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High BMI Can Attract High Insurance Premiums Research Team | Posted On Saturday, July 06,2019, 05:17 PM

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High BMI Can Attract High Insurance Premiums



Ravi who is 32 years old, recently bought a life insurance policy by paying a quarterly premium of Rs 1,000 for a particular sum assured. Shyam who is also 32 years of age, availed the same life insurance policy by paying a quarterly premium of Rs 1,200 from the same insurer for the same sum assured. So, why the difference in the premium amounts? It could be due to BMI or the Body Mass Index?

Many people are familiar with this commonly used medical term, BMI. While doctors use BMI for medical purposes, insurance companies use it for computing insurance premiums. BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index, is a measure of the body fat of an individual, based on his/her weight and height. It is computed by using a simple mathematical formula, which is weight in kilograms/height in meters squared.

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High BMI Can Attract High Insurance Premiums

BMI Chart:


WHO criteria (BMI)

Asian Criteria (BMI)


Less than 18.5

Less than 18.5











More than or equal to 30

More than or equal to 30

Obese Type1



Obese Type2



Obese Type 3

More than 50

More than 50

BMI vs Insurance Premiums:

The higher the BMI, the higher the insurance premium and vice versa. Why? It is because a person with a BMI of 30 plus has a higher risk of diseases like sleep apnea, colorectal cancer, heart disease, BP and Type 2 diabetes. A few of these diseases can be very dangerous.

See Also: What Is Health Insurance?

On the other hand, a person with a BMI of below 18.5 has a higher risk of anemia, malnutrition and osteoporosis. When the BMI is less than 18.5, nutrition-related health problems arise.

If you are obese, it doesn’t necessarily mean you would be denied life or health insurance. An overweight person has to pay higher premium than a healthy person. The degree of increase in the premium depends on various factors like age, weight and the insurance plan availed.

Some insurers may even deny offering insurance policies to those who are overweight. In case of investment-specific insurance policies, the tolerance for a higher BMI is high, while in case of term life insurance plans, it’s on the lower side.

Case: I am a 33-years-old guy. My weight is 102 Kilograms and height is 5.7 Feet. Can I get a life insurance plan?

Your BMI is 35.2. It means you are overweight. In fact, you get a life insurance plan, but the premiums are high. Insurers apply a loading on the basic insurance premium according to your age. Such loadings may vary between 25-50% of the base premium.

See Also: Health Insurance Benefits

For example, if the base insurance premium is Rs 1,600 a quarter, the revised premium would be Rs 2,000 when the loading is applied at 25%. The premium increases to Rs 2,400 if the loading is applied at 50%. The revised insurance premium remains unchanged for the entire tenure. Though you are obese, consult an insurance advisor and do not hesitate to avail a life insurance policy, which helps in several ways.

Tips For Overweight People:

If you believe that you might not qualify for an individual or family health insurance policy, take some precautions before submitting the insurance application. Seek the help of a financial advisor who helps avail life and health insurance plans.

Try reducing your weight before availing health and life insurance plans to enjoy lower premiums. Visit online portals and aggregators, understand and compare the various types of insurance policies offered and choose the one which meets your needs.

Did You Know?

  • Even though you are healthy, extra weight can ruin the chances of getting affordable health and term insurance.
  • Each insurer sets its own standards to assess the life and health insurance application.
  • The extra weight has to be reduced to be considered for lower life insurance premiums.
  • One has to fall under the ‘preferred category’ to save on health and term insurance premiums.
  • In India, many life insurance companies have preferred rates.

See Also: Health Insurance Plans

Take away:

Yes, BMI and insurance premiums are closely related. Maintain a healthy BMI and avail insurance at low premiums. A healthy BMI brings down the cost of insurance and ensures a healthy life.

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