Talk about a sensitive issue. The truth is that being overweight isn’t an easy thing to be and it isn’t an easy thing to talk about, and when you are told your life insurance will cost more because of it, it feels like a slap in the face.

Having said that, no one needs to beat around the bush when it comes to life insurance underwriting. The cost of life insurance is determined by the mortality risk and the mortality experience of a given condition, in this case obesity. In the case of obesity, the potential of collateral health issues is high and the health issues are serious.

I think too often in our society we get hung up on weight as a cosmetic issue and when we get frustrated with it we tend to believe that what we look like is all the we are giving up. Even nutritionists tend to focus more on the looks and sidestep the danger of health complications. With obesity being the major cause of diabetes, and a large contributor to other health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, heart disease and cancer, health ought to be the primary concern, not the secondary.

Having said all that, if you are overweight there should be plenty of impetus to have life insurance in force. But, with underwriters taking a pretty negative view of obesity, how do you find rates that are affordable? That starts with a serious obligation to what you can budget and a visit with an independent life insurance agent. Keep in mind that the life insurance rule of thumb that something is always better than nothing is completely true. While you might want $500,000 for your spouse, if your budget can only afford $250,000, the prudent thing to do is to put in force what you know you can keep in force. Believe me, if it’s only $100,000, your spouse will know that is better than a policy that you used to have but couldn’t afford anymore.

So, how big is too big? There is a point where life insurance companies simply won’t take the risk. Probably the best company out there when it comes to being willing to take the risk is Prudential. To give you an idea of their upper limits, with them you would be uninsurable if you were:

5’4 and over 323#
5’6 and over 344#
5’8 and over 365#
5’10 and over 387#
6’1 and over 421#

Below those numbers you are insurable and the lower your weight the better the rates.

Bottom line: Before weight starts to take a physical toll on your body, get life insurance in force. Once you have your family protected, do what it takes to drop the weight. Even gastric bypass is a reasonable consideration compared to a lifetime with diabetes. Once your weight is down ask your agent to help you find an even better deal.