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Life Insurance & Overweight

Many Americans realize that life insurance for overweight people can be more expensive. In fact, being heavier is one of the most common reasons people are charged higher rates for life insurance coverage.

If you are obese, or even just overweight, your height and weight will be a factor used by life insurance underwriters to determine the price of your life insurance policy.

Good news!

All life insurance companies have different height and weight qualification guidelines for life insurance for overweight people. (See life insurance weight limits below)

More progressive life insurance companies also consider a life insurance BMI chart. A life insurance BMI chart reflects how your body mass index fits into the insurance company guidelines.

How does weight affect life insurance rates?

If you are above the maximum build, many companies automatically add an extra premium or a “table rating” onto your policy.

People above these guidelines are often denied life insurance due to weight. So, a good strategy for getting life insurance for morbidly obese people is to consider a guaranteed issue policy or buy life insurance with no medical exam required.


A rating is a premium higher than a standard rate, and is usually labelled with a letter as follows:

  • A = 25% above standard rate
  • B = 50% above standard rates
  • C = 75% above standard rates
  • D = 100% above standard rates

Maximum Build Chart (Life Insurance Weight Limits)


5′ 0″178188190
5′ 1″180190192
5′ 2″178186190
5′ 3″185190199
5′ 4″190188197
5′ 5″196193202
5′ 6″191200208
5′ 7″199206215
5′ 8″203212221
5′ 9″214219228
5′ 10″225233240
5′ 11″229241255
6′ 0″240255260
6′ 1″260265270
6′ 2″270276283
6′ 3″280275279
6′ 4″288290294
6′ 5″294296297
6′ 6″297290304
6′ 7″305304309


Buying Tips for Life Insurance for Overweight People

Hopefully, you now realize that you should not be penalized with higher rates on life insurance just because you are carrying a few extra pounds! Fortunately, life insurance companies use different height and weight categories, and these categories are not uniform across the industry.

You may be able to qualify for standard rates for life insurance being overweight, assuming you do not have any other major medical conditions.

A basic understanding of how your medical history can impact the rates you pay for life insurance. Furthermore, you may be able to avoid a “rating” which could end up costing you a lot more over duration of your life insurance policy!

Want to save money on your life insurance?

If you are a senior citizen you may be in luck! Insurance companies tend to apply more liberal underwriting guidelines to seniors. Many seniors are also looking into buying a permanent life insurance policy.

The thought process being as people age they become a little heavier each year. If you have maintained good health for your entire life you are allowed a few additional pounds.

As you get older, a few life insurance companies tend to allow applicants to be a bit heavier and still qualify for affordable life insurance.

Some carriers even have special height and weight charts which only apply after you reach a certain age.

It is even possible for senior life applicants to qualify for preferred rate class which would not be otherwise available to younger people.


Upgrade on rates available for permanent life insurance

Since, you are paying more for a whole life compared to a term policy you are allowed more lenient underwriting with a few companies. These companies will not “table rate” your policy because you are already committing to a higher premium towards lifetime coverage.

People who are overweight and needing long term coverage can also benefit from more liberal underwriting available on permanent life insurance.

Several insurance companies offer a “table shave” program for people who would normally be assessed a table rating on term life insurance.

This upgrade is usually only available on permanent coverage like guaranteed universal life insurance.

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