Life insurance is based on a variety of factors. One of those factors is BMI. BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a ratio determined with height and weight. According to the CDC, "BMI appears to be as strongly correlated with various metabolic and disease outcome(s)."1 Thus a higher BMI could mean more health risks for a life insurance company to consider; usually resulting in a higher life insurance rate. In some more extreme cases, depending on the life insurance BMI chart, the application may be disqualified.
If you would like to calculate your own BMI to see where you stand, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, then multiply that by 703. Alternatively, there are many online calculators that can do the math for you by simply entering your height and weight.
You may still be eligible for life insurance. All insurance companies have varying factors and levels in determining your life insurance rate. You should also keep in mind that life insurance companies look at your weight at the time of your exam, plus any weight loss within the past 12 months. Losing a significant amount of weight just before applying for life insurance would not necessarily help in lowering your rate. If you don't qualify for one company, that doesn't mean that you will be disqualified from them all. It's important to not procrastinate in getting your life insurance policy to make sure your loved ones are always protected.
There may be other reasons for an outlier BMI and in some cases a BMI measurement should be viewed with caution. For example, athletes may have a high BMI because of their muscularity rather than their body fat. Alternatively, some athletes are very lean and may be healthy, but have a low BMI. Life insurance companies may make exceptions for such individuals provided the rest of their medical exam results and medical records are in line with preferred rate requirements. If this is the case for you, please talk to a licensed life insurance agent about your options.
Having a healthy BMI may help you to secure lower life insurance premiums and simply improve your overall health. Medical and personal benefits can range from things such as reducing blood pressure, reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, having more energy, better sleep, and improvement in mobility.2
Small steps can help lead you in the right direction. Learn about 4 ways to improve your health little by little.
1. "About Adult BMI," CDC https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/
2. "Benefits of Healthy weight - Healthy BMI range," http://www.aboutbmi.com/low_bmi_benefits.html (2018)