We understand that there are many reasons that someone can have a high BMI. It could be through a natural tendency to carry weight, a lack of exercise, a medical condition or even being too muscular. My husband Alan used to have a BMI around 40 before he started exercising, and I had a dodgy gallbladder and used to a UK size 22. The important thing is that you arrange your insurance, with an insurer, who is considerate of your circumstances.
Things we need to know:
Life Insurance for people with a high BMI is possible with many insurers, all of which have different underwriting guidelines. We have placed many people's applications to insurers who have a high BMI due to a number of factors such as body building, thyroid complications and dietary choices. You may find that the insurance application asks you to detail your dress size or your waist circumference. This is done so that the insurer can determine how much weight you carry around your middle, which is a prime area for additional health concerns such as type 2 diabetes.
Some insurers place premium increases on BMI scores that are 30 or above, but there are some who will consider standard terms up to the BMI of 36. Life Insurance for overweight or obese individuals can be accepted up to a score of 45, but you will generally find that your policy premiums start to be loaded incrementally once you are above a score of 36. If your BMI is over 45 there are some specialist providers we can approach for your life insurance.
When you apply for Critical Illness Cover, high BMI will generally be accepted up to a score of 45 with specific insurers. You will tend to find that as your age increases a higher BMI is considered more acceptable for standard or lower premium ratings, but this is often capped at the score of 36. For high BMIs you can expect that your policy premiums will be loaded for the insurer to accept your application. The reasons that your policy premiums are loaded in this manner is due to perceived risk of carrying extra weight. This can place you at a higher risk of developing one of the Critical Illnesses listed on the policy, so the increased premium is seen to offset the added risk of you claiming on the policy.
If you have a BMI over 45 there are specialist Critical Illness policies that can be available to you. It is important that you speak with an experienced adviser who can clearly explain, what you are and are not covered for, when it comes to these policies.
Income Protection for people with high BMI scores is underwritten slightly more strictly than Life Insurance and Critical Illness Cover. This is because it is perceived that your excess weight can place extra strain on the rest of your body, leading to other conditions that could result in a claim e.g. heart attacks, certain cancers, strokes and gastric surgery. When you apply for Income Protection, overweight or obese individuals will likely see their policy premiums increase due to their BMI. In general it is possible to get an Income Protection policy when you have a BMI up to 40, however this is dependent upon your overall health and age.
If Income Protection is not available there are a number of accident and sickness plans available that can generally offer cover for a low premium. This could be a viable option but it is important to understand any small print on the plans. Please feel free to contact us for a quotation.
Do you have a high BMI and plan on travelling abroad? It is worthwhile checking that your travel insurance covers you fully whilst you are abroad, at your current weight. We work alongside a specialist travel insurance broker who can help guide you to the right cover for you. Find out more here.
What is High BMI
Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is determined by your height to weight ratio which ranges from being underweight to being overweight. The lower your height/weight ratio is the lower your BMI will be, the higher your ratio the higher your BMI will be. Standard guidelines recommend people aim to have a BMI between 18.5 an 24.9.
BMI scores are a useful factor for many who are attempting to monitor how healthy their weight is. However the score can be somewhat misleading as it cannot account for an individual having a higher BMI due to their exercise regime and muscle mass, nor can it determine if someone in an ideal weight class eats very unhealthily.
Also: Obesity, overweight
Linked with: High cholesterol, high blood pressure, underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, stroke, polycystic ovary syndrome, Cushing's Syndrome, sleep apnoea, gout, heart attack
Possible Effects on Lifestyle
Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have a high BMI include:
Medications and Treatments
Further Reading and Research
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1. I have been declined life insurance, because the insurer said I was too overweight. Is there anything you can do?
Certainly. Insurers all have different underwriting limits when it comes to insurance and who they will accept for cover. You may be refused life insurance if your BMI is over 50, but we have arranged insurance for people with BMI over 60. It's all about knowing where to look.
2. I have a high BMI because I am very fit and muscular, and I am being told that I need to pay more for my insurance because of this. This doesn't seem fair. Is it?
It's times like this where its useful to speak to a broker who knows the insurance market well, and who knows the best people to talk to, to look at your application sensibly. Often, just by talking to the insurer and explaining that your high BMI is due to fitness, they can be much more accommodating. Don't get us wrong, if your BMI is really high, the insurer may still want to increase your premiums, but they will look at your application sensibly.
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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
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