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- Are you too fat for life insurance?
- July 15th, 2010 12:12 PM
First the good news: if you’ve picked up a little weight over the winter, chances are your life insurance won’t be too badly affected. Any more than that, then you’ll have to cut the fat, or your insurers will charge you for it.
The bad news is, as a nation, we’re getting fatter. This is a huge problem for the life insurance companies, because obesity leads to a host of other serious health problems.
What’s the cost of being obese in insurance premiums?
“People who are obese are at a higher risk for serious conditions like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis (a common joint disorder) and certain kinds of cancers,” said Dr. Don Behan, Senior Research Associate at Georgia State University’s Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research. “When insurers are evaluating a person, his or her length of life is often discussed in terms of life expectancy. Mortality depends on age, gender, health status, habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol and participation in dangerous activities. Mortality rates may be estimated on the basis of these characteristics.”
Obesity is determined by the amount of body fat a person has relative to their muscle, bone and organ tissue. The sum of body mass is a simple mathematical calculation determined on your height and weight, and compared to a standardized body mass index (BMI) chart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list an overweight adult having a BMI between 25 and 29.9. An obese adult would have a BMI of 30 or higher.
Hypothetically speaking, if a male nonsmoker, age 55 wanted to get about $250,000 of life insurance and had a BMI of 38, he would be paying an estimated annual premium of $4,256. If a 55-year-old nonsmoker male with a BMI under 30 wanted the same amount of life insurance, he would pay $3,767 annually, according to Dave Redpath, Assistant Vice President of Underwriting at Hartford Life. While these are estimated numbers the fact remains; the higher the BMI, the harder your wallet will get hit—not just for life insurance, but paying for potential health problems down the line.Pages: 1 2 3
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