Obesity is a complex health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It not only poses various health risks but can also impact a person’s ability to obtain life insurance. For individuals who are overweight or obese, finding affordable life insurance can be a challenge. Many insurance companies consider obesity a significant risk factor and may charge higher premiums, limit coverage amounts, or deny coverage altogether. In this blog, we will explore the various ways in which obesity can affect life insurance and provide helpful tips for those seeking life insurance coverage. We will discuss the factors that insurers consider when assessing risk, the types of policies available to those with obesity, and how to navigate the application process to secure the best possible coverage.
Case Study: Obtaining Life Insurance with Obesity
Lucy Johnson is a 45-year-old woman who has struggled with her weight for many years. Despite trying various diets and exercise plans, she was still considered obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 35. As a responsible mother and wife, Lucy wanted to ensure that her family would be financially protected in the event of her unexpected passing. She decided to look into obtaining life insurance, but she was concerned that her obesity would make it difficult to find affordable coverage.
Lucy began her search by doing some research online and reading articles about life insurance and obesity. She learned that many insurance companies consider obesity a significant risk factor and may charge higher premiums, limit coverage amounts, or deny coverage altogether. However, she also discovered that there were some insurance companies that specialize in providing coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions, including obesity.
Lucy decided to work with an independent insurance broker who had experience working with clients who had health issues. The broker helped Lucy understand the various factors that insurers consider when assessing risk, such as her BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. The broker also explained that insurers would likely ask Lucy to undergo a medical exam before approving her application.
To improve her chances of getting approved for coverage, Lucy began working on improving her overall health. She started a new exercise routine and changed her diet to include more fruits and vegetables. She also spoke with her doctor about managing her blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These lifestyle changes not only improved her health, but they also showed insurers that she was taking steps to reduce her risk.
After several weeks of research and preparation, Lucy submitted her application for life insurance. She opted for a term life policy with a coverage amount of $500,000. A few weeks later, she received an offer from an insurance company that specializes in covering people with pre-existing health conditions. The premium was slightly higher than what she would have paid if she did not have obesity, but she was relieved to have coverage in place.
In the end, Lucy was able to obtain life insurance despite her obesity. She learned that it was possible to find affordable coverage by working with an experienced insurance broker and making positive lifestyle changes to reduce her risk. Her experience shows that it is possible to get coverage even with pre-existing health conditions, and that taking care of your health can have significant benefits beyond just feeling better.
Overview of Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition characterized by excessive accumulation of body fat that increases the risk of health problems. It is usually defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Obesity is a global health problem that affects millions of people of all ages, races, and ethnicities. It is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, such as genetics, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diets, and certain medications.
Obesity increases the risk of various health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and respiratory problems. It can also affect a person’s mental health and quality of life, as it can lead to depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
Managing obesity typically involves lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and weight loss. In some cases, medication or weight loss surgery may be recommended to achieve significant weight loss.
Preventing obesity is essential to reducing the risk of associated health problems. This can be achieved through healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, and avoiding sedentary behaviors, such as sitting for extended periods.
How Does Obesity Affect Life Insurance Premiums?
Obesity can affect life insurance premiums in several ways. When insurers evaluate an individual’s risk profile, they consider various factors, including their health status, medical history, and lifestyle. Obesity is a significant risk factor that can increase the likelihood of developing health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, which can result in premature death.
As a result, insurers may charge higher premiums or limit coverage amounts for individuals who are considered obese. This is because they are more likely to make claims on their life insurance policies due to their increased risk of developing health problems.
In some cases, insurers may also require obese individuals to undergo a medical exam or provide additional medical information before approving their application. This can include information about their BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other health indicators.
However, it’s important to note that not all insurers approach obesity in the same way. Some insurers specialize in providing coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions, including obesity. These insurers may offer coverage at more affordable rates, provided the individual has taken steps to manage their weight and reduce their health risk.
Overall, obesity can impact life insurance premiums, but the degree to which it affects premiums can vary depending on the insurer and the individual’s health status and lifestyle. It’s important for individuals who are considered obese to work with an experienced insurance broker who can help them find the best coverage options and rates for their needs. Additionally, making lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, can not only improve overall health but also reduce the risk of developing health problems that can impact life insurance premiums.
Can Someone With Obesity Still Qualify for Life Insurance?
Yes, individuals with obesity can still qualify for life insurance. However, their premiums may be higher, and the coverage may be limited depending on the severity of their obesity and any associated health problems.
What Factors Do Life Insurance Companies Consider When Determining Premiums for People With Obesity?
When determining premiums for people with obesity, life insurance companies consider several factors, including:
- Body Mass Index (BMI): BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Individuals with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese and may be charged higher premiums.
- Health history: Life insurance companies will review an applicant’s medical history to assess any pre-existing health conditions related to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. These conditions can increase the risk of premature death and may result in higher premiums.
- Age: Age is a significant factor in determining life insurance premiums. As individuals age, their risk of developing health problems increases, and premiums may be higher for older individuals with obesity.
- Gender: Women tend to live longer than men on average, and therefore, women with obesity may be charged lower premiums than men with obesity.
- Lifestyle: Insurers will consider an applicant’s lifestyle habits, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity. These factors can increase the risk of health problems and result in higher premiums.
- Treatment and management: Life insurance companies may also consider whether an individual with obesity is actively seeking treatment and management of their condition. This can include weight loss programs, medication, or weight loss surgery.
Overall, the premiums for people with obesity will depend on the severity of their condition and any associated health problems. While higher premiums may be charged for individuals with obesity, it is still possible to find affordable coverage with the help of an experienced insurance broker. Making lifestyle changes, managing associated health problems, and taking steps to improve overall health can also help reduce premiums over time.
Are There Any Specific Types of Life Insurance Policies That Are Better Suited for People With Obesity?
There are no specific types of life insurance policies that are better suited for people with obesity. However, some policy types may be more accessible and affordable for individuals with obesity than others, depending on their health status and other factors.
Simplified issue life insurance: This type of policy requires no medical exam and typically only asks a few health questions on the application. While the premiums may be higher than traditional policies, individuals with obesity or pre-existing health conditions may find it easier to qualify for coverage.
Guaranteed issue life insurance: This policy type requires no medical exam or health questions on the application. It may be an option for individuals with severe obesity or other pre-existing health conditions who are unable to qualify for traditional coverage.
Term life insurance: This type of policy provides coverage for a specified term, such as 10, 20, or 30 years, and may be more affordable than permanent policies. While premiums may be higher for individuals with obesity, term life insurance can provide coverage during the period when the individual is working on improving their health and reducing their risk factors.
Permanent life insurance: This policy type provides coverage for life and typically includes a savings component that accumulates cash value over time. While premiums may be higher for individuals with obesity, permanent life insurance can provide a long-term financial safety net for beneficiaries.
Ultimately, the type of policy that is best suited for an individual with obesity will depend on their specific health status, age, lifestyle, and other factors.
What Steps Can Someone With Obesity Take to Improve Their Chances of Getting Approved for Life Insurance?
Individuals with obesity can take several steps to improve their chances of getting approved for life insurance coverage:
- Work on weight loss: Losing weight can improve overall health and reduce the risk of health problems associated with obesity. Life insurance companies may offer more favorable rates for individuals who can demonstrate sustained weight loss and an improvement in their overall health.
- Manage related health conditions: Obesity is often associated with health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s essential to manage these conditions effectively through lifestyle changes and medical treatment to reduce the risk of complications and improve overall health.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for many health problems, including those associated with obesity. Quitting smoking can improve overall health and reduce the risk of complications associated with obesity, such as heart disease.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of many health problems, including those associated with obesity. Limiting alcohol consumption or abstaining altogether can improve overall health and reduce the risk of complications.
- Choose the right insurance provider: Different insurance companies have different underwriting standards and may offer more favorable rates for individuals with obesity. It’s important to work with an experienced insurance broker who can help find insurance companies that are more likely to approve coverage and offer favorable rates.
- Consider a medical exam: Some life insurance policies require a medical exam as part of the underwriting process. If an individual with obesity has made significant lifestyle changes and improved their health, a medical exam may help demonstrate their improved risk profile and increase the likelihood of approval for coverage.
What Should Someone With Obesity Look for When Shopping for Life Insurance Policies?
When shopping for life insurance policies, individuals with obesity should consider the following factors to ensure they get the best coverage:
- Underwriting standards: Different insurance companies have different underwriting standards for obesity. Some may be more willing to provide coverage at affordable rates for individuals with a higher BMI or other obesity-related health conditions.
- Type of policy: Different types of policies offer different levels of coverage and premiums. For individuals with obesity, term life insurance policies may be more affordable than permanent policies, as they offer coverage for a specified term. Simplified issue and guaranteed issue policies may also be easier to obtain for those with obesity.
- Coverage amount: The amount of coverage needed will depend on the individual’s financial obligations, such as outstanding debts, mortgage, or income replacement needs. It’s important to choose a policy that provides adequate coverage for beneficiaries in case of the policyholder’s death.
- Premiums: The premiums for life insurance policies can vary widely based on the individual’s age, health status, and other factors. It’s essential to compare the rates from multiple insurance companies to find the most affordable and comprehensive coverage.
- Policy riders: Policy riders can provide additional coverage options or benefits, such as accelerated death benefits, waiver of premium, or accidental death coverage. It’s important to review the available policy riders and choose those that provide the most comprehensive coverage for the individual’s needs.
- Customer service and reputation: The insurance company’s customer service and reputation are essential factors to consider when shopping for a life insurance policy. Choose a company with a proven track record of excellent customer service and financial stability to ensure that the policy will provide the intended benefits to beneficiaries.
How Can Someone With Obesity Determine How Much Life Insurance Coverage They Need?
Determining the appropriate amount of life insurance coverage needed can be a complex process that requires careful consideration of various factors. Here are some steps that someone with obesity can take to determine their life insurance coverage needs:
- Assess financial obligations: The first step is to evaluate financial obligations such as mortgage payments, credit card debts, car loans, and other outstanding debts. Consider how much money would be needed to pay off these obligations if the policyholder were to pass away.
- Consider income replacement needs: Life insurance can also provide income replacement for the policyholder’s beneficiaries. Consider the number of years of income that would need to be replaced to provide for the family’s financial needs. A general rule of thumb is to have coverage for at least 10 times the policyholder’s annual income.
- Estimate final expenses: Final expenses such as funeral costs, estate taxes, and other end-of-life expenses should also be factored in when determining the coverage amount needed.
- Evaluate education expenses: If the policyholder has children, it’s essential to consider their education expenses when determining the coverage amount needed. Estimate the cost of college or other educational expenses and factor this into the coverage amount.
- Consider lifestyle needs: The policyholder’s lifestyle needs should also be taken into account. Consider the cost of maintaining the family’s standard of living, including expenses such as childcare, housekeeping, and other related expenses.
- Consult with an insurance professional: Working with an experienced insurance professional can help determine the appropriate amount of coverage needed based on individual needs and circumstances. They can provide guidance on different policy types and coverage options that may be more suitable for individuals with obesity.
By taking these steps and working with an insurance professional, individuals with obesity can determine the appropriate amount of life insurance coverage needed to provide for their family’s financial needs in case of their untimely death.
Can Weight Loss or Other Lifestyle Changes Impact a Person’s Life Insurance Premiums?
Yes, weight loss or other lifestyle changes can potentially impact a person’s life insurance premiums. Insurance companies take various factors into account when determining premiums, including an individual’s health status, lifestyle, and medical history. If someone with obesity takes steps to improve their health, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, or managing any obesity-related health conditions, they may qualify for lower premiums.
In some cases, insurance companies may offer policies with lower premiums or better terms to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to healthy lifestyle changes. For example, some insurance companies may offer lower rates to individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight or have maintained a healthy weight for a certain period.
However, it’s important to note that weight loss alone may not guarantee lower premiums. Insurance companies also consider other factors such as medical history, family health history, and other lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and recreational drug use when determining premiums.
It’s also important to note that significant weight loss or lifestyle changes may not immediately result in lower premiums. It may take some time to see a noticeable impact on premiums as insurance companies typically require individuals to maintain their healthy lifestyle for a certain period before offering lower rates.
How Can Someone With Obesity Find the Best Life Insurance Policy for Their Needs and Budget?
Finding the best life insurance policy for someone with obesity can be a bit more challenging than for someone without obesity, but it is still possible. Here are some tips to help find the best life insurance policy:
- Shop around: It’s important to shop around and get quotes from several different insurance companies. Each company has different underwriting standards, and premiums can vary significantly from one insurer to another.
- Work with an experienced insurance professional: An experienced insurance professional can help guide someone with obesity through the process of finding the best policy for their needs and budget. They can provide guidance on different policy types and coverage options that may be more suitable for individuals with obesity.
- Consider term life insurance: Term life insurance is typically more affordable than permanent life insurance, and it may be a good option for individuals with obesity who want coverage for a specific period. Term policies provide coverage for a specific term, such as 10, 20, or 30 years, and can be a good option for those who need coverage while paying off a mortgage or supporting children through college.
- Compare policies and premiums: When comparing policies, it’s important to look beyond the premiums and consider the coverage amount, policy terms, and any additional benefits or riders. Make sure to compare policies based on the same coverage amount and terms to get an accurate comparison.
- Be honest and upfront: When applying for life insurance, it’s important to be honest and upfront about any health conditions or lifestyle factors, such as obesity. Insurance companies will likely ask for medical exams and review medical records, so it’s important to disclose any relevant information to avoid potential claim denials in the future.
By following these tips, someone with obesity can find the best life insurance policy for their needs and budget.
How is Weight and Height (Bmi) Used in Life Insurance?
Life insurance companies use your weight and height, as reflected in your BMI, to determine your insurance rates. Generally, the lower your weight for your height, the healthier your BMI, and the lower your life insurance premiums will be. However, being underweight also poses health risks and may affect your rates.
Insurance companies have different height/weight charts, also known as build charts, which they use to determine premiums. If your weight falls within the preferred range, you’re more likely to get cheaper preferred premiums. If you don’t meet the preferred range, you’ll be given standard rates, and if you exceed the weight limit, you may be rated higher, from 125% to 350% of standard premiums.
Some companies have unisex charts, while others have separate charts for males and females. It’s essential to note that most life insurance companies will decline coverage if you exceed the maximum weight limit for your height.
For instance, Manulife, Sunlife, and SSQ Insurance use unisex charts, and the following sample comparison shows the rates for an adult who is 5’5-5’8 with fully underwritten policies.
If we consider the leniency of the build charts, a person who is 5’7″ and weighs 220 lb would receive a rating of 125% with Manulife, which falls between the standard (100%) and 150% with Sun Life. However, for fully underwritten policies, SSQ Insurance would give them a standard rating.
To learn more about the impact of height and weight on life insurance check out our blog: Impact of Height and Weight on Life Insurance in Canada
Frequently Asked Questions About Life Insurance With Obesity
Yes, it is possible to get life insurance if you have obesity. However, your premiums may be higher than someone who does not have obesity.
Yes, it is likely that your life insurance premiums will be higher if you have obesity. Insurance companies take several factors into consideration when determining premiums, including height and weight. Individuals with obesity are considered higher risk, and therefore may have higher premiums.
There are several things you can do to potentially lower your life insurance premiums if you have obesity. These include losing weight, quitting smoking, managing any related health conditions, and shopping around for the best policy and premium rates.
The type of life insurance that is best for you depends on your individual needs and circumstances. However, term life insurance may be a more affordable option for individuals with obesity who want coverage for a specific period. Permanent life insurance may be a better option for those who want lifelong coverage and the ability to build cash value.
The amount of life insurance coverage you need depends on several factors, including your income, debts, and dependents. A general rule of thumb is to have coverage equal to 10-12 times your annual income, but it’s important to work with an insurance professional to determine the best coverage amount for your individual needs and circumstances.
It is still possible to get life insurance if you have obesity-related health conditions. However, your premiums may be higher and there may be some limitations or exclusions on the coverage. It’s important to work with an experienced insurance professional to find the best coverage options for your specific health conditions..
Find a solution for what you’re looking for
If you have obesity, it’s important to know that it may affect your life insurance application. However, having obesity does not necessarily mean you’ll be denied coverage or face high premiums. Protect Your Wealth can help you get it by guiding you through the process of buying insurance.
To schedule a consultation about your income protection goals, or if you have any questions about insurance in Ontario or Canada, please 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, British Columbia and Alberta including areas such as Windsor, London, Edmonton, and Victoria.