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How does height/weight affect term life rates

Get the low down on height/weight for term life 

What 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 situation.

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 the body. 

A 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 term life insurance carriers as it pertains to height/weight. 

There 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 the body. 

How does height/weight affect term life rates and eligibility

The 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 health class and rate 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. 

The 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 options for term life insurance.




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