Obesity and Disability Insurance
Dec 3, 2013
Jamie Fleischner

Jamie Fleischner

3 Dec, 2013

If you are considered obese, how will this affect your ability to purchase an individual disability insurance?

According to the CDC.gov website, here is how obesity is defined:

Definitions for Adults

For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.

  • An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

See the following table for an example.


Weight Range



5′ 9″

124 lbs or less

Below 18.5


125 lbs to 168 lbs

18.5 to 24.9

Healthy weight

169 lbs to 202 lbs

25.0 to 29.9


203 lbs or more

30 or higher


It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat. For more information about BMI, visit Body Mass Index.

Other methods of estimating body fat and body fat distribution include measurements of skinfold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
So how does obesity affect your ability to purchase a disability insurance policy?

1)      If you are obese but do not have any other health conditions, your outcome can vary from approved, rated (extra premium), or a decline. The company will not only look at your BMI, but it will see if  there are any other complications.

2)      If you are simply overweight by 30 lbs or so, most likely your outcome will be favorable.

3)      If you have other complications such as diabetes or heart disease, most likely you will either pay more premium or be declined altogether.

If you apply for an individual disability policy and have an unfavorable outcome, the good news is that the decision is not necessarily permanent. If you lose the weight and are able to keep the weight off for more than a year, the insurance company will then be able to underwriter your policy at that lower, healthier weight.

If you had a gastric bypass surgery, lost and maintained the weight for at least a year, you wil most likely be able to obtain an individual disability insurance policy without issues.

For more information about disability insurance ad obesity, contact Set for Life Insurance today!

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