How Does Weight Affect Your Life Insurance Rate?

If you are overweight, underweight, or just want to make sure you don’t miss out on the best life insurance rates, read this.

Life Insurance Weight Overview

Did you know that each life insurer has its own height and weight criteria used 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 individual 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 the use of BMI charts.

Whether a height/weight chart or BMI chart is used,

Carriers will indicate the limits for the preferred best, preferred, standard plus, and standard rates.

You’ll receive the above information with your quotes.

BMI Calculator

Many life insurers have changed from height/weight charts to BMI weight charts recently.

We created the following BMI calculator to help you convert your build to BMI.

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 great offers.

We’ll tell you the weight cutoffs before you apply to any company.

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 is greater than the “standard” cutoff.
  • Some companies offer more lenient cutoffs for ages 60+.
  • There are female, male, and unisex build charts depending on the company.

Underwriting may be more aggressive if the type of life insurance you choose is universal 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 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 will also 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.

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?

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 people who are overweight.

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

We use positive factors to offset any negatives.

If you have any of the following 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.

Underwriting Guidelines

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.

It’s important that your medical records 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.

Make sure 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 individual 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 our 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 important factor is getting to the right life insurance company based on your height and weight.

With our underwriting service, we’ll match you to the best company based on your individual history.

There’s never any pressure or obligation with our service.

Please take a few minutes to submit your quote request today.

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