Cheapest Life Insurance for the Morbidly Obese

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states.
After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu…

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Reviewed by

Rachael Brennan

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Feb 25, 2022

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Here's the Scoop

  • Life insurance companies consider several factors to determine your rates, one of which is your weight
  • Being overweight or obese is considered a high risk to insurance companies because it increases your risk of developing medical conditions
  • While you’ll probably pay more for your life insurance, your rates probably won’t increase too much

Life insurance companies consider several factors when they determine how much your policy will cost (or if they’ll even insure you at all). One of the biggest health factors they look at is your weight.

While your body weight doesn’t say everything about your health, it does indicate that you might be at a higher risk of conditions arising in the future. Insurance companies assign people different risk levels based on their health, and the more overweight you are, the more of a risk you are.

If you reach what doctors describe as obese, you might think you won’t be eligible for life insurance or that you’ll only be able to buy high risk life insurance. However, that’s not the case. It takes a little more work, but you can get life insurance coverage no matter how much you weigh.

If you need life insurance for morbidly obese people, comparing quotes from multiple companies will help you find the best rates possible. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool to see what rates might look like for you.

Table of Contents

How does obesity affect life insurance?

Perhaps more than any other type of insurance, life insurance companies calculate many factors to determine how much your coverage will cost. Life insurance is an excellent investment for the future of your loved ones, but insurance companies need to protect themselves financially as well.

Young people in perfect health get the cheapest rates because they represent the smallest risk to life insurance companies. The higher your chance of dying during the period you’re covered by the policy, the more you’ll pay for it.

Three million Americans are diagnosed as obese each year. These Americans need life insurance coverage just as much as anyone else, and companies don’t usually reject people outright for being overweight.

However, you’re likely to pay more if you’re overweight or obese, depending on what rating an insurance company gives you.

What are insurance rating tables?

While every company has different standards, they all use a rating system to determine what they should charge you.

To get an idea of what rating you would get, check out the usual definitions below.

  • Preferred Plus. The best rating possible is for people without health conditions, no medical history, and no family medical history. Being even a little overweight can keep you out of this rating.
  • Preferred. People with a minor medical issue or a family history with a few concerns qualify for the second-highest rating. This is for people with excellent health – you may be eligible even if you’re overweight as long as you have no other concerns.
  • Standard Plus. This rating is usually reserved for people in good health with one or two concerns. If your family has a history of medical problems or you have one moderate health concern, you might get put here.
  • Standard. This is the rating for the average person, meaning they have a few manageable conditions (like high blood pressure). If you’re very overweight or obese, you might get the standard rating.
  • Smoker ratings. You’ll automatically be disqualified from the Preferred Plus rating if you’re a tobacco user. While some companies automatically put tobacco users into a standard rating, you can find Preferred Smoker ratings with some.
  • Table ratings. When a company considers you a high risk, they’ll give you a table rating. Unless you are very obese, your weight alone is probably not enough to get a table rating.

If you’re overweight or obese, you should know that you won’t get the Preferred Plus rating. However, you can get an idea of what life insurance health classification you’ll receive depending on your situation.

Does BMI affect life insurance?

Your BMI (or body mass index) is how insurance companies look at your weight. Some insurance companies use different tables for men and women, others use one table for both genders. Check the table below to get an idea of how insurance companies look at BMIs.

Height Healthy weight Overweight Obese Severely obese
5'7″ 125lbs 170lbs 220lbs 260lbs
5'8″ 140lbs 180lbs 230lbs 260lbs
5'9″ 140lbs 180lbs 230lbs 260lbs
5'10” 150lbs 190lbs 240lbs 280lbs
5'11” 150lbs 200lbs 250lbs 290lbs
6′ 160lbs 200lbs 260lbs 300lbs
#blank# #blank# #blank# #blank#

While your BMI isn’t necessarily a great representation of your health, insurance companies consider a high BMI a risk.

Why is obesity considered a health concern?

The simple reason life insurance companies look at your weight is because it has a significant impact on your health and overall life expectancy.

Being overweight comes with several health risks, including those listed below.

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Kidney disease

You don’t need to have these conditions to be put into a lower insurance rating simply because you have a higher risk of developing them.

Since your policy’s rates typically stay the same throughout the policy, your insurance company will charge you higher rates to protect itself in case you die while insured.

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How much does insurance cost if you’re obese?

Being overweight means you won’t qualify for the Preferred Plus rating, so you’ll automatically pay more for your insurance. Consider the graph below to get an idea of the price difference between an obese man and a Preferred Plus man.

Age Overweight price Healthy weight price
30 $22 $18
40 $35 $23
50 $80 $50
60 $176 $146
#blank# #blank#

The prices above are the monthly rates for a $250,000 20-year term, which is generally very affordable. The more coverage you get, the more expensive it will be. While the difference between the rates isn’t too noticeable at a young age, it will become greater as age increases.

How to Apply for Life Insurance When Morbidly Obese

Applying for life insurance when you’re obese works the same way as if you weren’t overweight.

Insurance companies perform a medical interview and an exam after you apply for a policy unless you’re buying a no-exam life insurance plan (more on that later). Your answers will be confirmed with your doctor.

When you apply, you should be completely honest. Insurance companies usually find out when applicants misrepresent themselves, which can cause your application to be rejected. Even if they don’t, your beneficiary might not get your death benefit if the company finds out you lied.

Once your application is complete, you can choose to sign up for life insurance if the rates are good for you. If they aren’t, there are a few steps you can take to try to get a better rate for your insurance.

  • Shop for quotes. Insurance companies weigh health factors differently, including being overweight. If one company gives you a high rate, you can check elsewhere.
  • Change your lifestyle. If you can lose weight and lower your BMI, you can ask your agent to reconsider your rates. If you’ve significantly improved your health, you might earn lower rates.
  • Get a doctor’s note. Just because your BMI is high doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy. If you’re an athlete or believe your BMI isn’t an accurate representation of your health, your doctor can provide you with documentation.

While you can work to lower your rates, you might be outright refused coverage if you are extremely obese or have other health conditions.

What to Do if You Are Denied Life Insurance

If your BMI is exceptionally high or you have multiple health concerns, you might be rejected for life insurance. If that happens, don’t lose hope. You might have to wait a little longer, but you can still get the life insurance you need.

If you’re rejected, consider the following tips.

  • Ask your agent. You’re entitled to know exactly why you’ve been denied life insurance. The agent that handled your application can tell you why you were rejected and what you can do to be approved in the future.
  • Get a healthy lifestyle. Just because you’ve been denied this year doesn’t mean you’re permanently rejected. Make changes to your lifestyle and try again in a year.
  • Consider no-exam insurance. Some companies offer insurance that doesn’t require a medical exam. It will provide less coverage than a traditional plan, but some coverage is better than none.

Being rejected for life insurance never feels good, but it doesn’t mean you have to be without coverage.

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap insurance rates.

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Find the Right Insurance No Matter Your Weight

If you’ve been wondering Can an obese person get life insurance?, now you know that it might take a little more effort, but you can get insurance. From no-exam insurance to making lifestyle changes, there are plenty of options to get life insurance no matter what your weight is.

If you need life insurance for the morbidly obese, you should compare prices to make sure you get the best rates possible. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool to see what rates might look like for you.