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The Impact of Obesity on Life Insurance

obesity negative health factorsLife insurance is expensive and if you are overweight, you may just find it becomes even more expensive. Being obese is certainly a factor that insurers take into consideration. In 2009, it was calculated that across 31 of the US states, 25% of the entire population is obese. In Mississippi, 32% of all adults were obese, which is the worst state of all for these rates. In the United Kingdom, 24% of men and 26% of women are obese. While the numbers haven’t changed since 2011, the said rates are still quite alarming, according to the National Health Service.

Obesity and Life Insurance
You must understand the difference between being overweight and being obese. If you carry a few extra pounds, you will not see an effect on your life insurance prices. However, those who are truly obese, and those who are starting to have obesity-related illnesses such as high blood pressure or diabetes, will find that their life insurance becomes incredibly expensive, if they get approved at all.

What Is Obesity?
Every person has what is called a BMI – Body Mass Index. This is calculated through height and weight and demonstrates how much body fat you actually carry. A healthy BMI is between 20 and 25. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are classed as overweight. Anything above 30 is classed as obese. These calculations are important: an overweight person simply receives a recommendation to lose weight. Someone who is obese, however, is classed as high-risk in terms of developing certain illnesses and other health problems. These calculations are used globally. There are various online calculators available that you can use in order to calculate your own BMI, which is something you should consider doing if you are looking at buying life insurance. You can find a good one here.

Obesity is a serious health condition that can lead to a range of other problems. It is because of this that your life insurance premiums are affected. Essentially, if you have a higher chance of dying, you will pay more for your life insurance. Obesity is known to increase the chance of developing certain types of cancer (mainly breast, endometrial and colon cancer), high cholesterol and other forms of dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, gynaecological problems (including infertility), disease of the gallbladder, high blood pressure (hypertension), osteoarthritis, liver disease, respiratory problems (including apneas), strokes and type 2 diabetes.

Life Insurance and Underwriting
Life insurance providers have a range of underwriting guidelines and these differ between the various insurers. However, the best insurance rates will be provided to those who have a BMI below 26 (28 at a push). If it is higher, you will move onto a different risk category, meaning you will pay more. If your BMI is above 35, you will be placed in the most expensive class of all, as you will be considered “high risk”.

Naturally, not all insurers sign up to these guidelines and there are many variations and exceptions between the different insurance providers. This is why you have to take the time to compare the market and shop around for life insurance quotes. If, however, you find that your insurance premiums are always going to be high, there are other options out there as well. For instance, you could choose to have a lower amount paid out upon your death, which will also reduce your premiums. If you do manage to lose the weight, you can always make changes again afterwards. It is interesting to note that elderly people, above the age of 65 (70 for some insurers) have less strict standards when it comes to their weight.

This is not a type of discrimination against the obese, by the way. Those who are underweight are equally difficult to insure and find they have high premiums to pay too. The difference is, however, that only very few people are actually classed as underweight (with a BMI below 18).

Whatever your weight may be, you may find yourself in a difficult situation if you are looking for affordable life insurance. You may, for instance, have existing medical conditions, a history of suicide attempts or a dangerous profession, you will find it very difficult to find a premium that you can afford. However, life insurance is out there for you. Compare the market and find the best insurance for you!

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