if you are applying for term life
insurance and you have no health
issues...but...you are overweight for
your height? Can this affect your
ability to qualify for coverage and/ore
the rates offered by the carrier?
Yes. Let's find out why and by how
much so you go into the process with
correct expectations for your given
First, why is height and weight a
consideration in your process of
applying for term life insurance?
There is a significant amount of data
that shows a link between height/weight
ratio and other health issues.
Some of these issues do not impact the
basis for life insurance while others
are pretty obvious. The most
obvious and probably most critical is
cardio vascular health.
Cardiovascular is essentially the system
comprised of heart, lungs, and the
vein/artery network throughout the body.
Heart attacks, strokes, and heart
disease are major causes of death and
disability in the United States.
The simplest tie between height/weight
ratios and cardiovascular health is the
fact that more weight means more work
for the heart. We have even had
professional body builders with a very
low fat percentage declined coverage or
offered higher rates. When
discussed with the underwriter, she said
even though the applicant was in
superior health, the extra weight (in
this case muscle) puts a strain on the
heart which must support all tissue in
higher height/weight ratio usually
corresponds with other medical
signatures of poor cardio-vascular
health. Blood pressure and
elevated cholesterol can both be a
function of genetics and lifestyle
decisions (sometimes reflected in
height/weight ratio). All of these
can be contributing issues to
heart-related risk as it pertains to
heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
This is a main concern for
insurance carriers as it pertains to
are other issues that are affected by
height/weight ratios. For example,
Diabetes can be a function of a higher
weight for a given height.
Although Diabetes can be treated these
days, it is a systemic break-down at a
basic level that impacts all parts of
does height/weight affect term life
rates and eligibility
carriers have rate charts that they look
at. For a given
height (different for male and female),
an ideal rate would fall into a range.
For example, if you are
a 5'9" male, the maximum rate a given
carrier might have for their best
could be 190. For the next tier
down, Preferred, it might be 205.
Finally, for the Standard tier, it might
be 235 pounds. This means, it will
be difficult if not impossible to
qualify for life insurance with this
particular carrier if you are a 5'9"
male that weighs more than 235.
This is without looking at our health or
risk issues that you may have separate
from height and weight.
tier offered for term life insurance
directly impacts the rates you are
ultimately offered. For $500K of
term life over 20 years for a 49 year
old, the best rate average might be
around $65/monthly; for Preferred Plus
around $79/monthly; for Preferred -
around $109/monthly, and for Standard -
around $138/monthly. This is a
significant jump in premium. Some
carriers may not be competitive at
different classes as well. This
dollar difference is the ultimate effect
of how height and weight affects your
term life insurance.