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There is a common misconception, especially among those who have pretty extreme weight issues, that life insurance simply isn’t available. With most, but not all, companies they would be right.

Obesity carries with it a lot of mortality baggage that most insurance companies would really rather not deal with. They see the glass as half empty so to speak. When they see an application for someone, say 5’10” and 370#, even in the absence of any other health issues they can’t seem to get past the fact that obesity is in fact a risk factor for a lot of problems such has high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Some companies can’t get past that and see their way to an approval. That is not to say that the companies that will approve a policy on a severe weight issue are ignoring the potential consequences, but they are giving some leeway for the fact that those problems haven’t shown up yet. This gives some advantage to younger applicants as, just like diabetes, obesity tends to wear your body down over time. You are far less likely to have been impacted by obesity in your 30’s and 40’s than later in life.

The good news whether you are in your 30’s or in your 50’s or older is that if you have managed to maintain good health, other than your weight, reasonable rates are available. Some companies, like Prudential, even bump their build scale up after age 65 sort of acknowledging that not all of us can hold our stomach in forever.

Bottom line. There are times when you really won’t qualify for traditional insurance based on height and weight, but in most cases that isn’t true. A good independent agent can guide you to the right company for your build.