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Insurers Sting Obese And Smokers

Feb 18, 2008
Smokers and the overweight are seeing increased life insurance prices. The insurance industry is penalizing these people with higher costs of cover.

The way insurance companies calculate premiums is to work out the risk to them of the customer dying while the policy is active. When looked at from this point of view, smoking and obesity are obviously very important factors in this consideration.

Some pro-smoking groups assert the point that according to statistics smokers under 40 are as likely to die as non-smokers of the same age group. However, as Sainbury's life insurance manager, David Pickett said: "Health risks associated with smoking can have a big effect on life cover costs. It is vital for those who have kicked the habit to review their policies".

A recent study conducted found that the average smoker paid 56% more than a non-smoker for a life insurance policy. This study was based on nine top UK insurance companies, based on quotes for two men aged 20 asking for 100,000 cover over a 25 year period. The only difference stated on the applications was that one smoked and one didn't.

As well as toughening up on smokers, the overweight have seen increases in their policies. Recently insurance companies have changed their approach to the obese, the Body Mass Index (BMI) that affects insurance has been lowered from the previous figure of 33 to a BMI of 28. This is a reduction of 16%, anyone with a BMI above 28 faces a 50% rise in premium prices.

Life insurance companies will calculate your BMI, if it exceeds the limits deemed acceptable by the company a doctor's report may be requested. If the BMI is very high the company may ask you to have a medical examination, if this exam concludes that the customer's weight is of concern then the policy will be increased by a minimum of 50%, but this can rise to 400% in the case of the morbidly obese.

Life insurance companies do have some tolerance for weight gain, for the middle aged they accept that people naturally put on weight as they age. Age is taken into account alongside weight when insurers take applications.

Obesity is a growing problem in the UK and a serious threat to health, as insurers are making clear, over the last 20 years obesity in UK adults has dramatically risen, with more than 60% men and 50% of women deemed overweight or obese.

So if you're intending to apply for life insurance it would be beneficial to lose a few pounds first if you're currently overweight. It's not quite as simple for smokers, to be seen as a non-smoker by insurance companies you must not have consumed any form of nicotine during the previous 12 months, although some insurance companies extend this period to five years.

Due to the fact that premiums for smokers and the overweight as so high the importance of seeking out a competitive policy rises. The best way to do this is to use a comparison website such as Onlyfinance.com, which means you only need to input your information once and hundreds of policies will be reviewed, and the best price and package will be selected.

Obviously the policies found on a comparison site will still be higher for smokers and the overweight but the best available deal for you will be found. The importance of life insurance is becoming clear to everyone nowadays, it provides peace of mind, if something did happen then your family will not be left in a state of financial confusion. The popularity of policies has also mean the life insurance leads market has remained a busy and profitable one.
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