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Overweight? Here’s the Lowdown on Life Insurance

If you struggle with your weight, you already know you have plenty of company. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults – 93 million people – are classified as obese. This is in addition to the vast numbers of others who are overweight, but not actually obese. The statistics add up to about 68 percent of Americans, according to some surveys.

Do You Know Your BMI?

The CDC defines overweight and obesity by using weight and height to calculate a number known as the body mass index, or BMI. An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. To calculate your BMI, see the CDC’s Adult BMI Calculator. Or find your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
BMI is used as a screening tool. It’s not an absolute measure of the body fatness or the health of an individual. Your doctor can perform appropriate assessments to evaluate your health status and possible risks. It’s a well-publicized fact, however, that obesity often leads to chronic health conditions. Some of these conditions are serious, like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
If you do fall into the category of officially overweight or obese, you may think it’s impossible to find life insurance. You may learn it is easier and more affordable than you think.

How Much Weight Is Too Much for Life Insurance?

Each insurance company has its own standards of what it considers too overweight to buy life insurance. Generally, men and women of average weight would have to gain more than 100 pounds before they’d be denied life insurance.
Life insurance companies use “build charts,” which list heights and the maximum allowable weight for each price class of insurance. Licensed insurance agents use these charts to help determine what rate you will receive. They also look at your family health history, including any close relatives who’ve had heart disease or diabetes, that may be linked to obesity.

If Youth Is on Your Side

If you happen to be young and overweight, this is the best time of your life to buy life insurance. You probably don’t have any of the health conditions associated with overweight, as these tend to develop over many years. So your chances of qualifying now for life insurance at an affordable rate are high.
Term policies include a conversion privilege, which allows an individual with an active term policy to convert all or a portion of that policy into a Universal Life policy without a medical exam or weight consideration.
“For those who gain weight during the course of their term policy, a conversion option may be available,” said Brian Quinn, SelectQuote conversion specialist. “Our agents work with each individual to explore all opportunities and find the right policy that fits their needs.

On the Plus Side …

One factor definitely in your favor is the sheer number of people who are overweight or obese. The vast epidemic of overweight and obesity prompts life insurance companies to ease their standards of who can qualify for a policy based on weight.
So why delay? The best time to search for an affordable life insurance policy is now. SelectQuote agents shop many qualified insurance companies to find the right policy and price for your particular situation. Discuss your needs and concerns with a licensed SelectQuote life insurance agent today.
Related articles:
What to Expect at a Life Insurance Medical Exam
An Easy Way to Budget for Life Insurance

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