So you’re wondering how your weight affects your life insurance rates? You might be surprised to know that how much you weigh has a direct impact on the kind of insurance rates you pay. It may seem unfair, but even the top 10 life insurance companies will factor in your weight.
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When you are overweight, you are more at risk for a variety of conditions like diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. Life insurance providers don’t want you to become disabled or pass away anytime soon, so those who have a greater risk of dying younger are going to pay higher rates for coverage.
Fortunately, weight is something that can be controlled through proper nutrition and regular exercise. Knowing what life insurance companies are looking at will help you know where you need to be on the scale in order to pay the best rates.
How Your Weight Affects Your Life Insurance Rates
Let’s dive a little deeper into life insurance health classes and what weight ranges fall into them. Here is a quick look into how life insurance companies classify applicants from the best rates (Preferred Plus) to the most expensive rates (Substandard or Table Rates).
|Rate Class / Risk Class||Pricing Result||Cost Rank|
|Preferred Best / Plus||50% of Standard||1 (Least expensive)|
|Preferred||63% of Standard||2|
|Standard Plus / Select||86% of Standard||3|
|Table 1 / A||25% over Standard||5|
|Table 2 / B||50% over Standard||6|
|Table 3 / C||75% over Standard||7|
|Table 4 / D||100% over Standard||8|
|Table 5 / E||125% over Standard||9|
|Table 6 / F||150% over Standard||10|
|Table 7 / G||175% over Standard||11|
|Table 8 / H||200% over Standard||12 (Most expensive)|
People with Preferred Plus health rates pay the lowest rates for their insurance. To be in this category, you need to be in very good shape. For example, in the United States the average height of a grown man is about 5’10”, while the average height of a grown woman is slightly less than 5’5”. A man who is of average height should generally be no more than 196lbs. A woman of average height should be around 148lbs or less.
Of course, people come in all different heights, and that is why many insurance underwriters follow weight charts that list corresponding healthy weights with each height. For example, a woman is who 5’11” can weigh 175lbs and be perfectly healthy, while a man who is 6’4” can weigh 230lbs.
Example: Let’s say John is a 35-year-old man who is 5’10” tall and weighs 192lbs. For a 20-year, $250,000 policy, he can get a life insurance policy for $13 per month at Preferred Plus rates.
These are the next best rates. People in this category are typically in very good, but not great health. A man of average height in this category should weigh not much more than 215lbs. Likewise woman of average height shouldn’t weigh more than 185lbs to be in the preferred category.
Now, if John (the same 5’10”, 35 year old mentioned above) is 215lbs instead of 192, his rate for a 20-year, $250,000 policy is now going to be about $17 per month.
This is the “above average” health rating. People in this category are typically in good, but not very good health. A man of average height with Standard Plus rates should weigh no more than 226lbs, while a woman of average height should weigh no more than 194lbs.
If our example, John, is more like 225lbs, his rate for a 20-year, $250,000 policy are going to instead be about $21 per month.
This category is also sometimes called “regular” or “average”. If life insurance were a report card, the Standard category would be a “C” grade. People with this health rating are of average health, with men and women of average height weighing no more than 234lbs and 202lbs, respectively.
Now, if John weighs 234lbs, his rates for a 20-year, $250,000 policy are going to instead be around $25 per month.
These rates are the higher because the people in the Substandard health class are considered to be more of a risk to life insurance companies. If you weigh beyond the acceptable weights for the above categories, you will most likely have to pay substandard rates. If you are morbidly obese, for example, you will likely fall into this category— especially if you have certain health conditions that are linked to obesity.
If John is morbidly obese, his rates are going to be higher than those in any of the previous categories.
Most people think that being overweight is the main reason for a substandard rating. This is typically true. However, if you are underweight, you too can receive a substandard rating. I recently had a case where my client told me her weight during our interview and she easily could apply at Preferred Plus with her stated weight. Unfortunately her weight was a few pounds less for her medical exam.
The life insurance company we applied with was very strict with her weight and rated her up to a Substandard rating. Luckily for her, I was able to take her medical exam information and shop her to several companies that would offer her the Preferred Plus rating!
Using an independent agent is key to securing the best rates.
What if I lose weight?
Most people gain back weight after they lose it. This is why life insurance companies generally want to see you keep weight off for about a year before you qualify for better rates.
If you have recently lost a significant amount of weight and need life insurance, I recommend you get a policy now so you’re covered; and in about a year or so look into a life insurance replacement if you can get a better rate by re-applying for coverage.
Thank you for reading our guide, How Your Weight Affects Your Life Insurance Rates.
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