Life Insurance For the Overweight

Are you overweight? Are you otherwise healthy? You still might have a hard time buying life insurance. Even if you're not obese, there are some cases in which you'll have to pay more for life insurance.

In most instances, the heavier you are, the more you'll pay.

Along with age, medical history and lifestyle, life insurance companies take your "build" into consideration on your application. "Build" is your weight relative to your height. Life insurers use standard tables that combine weight and height in a chart to help determine what kind of risk you pose.

The more you weigh in relation to your height, the more potential you have for health problems. That's what the statistics say. Insurers will combine their unique claims history with those statistics to come up with their risk factor for you as a client.

The ideal life insurance customer is someone who is expected to live a long, healthy life. That means that the risk you pose to the insurer is low. Statistics consistently show overweight people pose increased insurance risks, because they are likely to develop health problems as they grow older.

At the same time, the average American waistline is getting bigger. Obesity is considered a silent epidemic. Weight related diseases like diabetes are also increasing at very high rates. Increases are evident regardless of sex, age, race and educational status. Since diabetes increases your risk of an earlier death, an overweight person poses a higher risk to insurers.

If you're just a little overweight, say about 10 pounds, you might see no difference in the life insurance rates you are quoted compared to a friend who is 10 pounds lighter and the same height. However, if you're severely overweight, you'd better budget more money for life insurance. Obesity is clinically diagnosed when you are 20 % or more over your ideal weight. At this level, your insurance rates will likely be increased.

A person can be denied life insurance at some companies if the person is morbidly obese even if that person does not have any other health problems. This is definitely something to keep in mind.

Many insurers will charge a hefty premium if you are 30 or more pounds overweight. This is especially true if other health conditions are also present. For that matter, even if you are just moderately overweight, life insurance could still cost more. People who are slightly overweight can be disqualified for a "preferred rate," which is a lower premium that rewards people who are healthy. For example, a person who is 20 to 30 pounds overweight and does not have high blood pressure or diabetes might get a normal rate, but they won't see the preferred rate.

What if you have actually been rejected because of your weight? Well, there are companies who specialize in insuring people with health problems, but you will have to expect to pay more and also get less death benefit. One way some companies insure obese people is by offering a "graded death benefit policy" that pays out different amounts depending on how long you live. In short, the longer you live, the more money your beneficiaries receive. For example, if you die within the first year, your beneficiary might get the premium you paid plus 10 percent interest. If you die within two years, your beneficiary could get 25 percent of the death benefit; in three years, 50 percent; in four years, 75 percent; and in five years, the full 100 percent.

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