Probably the most disgruntled life insurance clients get is when they are told that their insurance is going to cost more because their estimate of their weight was off, or they weren’t really 5’9, but 5’8 1/2 (which examiners round down, not up).

All insurance companies have build charts and they really do stick to them. A good  independent agent might be able to get an underwriter to fudge a pound or two if all other risk factors are good, but generally speaking, if you don’t fit into the height and weight it takes for a certain rate class, you will be bumped to the next higher rate class. More weight. Less height. More money!!!

My advice. Find out what your REAL height and weight are before you talk to an insurance agent and don’t fudge. Don’t round your 1/2″ up. Tell them agent exactly how tall you are. Don’t round your weight off to the nearest 10 pounds. Tell them exactly what you weigh and when you checked it last. I swear if you asked 1000 people what their weight is, 950 of them would come back with a round number like 170#, 180#, 200#, 250#, etc. 50 will provide a number that seems like they must know, like 193#. 25 of them actually will know what they weigh.

This is particularly problematic when people have let their weight get out of control. The higher their weight goes, the more unpleasant it is to check it and the more the tendency is to be off on their guess. It is not uncommon for obese people to be off by 25# to 50#.

The impact on life insurance rates can be dramatic. There are companies out there with reasonably liberal build charts. If you tell an agent your height and weight he is going to make a recommendation based on that and get you the best rate based on build charts. If you are off 15#, it may well be that you would have been better off going to a different company. So at that point you either accept a higher rate or start the process over.

Bottom line. Know your build and don’t fudge. The examiner is going to give the insurance companies the facts.

This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.