Can Excess Weight Raise Life Insurance Rates?

It is a simple fact that many Americans carry excess weight--but did you know that weight can have an affect on term life insurance rates? According to the American Obesity Association, approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. carry excess weight, 60 million are obese, and 9 million are severely obese. The weight issue has become a focus of life insurance companies. In fact, some life insurance companies offer substantially lower rates to consumers who make a conscious effort to lose weight. This article will explain the relationship between weight and life insurance rates.

How Does Weight Affect Life Insurance Premiums?

The life insurance industry is very concerned about excess weight, as the life span and health impacts of extra weight significantly affect the cost of providing life insurance for consumers. Wanting all consumers to have long and healthy lives, life insurance carriers are rewarding weight loss through lower policy premiums. Fortunately, a significant amount of the overweight population is only a few pounds away from earning those lower premiums and saving hundreds of dollars on life insurance--but they must make minor lifestyle adjustments.

When determining life insurance policy costs, carriers use a simple formula: The more a person weighs, the more they pay. Specifically, the formula begins with an individual's proportion of body weight to their height, known also as their BMI (Body Mass Index) or "physical build." It's no secret that the more a person weighs in relation to their height, the greater their risk for long-term health complications and a shortened lifespan.

Your Physical Build Affects Life Insurance Rates

To be considered for preferred life insurance rates, it is important to keep your height to weight ratio at or near the ideal range for your body type. If you already have a term life insurance policy, and you have recently lost weight and kept it off, be sure to notify your carrier. If your carrier fails to reward you with lower rates, it may be time for you to shop around for a policy that will.

Carriers use different health ratios to determine rates. Therefore, shopping around may uncover both potential savings and better coverage. At any time, you may request a medical examination to expedite the process. Your rates are locked in for the term of the policy, so the carrier cannot penalize you for any gained weight. If, in fact, the medical examination determines that your health has improved, you could be offered a lower rate.

Obesity and Life Insurance Coverage

Obesity is a serious problem for Americans, with causes that range from genetic predisposition and metabolism, to modern cultural and social pressures. Regardless of the cause, the fact still remains that too many Americans are overweight. Fortunately, many have the ability to overcome the challenge through simple dietary adjustments and lifestyles changes. Others require the direction of medical and nutritional experts for more serious health issues. At the finish line of a person's weight loss goal, term life insurance carriers may reward you with substantially lower premiums.

The Weight Issue in the National Spotlight

The weight issue has arguably become a primary focus of both lawmakers and the national media. Schools are removing soft drink vending machines, the FDA is requiring stricter nutritional labeling, and television networks are incorporating the cause into new types of programming, such as "The Celebrity Fit Club" or "The Biggest Loser."