Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims 93.3 Million Americans are considered obese, equating to nearly 40% of the entire U.S. adult population.
Struggles with maintaining a healthy weight touches both genders and every age. This fact includes Americans aged 40 to 59 (42% obese), as well as those aged 60 and older (41% obese).
If you are over the age of 50 and looking for life insurance quotes, you’ll need to understand how your height-to-weight ratio makes a difference
Life insurers will want to know your height and weight and then compare your answer to their underwriting guidelines.
Now don’t get us wrong, having a healthy weight or low Body Mass Index (BMI) is important for good health. Plus it will definitely help keep your life insurance premiums low.
However, the reality of today’s society is being overweight or obese is extremely common.
So it’s pretty safe to say, you will be able to secure a good quality, affordable 50+ life insurance plan.
Generally speaking, overweight people with a BMI as high as 26 to 28 tend to secure a Standard Rating with average rates.
There are a few different things to consider when applying for over 50 life insurance as an overweight individual.
We’ve put together some about what to expect when you make the loving decision to buy life insurance protection for you and your family.
Check it out….
How Does Being Overweight Affect Life Insurance Ratings?
Insurance carriers rely on build charts (similar to BMI calculations) to evaluate applicants and determine the correct rating category.
Remember, the higher the rating then the lower the premium.
In our experience, typical outcomes for life insurance ratings are as follows.
Preferred Plus Rating: This level is meant only for the best of the best applicants. If you qualify for this rating then you will pay the cheapest rates the insurance company offers.
This rating isn’t easy to get because it’s meant for individuals in amazing physical shape, as well as an excellent family health history.
Also, people that secure this rating normally DO NOT drink much alcohol or smoke, take drugs, or participate in any high risk activities.
Also, if you are overweight do not expect to qualify for a Preferred Plus Rating.
Preferred Rating: People with a minor medical issue or a family health history of mild, controlled conditions may secure this category…even if they are a little overweight.
A Preferred Rating offers slightly better rates than the average applicant receives.
Standard Rating: This is considered the average rating and comes along with the average cost for a policy.
Substandard Table Rating (Table 1 or below): It is possible to receive a Substandard Table Rating strictly based on your weight.
If you do receive a Table Rating, it means your life insurance cost will be at least 25% higher than the average price.
Decline: Life insurers can decline an applicant for coverage strictly based on being overweight.
If you are overweight it’s important to apply with one of the companies that is more lenient when it comes your build.
Weight Requirement Examples
We’ve put together examples of height-to-weight requirements from the build chart of a popular life insurer.
Be aware, this insurance company does tend to be a bit more forgiving than most when it comes to their weight guidelines.
For applicants aged 45 - 64
|5'5" Female||5'9" Male|
|Substandard (2-12)||240 - 291||270 - 328|
For applicants aged 65 & up
|5'5" Female||5'9" Male|
|Substandard (Tables 2 - 12)||240 - 291||270 - 328|
As you can see from the chart if you are a 5’5 woman, as an example, and weigh more than 291 pounds you would be declined for life insurance with this company.
On the other side of the coin a 5’5 woman can weigh up to 180lbs, and if she’s 65 or older can still be approved for the best rate class. Of course this assumes your medical history, driving record, and everything else look good as well.
Life Insurance Applications for Overweight Individuals
In addition to asking for your actual weight, the life insurer will also want you to answer a few questions.
All of your answers will give the carrier a better perspective on how being overweight has (or may) negatively impact the length of your life.
After all, U.S. Health and Human Services confirms being overweight tends to increase your chances of getting the following health problems:
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Certain types of cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Heart disease and strokes
- Fatty liver disease
Unfortunately, these types of sicknesses do increase your mortality risk.
So you can understand why life insurers are more cautious of overweight applicants, especially those that already have a pre-existing medical condition.
Common Questions for Overweight Applicants
If you do have a history of weight issues, whether being overweight or underweight, the life insurance company will most likely ask you some of the questions below.
- Have you gained or lost any weight in the past 12 months?
- If so, how much weight did you gain or lose during that time?
- Why did your weight change?
- If you are currently overweight or obese, does this impact your mobility?
- Did you have Gastric Bypass Surgery?
- How long have you maintained your current weight?
- Do you have any chronic medical conditions or impairments?
We’ve put together a few insider tips so you can better understand how matters regarding weight are evaluated.
Read on for the inside scoop….
Pro Tip: You Recently Lost Weight
Scenario #1: If you unintentionally lost more than 10lbs. this year, the insurer will want to know the reason for your sudden weight loss.
Why? Well, the carrier will be concerned that you may have an undiagnosed medical issue causing the weight loss.
Scenario #2: If you had elective Gastric Bypass Surgery to quickly lose weight, the life insurer won’t be as worried about you losing more than 10lbs in a short time.
Insurance companies will instead look closer at your Gastric Bypass procedure and rate accordingly.
Scenario #3: If you recently lost weight by changing your lifestyle, the life insurer will not give you “full credit” for doing so.
For example, if you weigh 230 lbs now but you weighed 280 lbs six months ago, the carrier will not give you “full credit” for the 50 lbs lost.
Instead most insurance companies will give you a “half credit”.
This means when they compare your stats to the weight guideline chart, they will calculate your current weight as 255 lbs.
Why? The insurance company wants to be sure you will keep the pounds off permanently.
After you pass the 1 year mark, we can apply for a rate reduction and confirm that you are sticking to your lower weight.
This could lead to your premiums being lowered.
Pro Tip: Unisex Height and Weight Guidelines
Most life insurers have separate height and weight charts for each gender. However, some carriers have begun working with unisex charts.
Overweight females often benefit from a unisex height and weight chart. This is because unisex standards are not as strict as the female charts.
So if a woman is overweight then she may get a better rating from a carrier that does rely on a unisex guideline.
Pro Tip: Applicants Over 60 Get Different Guidelines
Some life insurers use more lenient height and weight charts for applicants aged 60 and older.
The theory seems to be that even thin individuals at an advanced age are subject to various health conditions. So, at a certain point, being overweight really becomes less of an issue.
The use of a more forgiving weight chart could mean more affordable rates for you.
Pro Tip: Fit & Active Applicants with High BMIs
Maybe you have dedicated your life to fitness and maintaining a healthy physique. Despite doing so, you could still have a high BMI.
Many athletes and workout enthusiasts of all ages run into this when they apply for life insurance.
We can assure you life insurers often make exceptions to their standard guidelines for people such as yourself.
Instead the insurance company will want to know your chest-to-waist measurement.
If your chest is bigger than your waist and your body fat is low, you could possibly earn credits to improve your rating.
Give Us a Call Right Away
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 13 percent of the world’s overweight and obese population lives in the United States.
This is interesting when you consider Americans only account for a mere 5% of the total world’s population.
For better or worse, being overweight in America is more common than ever before.
Life insurance carriers understand this fact and are not put off when applicants reveal they are overweight or obese.
Of course, it’s always best to shop around and find the carrier that will look at you in the most positive light possible.
We can help! We can find you the life insurer that meets your needs and then assist you in securing a great 50+ life insurance plan.
Give our office a call today. Or start a FREE over 50 life insurance quote now!