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If you talk to most life insurance applicants who fall into the obese or morbidly obese categories according the their BMI, they have usually been told that they aren’t insurable or that the prices are so high as to render uninsurable because they can’t afford it.

Let’s not dance around the subject. Life insurance underwriting is all about assessing mortality risk, your chance of dying compared to someone in average health. One of the things they consider are the risk factors that you have and the health issues you might, or in some cases are likely to acquire.

In the case of obesity, it is a known risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. So honestly it is not just the weight that impacts the outcome of the life insurance application, but the compounded perceived risk. Given the risk factors, while you may not agree when you have to pay higher premiums, life insurance companies are actually pretty generous with their build charts.

As I was running quotes for a person 5’11 and 395 pounds today, I was impressed by the fact that, number one, he was insurable and number two, while he may not be able to afford all he wants, he can still afford to make sure that his family is taken care of. Back when I did a series of blogs on the TV show Fat March, it generated a lot of attention to see the contestants on that show go from uninsurable to insurable, to great rates as their weight came down. Probably the most important aspect of that show and that series of blogs was the great discussion it generated over not just life insurance rates, but how life style changes could have such a huge positive impact on health and longevity.

Bottom line. If your only issue impacting life insurance at this point is weight, bite the bullet and find an independent agent to shop for the best possible rate for you. The picture isn’t going to get any prettier if you drag your feet and other health issues pop up and compound the issue. While there is a point where weight alone can keep you from getting traditional life insurance, chances are you aren’t there even if you’ve had a decline letter or two.