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How Can BMI Affect Term Insurance?

Updated On Dec 05, 2023

Body Mass Index or BMI is a measurement that uses the height of the person to determine the suitable weight for the person. More often than not, BMI also accurately predicts the body fat percentage for that person. Therefore, a person with a high BMI has more body fat and vice versa.

What Is The Significance Of BMI?

Since the BMI is used to figure out the body fat of an individual, it is often treated as a health risk indicator. Therefore, if you have a high BMI, there is a high chance of you getting affected by obesity-related illness. Those with high BMI are at high risk of type-2 diabetes, various heart diseases, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, and even premature death. Low bone density due to irregular nutrition and higher fat content will lead to joint pain and will eventually lead to osteoarthritis.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a low BMI, that means that your body is not absorbing the nutrients as it should. This might indicate a certain underlying disease, and in the long run, might make the individual anorexic.

How Does BMI Affect Term Insurance?

Since BMI signifies the health status of the individual’s body, it affects the rate of life insurance premiums. A higher BMI means that the individual is at a higher risk of heart disease and might frequently visit the hospitals due to weight-related issues.

In the same manner, an individual with a lower-than-average BMI is also considered unhealthy, as they might be suffering from some form of an underlying illness that might not immediately be diagnosed.

The rationale provided by the insurance companies for using the BMI to determine the rate is pretty simple. With BMI in the extremes, the individual has a higher chance of making frequent visits to the hospitals owing to ill health, which translates to higher medical expenditure on the part of the insurance company. Hence, the higher the estimated expenditure on health-related issues, the higher will be the life insurance premiums.

How To Calculate The BMI?

The formula that has been used for ages to calculate the BMI is: 

BMI = (Weight of the individual in kg)/ (Height of the individual in meters)2


Do Insurance Companies Only Use The BMI As A Health Indicator?

The insurance companies do not only rely on the BMI to indicate the health of the person as there might be various other factors. A person with a higher BMI might be healthier than a person who smokes regularly. Hence, many other factors are taken into consideration. Some examples of other factors that determine the term insurance policy premium payment rate are:

  • AGE:
    • Since younger individuals are less likely to be a liability to the company, they are provided with better premium rates as compared to older persons.
    • In this case, the older person might request the insurer to check their BMI levels which might help with reducing the life insurance premium rates.
    • Family history plays a major role as compared to BMI. There is a high chance of a person having a hereditary disease that might affect the individual later in life.
    • Parkinson’s disease is a very good example of this. This disease jumps generations and usually affects the individual later in their life. Hence, the insurance companies might ask for a detailed family medical history report before deciding the premium rates.
    • If the person has a history of chewing tobacco smoking cigarettes or being a heavy drinker, it affects the premium rates.
    • Tobacco and alcohol users might have the optimal BMI, but their organs might be affected due to substance abuse. Hence, one’s lifestyle choices also affect the life insurance premium rates.


You should be aware that the BMI only merely indicates a number, and therefore it is not binding. Athletes have a higher BMI. Hence, if you have a higher BMI, you need not worry as you might excel in the other ancillary medical fitness tests. Term insurance issuance is not solely dependent upon your BMI score. A comprehensive set of factors will determine your eligibility. Make sure that you provide true information when buying the policy to avoid the policy or claim rejections in the future.

Also Read: Know Which Factors Affect Your Premium Calculation?

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Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and is meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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