Obesity bulks up life insurance costs, say ABI

04 July 2007
The cost of a life insurance premium may well rise for people who are overweight, a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned.

"Lifestyle factors in general play a part in the assessment that insurance companies do on people when they apply for life or protection insurance," Jonathan French explained.

"Factors like obesity will be taken into account," he added, because they are judged to increase the likelihood that the customer will make a claim.

Ordinarily, the insurer will still be able to insure the individual applying for cover, he emphasised, but their policy could cost them more.

However, providers may "make specific exclusions from the policy", specifying that they will not cover the customer in the event that they develop "illnesses relating to the conditions or the lifestyle factors".

The principle of taking lifestyle factors into account is not exclusive to the obese, he added, with factors such as smoking and drinking also likely to impact on an individual's premium.

But the good news is that anyone who makes a significant lifestyle change, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, should tell their insurer immediately, since it could slash the cost of their premiums.

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