Buying a life insurance policy is different for everyone. If you have a high body mass index (BMI), you may wonder how it will impact your ability to get cover.

The good news is that having a high BMI doesn't automatically disqualify you from getting life insurance. However, it may affect other things, such as the cost of your monthly premiums. Read on to learn about how high BMI can impact life insurance.

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What is BMI?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement used to determine whether a person has a healthy body based on their height and weight. It may even reveal other health risks associated with weight.

The BMI calculation involves dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.

According to the NHS, BMI score interpretations are:

  • Under 18.5: Underweight

  • 18.5 to 24.9: Normal weight

  • 25 to 29.9: Overweight

  • 30 or above: Obese

Risks of high BMI

Having a high BMI, can significantly increase the risks of developing various health conditions. One of the main risks is cardiovascular disease.

Research has shown that people with a higher BMI have an increased risk of developing heart disease. This includes conditions such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and stroke.

Another major risk is type 2 diabetes. Obesity is one of the leading results of this condition, as it hinders the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels properly.

Those with an elevated BMI are more likely to develop insulin resistance, as well as difficulty consuming glucose. This in turn, may lead to diabetes.

Risks of low BMI

On the contrary, having a BMI that is considered too low can also increase the risks of developing health conditions. 

This may also include cardiovascular disease, as well as hormonal imbalances, weakened immune systems and nutritional deficiencies. 


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How does BMI affect life insurance?

When applying for life cover, insurers take various factors into consideration, including age, health history, and lifestyle choices. BMI is one area that insurers may consider as it can be an indicator of potential health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Insurers typically use BMI as a screening tool to assess overall health and determine their risk of premature death. In general, if your BMI is too high or too low, you may pose a higher risk. This can cause higher premiums or limited cover.

Insurers also look at other health factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and family medical history. Some insurers may use different weight categories or have their process for assessing BMI.

It could also affect the type of policy you can buy. In some cases, you may only be able to buy term life insurance - which lasts for a set amount of time. Whereas, you may be unable to purchase whole life insurance - which lasts for the rest of your life.

Please note: The insurance products offered by Cavendish Online have no cash-in value at any time. If you stop paying your premiums your cover will stop, your policy will end, and you will receive no benefit. If you have not claimed before the end of your chosen policy term, the policy will end, and no benefit will be paid.

What is the BMI limit for life insurance?

There is no specific BMI limit for getting life cover. Each insurer will have its own guidelines and underwriting criteria for evaluating applicants.

Generally speaking, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 can be considered a healthy, low-risk weight range. However, if your BMI is significantly above or below this range, you may be denied cover or pay higher premiums.

Can I get critical illness cover with a high or low  BMI?

Critical illness cover works differently to life insurance. Instead, it provides financial protection in case you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Each insurer has their own underwriting strategy for assessing whether or not they can provide you with cover. 

Since a low or high BMI puts you more at risk of developing a condition covered by critical illness cover, like a heart attack, cancer, a stroke, you may find increased premiums or exclusions added to your policy. 

Because each insurer might have a different outlook, it is important that you speak to an adviser who can research the whole of the market to determine who will offer you the best rates and/or most comprehensive cover. 

You can contact our advice team on 01392 436193 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5.30pm)

How to get life insurance with high or low BMI

While having a high or low BMI may increase premiums or limit cover, it doesn't mean you won't be able to get it entirely. Here are some steps you can take to improve your chances:

Shop around

Different insurers have different underwriting criteria and guidelines when it comes to assessing applicants. Shopping around and comparing quotes from multiple insurers can help you find the best options.

Improve your health

Making healthy lifestyle choices can improve your overall health, potentially reducing your BMI. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing any underlying health conditions.

If you are a smoker, quitting can not only improve your health but reduce your premiums. After 12 months, you should be classed as a non-smoker, in which your premiums could decrease.

Seek professional advice

If you're struggling to find life insurance due to high BMI, consider consulting with a specialist insurance adviser like Cavendish Online.

Our experienced advisers can help you navigate the insurance market and find the right policy. Get in touch with us today to discuss your options.

You can get a get a free personalised quote with one of our expert advisers by calling us on

01392 436 193

(Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm)


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