Life insurance for people who have recently lost weight

Losing weight can help lower your life insurance premiums. But how you lose weight and when you lost weight affect how much money you’ll save.

Nupur GambhirAmanda Shih author photo

By

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is an insurance editor at Policygenius and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent in New York.

&

Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an insurance editor and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Jetty, and J.D. Power.

Updated February 5, 2021|6 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our

editorial standards

and how we make money.

Disclaimer: The content supplied here may be impacted by COVID-19. Contact a Policygenius agent for free to find out more.

Applying for a life insurance policy after dropping a few pounds might seem like a great idea — a healthier height-to-weight ratio often comes with health benefits that can get you a better life insurance classification and lower life insurance rates. But losing weight doesn’t always mean that you will pay less for your life insurance.

Healthy weight loss can lower your life insurance rates, but the method by which you lost the weight, how much weight you lost, and how long it’s been since you’ve lost it all play a role in how low your new life insurance premiums will be. For the best shot at lower premiums, lose weight using healthy methods and wait at least 12 months before applying for a new or updated policy. 

Key Takeaways

  • Life insurers want proof that you can maintain a lower weight long-term before lowering your premiums

  • You should wait a year or more before applying for reconsideration or a new policy

  • You may not receive lower premiums if you lost weight due to an illness or in an unhealthy way

  • If you lose weight less than a year before applying for a policy, during underwriting insurers will only acknowledge 50% of the weight you lost

What is the best life insurance company for recent weight loss?

No specific life insurance company treats recent weight loss better than the others. The insurance classification you receive when you apply or reapply for life insurance will depend on your overall health, how much weight you’ve lost, and the details behind your weight loss, like how long you’ve kept the weight off. To find the most affordable policy, work with an independent insurance broker to compare quotes from different companies.

The sample quotes below show how weight loss could impact the health classification and premiums of a 30-year-old, 5’10” male and 5’6” female buying a 20-year term life insurance policy. 

CLASSIFICATIONSEXWEIGHT (POUNDS)MONTHLY PREMIUM
Standard Plus Non-TobaccoMale224$35.75
Female196$30.02
Preferred Non-TobaccoMale210$27.46
Female186$21.88
Preferred Plus Non-TobaccoMale202$21.77
Female174$18.18

Methodology: Sample rates are for 30-year-old male and female non-smokers with Standard, Preferred, and Preferred Plus health ratings based in Ohio, purchasing a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 2/05/2021.

→ Find the best life insurance company for your needs

How does weight affect your life insurance rates?

To get life insurance, you have to go through an application process that determines your risk of mortality. This includes an interview, medical exam, and a final determination by your insurance provider based on their internal underwriting guidelines. 

Insurers use your height-to-weight ratio to determine if your body mass index (BMI) is in a healthy range and if your weight poses any health risks. Whether the insurance company’s build table places you in a healthy weight range impacts the health classification you receive, and thus how much you pay for life insurance.

While your recent weight loss may be good for your health, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive a better health classification. Life insurance underwriters also consider your full health history, driving record, prescription history, and more before setting your premiums.

→ Learn more about the life insurance underwriting process

Understanding build tables

One of the tools that underwriters use to determine your life insurance premiums is a build table. Each insurer has its own build table, but its purpose remains the same across the board: based on your height and sex, the table indicates the weight range that qualifies you for each insurance classification.

The healthier your build and BMI, the lower your life insurance premiums. However, there are plenty of life insurance companies that offer competitive pricing to people with heavier builds.

How life insurance companies treat recent weight loss

How and when you lose weight also affects how much you’ll pay for life insurance. If you lost weight less than a year ago, your provider can’t verify that you can sustain the weight change long-term. Most insurers account for this uncertainty by splitting the difference.

If you lose more than 10 pounds in the 12 months before you apply for life insurance, you’ll get credit for 50% of that weight loss until you’ve maintained it for at least a year. So if you weighed 300 pounds and lost 100 pounds in under one year, you’ll be rated at 250 pounds rather than 200. 

If you lose weight through a procedure like gastric bypass surgery, the same guidelines apply but you’ll likely face a longer wait to get lower premiums. Due to health risks associated with gastric bypass, for the first 6-12 months after the procedure your coverage could be declined or postponed. In the first few years post-procedure, you may still receive a less favorable classification than someone who lost weight without surgery. 

Unintentional weight loss

Some people may lose weight as they become elderly or ill. If you experience any unintended significant weight loss (typically 10 pounds or more), the life insurance company may decline or postpone your application. They’ll also review your medical history to see what’s causing the weight loss; it could be symptomatic of a larger condition, like depression

To receive coverage, the insurer will need to see your weight stabilize for around a year before they’d be willing to proceed with coverage.

Ready to shop for life insurance?

Start calculator

How to get lower premiums after weight loss

Don’t feel discouraged if your weight loss doesn’t translate into a more affordable policy right away. It’s better to apply for life insurance now and have your rates reconsidered or shop for a new policy after you’ve maintained your weight loss for a year or two. 

You may pay slightly higher premiums at first, but your weight loss can land you lower premiums if you retake the medical exam later. If you delay buying coverage you’ll leave your loved ones unprotected.

Reconsideration

Some life insurance companies offer reconsideration, which is when you go through the underwriting process again in hopes of receiving lower premiums. This can usually be done after the policy is in force for a year or two.

The reconsideration process for weight loss consists of the following steps:

  • 1. Show a year of progress - Your provider will want to see a year of sustained weight loss to verify that your weight change isn’t a fluke.

  • 2. Underwriting - Your insurer may ask you to take another medical exam to qualify for a better health classification.

  • 3. Reconsideration decision - After reviewing your updated information, your insurer decides whether you should receive an updated health classification and lower premiums.

If your insurance company decides that your weight loss doesn’t justify a better health classification, you don’t need to worry about your policy being canceled or your health rating being demoted; you will continue to pay the same premiums as before.

→ Learn more about applying for reconsideration

Apply for a new life insurance policy

If the reconsideration process didn’t result in the outcome you hoped for, you can always cancel your current life insurance policy and apply for a new one. You can do this by discontinuing premium payments or contacting your life insurance company directly.

If you decide to purchase a new life insurance policy that prices you for your weight loss, you’ll want to keep your current policy in force while you shop around and go through the underwriting process to avoid a coverage gap. If you cancel your original policy before your new policy’s effective date and die, then your beneficiaries won’t receive the life insurance payout.

Ready to shop for life insurance?

Start calculator

Annual renewable life insurance

If you’re confident that you only need one or two years to earn lower life insurance premiums, you could consider buying annual renewable life insurance. An annual renewable life insurance policy functions similarly to a term life insurance policy; it pays out a death benefit to your beneficiaries if you pass away while the policy is in force.

However, an annual renewable term only lasts for one year and coverage can be renewed yearly. Premiums tend to start lower than those of term policies and increase every time the policy is renewed.

Because of the yearly premium increases, annual renewable policies eventually become more expensive than term life insurance policies. But if you only need the policy for a few years, it can save you some money.

Your weight is only one factor in your life insurance application, so losing weight won’t automatically qualify you for a more affordable life insurance policy. But, if you lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off for a year or more, you may be able to earn a more favorable insurance classification—and therefore, lower premiums—when buying a new policy or applying for reconsideration. Work with a licensed insurance professional to compare your options. 

Editorial note: Policygenius does not advocate for weight loss that is not for health reasons. The purpose of this article is to provide guidance on navigating the life insurance process if you have recently lost weight.

FAQ

Does COVID-19 affect the life insurance application process or eligibility?

Due to the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, some insurers are modifying processes and/or imposing coverage restrictions on certain health conditions or age groups. Speak to a Policygenius agent for free to find out how to get the most affordable policy.

Can you get life insurance if you’re overweight?

You can still get life insurance if you are overweight, but you may have to pay higher-than-usual premiums.

Can you save money on life insurance if you lose weight?

If you lose weight, you can get lower premiums after one to two years. Insurers won’t reconsider your application in the short term because they want to ensure your weight will remain stable.

Does weight affect life insurance rates?

Your weight can increase the cost of your life insurance premiums if your height-to-weight ratio is in an unhealthy range.

More about

Life Insurance

Types of life insurance coverage

The type of life insurance you should buy depends on the reason you need life insurance coverage in the first place. Here are the best plans for common financial needs.

Read more

Best life insurance companies for millennials

Life insurance is more affordable for millennials, who are relatively young and healthy. You may even qualify for convenient instant decision policies.

Read more

Best life insurance companies for Generation X

Life insurance gets older as you age, but if you're a part of Generation X you may still need it. These are the best life insurance companies for Gen X-ers.

Read more