Obesity and Life Insurance

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Life insurance for high BMI: what you need to know

If you are overweight or obese, you may find that getting life insurance is a stressful and sometimes uncomfortable experience. Insurance providers may request more information about your medical history, for some this may be uncomfortable.

The good news is that if you are overweight or obese, getting life insurance without a significant increase in the cost. However, it is best to be prepared for the process and understand what life insurance providers will ask you.

 

What is a BMI and how does it affect life insurance?

BMI stands for ‘body mass index’, it is a tool that uses your height and weight to determine how healthy you weight is.

The NHS states that if your body mass index is:

  • Below 18.5 you are underweight
  • Between 18.5 and 24.9 you are considered to be a healthy weight
  • Between 25 and 29.9 you are overweight
  • Between 30 and 39.9 you are in the obese bracket
  • Over 40 you are considered morbidly obese

It is important to note that the BMI does not take into account a range of factors, for example muscle is denser than fat - so someone who has a lot of muscle may fall into the obese category. However, life insurance providers will take into account your BMI when you apply for insurance.

 

Can you get life insurance if you are obese?

If you have a high BMI, it is still possible to get life insurance. As with most life insurance, this tends to depend on the insurance provider. 

Most life insurance providers will offer standard rates for people with BMIs up to 30, however, the BMI limit for life insurance can massively vary. Each insurer tends to assess applications on a case-to-case basis; therefore, they are likely to offer different levels of cover and at different prices.

If you are overweight or obese, life insurance providers will ask for further information about your lifestyle and medical history to determine what cover they can provide. This will also be reflected in the cost of your life insurance.

If your BMI is over 40, the NHS considers you to be morbidly obese. While this doesn’t prevent you from getting life insurance, it is likely that your premiums will increase and that there will be fewer life insurance providers willing to give you cover. In this case, it is best to speak to a life insurance expert for support with your options.

 

Why do insurers need to know about BMI?

When you apply for life insurance, you are likely to be asked multiple questions about your lifestyle, medical history and often, your family medical history. Life insurance providers tend to use BMI as one indicator of your health.

This information helps life insurance providers to determine the level of risk associated with your claim, effectively, how likely you are to make a claim. This will also help them to determine the cost of your life insurance.

 

Conditions associated with high BMI and how they can affect life insurance

As insurance providers will often use your BMI as a factor that determines the level of risk associated with your application. If you have a high BMI, they are likely to consider the potential conditions that you are at risk for in the cover that they offer you.

For example, if you are obese, you are at risk of developing conditions that could have implications on both your health and life insurance premiums. These can include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Asthma 
  • Kidney disease or liver disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

When applying for life insurance with a high BMI, it is important that you are accurate in your application and include any additional medical information, such as conditions you have. Failure to disclose this information may affect future claims.

 

What information do you need to provide to insurers if you have a high BMI?

Your BMI is not the only tool that life insurance providers will use to determine what cover they offer you and the cost of your insurance. However, if you do have a BMI, insurance providers may ask you further questions.

While the information required differs for each insurance providers, you can typically expect to be asked for this information in regard to your weight:

  • Your up-to-date BMI (ideally within 6 months)
  • Additional medical conditions that you have
  • Further information about your lifestyle (e.g. if you regularly exercise)
  • Any hospital or doctor visits related to your weight

 

It is also important to note that some insurance providers may decrease your premiums if you do lose weight during your policy. If your BMI changes during your policy, you may be asked to provide medical evidence, such as a GP report.

 

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Support with your high BMI life insurance application 

The prospect of your life insurance premiums increasing due to your BMI can be daunting. Additionally, the cheapest life insurance for overweight people may not always be the most suitable.

One way to navigate the market is to use a life insurance broker. As an independent expert, brokers are able to compare insurance providers and use their specialist knowledge to find suitable cover, without the cost increasing dramatically.

I’m Insured is an independent insurance broker with specialist knowledge in supporting people who may typically struggle to find life insurance. Our team of experts have experience in helping people with a high BMI find the right life insurance. If you’d like support with your application, you can get in touch with us, or you can get a free quote now.

  

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That means you can nominate somebody to look after the money if you die and there’s a payout before you want the intended recipient to get the money. A common example is parents who want to have the payout go to a child only once the child turns 18 or 21. Putting a policy into trust also ensures that the payout goes to your intended recipient and can’t be seized by creditors if you have any debts when you die. There may also be tax benefits to putting a policy into trust.

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