Have your life insurance premiums increased due to your height and weight ratio? Have you been declined life insurance for overweight people? I am writing this article as a financial adviser who has had weight problems and has had to research the marketplace to find the best insurance policy for my own circumstances.
Some time ago my Body Mass Index (BMI) was 37, which according to medical tables and statistics meant that I was not only obese but morbidly obese. Personally I cannot abide BMI tables as I do not think that they are fair and I prefer to think that I am just big boned not overweight! BMI tables are arguably based upon outdated statistics, but are still used by insurance providers to determine if you receive "normal" or increased "special rated" premiums.
At the time, having a family and mortgage, I needed to take out a high BMI life insurance policy to protect my family. Combine my height and weight with the fact my father had a heart attack in his 40s and suddenly the task of getting life insurance became quite daunting. After researching the whole of the market, I managed to find a couple of providers who would offer me overweight life insurance with a nominal price increase.
Whilst I have now lost some weight and redone my life cover at standard terms (no price increase) this has made me really focus my efforts. I ensure that all clients who are classed as overweight for life insurance are given a fair service and the best possible terms available.
Additionally I found it very useful to know what weight I needed to get down to in order to get standard terms for my life insurance. For this reason I often provide an 'ideal weight' that a client needs to get to in order to reapply and get a lower monthly premium. After all we all like to save money and a goal helps!
What is my Body Mass Index (BMI)?
Your BMI is calculated by one of the following two calculations depending on if you prefer imperial or metric measurements:
BMI=(weight(lb)/(height(in))²) * 703
Calculate your BMI
This will give you a two digit number when rounded up or down. Officially the results are classified as:
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
- Overweight = 25-29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Personally I think this is a pretty poor measurement as it does not account for waist measurement, frame, age, gender, other medical conditions, amount of muscle, etc. That being said insurance companies have to work on something and this is a good guideline for them.
How does my BMI affect my Life Insurance?
As I found out, every insurance company is different. Some companies will increase premiums at a BMI of 30 and some will not increase premiums until a BMI of 36. It is often stricter for critical illness insurance compared to life insurance. I have found that the maximum BMI that can be taken out for life insurance with a standard insurance provider is 50 and for critical illness it is about 45.
If your BMI is over this figure you would need to apply for overweight life insurance with a specialist provider who is likely to be quite expensive. For anyone who fits into this category I would suggest speaking to one of our advisers about overweight life insurance before trying to apply online, this way we can place your application directly with an Insurance provider who will consider your application seriously.
For critical illness cover I am sad to say that to date I have not found any provider to offer cover if your BMI is over 45. Whilst this may seem unfair it is due to the amount of risk that is associated with your BMI and the associated stress on your internal organs, joints and muscles. Unfortunately whether it is through lifestyle or related to a medical condition that you cannot control, a BMI of over 45 increases the risk of suffering one of the conditions listed on a critical illness contract.
What can I do to Improve my Chances of Getting Lower Premiums?
Firstly the most important thing for you to do is not to lie on your insurance application. Whilst you may think that the insurance providers will not know and what harm would it do, any false information regarding your BMI could invalidate your policy. This will mean that any claim made on the policy will never pay.
What you can do is try and improve your BMI so that it falls into the "acceptable" ratios for insurance providers. If you have a high BMI due to a medical condition then this will be much more difficult to control and you should speak with your doctor about potential ways to reduce your weight.
If your BMI is high due to your lifestyle then it is a process of making proactive changes to your daily living. As you are reading this article you are clearly concerned about what may happen to you or your family should you die or be diagnosed with a critical illness. You have already taken the first steps to changing your lifestyle, having a goal, thinking of your family's future.
Again, you should speak with your doctor about making any significant lifestyle changes. I found that a combination of calorie counting and regular exercise helped me to lose the weight. I know it is one of those things that always made me roll my eyes, but you really do feel better once you get into a routine of exercise and healthy eating. It is so tough at first that it is really hard to stick to it, but it is worth it.
The main thing is to find something that works for you that is healthy.
What Should I do Now?
You could either ring one of our trained advisers on 0800 567 7450 or request a quotation online and we will get back to you to help you with your application.
- If you would like more information on obtaining insurance when you have a High BMI click here.
The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 139 reviews.
Review by Sarah and Mark on 19th February 2016
“I was given a really good service, I honestly thought I would not get insured for my mortgage due to my health conditions. everyone I spoke to were really nice and kept me up to date it was nice to know I was dealing with real people. Would highly recommend A+++” - 5
You can read more of our reviews here.