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Life Insurance for Overweight Guide 2024

Life insurance is the best financial protection for your family because it pays out a lump sum if you die to pay for mortgages, funerals, and other childcare costs. People who are overweight or have a high BMI can get life insurance to protect their loved ones from as little as £5 per month.

Some insurance companies are far better than others for overweight life insurance, and an experienced medical insurance expert can help you to find the most suitable and affordable cover.  If you apply to the wrong insurer, then you can end up paying more for your cover, and you can save time by getting proper advice from a specialist.

This simple independent guide to overweight life insurance will answer all the main questions that people ask about applying for life insurance with a high BMI. This includes price examples, real-life case studies, and some of our top tips to help you save money on your life cover in 2024.

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60-Second Summary – Life Insurance for Overweight Guide 2024

Being overweight is not a medical condition, but it can be linked to other conditions that affect your health. This is why a specialist life insurance company will be a more appropriate choice for some people with a high BMI, as a specialist is more likely to offer fair prices.

Life insurance provides valuable financial protection for the people that you love most, and your weight shouldn’t affect the quality of life cover that is available for you. Many ‘standard’ life insurance companies can cover to people with a BMI over 40, so you will have more options than you might imagine.

  • Life insurance for overweight people is directly linked to your Body Mass Index (BMI) and you can pay more than you need to if you don’t apply to the best insurer.
  • Life insurance premiums for overweight people can vary dramatically from one insurance company to another, so don’t accept an offer if you’re not happy with it.
  • You can also save money on life insurance if you manage to reduce your BMI over time, so you should regularly review your life cover if you’re losing weight.
  • BMI limits and levels for overweight life insurance regularly change so you might find that things have changed, especially if you’ve been refused cover in the past.
  • Currently, the maximum BMI for overweight life insurance is around 50 with some specialist insurance providers and this does vary depending on your age.
  • To calculate your own Body Mass Index you can get a rough idea from the NHS Healthy Weight BMI Calculator or speak to your GP.

There are some brilliant options for life insurance for overweight people, including policies from top UK insurance companies like AIG and Liverpool Victoria. It can be harder to work out your best options for cover though, as each life insurance company will have their own ‘upper limit’ for BMI.

Most of the UK’s main insurance companies will have their own BMI scale that they work to, and the price of cover will vary based on the insurer that you choose. Certain specialist companies can offer cover for BMI above 40 or even 50, so you can normally get life cover to protect your family without any major issues.

As of 2024, the current maximum BMI limit for life insurance is around 50 – 53 with certain specialist life insurance companies. You might be surprised to see that many ‘standard’ life insurance companies will cover BMI over 40, so there are a lot of options for you.

Below we have put together a list of the current BMI limits with specific life insurance companies, to give you an idea of how much this figure can vary.

Insurance companyBMI limits
The Exeter logoCovers BMI up to 53 for ages 45-59
Covers BMI up to 51 for people younger than 44
Covers BMI up to 41 for people over 60
Royal London logoCovers BMI up to 46 (if there are no other medical conditions)
LV logoCovers BMI up to 46 for ages 31 and above
Covers BMI up to 53 for ages 30 and younger
AIG logoCovers BMI up to 46
Guardian logoCovers BMI up to 44
Zurich logoCovers BMI up to 44
Scottish Widows logoCovers BMI up to 44
Aviva logoCovers BMI up to 40
Vitality logoCovers BMI up to 39
Legal & General logoCovers BMI up to 40 maximum
(Limits vary based on each applicant)

Many companies can offer life cover to people with a high BMI, and you should consider which insurer feels like the right fit for the policy that you need. This short video from the NHS answers the UK’s most common questions about BMI.

Common questions about BMI – NHS

Some insurance companies will be better suited to people who are overweight or obese, so it is important to compare multiple policies and quotes to understand all your options. This is the simplest way to see which companies can offer the right level of cover for the lowest prices.

When you apply for your policy, the insurance company might ask some extra questions about your health and lifestyle. This isn’t anything to be concerned about and just helps the insurer to get a clearer picture of whether your weight affects your overall health.

They will also usually ask questions about your family medical history, which is standard for all life insurance applications.

Key factors for overweight life insurance:

Do I need life insurance if I am overweight?

While no one ‘needs’ life insurance, it is certainly a useful policy to have and is recommended by various financial experts such as Martin Lewis. Overweight people have the same worries and concerns as anyone else, and this includes wanting the best financial protection for their families.

Having life insurance can make a huge difference to your family’s lives if you die. The pay out from a life insurance policy will help your loved ones to cover important expenses, such as repaying your mortgage or increased childcare costs.

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Your life insurance policy won’t be any different based on your weight and will work in the same way as any other life insurance policy. You simply need to apply for your cover and pay either monthly or annually for your cover to remain in place.

In most cases, the price of your policy won’t change over time, so you don’t need to worry that your cover will get more expensive as you get older. It is cheaper to buy cover earlier in life though, which is why it is recommended to buy life insurance when you are younger if you can.

Note: The only times when your policy premium can increase is if you have chosen increasing cover or an ‘age-rated’ life insurance policy. Standard level term or decreasing life insurance policies will usually have guaranteed (fixed) premiums.

There is no need to worry that your life insurance policy won’t pay out because of your weight, as this is extremely unlikely to happen. Life insurance companies won’t refuse to pay out based on your weight, and they will pay out if you die for any reason related to your weight (e.g. a related medical condition).

You will also still be covered if your weight changes in the future (e.g. you were a ‘healthy’ weight when you applied and have gained weight since). If you lose weight, it is worth reviewing the cover that you have to see if lower prices are now available for you.

Based on our most recent independent research into the UK’s Best High BMI Life Insurance Companies, our insurance experts have ranked The Exeter as the best life insurance company for overweight people.

This is because The Exeter can offer a wide range of policies to customers who are overweight and can even cover a BMI as high as 53 in some cases.

However, every person who applies for life insurance is different, and another life insurance company might work better for certain people. Ultimately, this will come down to your own situation and the level of cover that you need for your family or mortgage.

Other good options for overweight life insurance include specialist companies like Royal London and Guardian, as well as a few mainstream insurers (LV, AIG, and Zurich).

Life Insurance provider reviews

Many of the people that we speak to who are overweight are concerned that their weight will make their life insurance policy too expensive. Life insurance won’t always cost more for people who are overweight, particularly if you are generally healthy and don’t have any other health conditions.

You might find that life insurance does cost slightly more for some people though, as this will be based on the insurance company’s attitude to ‘risk’. Insurance companies will often view people who are overweight as having a higher risk of claiming on their policy, even if they are generally healthy. This is because having a high BMI can sometimes cause medical issues such as heart disease or diabetes to develop, so insurance companies will account for this.

To give you a rough idea of pricing, our insurance experts have put together these case studies which highlight real live overweight life insurance policies. We have made sure to include a range of different BMIs and ages, to give you a better idea of how much you might pay for your cover.

Case Study 1: Ms J.

Details of applicantMs J. was born in 1977 and is a non-smoker
Overweight details and informationBMI is 42.5 Height: 5’3” / Weight: 17st2
Other health informationMs J. also has asthma and type 2 diabetes (Hba1c of 52)  
Cover requirementsMs J wanted £50,000 of level term life cover over 45 years to protect her family
Monthly premiums (£s)£15.52 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Specialist insurance company (Royal London)

Case Study 2: Mr C.

Details of applicantMr C. was born in 1987 and is a non-smoker
Overweight details and informationBMI is 40 Height: 6’2” / Weight: 22st4
Other health informationNo other medical conditions
Cover requirementsMr C wanted £300,000 of decreasing cover over 38 years to protect his mortgage
Monthly premiums (£s)£35.02 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Standard insurance company (AIG)

Case Study 3: Miss L.

Details of applicantMiss L. was born in 1985 and is a non-smoker
Overweight details and informationBMI is 40.4 Height: 5’8” / Weight: 19st
Other health informationMiss L. also has fibromyalgia (diagnosed in 2015),
anxiety (diagnosed in 2021), and high blood pressure (diagnosed in 2022).  
The high blood pressure and anxiety are both treated with medication.
Cover requirementsMiss L wanted £150,000 of decreasing over 40 years to protect her mortgage
Monthly premiums (£s)£11.44 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Standard insurance company (AIG)

Case study 4: Mr M.

Details of applicantMr M. was born in 1997 and is a smoker (vapes)
Overweight details and informationBMI is 40.6 Height: 5ft11 / Weight: 20st
Other health informationMr M. has sleep apnoea (diagnosed in 2021) and uses a CPAP machine.
Mr M also has anxiety which was previously treated with therapy (no medication).
Cover requirementsMr M wanted £365,000 of level term cover over 40 years to protect his family
Monthly premiums (£s)£36.84 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Standard insurance company (LV)

Note: These case studies are only intended to be examples to give you a rough idea of pricing, and your own policy may cost more or less than the examples above.

As you can see, the price of life insurance can vary significantly, and there isn’t one ‘set price’ for people who are overweight. Policies can be very affordable though, as can be seen with Miss L. Miss L’s policy only costs £11.44 per month and provides £150,000 worth of protection for repaying her mortgage.

How do I get cheaper life insurance for overweight people?

If you are concerned about paying too much for life insurance, there are a few simple ways to lower the cost of your cover. You can:

  • Lose weight: Losing even a small amount of weight may help to reduce the cost of your monthly premiums (£s)
  • Quit smoking: Smokers will usually pay more for life insurance, so quitting smoking for 12 or more months can make a big difference
  • Other lifestyle improvements: Prices can often be lowered if you make other improvements to your lifestyle (e.g. being more active or reducing the amount of alcohol that you drink).

It is often possible to buy critical illness cover if you are overweight, which offers a higher level of protection for you and your family. If you were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum to help with any extra costs like private medical bills or adaptions to your home.

This gives you some peace of mind that you won’t struggle financially because of your condition, especially if you need some time off work to recover.

What BMI is a critical illness?

You won’t be able to claim on critical illness insurance for being overweight, but you might be able to claim for other related medical conditions if they are covered by your policy. This includes conditions like heart attacks and strokes, which are some of the most common reasons for critical illness claims in the UK.

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What weight do I need to be for life insurance?

There isn’t a set ‘ideal weight’ for life insurance, as insurance companies will look at your BMI rather than your weight. This number is a combination of your height and weight, which helps them to determine if you are a ‘healthy’ weight.

Even if your BMI is above the ‘healthy’ range, there will usually still be life insurance companies that can offer the policies that you need.

What is considered overweight for life insurance?

You will be considered as overweight by a life insurance company if your BMI is 25 or higher. This can vary slightly though, as some insurance companies might use the American BMI scale rather than the British one.

Don’t be worried that your BMI is too high for life insurance, as this won’t generally be true. Most insurers can offer cover to overweight individuals, and some specialist companies will cover people with a BMI as high as 53.

Can you buy life insurance for obese people?

Obesity is a medical term and is usually defined by your BMI. According to the NHS, you would be classed as ‘obese’ if you have a BMI of over 30. You can still easily get life insurance if you are obese, and it can be very affordable if you apply to the right companies.

You will need to do some research and compare prices from multiple insurance companies to find the best overweight life insurance quotes. Some people choose to use price comparison sites for this, but this can often be more expensive, or the right cover might not be available.

Another option is to get advice from a specialist insurance broker, who can help you to find the insurer that’s cheapest for you. To speak to our experts for free advice and guidance, you can CLICK HERE or call 0800 009 6559.

Useful resources

Obesity UK

Obesity UK is this country's leading charity dedicated to supporting people living with obesity. They work as a support group which aims to raise awareness and understanding of obesity, as well as reducing the stigma around being overweight.

Their website contains useful guides and resources for overweight people, and Obesity UK currently helps over 35,000 members.

Contact Obesity UK

You can contact Obesity UK over social media or by using their online contact form here: Obesity UK - Contact Us

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Can I get life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Yes, you will be able to get life insurance with almost any pre-existing medical condition, as long as it is not terminal. If traditional life insurance is not available due to the severity of your symptoms, then there are other guaranteed and specialist life insurance options, such as:

  • Accidental death
  • Over 50s life insurance
  • Guaranteed life insurance

Some of the most common examples of life insurance with pre-existing conditions are:

  • Overweight or High BMI life insurance
  • Diabetes life insurance (e.g. Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes)
  • Cancer life insurance
  • Heart attack or heart disease life insurance
  • Mental health life insurance
  • Multiple Sclerosis life insurance
  • Autoimmune disorders life insurance
  • HIV life insurance

There are literally thousands of types and variations of pre-exisiting medical conditions and so your situation is likely to be different to someone else. Life insurance with pre-existing conditions will take a number of elements in to account:

  • Severity and type of symptoms
  • Dates of diagnosis, episodes or attacks, and treatments
  • Any ongoing treatment and medications

Your life insurance premiums will be based on your own individual circumstances and how much cover you need. You should be able to adjust the levels of cover to suit your budget and it’s just as important to make sure that you at least have some cover in place.

What does Martin Lewis say about life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

MoneySavingExpert.com suggests that life insurance will ‘cost a lot more’ with a pre-existing medical condition. This is not true and it really does depend on your own individual circumstances so don’t be put off by this as they are not experts in this area.

It is true that some circumstances where the pre-existing medical condition is serious or severe, premiums can be higher to reflect the additional mortality risks. Ultimately, your life insurance premiums are unfortunately based on how likely you are to claim or if you have a higher chance of death within the policy term.

Martin Lewis doesn’t provide any real substance to his comment about pre-existing conditions life insurance and that’s not good enough. You should speak to a medical life insurance specialist to get a fully underwritten quote before you make any final decisions about whether or not you can afford to protect your family.

How much is life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Most traditional life insurance providers will accept applications for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Often, you will have a number of potential options from several different insurance providers so you can usually save money as well by shopping around.

Historically you might have had less offers when you apply for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, but fortunately that is changing. Most of the more well-known high street life insurance brands are now offering more competitive rates and more flexible underwriting.

Top tips to save money on life insurance with pre-existing conditions:

  • Speak to pre-existing medical conditions specialist (these companies will understand the market better and should know which insurers will be cheapest for you)
  • Shop around and get different quotes (same as everything else, by shopping around you’ll get a better idea of what a good price is and what different companies offer)
  • Apply at the best time (timing can be important when applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, usually when symptoms are stable and not before or after treatment)

There are also other things to take into consideration, such as if you’re a smoker or if your weight is higher than normal. Can you do anything to improve your situation that might help to reduce your life insurance premiums.

Best life insurance for pre-existing conditions?

The best life insurance for pre-existing conditions will be different for each individual, based on their circumstances and the details of their health or medical history. There are certainly some insurance providers who are better for people with pre-existing medical conditions than others, such as:

  • The Exeter (better for people with more severe symptoms and serious health problems)
  • Legal & General (can sometimes be good for certain pre-existing medical conditions, especially mild to moderate symptoms)
  • Royal London (offers a number of specialist products and policies for certain pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and mental health)
  • Scottish Widows (sometimes good for moderate medical conditions and offers flexible underwriting for certain conditions)
  • The Guardian (also offers flexible underwriting towards some pre-existing medical conditions)
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