Last updated: 21/06/2023 | Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes
Navigating the world of life insurance can be a daunting experience for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for those with a high Body Mass Index (BMI). However, that doesn’t mean that finding life insurance is impossible. In fact, there are many life insurance options for those that are considered to be overweight, obese or have a high BMI.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of life insurance for individuals with a high BMI, helping you to discover the right policy for your needs and understand some of the difficulties you may face along the way.
In This Guide:
- Can You Get Life Insurance with High BMI?
- Understanding BMI
- How a High BMI Affects Life Insurance
- What is the maximum BMI for life insurance?
- Is High BMI Life Insurance the Same as Life Insurance for Overweight or Obese?
- Types of Life Insurance Policies to Consider
- Can You Get Critical Illness Cover with a High BMI?
- Improving Your Chances of Securing Life Insurance
- Discover High BMI Life Insurance Options
Can You Get Life Insurance with High BMI?
The answer is yes, you can get life insurance with a high BMI. While it may be more challenging, it is not impossible. Insurance providers consider a variety of factors when assessing the risk of an applicant, and while BMI is one of these factors, there are still options available for individuals with a high BMI.
Before diving into the specifics of life insurance, it's essential to understand what BMI is and how it's calculated. BMI stands for Body Mass Index, a numerical value derived from your height and weight. It is a widely used tool to estimate body fat and gauge whether an individual has a healthy weight. Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metres) squared.
The following are the standard BMI categories:
- Underweight: BMI below 18.5
- Normal weight: BMI between 18.5 and 24.9
- Overweight: BMI between 25 and 29.9
- Obese: BMI above 30
It's important to note that while BMI can be a useful indicator of overall health, it does not account for factors such as muscle mass or body fat distribution. Consequently, it may not always accurately reflect an individual's overall health status, which is why insurers always consider multiple factors when assessing a person’s eligibility for life insurance.
How a High BMI Affects Life Insurance
Generally, a high BMI is perceived as a risk factor for insurers, as it is often linked to an increased likelihood of health issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. As a result, applicants with a high BMI may face:
Higher premiums: Insurers may charge higher premiums to account for the perceived increased risk.
Limited cover: Some insurers may place restrictions on the amount of cover available to applicants with a high BMI.
Exclusions: Insurers may exclude certain conditions related to obesity, such as diabetes or sleep apnoea, from the policy.
Declined applications: In extreme cases, an insurer may decline to provide cover altogether.
What is the maximum BMI for life insurance?
There is no universal maximum BMI for life insurance, as each insurer has its own underwriting guidelines and risk assessment criteria. The maximum BMI that an insurance company is willing to accept can vary significantly from one provider to another.
Typically, life insurance providers use a rating system based on an applicant's BMI, with higher premiums applied as the BMI increases. As the BMI reaches a certain threshold, usually in the range of 40 to 50, the likelihood of securing standard life insurance cover decreases. However, this threshold is not the same across all insurers.
For individuals with a very high BMI, some insurance companies may decline to offer cover, while others may offer a guaranteed acceptance or guaranteed issue life insurance policy. These policies generally come with higher premiums and lower cover amounts, and often do not require a medical examination or detailed health questionnaire.
Is High BMI Life Insurance the Same as Life Insurance for Overweight or Obese?
Most life insurers will use BMI to determine whether a person is considered overweight or obese. While there is no one particular insurance policy that caters to those with a high BMI, being overweight or obese will be considered in the medical assessment of the policy you choose.
Types of Life Insurance Policies to Consider
There are various types of life insurance policies available to individuals with a high BMI. Some options to consider include:
Term life insurance: This type of policy provides cover for a specified term, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. It pays out a lump sum to your beneficiaries if you pass away during the term. Term life insurance is generally more affordable and may be easier to secure for individuals with a high BMI.
Whole life insurance: Whole life insurance provides lifelong cover and includes an investment component. Premiums are generally higher than term life insurance, but the policy accumulates cash value over time, which can be borrowed against or withdrawn. However, it may be more challenging for those with a high BMI to secure this type of policy.
Over 50s life insurance: This type of policy is specifically designed for individuals over the age of 50, but it also does not require a medical exam or health questionnaire, making it a potential option for individuals with a high BMI. It can be an option for those who have been declined other types of life insurance, though premiums are typically higher and cover amounts can be more limited.
Can You Get Critical Illness Cover with a High BMI?
Yes, it is possible to get critical illness cover with a high BMI, although it is likely to pose some of the same challenges that securing life insurance does. For example, you may have to pay a higher premium to receive critical illness cover or certain illnesses may be excluded from your policy.
Please Note: Not all insurance providers we work with offer all types of policies. Please do your research and compare quotes before proceeding.
Improving Your Chances of Securing Life Insurance
While it’s true that a high BMI or being overweight can make it harder to find a life insurance policy at a reasonable price, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of not only being accepted by an insurer but negotiating better terms as well.
Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle
One of the most effective ways to improve your chances of securing life insurance is by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Making positive changes to your diet, increasing physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight can lead to a lower BMI and better overall health. This can not only improve your insurability but also potentially result in lower premiums and more favourable terms.
Undergoing a Medical Assessment
If you have a high BMI but are otherwise in good health, consider undergoing a private medical assessment before applying for life insurance. A detailed medical evaluation can provide insurers with a more accurate picture of your health, and may help you secure a better policy. Be sure to share any positive test results, such as normal blood pressure or cholesterol levels, with the insurance company, as this information can impact their risk assessment.
If you're a smoker, quitting can have a significant impact on your life insurance premiums. Insurers view smoking as a major risk factor, and quitting can demonstrate your commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Kicking the habit can improve your chances of securing a more favourable life insurance policy and lower your premiums.
Reviewing Your Policy Periodically
As your health and lifestyle change, your life insurance needs may also evolve. It's essential to regularly review your policy and obtain updated quotes to ensure you're getting the best cover for your current situation. If you've made significant improvements to your health, you may qualify for better rates or more comprehensive cover. Remember to inform your insurer of any positive changes, as this information could potentially lead to a policy adjustment or lower premiums.
By focusing on these strategies, you can enhance your chances of securing a suitable life insurance policy, regardless of your BMI. Taking control of your health and being proactive in your approach to life insurance can ultimately result in better cover and financial security for you and your loved ones.
Discover High BMI Life Insurance Options
Securing life insurance with a high BMI may seem challenging, but there are practical steps you can take to improve your chances of obtaining a suitable policy. If you’re concerned about finding the right life insurance for high BMI, get in touch with us here at Money Expert to learn more about your options.