Cost & Coverage
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Buying life insurance when you weigh more than the CDC recommendations.
The Centers for Disease Control associates lower weights with better health — and life insurance companies use that data to inform their own underwriting tables and set premiums.
If you’re overweight, your life insurance rates will likely be higher than they would be if you met CDC guidelines for healthy weight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t purchase life insurance. But you might pay higher rates, which makes it more important to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best rates for you.
When you shop through an independent broker like Policygenius, we can do the work for you and help you find the best rates for your build and health profile.
Height-to-weight ratio is one of the first data points that life insurance companies look at it in order to determine your rates.
Each carrier has its own height/weight table, which functions similar to a Body Mass Index (BMI) chart, and your rates will largely come from where you fall on that table. Other factors, including family history and your own health history, will affect your rates as well.
No two insurance companies have the same height/weight table. That means that one insurance company may be able to give you better rates than another one. This is one reason why it’s important to use an independent agent or broker. Your agent will be able to run a variety of quotes using your specific height and weight measurements, as well as your other health information, to find the insurance company that gives you the best price.
Our agents can help you through every step of the application process. You can get started by answering a few health questions, including your height and weight, to compare life insurance quotes.
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If you need life insurance, the best course of action is to apply and get the coverage you need as soon as possible. Waiting until your health improves or you lower your weight is rarely a good option, because it leaves your family unprotected.
Plus: crash dieting isn’t likely to lower your rates. Usually, underwriters will not give you “full credit” for weight loss within the last 12 months. What that means is that if you weigh 240 at the time of your medical exam but you weighed 280 a few months ago, they are not going to use 240 as your weight on the height/weight chart. What weight they willuse though is dependent on the company. Some companies might do something called a “half credit,” which would calculate your weight for the table as your current weight plus half of the weight you lost recently. In this example, that means your weight for reasons of the table would be 260.
Life insurance companies require that you disclose if your weight has fluctuated more than 10 pounds in either direction within the last year. They’ll also check your medical records for a record of your weight over time.
If you have lost significant weight in the past year, there are some companies that will give you more credit than others. Read more about the best life insurance companies if you have recently lost weight.
If you’ve lost weight recently but still have higher rates than you’d like, or if you lose weight in the future, you may be able to lower your life insurance rates even after you have a policy.
One way is simply to reapply once you’ve been a lower weight for a year or more. Your rates could come back lower. A second option is to petition your life insurance carrier to let you retake your medical exam one or two years after the policy goes into effect. This is called reconsideration, and it could adjust your premiums down if your health has increased.
Read more about reconsideration and reapplication.
Understanding how life insurance rates change by age
The cost of life insurance can increase by as much as 12% each year you put it off. See real life examples here.Read
Should you pay my life insurance premiums annually or monthly?
How often you pay your life insurance premiums can have a big impact on how much you spend on your policy.Read
Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.
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Yes, we have to include some legalese down here. Read it larger on our legal page. Policygenius Inc. (“Policygenius”) is a licensed independent insurance broker. Policygenius does not underwrite any insurance policy described on this website. The information provided on this site has been developed by Policygenius for general informational and educational purposes. We do our best efforts to ensure that this information is up-to-date and accurate. Any insurance policy premium quotes or ranges displayed are non-binding. The final insurance policy premium for any policy is determined by the underwriting insurance company following application. Savings are estimated by comparing the highest and lowest price for a shopper in a given health class. For example: for a 30-year old non-smoker male in South Carolina with excellent health and a preferred plus health class, comparing quotes for a $500,000, 20-year term life policy, the price difference between the lowest and highest quotes is 60%. For that same shopper in New York, the price difference is 40%. Rates are subject to change and are valid as of 2/17/17.
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