BMI Can Affect Your Life Insurance Premiums

Unfortunately many people fail to associate life insurance quotes with weight and obesity and some find themselves with high life insurance rates, without knowing why they are so high.

Life insurance quotes are based on several factors and the height and weight of an applicant is one of those factors.

Many Insurance companies have now taken a harder line with customers who are classified as overweight obese, and now calculate how much you will have to pay for life cover by your BMI.

Generally speaking if your BMI is 35 or below, in many cases Rate Detective can secure standard rates for clients. BMI's above 35 are on a case by case basis but may attract a loading. 

What is your Risk?

1. Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is the indicator that insurance companies use to measure total body fat, which is related to the risk of disease and death. The score is valid for both men and women but it does have some limits.

The limits are:

  • It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
  • It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass.

In these circumstances insurance companies may make special considerations. 

Use the BMI calculator or table to estimate your total body fat. The BMI score means the following:

BMI Range Classification
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Ideal weight
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 - 39.9 Obese
40 and above very Obese

2. Waist Circumference

Determine your waist circumference by placing a measuring tape snugly around your waist. It is a good indicator of your abdominal fat which is another predictor of your risk for developing risk factors for heart disease and other diseases. This risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.

3. Other Risk Factors

Besides being overweight or obese, there are additional risk factors to consider:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High LDL - cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
  • Low HDL - cholesterol (good cholesterol)
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood glucose (sugar)
  • Family history of premature heart disease
  • Physical inactivity
  • Cigarette smoking

4. Assessment

For insurance purposes a BMI of 35 or above often attracts a loading, but a lower BMI if other health issues exist may also attract a loading. With a BMI of 36, Rate Detective has managed to get standard rates for clients in the past, but it is becoming more difficult as insurance companies are tightening up. 

BMI's above 36 become a negotiation between Rate Detective and the insurance companies on our panel to find the most competitive rate. 

At extreme BMI's 40 and above, sometimes cover is unavailable, but it is on a case by case basis. 

Losing Weight and Life Insurance Premiums

If your BMI was high when you first applied for life insurance, and if your weight comes down to what is considered to be a healthy BMI and you are able to maintain that weight for a period of 12 months, your life insurance premiums may be reduced down to a standard rate.

Get your quotes now

What to find out more? Enquire now

Published on February 2-st, 2010 in Life Insurance
Damon Rasheed is the CEO of Rate Detective, an Australian financial service comparison sites specialising in Life Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and home loans. Damon holds a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne and has been involved in many start-up internet businesses.

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