Insurance companies use weight to help determine your health class, and losing weight can get you better premiums. But how you lose weight and when you lost weight affect how much money you’ll save.
Updated December 10, 2021|6 min read
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Applying for a life insurance policy after dropping a few pounds might seem like a great idea — a height-to-weight ratio closer to average 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.
Insurers use weight to help determine your health class, so 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.
Life insurance companies 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, insurers will only acknowledge 50% of the weight you lost.
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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 an average range and if your weight poses any health risks. Whether the insurance company’s build table places you in an average 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.
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.
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.
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.
|CLASSIFICATION||SEX||WEIGHT (POUNDS)||MONTHLY PREMIUM|
|Standard Plus Non-Tobacco||Male||224||$35.75|
|Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco||Male||202||$21.77|
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 to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
You can still get life insurance if you are overweight, but you may have to pay higher-than-usual premiums.
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.
Your weight can increase the cost of your life insurance premiums if your height-to-weight ratio is in an unhealthy range.