The More Obese States Pay More for Insurance

Almost 130 million Americans are overweight, and nearly 70 million of those are obese. Researchers estimate that the healthcare costs associated with obesity totaled to over $92 billion last year, now rivaling the costs associated with smoking. It’s no secret that where we live impacts how we live and eat, but it can also affect life insurance rates. If you are unfortunate enough to live in one of the most obese states in the U.S., mostly located in the South, you might have to pay extra for your coverage.

Why Extra Pounds Mean Extra Premiums

Obesity is more than just an aesthetic concern. A person who is 40% overweight is twice as likely as someone of normal weight to die prematurely. The higher mortality rates for the obese are tied to several lifespan-shortening medical conditions, such as heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, and cancer. This is not good news for insurers that want to avoid paying out policy benefits at all costs. As a result, the heavier, the more you will pay. Providers will look at your physical build, or body mass index (BMI), which measures your weight in relation to your height.

The Most Obese States

The states with the most obese residents, and thus also the states with the residents who pay some of the highest premiums, are as follows:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. West Virginia
  4. Louisiana
  5. Kentucky
  6. Tennessee
  7. Arkansas
  8. Indiana (tied for 8th place)
  9. South Carolina (tied for 8th place)
  10. Texas

What You Can Do

If you get stuck with higher premiums because you have a few pounds to lose, remember that your rates are not permanent. If you succeed in losing weight, even a modest amount, you could realize considerable savings on your policy. When you shed pounds, be sure to notify your insurer. The insurance company may have you take another exam to verify your success, but they will more than likely drop your premiums as a result. If you’re unhappy with the premiums you’re paying with one company, you can always shop around for better rates with another insurer. Different insurers have different thresholds for what is considered overweight, so you might be able to get preferred rates with another company.

Additional Resources