including the CDC, strongly believe that there is a link between high BMI and the likelihood of developing serious health conditions.

The most typical of these health conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gallbladder disease

Remember that if you have a history of these health conditions or are currently experiencing them, your insurance rates will reflect that. So, if you were wondering, “Does diabetes affect life insurance?” the answer is, “Yes, it does.” 

Why Do Life Insurance Companies Have BMI Requirements?

Life insurance companies set the quotes based on how risky they think you are. They assess the risk of the applicant passing away during the term of their life insurance policy.

Similar to health insurance companies, life insurance providers consider weight as an overall indicator of health. The BMI scale helps them estimate how much your policy will cost. However, it doesn’t set the final life insurance price.

The accuracy of this system is up for debate because the BMI scale does not consider other important things known to have a direct link to your health like:

  • Muscle mass
  • Bone density
  • Genetics (family history of health)

So, a person could be strong and fit with healthy muscle mass and bone density and still have a high BMI. In this case, you need to notify the insurance company, so they can check whether you qualify for better insurance rates.

One thing to note here is that your weight and BMI are not the only factors taken into account. The insurance company will also assess your age, existing health conditions, and other relevant information. In addition, insurance providers have their own build charts that correlate to the BMI scale, and these charts also consider additional factors.

The implementation of such charts is a good thing because typical build charts are slightly less strict than the BMI scale when determining obesity. These build charts are very similar to the ones used to analyze health insurance for overweight applicants.

How to Get the Best Life Insurance Rates if You’re Overweight

Your health is the main thing that impacts your insurance rates, and weight is not the only marker for health. Besides weight, many other things can reduce your insurance rates, like your age, no-smoker status, and no drug addictions.

While you can’t argue with the age factor, you can get rid of your smoking habits and drug addictions. Even if that takes some time, it will improve your insurance quotes. However, losing weight and lowering your BMI score might be the best method to lower your insurance price.

Moreover, different insurance providers have different rules and policies, which means you might be considered overweight by one provider but not by another. You should search for the ones that give you the best insurance rates and coverage according to your needs.

We recommend doing some research in this respect and comparing providers; however, being healthy is a great way to get the best quotes, no matter which insurance provider you choose.

Impact of Weight Loss on Life Insurance Rates

The BMI and build chart system make many people think they should first lose weight and then apply for a life insurance policy. While this strategy may often work in your favor, especially if you were previously obese, it’s not the best solution for several reasons.

Firstly, you shouldn’t wait to get life insurance; the longer you wait, the longer your family stays unprotected. Secondly, insurance rates increase as you age. Thirdly, you never know what health situations might occur while you’re losing weight for a life insurance policy.

The best strategy with life insurance for overweight people is to get it as soon as possible and then lose weight. Once you lose weight, you can reapply for better insurance rates. 

Surely, the process is still not that simple because life insurance companies want to see stability in your weight loss. The insurance company will check your weight history, and if your weight fluctuates often, they will take that into account before reducing your insurance rates. Typically, they require you to maintain your weight for a year before agreeing to lower your insurance rates according to your new weight.

The best life insurance for obese applicants is the one that provides better rates. However, know that sometimes, obese applicants are denied life insurance altogether. This often has little to do with their obesity but rather with other factors.

Being denied life insurance due to weight is not that common. But if that happens, always get it in writing for legal purposes. Moreover, look for another life insurance provider. Based on the underwriting department, each company has its set of rules, and just because one has denied you coverage does not mean others will too. 

How Does the Life Insurer Know Your Weight?

Depending on the policy type, some insurers might gather information regarding your full medical history, including your weight. For example, it’s applicable for full underwriting insurance.

For this insurance, the underwriting process is rigorous, and applicants are asked to fill out lengthy application forms, provide physician statements, and take a medical exam. Moreover, insurance companies may check prescription history, motor vehicle reports, and public and medical records. If available, they often check insurance records to verify information about the customers’ health.

On the other hand, applicants can also opt for less stringent underwritten insurance, like simplified issue or guaranteed issue. Here, there is no medical exam required. Plus, the underwriting process is much quicker, and the issuance of life insurance for the obese may take only a couple of hours (or up to a few weeks in some cases). 

The most important sources of information for life insurance companies are electronic health records, previous life insurance applications, and pharmaceutical databases. In addition, they may also check your financial statements to verify your financial condition if you apply for insurance above a certain amount. 

So, if you apply for full underwriting insurance, life insurance companies are gonna be aware of your weight history. 

Lying About Your Weight on a Life Insurance Application

Life and health insurance for obese adults are quite expensive, providing a strong motive to lie about current weight or obesity. No matter how tempted you’re to save costs, lying about your weight, age, or health conditions on an insurance form is considered insurance fraud.

There are serious consequences for lying, which vary depending on the severity of the lie. For instance, life insurance companies hold the right to decline coverage completely if you are caught lying during the application process.

Such incidents are then logged on to the applicants’ permanent insurance records for all insurance companies to see. This information-sharing protocol makes it more difficult for you to get insurance from other providers.

If the lie is minor and does not affect the policy too much, there is a chance your coverage may be approved. However, you will pay much higher premiums or get much lower coverage from your policy.

If an applicant passes away and the life insurance company discovers a lie within the first two years of the policy’s duration, they may opt to terminate the coverage completely. The insurance provider may choose not to pay any death benefits to your beneficiaries. Or they may pay a much lower death benefit, but only after calculating the amount of coverage your premiums would have purchased if you had been truthful from the start.

Stringent underwritten policies of life insurance for the obese require filling out many forms and answering plenty of questions regarding your medical history. If you make genuine mistakes or educated guesses on the forms because you cannot remember things from a decade ago, it typically will not result in consequences.

Insurance fraud occurs when the applicant intentionally lies about weight or other things because it benefits their insurance rates or coverage.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the price of life insurance for overweight and obese applicants is not the same for underweight individuals. However, it doesn’t mean it’s not affordable. You just may have to look around for better rates and coverage, and you may want to lose weight and maintain it for better insurance options. 

In addition, you shouldn’t lie on insurance forms. No matter how hard you try, if your underwritten process is stringent, insurance companies will find out all they need to know about your weight and health. Instead of cheating the system or trying to outsmart it, stick to improving your insurance rates using the right ways. 

The methods used to calculate mortality risk and insurance rates are not perfect. However, they are present for a reason, and they will likely remain the same.

To summarize, the best life insurance for overweight applicants is the one with an easier underwritten process, like simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance, which obese applicants can get easily.

If you want to learn more about life insurance for obese or overweight applicants, please visit our website today.


Can you get life insurance if you are obese?

Yes, you can get life insurance if you are obese. However, you may have to shop around and look for better rates and coverage. Insurance shopping should not be a problem because there are plenty of life insurance companies out there with different rules and policies.

Does BMI affect life insurance?

Yes, your BMI score can affect your life insurance. Life insurance companies have their own build charts that correlate to the BMI scale. If you have a higher BMI value, you will be classified higher on the company’s build chart, which will likely increase your insurance rates. However, typical build charts have slightly better grading for obesity than the standard BMI scale. Hence, you may be overweight or obese according to your BMI and still pass a build chart.

Can you be denied health insurance because of weight?

Yes, it is possible to be denied health insurance because of weight, but it is not common. Often, denied health insurance has more to do with a whole host of other factors rather than your weight. It may be because of health issues, age, and many other factors. However, if you are denied health insurance because of weight, you may want to opt for a less stringent underwritten insurance policy from the same provider or look for another one. There are plenty of health insurance companies with different rules and policies. If one provider has denied your insurance, others might gladly issue you one.

Which life insurance policy is best for overweight people?

The best life insurance policy for overweight people is the one that has a less stringent underwriting process. Such policies simplify the issuance, only requiring you to answer a handful of questions. Moreover, there is no medical exam. One of the best such options is guaranteed issue life insurance, which you cannot be turned down for.  At the same time, you should know that this is the most expensive life insurance policy because of the little information required to issue it.

Do I have to tell my insurance provider that I am overweight?

Yes, in a manner of speaking. You do not have to tell the insurance provider that you are overweight. Still, you have to be honest about your weight, height, and other health details. Whether they consider you overweight or not depends on their unique build chart and underwriting process. Often, one provider may consider you to be overweight while another one may not. A good way to judge this is to check your BMI. If the BMI scale shows you are overweight, there is a high chance that your life insurance provider will consider you overweight as well.

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