Why Extra Pounds Shouldn't (But May) Raise Insurance Rates

If you're over a healthy BMI, you may see higher insurance rates. The companies shouldn't increase them, but you're viewed as a higher risk. Here's a look at why insurance rates put your premiums up for being overweight, but really why they shouldn't.

Show Poor Health

Being overweight, even by a tiny bit, shows that you're more at risk of a poorer quality of health. Insurance companies think you will die sooner due to complications linked to obesity and will increase your premiums to counter this risk. Obesity leads to a higher risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

It's not just life insurance costs that can increase, either. You're more at risk of developing a critical illness, too, meaning that policy will likely be more expensive. Just being overweight doesn't necessarily mean that you will put your life at risk. This is why premiums shouldn't go up, but insurance companies look at the statistics and not at individual cases.

An Incentive for Smaller People

Rather than being a tax or expense for those who are larger, some people view the extra premiums as an incentive for smaller people. The insurance companies know that those who weigh less are less likely to develop health conditions that risk their lives. Their lower premiums encourage you to lose the weight, so you get to save money. In some cases, you could save $600 per year.

However, there are downsides for those who go too low on the BMI scale. Those who don't weigh enough put themselves at risk of other health diseases and death, so insurance companies will penalize them for that.

Higher Medical Bills in Life

Remember, it's not just life insurance costs that increase. Your health insurance premiums will likely increase, too. They shouldn't, but the companies have the view that you are more likely to need medical help. This is because those who are overweight or obese are more likely to have conditions like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

The more you weigh, the more your premiums will go up by, too. The BMI range is used to take weight and height into account. Those with a BMI over 25 are overweight, and those over 30 are obese. Someone with a BMI of 30 is likely to pay 25% more in health insurance premiums than someone with a BMI of 25 because of the risk.

There's no proof that you will need more medical attention or that you are likely to die. You may be overweight but extremely healthy. However, insurance companies operate on risk. While being overweight shouldn't automatically lead to higher insurance premiums, it usually does. 

For more information, contact local professionals like Sunset Insurance Agency.