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Transcript for the CuraVision Overweight Insurance video is at the bottom of this page.

Do you have a BMI over 30?

Have your Life Insurance premiums increased because you are considered to be overweight?

Have you been declined Life Insurance because of your weight?

In this video I give a short guide about what to expect if you are overweight and want Life Insurance. We all know that BMI charts are out of date and do not allow for grey areas, such as a person's age or whether they are extremely fit with low percent body fat, and high percent muscle mass. But, insurance providers still use BMI 'normal' ranges as a guide to what your overall health is like.

If you are overweight, Life Insurance can be quite simple to place, a little tricky, or downright bamboozling. It may sound strange, but the type of life insurance policy you can get all depends upon just 'how overweight' you are.

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

BMI is calculated by assessing an individual's height and weight:

BMI metric = weight(kg) / (height(m))²

BMI imperial = (weight(lb) / (height(in))²) * 703

Calculate your BMI

Your BMI will fall into one of the following ranges:

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Overweight (obese) = BMI of 30 or greater

This is quite an outdated form of assessing a person's health, when compared to body fat and muscle mass percentages. Personally, I currently fall into the category of skinny fat person. My BMI is 21 which is really good, but after having my third child last year my body fat percentage is 40 percent. Whilst I am not overweight by any means, I am really not healthy on the inside at the moment, but insurers would look at my BMI and class me as healthy.

It is much simpler for the insurer to set BMI as an indicator of health, instead of body fat percentages, as it's a lot easier to calculate.

How does being overweight affect my Life Insurance?

This really depends upon the insurance provider that you apply to for Life Insurance. It is important to compare the market, regardless of where you fall in the BMI scale. Whilst you may sit within a category where insurers offer standard premiums of Life Insurance for the overweight, it is a good idea to compare not only pricing, but aftercare services too.

In general:

  • Severely underweight, under 17 - Most insurers will want to know if there is a specific reason for your weight being low, such as anorexia or bulimia. Or if you just naturally have a low weight.
  • Underweight, 17 to 18.4 - Many insurers on the standard market will offer insurance at normal terms.
  • Normal range, 18.5 to 24.9 - Most insurers on the standard market will offer Life Insurance at standard terms.
  • Overweight, 25 to 29.9 - Many insurers will continue to offer standard premiums on Life Insurance.
  • Overweight (obese), 30 to 39.9 - Some insurance providers on the standard market may offer normal terms for BMIs up to and around 35, once you pass this, higher insurance premiums are likely.
  • Highly overweight, 40 to 44.9 - A few insurers on the standard market can offer Life Insurance at these levels at a higher premium, but it is possible that you may need to engage a specialist insurer.
  • Severely overweight, over 45 - Specialist insurance providers and/or specialist insurance policies will need to be chosen.

The difficulty is, that it is impossible to say that any one specific insurance provider offers the best terms, when it comes to BMI. Things get even more stricter when you are applying for Critical Illness Cover.

If you fall into an overweight range, that causes the insurer some concern about your long-term health, then you may find that your insurance premiums are increased. If you find that the premium increase isn't to your liking, you can arrange what is known as non-medically underwritten Life Insurance. The beauty of these policies is that your health doesn't affect the policy premium or acceptance terms, so the insurer doesn't care if you are overweight. But, there are limitations to these policies that you should discuss with an experienced adviser before arranging.

How do I get lower premiums?

The main way to get lower premiums if your Life Insurance has been 'rated' due to your BMI, is to lose weight. There are Life Insurance policies specifically designed for people who are deemed to be overweight, called Managed Life policies.

A Managed Life policy works with you to, in a sense, reward you for losing weight. In some ways you could think of these policies as overweight Life Insurance. You arrange the Life Insurance with a premium based upon your current BMI, then overtime, if you lose weight the insurer reduces your monthly premium too.

So many options, where do I start?

Speak with an adviser! This is what we do, day, day out. We know the insurance market and can tell you which insurer and policy will suit you best. Call us on 0800 567 7450, or feel free to email us at info@specialrisksbureau.co.uk for a no obligation quotation.

Further pages of interest:


CuraVision Overweight Life Insurance - Video Transcript

Today we're going to be talking to you about arranging insurances when BMI is a consideration. Now it can be either a high BMI, or a low BMI. So when you're looking at life insurance, critical illness cover or income protection, it's important to know that the insurer will want to know your BMI, so that is your height to weight ratio. Now even though BMI scales are pretty outdated now, it is still something that insurers do work by as a guide, to sort of your general health or what they think your general health is, because of this.

If the BMI falls between 17 and 30, you will find life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection, pretty standard to arrange them across the standard insurance market. It is worthwhile still comparing because insurers do still offer insurances at different rates, but it shouldn't be a massive concern especially if everything else in your health is hunky dory. Once you start going toward BMI's of between 30 and 40, the insurer is going to look at your application sort of in a bit more detail, in a sense.

And it could be that maybe a BMI up to 35, you may still be able to get normal termss of cover, which means a premium may stay the same, as what it will be if it was lower than that 30, BMI 30 mark. But once you start edging more towards BMI 40, then you are probably going to start seeing some kind of a premium increase to the policy, to offset the risk that the insurer's sees and having the extra and how that could impact your health in the long run.

But it's again at this point very, very important to do a comparison, to use a specialist broker, because insurer A may look at your BMI, and decide to charge you this premium. And insurer B may look at your health, and decide, on your BMI, this premium and do that kind of an increase, and it really is a case of hit and miss as to who is going to charge what in some scenarios. It's a good idea to go to somebody who knows what they're on about and who has seen these charts and knows what the insurers are looking for, and which one is going to be the best for your circumstances.

When you starting to get up towards BMIs of 40 and 45, then you are going to start to need to look ... You can still look on the standard market potentially, but it is gonna be much more of a select few providers who actually are gonna be able to consider the applications. And you are more, more likely to see something like a premium increase to the policy. You may even need to start looking at more of a specialist provider for the cover. And once you reach a BMI of over 45 you are going to be looking at more of the specialists providers for the insurance.

You may even find that you want to approach an insurer who can offer what's known as a non-medically underwritten policy. Please do forgive the terminology, I'm gonna try and avoid as much as I can, 'cause I know insurance jargon is just horrendous, but basically those policies don't ask for your medical background and you can have them without details of your BMI causing any impact to the premium. But there are sometimes limitations to those policies, there can be limitations to the amount that you're insured for, there can be exclusions on the claims set, there can be very specific details about premiums, and how they maintained for the longterm of the life of the policy.

You really should speak to somebody and make sure that you know all the ins and outs of that policy claims set, and the rules of having it in a sense for a long time period. Another option you can look at is something called a managed life policy. Now these policies work really well if you say do have a BMI at the moment, and are intending on taking steps towards lowering your weight. Because what the insurer does, is they take your weight, and your BMI, at the moment, they give you a premium, and then they work alongside you, and if you reduce your weight, they can then potentially reduce your premiums as well ... So it's something like a multi-reward in a sense for having lost the weight.

And I think that's probably the majority of things. The other thing is if you have a BMI of under 17, that sometime can cause a little bit of concern for the insurer, because they are going to want to know if this may be some kind of a, do forgive this maybe an eating disorder, maybe anorexia, bulimia and they're gonna want to know more details about that if that has been something in your medical history.

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