Why does being overweight raise my life insurance premiums?
There are plenty of statistics to show that people are getting heavier in the UK.
The Government estimates around one in four Britons are clinically obese. Peoples waistlines keep expanding.
A report published in October 2006 by the World Health Organisation shows 76% of British men aged between 30 and 69 are overweight, compared with 65% 10 years ago. Sixty-nine per cent of women are overweight, compared with 55 per cent in 1995.
People are getting heavier at a younger, age too, which bodes badly for the future.
The problem for insurers is that if you are overweight, the more likely you are to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure and even chronic depression.
The WHO report, for example, estimated that by 2015 diabetes would kill 8,000 more people a year in the UK than the current 33,000. This increases the chances of insurers having to pay out upon your death, so they have to cover themselves by raising premiums.
How do I know whether the insurers think I am overweight?
There can be many ways of determining what is overweight. It is entirely up to the life insurer what criteria they use to measure whether you are a healthy weight, overweight or obese.
The most common measure among insurers though is the Body Mass Index (BMI).
This is a weight to height measure, irrespective of the individuals sex. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilos (2.2lb equals one kilo) by your height in metres squared (one foot equals 30 centimetres, one inch equals 2.5cm).
If your index is between 19 and 25, you are generally considered to be normal. A ratio between 26 to 30 is overweight, 30 to 40 is obese and anything above that and you are seriously heavy.
This can be an imprecise science given people have different body structures, not least between the sexes. Some top rugby players would be labelled obese under this criteria.
But given it is what the insurers mostly use, you should be aware of where you stand. Incidentally, having a below-normal BMI can also raise your premiums.
What can I do to get the best rate for my weight?
Insurers will usually want to know your weight and height so they can work out your BMI when you apply for life insurance.
While premiums generally have been falling steadily, the premiums for heavier people have tended to rise.
Some insurers offer very high rates to heavier people to deter them, while some insurers are happy to offer lower premiums. The point is that rates vary widely so it is important to search the whole market for the best deal, no matter what your weight.
MoneyExpert.com can help you do this by comparing Life Insurance suppliers and getting the best policy for your circumstances.
Will insurers reduce my premiums if I lose weight?
Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. The best option can sometimes be to change your policy. It is always worthwhile checking to see if you can get cheaper life insurance from another provider anyway. Find the best Life Insurance policy online now. Go to: http://www.moneyexpert.com/Insurance/LifeInsurance.aspx