Are You a Few Pounds Overweight and Considering Buying Life Insurance?
Read this first!
One of the most common questions our clients (especially guys) have is, “How does my weight affect my life insurance rates?”
If you’re a few pounds overweight, join the club! The majority of American’s are overweight. But is it necessary to run out and buy a treadmill before buying life insurance? Probably not….we’ll tell you why.
Quick Article Guide:
Being 20 pounds overweight doesn’t always preclude you qualifying for an insurance company’s best rate class. In fact, most life insurance companies have fairly lenient with height and weight requirements. In addition, many life insurance companies provide additional weight allowance for men and women applying after age 60. Thank you!!
Let’s take a look at one of the more lenient company’s build charts, for a 60-year old male applying for a new term policy. This rate chart illustrates the guidelines for “Preferred” rates from an A+ (Superior) rated life insurance company that has been in business for more than 100 years.
|“Preferred” Height and Weight Guidelines for a 60 Year-Old Male|
*Displayed height and weight guidelines are accurate as of 07/01/2017 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
Insider’s Tip: Some life insurance companies underwrite on a debit and credit system that focuses primarily on the applicant’s overall health. These companies may offer to bump you to a better rate class if you’re within a few pounds of their guidelines and your lab results are within the recommended ranges.
When you apply for life insurance, the company you apply with will ask you if you’ve lost more than 10 pounds in the last 12 months. Unfortunately, if you’ve lost more than 10 pounds within 12 months, the insurance companies will only give you credit for half of the weight you’ve lost. This is due to the fact that, statistically, most people will regain at least half of the weight they’ve lost within 6 to 12 months of losing it.
For Example: When you visit your doctor, you’re usually led to a scale before the examination room. Let’s say your medical records show you were 240 pounds within the last 12 months, but now you only weigh 200 pounds. In this scenario, the life insurance companies will average your doctor’s recorded weight with your current weight and underwrite your policy as if you weigh 220 pounds.
This can seem unfair, especially when you’ve worked so hard to exercise and eat better. However, to err on the safe side, the insurance companies must rely their history of claims and underwriting statistics to stay in business.
If you are able to maintain your weight loss for over a year, your agent can always help you re-apply and secure a replacement policy. However, please bear in mind that the cost of life insurance increases as we age, and in most cases becoming a year older has a larger impact on your life insurance rates than losing weight.
Please keep in mind, age is always working against us, and will often have a bigger impact than losing weight. As an example, a 55 year-old male will typically pay 12-15% more than a 54 year old for the same term policy with identical coverage. If losing a few pounds will only save 5-10% on the cost of your coverage, it doesn’t make sense to wait.
Its also important to note that most life insurance companies use your “nearest age” when determining the cost of your coverage. In other words, if you’re within 6 months of your next birthday, you’ll be considered a year older.
In most cases The difference in cost between the #1 risk class and #2 risk class, is minimal, especially if your agent is shopping rates and options from dozens of companies. The only acceptation to this is for applicants between the ages of 59 and 60 because a small handful of companies have more lenient weight allowances for applicants after age 60. If you’re almost 60, we’ll compare your options to determine if you’re better off waiting a few months to apply.
Here’s an Example of a 59 year old man who is 5’10”, 243 pounds:
At 5’10”, 243 pounds, an applicant in good health would qualify for the third best best rate category, “Standard Plus”. After the age of 60, however, this applicant could qualify for “Preferred” rates which is the second best rate category available.
We’ve compared both coverage options below to illustrate the difference in price.
Actual Rates for A Male Who is 5’10”, 243 pounds – 20 Year Level Term, $250,000 of Coverage
|Age 59, Male, “Standard Plus” Rates
250k – 20 yrs
|Age 60, Male, “Preferred” Rates
250k – 20 yrs
*Displayed monthly rates are accurate as of 07/19/2017 and provided for illustrative purposes only.
I can’t tell you how many people tell us they’ll delay applying for life insurance while “getting healthier”. Everyone has good intent, however, we all get busy and fall into familiar patterns. Annually I tell myself I’ll join a gym and lose weight gained during the holidays. After age 50, this becomes tougher and tougher.
Real Life Example: Last year I helped a client named Jeff, from Tallahassee, FL. Like many male Americans, Jeff was about 25 pounds overweight when he applied with us and Jeff’s first question was, “How Does My Weight Affect My Life Insurance Rates?” Through our pre-application interview we determined he should apply as a #2 “Preferred risk” due to his weight.
Jeff decided to hold off on applying until he had lost a few pounds to try for the #1 risk class. After 4 months he called us back, and justifiably proud of the fact that he’d lost about 20 pounds.
Jeff’s weight was now within the guidelines for the #1 “Preferred Best” rates.
After Jeff completed his lab work, he was approved at the #2 Preferred risk, not because of his weight, but because of his elevated cholesterol, likely due to the high protein “Paleo Diet” he’d adopted. When it was all said and done, we shared a good laugh.
Insurance underwriters will be looking at 20-25 different criteria, not just the one you may be focusing on. In order to qualify for a #1 “Preferred Best” risk, you’d need to fall within the height and weight guidelines and classify as a “minimal risk” across all factors. This is much easier to do so in your 20’s and 30’s; before wear and tear or raising kids have taken their toll!
Along with weight, life insurance companies will also review your immediate family’s medical history, your prescribed medications, and any history of health issues you may have been diagnosed with. These health issues include; heart disease, cancer, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.
Even if your weight is perfect, unfavorable family health history, elevated blood pressure (hypertension), or cholesterol could prevent you from qualifying for the #1 “Preferred Best” risk class. In fact, only 5-8% of the American population qualifies for these rates. However, getting approved at the #2 risk class, “Preferred”, or even the #3 risk class, “Standard Plus”, will still place you at a better risk category than the vast majority of your age/population group.
Keep in mind life insurance underwriters aren’t looking at us today, they are projecting our mortality risk over the next 10, 15, 20, or even 30 years. This is one of the reasons that the insurance companies will ask you if you’re having regular physicals and completing the procedures your doctor is recommending such as a colonoscopy. Health issues will increase with age, so it’s imperative that problems are detected and treated early. Personally, I’ve had a bout with melanoma. It was caught early and excised. Had I ignored it, I could be fighting for my life today.
As strict dieting may not be entirely healthful, exercising hard for prolonged period of time can increase cortisone. This can actually result in weight gain, along with muscle pain and soreness which can result in high blood pressure. Creatinine also increases, even if you’re not using supplements. Elevated creatinine is a red flag to an insurance underwriter, as it’s one symptom of kidney failure.
If your lab results show elevated kidney function, you could be subjected to additional tests at your own expense to rule out problems.
Exercise is great, but if you have not worked out regularly for some time, it may be best to begin after your life insurance is in place.
We commonly help customers who’ve had various types of bariatric weight loss surgery such as a gastric bypass procedure or a LAP-BAND.
For the most part, the “half weight loss credit” applies, however, some life insurers only give partial credit for 2 years post-surgery. Many companies will also postpone your application until 12 months after your surgery has been completed. In our experience, Prudential (A+ rated) is the most liberal in this regard. If you haven’t had any post surgery complications, they’ll often accept a life insurance application 6 months after your surgery has been completed.
These varying underwriting rules is why you’ll benefit from the service of an independent life insurance agent, serving as a no-cost broker on your behalf. At Term Life Advice, we shop over 60 highly-rated life insurance companies to find our customers their best options and the best price.
We’ll state again….if you need life insurance, don’t procrastinate, get it done! When your policy is approved, you’ll automatically receive a copy of your lab results and an explanation of your final rates. If your weight turns out to be a bit higher than you expected, don’t worry. Our licensed agents will compare your recorded weight against our most lenient company’s height and weight guidelines to determine if a more affordable option is available. If another top-rated company is able to offer you the same amount of coverage for a lower price, we will let you know how much you stand to save, and you can decide if it’s worth your time to reapply.
If you do decide to reapply for a better rate, you won’t need to take a new health exam. All of the life insurance companies we represent will accept the results of your initial health exam for up to 12 months after your exam is completed. Getting reconsidered for a better rate is as simple as signing a new application online and waiting a few weeks for approval. During this time, we can also offer you free conditional or temporary coverage to make sure your family remains protected.
If a health issue unrelated to your weight caused your approved rates to increase, we’ll also compare your options to let you know if a more affordable policy is available. Remember, every company sets their own rates and has their own unique underwriting guidelines. By working with more than 60 top-rated companies, we’re able to match our clients with the best options available.
Ultimately, your age usually has the largest impact on the cost of your insurance as well as your options for coverage. Some companies won’t accept applications after specific ages, and all of the insurance companies will limit your options for coverage as you get older. For example, it’s nearly impossible to find a 30-year term policy after the age of 58.
If you still have questions or ready to get an idea of how much your life insurance will cost, please give us a call at: 855-902-6494, or request a free life insurance quote below to instantly compare rates from more than a dozen highly-rated life insurance companies. Our shopping services are free and there is no cost to apply for coverage.