Ireland: A Country of Obese People by 2030 | World Health Organisation
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Ireland has the highest obesity and excess weight in the whole of Europe.
So you won’t be surprised to hear the number one health issue we encounter at Lion Towers is being overweight for life insurance cover.
The first step is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).
BMI is a screening tool that uses height and weight to estimate body fat.
It’s not perfect, but it’s what the insurers use, so we’re stuck with it for now.
Click on the image below to quickly calculate your BMI.
An example should clear things up:
Michael is 40, 6’2 and 20 stone.
His mother would call him big-boned; however, the BMI calculator would put him in the obese category (BMI of 35.9).
You expect Michael would have to pay more than someone in “better shape”.
But surprisingly, Michael would get the same price as someone with a “normal weight”.
However, if Michael were one year younger, with the same BMI, the life insurance company would increase his premium by 50%.
You see, overweight men under 40 are a bigger risk for the insurer because they are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
Apart from height, weight and age, the insurer will also look at some other factors when underwriting an application if you’re overweight.
There are many other factors the underwriters will consider when reviewing your application:
It’s impossible to give a useful indication of how these associated factors will affect your chances of getting cover. Still, it’s safe to say that the more you answer yes to, the higher the loading the insurer will add to your premium.
You may think because you’re overweight you cannot get life cover.
That’s not true.
You may have to pay a higher premium than someone of normal weight but you can get life insurance.
We have managed to get cover for someone with a BMI of 47 – but she had to pay three times the normal price.
It all depends on which insurer you apply to. We know exactly who to apply to, depending on your circumstances.
Our lady with a BMI of 47:
Always give your accurate weight and height on your application form as you may have to attend a screening to confirm your measurements. If you get cover by making yourself taller or lighter, your family may have an issue should they ever need to make a claim.
The same rules apply to mortgage protection insurance as for life insurance.
The insurers take a stricter approach if you have a high BMI and want to get critical illness cover.
If your BMI is over 4, you will struggle to get income protection or serious illness cover at any age.
Michael, aged 40, in our example above, wouldn’t face an increase in premium for life cover only. But if he were applying for serious illness cover too, the insurer would increase his premium by 50%.
The insurers underwrite income protection even more strictly, so; please get in touch before making an application. If your BMI is >40, you won’t be able to get income protection.
Yes, mortgage protection is a type of life insurance where your amount of cover reduces over time. The same rules apply to mortgage protection as to life insurance.
Weight is 145kg.
His bank and another broker had declined John. Honestly, I thought we would struggle to get him cover too due to his age, but fortunately, John had a recent check-up with his doctor and was in perfect health apart from the weight:
I had a yearly check up back in June with my doctor and everything is in the normal range. They took bloods and checked my cholesterol, heart rate, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, glucose, sodium, potassium, CO2, chloride, calcium, BUN, Creatine, Alk phos, ALT, AST, Albumin, and total protein. All were within normal levels except for HDL which was 0.1mmol/L under the recommended level of 1.4mmol/L, the doctor saw no reason for concern with this. I also had a Haematology FBC, Haematology BFF, and Thyroid function tests. All came back as normal. The doctor also took blood pressure and heart rate and both were ok.
We managed to get John cover with a loading of +225%.
Further reading: Getting cover if you have a high BMI
Each insurer takes a different approach to underwriting applications from people with weight issues. One insurer may increase your premium based on your age and BMI, but you could get the normal price by applying to a different insurer.
That’s where I come in; if you think you’re overweight for life insurance, let’s have a chat, and I’ll find you the best insurer based on your BMI.
Complete this short BMI questionnaire, and I’ll be right back.
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As Ireland's leading life insurance broker, we specialise in comparing the rates and policies from the top five Irish life insurance providers and offering the very best value quotes to suit the individual needs of our clients. Our expertise lies in finding a suitable insurance plan for those with specific needs, be it a particular illness, occupation or claim history, we've got you covered in every sense!