Life Insurance for High BMI

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Life Insurance for High BMIWe understand that there are many reasons why someone could have a high BMI and we appreciate that this may be through no fault of their own.

A person’s BMI may be higher due to a natural tendency to carry weight, a medical condition or even a result of being too muscular. My husband and I both had high BMIs and we can appreciate the feelings of judgement you get when you are very overweight.

It is also well-documented, by research, that flaws have been found in the accuracy of BMI because it doesn’t always consider key factors such as an individual’s muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition or even age.

So if you are found to have a high BMI, don’t worry we can find the best life insurance for you. 

We have a team of expert advisors who understand about living with high BMI and the extras that can come with it like high blood pressure. We will take the time to understand your individual circumstances.

Our whole of market access means we are able to find the best life insurance for you and your family.

We’d just need the following information to get started:

  • Your weight
  • Your height
  • Your dress size or waist circumference
  • Any other medical conditions

When you have a high BMI there are a lot of different things that can happen when you apply for life insurance. You could be offered life insurance at standard terms (normal price), at a price increase or some insurers may decline the application.

The tricky part is knowing which insurers are going to be right for you. Some start to increase prices when BMIs go above 30 and the prices get higher as the BMI does. Some insurers will be unable to offer life insurance once someone’s BMI is over 40. 

I have put together this video for the British Obesity Society, to support a blog that I wrote for them. In the blog I talked about how my husband and I used to have high BMIs and how it affected our insurances.

Here I talk about what can happen when you apply for things like like insurance when you have a high BMI.

 

Hi, and thank you for reading the blog that I’ve put together for the British Obesity Society.

So, one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about is what I am, an insurance advisor, and I know that sometimes the insurance industry can be something that people don’t really trust. And, you know, sometimes that can be rightly so, but there are a lot of times that insurance can be a really good thing, but it’s just not really that those good stories get out there.

I wanted to give you a bit of advice though in regards to, what having a high BMI can mean when you do go for insurances. So, I’ve had quite a high BMI myself in the past, so has my husband, and we’ve both taken different steps to reduce that, and it was something that did come into play with insurances for a time. When you are looking for things, I focus on protection insurance, which is things like life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection. Once your BMI is hitting around sort of the mid 30s range, then that’s really when you’re going to want to start researching in to the best insurers for you. Once you’re starting to reach that level, and it can be stricter, for critical illness and income protection. The insurers start to increase the premiums, due to what they see as the extra kind of risk that is being placed upon all your internal structures and different things, because of having the excess weight. And I also fully appreciate as well though, that the BMI guidelines are completely outdated, I think we all know that, and it certainly doesn’t take into account the fact that, you have muscle, and have a high BMI due to muscle, they don’t take that into account. But it is something that if that was the case, we can speak to insurers and talk about that instead. And I’m probably a prime example of that, I have a really low BMI, my BMI is around 20, but my body fat percentage is… well I’ve had three kids, and for whatever reason fat loves my hips and thighs very much. And I’m classed as what I think is known as a skinny fat person, because I’m quite thin, but on the inside I’m not very thin.

So, just a few little, pearls of wisdom. Do shop around, you know it’s not always the cheapest premium that’s going to be the best one for you once you’ve actually been through the full application process. And also sometimes, insurers don’t really tend to compete too much, well, they do compete over pricing, but the main competition from insurers at the moment comes from all the extras that they offer which can be things that you can get for both yourself, and your family to use, which can be access to on-demand GP services, counsellors, physiotherapists, occupational, anything like that, there’s specialist nurses available. There’s just lots and lots of different things that can come into play in even just like your standard life insurance policies now, so it is really worthwhile having a look at all the extras that can come with it.

If you do end up wanting to use somebody, such as an insurance advisor, just to help you figure out the best way for you to go forward, there are a number of different things that you can look out for. So, the first would be, make sure that they are registered at the Financial Conduct Authority. If you ask them for what’s known as their FCA number, they should give that to you so you can check that they are a legitimate company. There are the standard things that you can do as well, go on the websites, read their reviews, do the reviews have dates on them, are they all coming from the last few weeks, or have they come from the last few years or so. You could look at awards pages, are they being seen as people within the industry, or even if you see them in the press, if you search for them are they people who stand out as being specialists in what they do.

So, you may think as well, right, so, you know I’ve got a BMI of this, there’s no way I’m going to get insurance. The highest BMI that we’ve currently been able to provide someone insurance for is a BMI of 66. And that’s simply because that was, the highest BMI that we’ve been approached with. There are lots of different options. It is important to have realistic expectations though, so, if you do have a high BMI do expect that there will be premium increases. That is going to happen, the trick is to find the person who’s going to increase the BMI the least, and at certain levels you may need to start looking at more specialist policies. There are some policies as well that can really reward you, if you are wanting to reduce your weight. They can reward you if you engage with them, you let them know your own fitness programs, and you record your weight loss with the insurer, or your exercise levels with the insurer. Then they may set the premiums at one level, but if you are doing really well in regards to losing weight and fitness, then the premium can actually come down, in the future. But then you also have to be careful because it’s all well and good saying that you’re happy to do that. But it can also go up if you don’t engage. There’s lots of different things to look at, lots of different quirks, it can seem like quite a minefield, but that’s why insurance advisors are there.

But you know, if you’ve simply got a BMI that’s under the mid 30s range, then there shouldn’t really be any kind of significant issues for you to be getting the insurances. And there are plenty of people out there that can help, so it’s just a matter of finding somebody that you are comfortable with, who will give you the support that you need when you are trying to find that extra bit of insurance for you and your family.

People living with a high BMI should not be deterred from applying for critical illness cover. If your BMI is less than 45 then you should be able to get critical illness cover with many standard insurers.

A lot of the questions will be the same as life insurance. The way that terms are offered is quite similar to: the higher the BMI, the higher the premium.

This is mainly due to the wider health considerations of carrying more weight, which can place you at a higher risk of developing one of the critical illnesses listed on the policy. Because you are being protected against these, the increased premium offsets the added risk of you making a claim, regardless of why you have a high BMI.

You will find that as your age increases, a higher BMI is often considered to be more acceptable. Insurers understand that as we get older, fitness levels tend to drop, our bodies change and putting on weight can be quite natural.

Depending upon your circumstances you may find that critical illness cover is offered at standard premiums. This is most likely if your high BMI is within the low to mid 30s range. It is really important to research and find the right insurer for you, as some will start increasing the critical illness premiums more quickly than others.

When people have BMIs towards the mid to high 30s and above, most insurers will offer the policy at higher premiums. Again, it is essential that research is done to make sure that you get the best premium on offer within the market. Our expert advisers will do this for you. 

And if your BMI is over 45, it is possible that your application for critical illness cover will need to be placed with a specialist insurer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to silly pricing. We are happy to talk you through the options and there is no obligation to go ahead with anything. 

Income protection cover for people with a high BMI will need to be placed with an insurer, that is supportive of your health.

When it comes to income protection, the rules for getting it are a bit more strict than other insurances. This is because it is so much more likely for claims to be made on this type of insurance, for anyone. When someone has a pre-existing health condition, the likelihood of making a claim becomes even higher.

When someone has a higher BMI, it can lead to other health conditions. This means that insurers could see your extra weight, as a sign that you are more likely to develop a health condition and be unable to work.

This may seem unfair, but insurers base their decision upon years worth of medical statistics. These medical assessments have shown over time that excess weight can place additional strain on your body, increasing the chance of conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, certain cancers and gastric surgery.

It is most likely that a high BMI will lead to insurers offering income protection at an increased premium. If your BMI is 40 or over, it is possible that we will need to look at a specialist insurer for your income protection cover.

And if you find that income protection is not an option, then we can look at other routes. Accident, Sickness and Unemployment cover can be a possibility. These applications do not ask about your health when you are setting the cover up, which means your BMI will not affect the premium.

The policy will pay out for 12-24 months if you’re unable to work due to ill health or involuntary redundancy. You can have this policy regardless of your BMI, but you need to watch the small print, as many will not cover any claims that are related to your weight.

Please get in touch with our award winning advisers, for a no obligation quotation.

Do you have a high BMI and plan on travelling abroad? It is worthwhile checking that your travel insurance covers you fully whilst you are abroad, at your current weight. We work alongside a specialist travel insurance broker who can help guide you to the right cover for you. Find out more here.

Hi today I’m going to be carrying on the CuraVision ABC series and today is H for high BMI and I’m going to talk to you about our client, Mr. H.

Harry came to us, 29 years old, non-smoker, with a BMI of approximately 40. Now in regards to insurance terms, that is considered quite high. He had come to us having been declined by one insurer and for his life and critical illness cover, and wanted to see if there was anything that we could do for him.

So Harry had just arranged a capital and repayment mortgage of £88,000 over 35 years. And he wanted some kind of critical illness cover in place, so that if something were to happen to him for him to develop serious illness, that he would be able to pay off that mortage liability and not have that to worry about whilst he was also going through, what would be quite a tough time, medically.

So we were able to arrange life and critical illness cover for Harry, of £88,500 over 35 years, on decreasing basis to match the mortgage of around £28 per month.

Now something to bear in mind with Harry, is because of his BMI being near 40 and his age 29, that is considered, those two combinations of being quite young and high BMI, that is what the insurers are primarily concerned about when they’re writing these kind of insurances.

We also identified that Harry could use some income protection. So again if he was unable to work, due to ill health, that he would be able to continue to pay and maintain his standard of living, so pay his mortgage, continue to pay his bills and buy food etc.

So what we were able to do for Harry was, we put an income protection policy in place, of around £1000 per month, that would pay a claim until he was 70. It came with a 13 week deferred period, so once he’d been ill, it would take 13 weeks for the claims to kick in the payment, if he made a successful claim. And again, that was around £28 per month.

Now the thing with the income protection side of things, because of this combination of young age and the high BMI, we did have to look at more specialized policies in a sense, and what has come with that policy is that it’s, the premiums are what are known as age banded. So that means that at a certain period of times, as he gets older, the premiums start to increase in line with him ageing.

So whilst that may not be an ideal solution, that is what is available for Harry at the present time, and hopefully in the future when we are able to revisit the policy, as insurance policies become more available or maybe as his health changes, we’ll be able to get him more of a fixed premium, like a guaranteed premium like life and critical illness policy, where he knows now for that life and critical illness policy for the next 35 years, he has £28 per month to pay, every month to keep that policy in place for that time period while the mortgage and liability is there. 

What is High BMI?

BMI refers to your Body Mass Index and considers both your height and weight when determining whether your weight is considered to be healthy. It is calculated by dividing an adult’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared and according to guidelines, an ideal BMI is somewhere between 18.5 and 24.9.

Referring to a BMI score can be useful if you are attempting to monitor how healthy your weight is but it’s worth noting that it can sometimes be a little misleading. This is because it can’t, for example, account for a high BMI because someone is particularly muscular or determine if someone with a good BMI is in fact an unhealthy eater.

So whilst it can be a useful measurement, BMI shouldn’t be considered in isolation.

Also: Obesity, overweight

Linked with: High cholesterolhigh blood pressureunderactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)type 2 diabetes, heart diseasebreast cancer, colon cancer, strokepolycystic ovary syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome, sleep apnoeagoutheart attack

There are a number of ways in which your BMI can affect your life insurance application so here’s just some of the things that are good to know:

  • Even though premiums can increase once a BMI of 30 is reached, there are some insurers who will consider standard terms up to a BMI of 36.
  • With a BMI of 33, the insurers you can approach may be restricted with premiums likely to increase incrementally for a score of 36 and above.
  • Life insurance for overweight or obese individuals can be accepted up to a BMI score of 45 on the standard market.
  • If your BMI is over 45, we have a range of specialist providers that we can approach for your life insurance; 66 is the highest BMI that we have arranged insurance for so far.

A high BMI does not mean that life insurance can’t be arranged. In fact, there are many insurers that will support this, each just has different underwriting guidelines which we will review for you against your individual circumstances.

There could be, however, additional considerations because they may ask questions such as your dress size or waist measurement – but with good reason! It allows them to determine how much weight you carry around your middle which is an area highlighted for additional health concerns such as type 2 diabetes.

But we understand that everyone is different and having a high BMI certainly doesn’t make life insurance any less important. We’ve found policies for many people with a high BMI whether this is because they do body building, have thyroid complications or simply as a result of their diet.

So rest assured, we can help you to find the most suitable life insurance for you, helping you to navigate the options along the way whilst considering the reason for your high BMI in the first place.

Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have a high BMI include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Excess weight
  • Gallstones
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Joint pain
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mobility issues
  • Snoring
  • Celevac tablets (Methylcelulose)
  • Exercise
  • Xenical (Orlistat)

Common Questions

Yes, certainly. As with any insurance, there are different underwriting limits from one insurer to the next and not everyone will be accepted for cover by the same provider. You may have been refused life insurance because your BMI is over 50, but we have arranged insurance for people with a BMI over 60 so it is possible – it’s just about knowing where to look.

It is normal for an insurer to apply an increased premium as a result of a high BMI but our expertise means we may be able to navigate around this by talking to the insurer on your behalf. Some insurers may be more accommodating once they are happy in the knowledge that your BMI is a result of fitness but you should bear in mind that if your BMI is particularly high, you may still be faced with an increased premium even after your application has been reviewed with the correct knowledge.

This will very much depend on your specific case but if you go through significant weight loss, and reduce your BMI as a result, then you could increase your chances of obtaining a cheaper life insurance policy. Losing weight is also a great opportunity for you to start leading a healthier lifestyle. But everyone is different and losing weight may not always reduce your BMI or attract lower premiums, so regardless of your situation, get in touch with us and we can explore the best options for you.

Client Reviews

The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 5 out of 5 based on 453 reviews.

Review by Sarah and Mark on 19th February 2016

I was given a really good service, I honestly thought I would not get insured for my mortgage due to my health conditions. everyone I spoke to were really nice and kept me up to date it was nice to know I was dealing with real people. Would highly recommend A+++ - 5 

You can read more of our reviews here.

Life Insurance for High BMI

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

Author
This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

Life Insurance for High BMI

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Life Insurance for High BMI

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