Impact of Height and Weight on Life Insurance in Canada

How is height and weight used in life insurance? What is BMI and why is it important in life insurance?

Impact of weight and height (BMI) on life insurance in Canada

Impact of Height and Weight on Life Insurance in Canada

How is height and weight used in life insurance? What is BMI and why is it important in life insurance?

Impact of weight and height (BMI) on life insurance in Canada

One of the aspects about your health that insurance companies will look at is your height and weight – your BMI. Life insurance companies look at your BMI to determine your overall health for underwriting and determining your rate class. A higher BMI means that you will pay more for your life insurance policy, due to your increased health risk.

What is BMI?

Height and weight are used in terms of your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a ratio of your height and weight. It’s calculated by BMI = kg/m2 where kg is a person’s weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in metres squared. A BMI of 25.0 or more is considered overweight, while the healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9.

How is weight and height (BMI) used in life insurance?

Insurance companies will look at your BMI to help determine your life insurance rate. The healthier your BMI (the lower your weight for your height), the lower your life insurance rates will be. For example, if you’re 5’5 and 153 pounds, your life insurance premiums might be more than if you are 5’6 and 153 pounds because of your BMI.

Each insurance company will have a different height/weight chart (build chart) they use to decide on your premiums, and some are more lenient (have larger ranges) than others. The lower and healthier your weight, the more likely you’ll be fitted to ‘preferred’ premiums, which are cheaper than standard. If you don’t meet the weight range for preferred rates, you’ll be given standard rates. If you exceed the weight maximum for standard rates, you’ll most likely be rated higher (from 125% to sometimes 350% of standard premiums). Most life insurance companies will also decline if you exceed a maximum weight for your height. Note that some companies will have a unisex chart, while others will have a chart for males and females.

To give you a better idea of how the rates may look, below is a sample comparison of rates for an adult that is 5’5-5’8 from Manulife, Sunlife, and SSQ Insurance. These three insurance companies use unisex charts.

Maximum weights for standard premiums from Manulife Insurance, Sunlife Insurance, and SSQ Insurance.

To compare the leniency within their build charts, a 5’7” individual with a weight of 220 lb would be rated 125% with Manulife, between the standard (100%) and 150% with Sun Life, and have a standard rating with SSQ Insurance.

How do I secure life insurance if I’m overweight?

Being overweight will typically only mean that you are rated higher, which means you have to pay more for the same coverage you wanted compared to someone who has a healthy weight. Unless you have other severe conditions, being overweight does not affect you in getting life insurance. That being said, here are 3 ways you can secure getting life insurance if you are overweight:

Work with an insurance advisor to apply for a policy.

You may qualify because you fall in one of the ranges on an insurer’s build table, even if rates are slightly higher. Working with a life insurance advisor will also ensure that you get the best rate possible.

As mentioned before, some companies have a separate chart they use for males and females. This means that you could be rated more favourably for your BMI depending on the insurer you look at. For women, looking for an insurer that uses a unisex chart may result in more favourable ratings because it can give females a bit more leeway in terms of a higher, yet still acceptable, weight.

Reapply after losing weight and changing your lifestyle choices.

If you were previously denied or the rate was too high, work to lose weight can help you qualify for a better rate. Additionally, your build is taken into consideration with your lifestyle: for example, if someone is 155 lb at 5’5 but they are a bodybuilder versus someone at the same weight and height with an unhealthy lifestyle would not be rated the same.

Choose a no medical exam policy.

Looking into no medical life insurance policies is another option for those who may have trouble getting insured with traditional life insurance because of a combination of their weight, height, and other underlying health conditions. As the name suggests, no medical life insurance requires no medical exam or health questionnaire that would include asking for your weight and height.

Find the right life insurance to go with your BMI

Unless you have other serious health conditions, or you are considered extremely obese (in the weight range where they will automatically decline), there is still a good chance that you can qualify for the coverage that you need even if you are overweight.

Contact Protect Your Wealth For Experienced Advice

Working with a life insurance advisor can help you find the right insurance company for your needs and situation. At Protect Your Wealth, we provide expert advice and life insurance solutions for whatever you’re looking for, including no medical life insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance. We work with and compare quotes and policies from the best life insurance companies in Canada.

Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today. We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, including areas such as Barrie, Kingston, Burlington, and Waterdown.

Talk to an advisor today.

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