How Does Weight Affect Your Life Insurance Rate?
If you are overweight, underweight, or want to ensure you don’t miss out on the best life insurance rates, read this.
Obesity is a major concern in the U.S., and statistics show how much weight affects overall health.
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Life Insurance Weight Overview
Did you know that each life insurer has its height and weight criteria to determine your life insurance rate?
It’s true, and this guide gives you the information you need to get your best underwriting outcome.
We know the guidelines and will show you the best life insurance companies based on your build.
Life Insurance Weight Charts
Life insurance companies publish build charts in the underwriting guidelines made available to insurance agents.
While many companies still use height/weight charts, more companies have begun switching to BMI charts.
Whether a height/weight chart or BMI chart is used,
Carriers will indicate preferred best, standard plus, and standard rate limits.
You’ll receive the above information with your quotes.
If you are applying for 500K life insurance with no medical exam, we’ll ensure you have the correct information, as underwriting rules may vary.
If you are applying through niche programs like Costco Life or the AICPA group life insurance plans, check the build criteria, as it is usually more strict than the individual market.
Many life insurers have recently changed from height/weight charts to BMI weight charts.
Some life insurance companies now publish both height/weight guidelines and BMI guidelines.
Other companies stopped publishing guidelines and now use an overall approach to build that generates excellent offers.
We’ll tell you the weight cutoffs before you apply to any company.
Here are a few things you should know about build charts:
- The best rate classes are strict, rarely allowing 1 pound over the cutoff.
- Standard rates are lenient, especially if you have no other health issues.
- Table ratings may apply if your build exceeds the “standard” cut-off.
- Some companies offer more lenient cutoffs for ages 60+.
- There are female, male, and unisex build charts depending on the company.
We’ll check the guides for you and your spouse to ensure you get the best deal. If you’re a senior, most companies offer more liberal guidelines.
Underwriting may be more aggressive if the type of life insurance you choose is universal or whole life vs. term life insurance.
How Weight Loss Affects Life Insurance
If you’ve lost more than 10 pounds in the past 12 months, don’t rush out and apply for life insurance just yet.
Most life insurers average your weight from your medical records and paramed exam when there is a gain/loss of more than 10 pounds.
Did you change your diet and exercise habits, or did you have an illness that caused weight loss?
The paramedical examiner will weigh you and ask about your weight history.
If the weight loss/gain is due to improvements in health, it’s not a big deal.
We can push for the best rates based on your current weight.
Underwriters become concerned when there is an unexplained weight loss that was unintentional.
If your weight has improved since first buying your term policy, converting your term policy may not be the best option. We can ask for reconsideration or apply to a new company for a better rate.
Denied Life Insurance Due to Weight?
If you’ve been denied life insurance due to weight, we can help.
The first thing to do is to find out the exact reason for the life insurance company’s denial.
Was it just your build, or were there other factors involved?
A quick way to check is to request a copy of your MIB file, which will indicate what was reported by the company that declined.
You’ll find additional info later on regarding overweight and underweight factors.
We have the underwriting guidelines for many companies, including table rating charts for overweight people.
Overweight and Underweight Tips
When you’re overweight, we look for positive factors that we can use to benefit you.
Positive factors that improve underwriting include:
- Recent cardiac workup (past 12 months) with favorable results.
- Controlled blood pressure
- Well-controlled cholesterol levels
- Recent weight loss.
- Consistent exercise regimen
- Routine physicals
- Preventative screenings for cancer and heart disease
- Discontinuing Tobacco Use – Cigarettes, Cigars, Marijuana, Chewing Tobacco, etc.
We use positive factors to offset any negatives.
If you have high-risk medical conditions, underwriting will factor in those conditions with your build.
Negative factors that affect underwriting:
- Heart problems such as a heart attack, abnormal EKG, etc.
- Endocrine disorders such as diabetes.
- Respiratory problems such as asthma.
Life insurance companies that have higher weight cutoffs include Prudential and John Hancock.
When you’re underweight, it creates underwriting challenges similar to or greater than for people who are overweight.
Underwriters look for indicators of an eating disorder.
Companies are also concerned about conditions such as cancer or hyperthyroid conditions.
Your medical records must show stable weight and no concerns for the above conditions.
Weight Chart Underwriting Tips
The paramedical examiner will bring a scale and weigh you (with your clothes on) as part of the paramed.
Ensure you wear light clothing if you are close to the cutoff limits.
The following tips will help you find the best companies based on your build.
Companies such as Principal offer healthy lifestyle credits that may get you a better rate class with your positive factors.
Some underwriting tips that are helpful to know include:
Unisex Build Charts – Some companies use male and female charts, while a few use unisex charts.
A unisex chart usually provides an advantage for female clients who don’t meet the female guidelines.
Older Age Guidelines – Some companies have build charts for under age 65 vs. over age 65 that may be helpful to you.
Crediting Programs – Some companies offer more favorable underwriting if you buy permanent life insurance vs. a term life insurance policy.
Other companies look at all factors and may improve your offer by one rate class if your build is the only issue.
The most crucial factor is getting to the right life insurance company based on height and weight.
Our underwriting service will match you to the best company based on your personal history, ensuring you get the amount of life insurance you need at the best rate.
There’s never any pressure or obligation with our service. If you need to learn how the overall process works, our life insurance 101 guide will help.
Please take a few minutes to submit your quote request today.
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Michael J. Horbal
Owner of RiskQuoter
Too many people overpay for life insurance because they have the wrong life insurance company, agent, or both. That’s why I started RiskQuoter – To help you get the best life insurance rates available.
As an independent insurance agent, I’m licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and offer 40+ life insurance companies to ensure you get your best rate!
By Michael Horbal – Updated on 01/28/2023