Heidi works with top-rated life insurance carriers to bring her clients the highest quality protection at the most competitive prices. She is a wife, mom, and former school teacher, specializing in helping families. As parents, it's our responsibility to ensure our family is financially sound, regardless of what life brings. Her goal is to make the process of obtaining life insurance as simp...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2021

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  • More than one in three adults are considered to be overweight.
  • More than two in three adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity.
  • More than one in three adults are considered to have obesity.

Protecting your family with life insurance is one of the smartest investments you can make. It means your family’s financial future is safe, regardless of what life brings. Overweight life insurance may seem out of reach, but read on to learn how obtainable it can be.

Life insurance is not fun to think about, but knowing your family will be safe and protected when the time comes is worth the stress of shopping for it. Hopefully, our guide takes some of that stress away.

And, here’s some good news: you can secure life insurance even if you’re overweight or obese. It would be known as high-risk insurance and, while it costs more, it is attainable.

Before we delve into specifics on life insurance for obese/overweight individuals, be sure to type your ZIP code into our free tool above to find affordable overweight life insurance quotes in your area.

Obesity

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • More than one in three adults are considered to be overweight.
  • More than two in three adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity.
  • More than one in three adults are considered to have obesity.
  • About one in 13 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.

It’s incredibly common to be overweight.

Ted Ed, an educational division of Ted Talks, put together a quick informative video on the topic. The five-minute video explains what it means to be overweight or obese and just how prevalent it is:

Bottom Line: You’re not alone and the best time to find life insurance quotes online is now.*

*If, down the road, you lose weight, it’s always possible to reapply for better rates with a life insurance company. However, there’s no better time than today to financially protect your loved ones.

To get the best life insurance rates when you are overweight (or obese), there are two things you need to read:

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Five Things To Know About Weight And Life Insurance

chart with 5 things to know about weight and life insurance

There are five things to know about how your weight relates to life insurance:

Height/Weight Ratio

There’s a measurement called the Body Mass Index (BMI) that most life insurance companies use during underwriting (the process of assessing a person’s risk for life insurance). You’ve likely heard of BMI before.

Essentially, the BMI is the ratio of your height and weight. The Mayo Clinic has an excellent BMI calculator that includes your age and gender: page that above link takes you to. BMI calculator

Often, life insurance companies use height/weight guidelines based on the BMI’s ranges for underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese life insurance and general classifications.

Each carrier uses its own weight guidelines to determine BMI life insurance rates. Let’s look at some overweight life insurance table ratings for various heights and weights. Think of it as a play on the MetLife height weight chart.

Here’s a general example for preferred and standard rates: height/weight chart for life insurance

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Keep in mind that you can also qualify for life insurance if you weigh more than the limits listed. Some life insurance carriers offer more generous limits.

Or, you can purchase life insurance with a Rated Approval – meaning you still qualify for life insurance, but you will pay a surcharge on your premium payments.

Here’s a general example of table rates:substandard height/weight chart for life insurance

What This Means: Table Rates allow you to still qualify for traditional life insurance. However, you will pay a surcharge on your premiums (the amount you pay for life insurance).

Surcharge you can expect to pay:

      1. Table 1 (A): +25 percent
      2. Table 2 (B): +50 percent
      3. Table 3 (C): +75 percent
      4. Table 4 (D) +100 percent
      5. Table 5 (E) +125 percent
      6. Table 6 (F) +150 percent
      7. Table 7 (G) +175 percent
      8. Table 8 (H) +200 percent

Bottom Line: Life insurance companies have different weight limits. A decline with one company could be an improvement with another.

Health Complications

Obesity is often associated with health complications. If you experience a negative health consequence as a result of your weight, life insurance companies will want to know about it.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), health risks of being overweight include:

    1. Type 2 diabetes
    2. High blood pressure
    3. Heart disease or stroke
    4. Certain types of cancer
    5. Sleep apnea
    6. Osteoarthritis
    7. Fatty liver disease
    8. Kidney disease
    9. Pregnancy problems

If you experience a health complication(s), you’re not alone. Life insurance underwriters may order your medical records and ask clarifying questions about your health during the interview process.

Age

Your date of birth is taken into account when considering your BMI.

Here’s Why: If you are elderly and have a low BMI, it could be an indication of frailty, not fitness.

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Gender

Most life insurance carriers have separate life insurance weight charts for males and females.

Here’s Why: At a genetic level, males and females have different body frames. Of course, there are exceptions, but, generally speaking, males tend to have a larger body frame and weigh more.

Most weight charts allow for a few more pounds for males than females (sorry, ladies!).

Note: There are a handful of life insurance carriers that have unisex weight charts – often an advantage for females who are over the weight limits for traditional male/female height/weight charts because they tend to accept higher weights.

Build

If you are working with an expert life insurance agent, your build can easily be communicated to the life insurance company during the application process.

Cover Letter attached to applications is commonplace and additional information about the applicant is explained.

Let’s look at an example: Joey competes in Crossfit competitions. He is 5’9″ and weighs 227 lb. That’s outside the Standard limits for life insurance approval.

However, his body fat percentage is 7 percent, far below the average body fat percentage for males. His life insurance agent explains his weight and body fat details in a Cover Letter included with his life insurance application.

The underwriter has a better understanding of the applicant and makes an exception.

How To Apply For Life Insurance If You’re Overweight

We’re now going to go through the step for applying for life insurance.

Decide How Much Life Insurance You Need

Generally, agents will recommend you purchase at least 10 times the amount of your annual income in life insurance. The length (i.e. 10, 20 years) of your term policy should be as long as your financial needs will last.

Yet, it’s not always that simple. To make a wise decision, it helps to plan for the following:

  • Your funeral expenses
  • How long until your loved ones have finished college or are living independently
  • Outstanding debt (mortgage, loans, etc.)
  • Your living costs
  • Future needs (college tuition)
  • Family business costs

In Other Words: ask yourself three basic questions:

  1. How much debt do I have?
  2. How much money do I spend every month?
  3. What are my long-term financial goals?

If your life insurance proceeds can handle those three questions, give yourself a pat on the back.

Work With An Independent Agent

Not all life insurance carriers view weight in the same light. That’s why it’s essential to partner with an independent life insurance agent who has experience in helping clients who are overweight find high-quality life insurance at a competitive price.

Independent agents are not held captive to a particular carrier and have your best interest at heart. Hopefully, we have answered all of your questions on life insurance for overweight people and life insurance weight limits.

Ready to buy overweight life insurance? Type your ZIP code into our free and helpful tool below to find overweight life insurance rates in your area. You will receive multiple quotes from multiple carriers to find the best policy for you.